With tourism costs low (due to the recession) and summer temperatures climbing, now is the perfect time to plan the exotic Caribbean vacation you’ve been dreaming of. Once you’ve secured the time off work, purchased your plane tickets, found a beautiful beach bungalow, and thrown in a couple of activities to try, all you need to do is get to the packing. But if you’re from the frozen wastelands of the north (no one believes that fake-and-bake is a real tan) you might not have the faintest clue as to what to pack when it comes to clothing and accessories. So here are just a few must-have items to stow in your carry-on.
Bikini and cover-ups
The sun shines hot and bright on the beaches of the Caribbean, so you simply cannot survive without at least a couple of samples of the season’s hottest swimwear. If you want to banish tan lines, think about a bikini or one-piece made from tan-through material (just be cognizant of the fact that you’ll have to duck into a private area to reapply sunscreen under your suit). Otherwise opt for some of the teeny bikinis that graced the pages of the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. And sheer cover-ups are a must if you don’t want your gorgeous tan to turn lobster when you doze off on the beach.
Summer dress. Whether you’re strolling through outdoor shops, sipping margaritas by the pool, or enjoying a relaxing dinner out with your honey, you can do it all in a lightweight, multipurpose summer dress. This way you won’t have to pack both daytime and evening attire and you can keep your luggage light. Cotton jersey is a good choice as it rolls up into a small bundle and resists wrinkling.
Flip-flops and Sandals
Flip-flops are great for the beach. You can easily fit them into your luggage and it doesn’t matter if they get wet and sandy. But when it comes to hitting the clubs or a nice restaurant you’ll probably want something a little fancier. So make sure to bring along a couple pairs of sandals with some cute embellishment or a bit of a heel. You’re almost certainly going to need this extra footwear. And if you plan on hiking, bring some appropriate lace-up shoes, as well.
Every girl knows that sun exposure causes fine lines and wrinkles. So unless you want to apply sunblock to your face every hour, it would behoove you to bring along a wide-brim hat. In addition to protecting your face, it will keep the sun off the part in your hair (an easily burned area that many gals forget to apply sunblock to) and possibly even give some shade to your shoulders and chest (which get direct sunlight whenever you’re upright). Find a hat that can be rolled in luggage and then spring back into shape.
Sunglasses. While sunblock will certainly protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, it will do absolutely nothing for your sensitive eyes. So make sure that you pack your favorite pair of shades in order keep those gorgeous orbs functioning at full capacity so you can enjoy all the photos you took on your sun-drenched Caribbean vacation.