Are you heading to the Caribbean for a long-awaited, much needed vacation? Make sure you pack the right wardrobe! Poor clothing choices can be detrimental to your comfort while on vacation, and even to your health. Keep in mind that Caribbean countries may have a climate that’s very different from that of your home country, so pack accordingly. Read on to find out what to wear and when, and how to pack your Caribbean travel bags.
First, you’ve got to choose fabrics to suit the Caribbean climate. Tropical weather means that these countries are warm year-round. In addition, it can get quite sunny and hot, so be sure to pack light, breathable fabrics. Clothing made of cotton, linen, or silk is suitable. Remember to expect humidity, and eliminate any clothing items that might make you sweat profusely. Natural fabrics tend to be the most breathable, which man-made materials like polyester are more prone to collecting odors.
During the day, choose lightweight shirts, or camisoles and shorts, or a light summer dress. Pack some sturdy sandals that will support your feet while still letting them breathe. This will allow you to walk the beach with ease. In addition, a good pair of tennis shoes will soothe tired feet during hikes or long walks through historic ruins.
Keep in mind that you may get chilly if you spend most of your time inside, like when you visit a museum, for example. You may want to pack a light sweater or sweatshirt for that reason.
Since you’ll be outdoors a great deal of the time, don’t forget to pack a hat to protect your face from the sun! A good pair of sunglasses will do the trick to keep you from having to squint while you try to take in the breathtaking landscapes.
Long pants or jeans are great for the Caribbean’s cooler nights. You may also want to pack a light sweater or sweatshirt.It doesn’t get cold in the Caribbean, but it can get chilly, or at least feel chilly after you’ve been in the sun all day. Keep in mind that air conditioning can be quite cold in hotels and restaurants compared to the outdoors.
Another reason why you might want to wear long pants and long sleeves at night is because mosquitoes are common in tropical climates. In addition, they are nocturnal creatures. Keep them at bay by covering up as much as possible and by using insect repellant. With the large number of known mosquito-borne illnesses prevalent today, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting yourself against these and other insect pests.
Want to take advantage of the Caribbean nightlife? Don’t forget to pack an outfit or two that you would consider a tad more “dressed up”. It doesn’t have to be formal, but nicer restaurants, shows, and many other establishments may expect customers to show up a bit more “put together”. Don’t forget a nice pair of shoes to go with your outfit!
Whatever you do, don’t forget your swimsuit while on vacation in the Caribbean! The Caribbean is the perfect place to relax on the beach and swim in the ocean. Swimming pools are easy to find as well. It’s best to pack more than one swimsuit in case one becomes damaged or soiled and you don’t have easy access to a laundromat.
One note about beachwear: it’s for the beach! Be sure not to commit a “faux pas” by trying to enter a restaurant in your bathing suit. If you notice that people on the street are staring at you strangely while you stroll down the boardwalk in nothing but your bikini, it’s probably a good idea to cover up. You may be a visitor, but the Caribbean is home to people who live and work there, and they sometimes don’t appreciate it when tourists “bare all” in places where they really shouldn’t.
What to leave at home
You won’t need formal clothing in the Caribbean, unless you’re going to a formal event, like a wedding. In addition, you won’t need such items as boots, a winter coat, or anything else associated with cold climates. Pack a light sweatshirt or two, and leave the rest behind. Your wardrobe should consist mainly of beachwear, cover-ups, and breathable cotton shorts and t-shirts. Depending on how many days you’ll spend in the Caribbean, pack a few pairs of pants, and a couple “less casual” outfits, such as a dress or two.
Here are a few more items to leave at home:
- Valuable jewelry. You don’t want to have to worry about it getting lost or stolen while on vacation. Pickpockets are especially prevalent in poorer countries, such as Haiti.
- Clothes you wouldn’t want to get soiled. Unless you plan on spending all of your vacation time indoors, plan for your clothes to get a tad bit dirty. There are so many awesome outdoor Caribbean activities to explore! Depending on what you want to do, you may need rugged clothing that you don’t mind soiling.
- Offensive clothing. Don’t bring t-shirts with offensive themes, even if you think the citizens of the country you’re visiting won’t understand what they say. In most Caribbean countries, a great deal of people understand and speak English, so be courteous and keep it classy.
- Army/combat/camo type clothing. It’s actually illegal for anyone but the military to wear camoflauge/military clothing in many Caribbean countries, including Barbados, Jamaica, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent. Even if you’re unsure of the country’s exact rules, be safe and leave your camo at home.
Getting ready for your vacation in the Caribbean
Pack light, unless you want to spend extra money on suitcase costs. It’s best to pack enough for 4-7 days. If your vacation is longer than that, keep change on hand so you can wash your clothing in a laundromat. Many hotels and vacation villas offer laundry services or provide washing machines.
Above all, pack clothing you’re comfortable in, and pieces that bring you joy. Your vacation is the time to relax and enjoy life!