Caribbean packing list: stunning white sandy beach and crystal clear water on a caribbean island.

Ultimate Caribbean Packing List From An Expert Traveler (2024)

In 2020, I left the polar kingdom of Norway to travel indefinitely in the Caribbean. After four years of travel, I must say I feel competent to provide you with this don’t forget anything Caribbean packing list.

Wet and dry (and hurricane) seasons alike, I can safely say I have a few tips about what should be on your Caribbean packing list to survive and thrive on your holiday.

When packing for the Caribbean region, your main focus should be on dealing with high temperatures and humidity, hydration, and sun protection.

After a long time of bringing things I don’t need and forgetting things I should have brought, I want to share my experiences and best advice with you in this Caribbean packing checklist.

Affiliate disclosure: I only recommend tours, services and purchases I know and love on this website.

The Weather In The Caribbean

Beautiful white sandy caribbean beach surrounded by palm trees

The Caribbean region is SUPER hot and humid pretty much all year round with its tropical, two-season climate.

But there are differences in seasons, divided into the wet and the dry seasons – and in the middle of the wet one, you find the dreaded hurricane season!

The dry season runs from October to May, and as the name implies, there is less rain and cooler than the wet season.

In the winter months, you may occasionally need a sweater or light jacket in the evening, but in the daytime, it is like a nice, warm southern European summer.

About 30% of the rain falls in the dry season, the rest in the summer months when the temperature is sizzling and humidity rather extreme.

The wet season runs from June to November (September and October are the highest risk for hurricanes), when you can expect sudden heavy showers and thunderstorms.

But don`t worry, even in the wet season, serious hurricanes are quite rare and mainly alerted beforehand, and they tend to follow a trajectory and have limited impact geographically.

However, the weather Gods CAN strike down hard on this part of the world!

When Is Hurricane Season In The Caribbean? Tropical storm on a Caribbean beach

The Ultimate Packing List For The Caribbean!

To ensure you don’t suffer from “rookie mistakes,” here are exactly what kind of clothes, gadgets, and supplies your packing list should include to secure the perfect tropical Caribbean holiday!

What To Wear On A Caribbean Island?

  • Light summer dresses
  • Light tops
  • Airy skirts or shorts
  • Light and airy pants for exploring days
  • Light airy shirts
  • Evening outfits (evening outfits can be rather sparkly)
  • Bikini or swimsuit
  • Multi-use shawl (aka towel, dress, beachwear, beach blanket, etc)
  • A pair of jeans (for adventurous exploring)
  • A light shawl or scarf to wipe your face during the day, and have around your shoulders in the evening
  • Sun hat or something protecting your face from the sun
  • Flip flops/sandals
  • Comfy breathing walking shoes
  • One pair of (comfy) heels (that you can dance in!!!)
  • Sunglasses
  • An old-fashioned fan to “cool” your face in the daytime
  • Your handbag should have a zipper or a proper way to close the compartments
  • Tiny cloth bags or plastic bags to roll up inside your handbag/day bag.
  • A small purse for a passport, vaccine card, visa, cash back-up, and relevant papers.

Travel Pharmacy Packing List

Even though most places have well-stocked pharmacies, I will advise you to bring not just your prescription drugs on your holiday, but also over-the-counter medicine and supplements you normally or often use.

Unless you go to US overseas territories, you might not find exactly what you want, and also, you don’t need to interrupt your holiday heading out in search of sudden, unexpected needs!

  • Any prescription meds you normally or sometimes take
  • Ordinary pain killers
  • Band-aid
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Antipruritic cream
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Sanitizer
  • Wet wipes
  • Tampax
  • Sunscreen SPF 50 for your face, 30 for your body
  • Remember confirmation that you have travel insurance including health insurance.

Health & Beauty Packing Tips For Hot Climates

Woman sitting in the water on a white sandy Caribbean beach holding  a large sea shell
  • Water and sweatproof SPF is a must!!
  • Bring water (and sweat) resistant makeup if you use this daily
  • Freshening face-mist spray can be very pleasant; I use the pink bottle from Clinique.
  • Mineral powder with SPF 30 to touch up sun protection of your sweaty face during the day. I like the super-easy Colorescience Brush-On that I have been using for years.
  • Elastic bands or similar to hold your hair in the heat (hanging loose, it may look like moist seaweed left on the beach after a while).
  • Dry shampoo
  • Anti-frizz hair stuff if your hair tends to frizz up when the air is in the humid spectrum
  • Body sunscreen with at least SPF 30 in the Caribbean sun.
  • After-sun lotion for face and body.
  • Protective sun hat
Remember to put plenty of SPF with high protection on your packing list for Cuba!
Lazy beach days require SPF SPF SPF

Super-Smart Packing List For Toiletries

  • Bring all the toiletries you need for the duration of your stay. These types of items are available, but probably not the ones you want.
What you put on your packing list for cuba need to take into consideration whay activities you are going to do as well, if you are traveling outside of Havana, for example horseback riding!

Clever Holiday Packing Hacks

  • Bring at least TWO credit cards, and keep them separately.
  • A copy (and a photo on your phone) of your passport (and visa)
  • Pre-booked pick-up at the airport. Getting transport is not very difficult, but it can be smart to have arrival and pick-up guaranteed the first time you visit. Especially if you don’t speak Spanish, and you can expect to be off the grid for the first few hours.
  • Keep the phone number of your host or hotel with you. If the taxi driver (says he) has navigational problems, he can call them with his local cell phone.
  • A water bottle with an internal filter is a really nice travel hack for tropical destinations when you need to hydrate a lot more often than at home

Best Travel Gadget And Tech Tips

  • Travel adapter (110W in most places).
  • Power bank! For any gadget you always need for longer journeys. I recommend the Mophie Powerstation XXL, which charges your phone 4,5 times in one go, brilliant!
  • Mini speaker! I have the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2, with great sound and compact size for travel.
  • I recommend installing a good VPN service before you travel. I use ExpressVPN, which successfully puts me anywhere I prefer on the planet wherever I go, and allows me to work as a Digital Nomad.
  • Set your phone to flight mode to avoid surprises on your phone bill.
  • A pocket dictionary or offline dictionary on your phone (as you cannot just surf Google Translate anytime anywhere).

Caribbean Skin Care

Golden sandy beach in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic

On a different note, anyone spending time in climates that can be tough on skin and hair knows the importance of taking care of both!

The Caribbean climate with the wonderful but merciless sun requires a little TCL and caring products to protect the skin from radiation, salt water, and humidity.

Number one on the list is of course SPF 50 (at least 30).

Also, cleaning and moisturizing the skin day and night is important, and to top it off, you will not regret investing in a serum or two and after-sun products.

What Is The Best Time To Travel To The Caribbean!

It is difficult to give generic advice on the best time to travel to the Caribbean, as it depends on what makes you happy during your holidays.

July and August are the high seasons when “the whole world” has a summer holiday.

Prices are highest, and tourist crowds are thick in the summer, so if you prefer more space and fewer crowds, all other months would be better for you.

The official high season for tourism runs mainly from mid-December to mid-March, the peak of the dry season.

In the summer months, it is HOT, and your normal physical state (be prepared) will be damp and sweaty. Bordering soaking wet.

From June through November, it is wet season in the Caribbean, with afternoon showers.

Also, from August through October is the peak season for hurricanes, so be aware of the risk of some stormy weather in these months.

Your most important item might just be your portable fan (and water) (and airy clothes).

The main packing advice I really want to bring across is to avoid anything that has heavy fabric or even lots of fabric. You will need AIR. And shade.

Wrap-Up Caribbean Packing List

As you can tell, the most important things to consider when packing for the Caribbean are the temperatures and the activities you plan to explore. Wear light, airy, and comfortable clothing that provides some protection from the sun.

Bring comfortable shoes, sandals, and lots of SPF.

Make sure you have all the things you normally use or need in your luggage. Don’t count on finding your preferred medication, supplements, or accessories in foreign stores.

Related blog posts:

Must-Have Packing Tips For Cuba From A Local (2024)

14 Best Caribbean Islands For Solo Travel By An Expert (2024)

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