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You’ve booked your Caribbean vacation and can almost smell the ocean. The beach, the sun, the cocktails with the cute little umbrellas. We believe that the whole process should be enjoyable. Packing for your amazing vacation — which can be the most stressful for some people — shouldn’t be a source of stress. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts to make the whole experience a lot easier!

Travel Documents

First things first, if you will need your passport for travel, pack it FIRST. This will eliminate the possibility of forgetting it later. Forgetting your passport will instantly damper the mood of any vacation. Don’t let it happen. Make sure to also include your boarding passes if not using digital copies and any other documentation you need to enter the country.

Toiletries

Having to get last minute items from a local store or relying on the hotel to have exactly what you need may prove to be unsuccessful, so making sure you have what you need while packing can save time and energy. Make a list of what you need and mark it off as you go. Besides the usual toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, deodorant, don’t forget to pack sunscreen, bug spray, and aloe. Seal them well so they don’t leak into your bag.

Clothing

The Caribbean is HOT. Remember that when packing. Light, thin material can make great layers or individual pieces depending on how you feel. Bringing two bathing suits can also alleviate the icky feeling of stepping into a warm moist bathing suit that hasn’t quite dried yet. Loose fitting clothing can be the most comfortable when battling the heat (or possible sunburn, DON’T forget the sunscreen). Rolling your clothes can prevent wrinkling and save space versus the usual folding. If you plan to dine out at a fancier restaurant but don’t want to pack a garment bag or risk wrinkled clothes, consider wearing your nicer clothes/shoes on the plane ride there. This will eliminate the need for an additional bag and keep your clothes wrinkle-free.

Accessories

Although sunshine and warmth may be exactly why you are traveling, too much sun can zap all of your energy. A large brimmed hat and good UV blocking sunglasses will keep the sun off and out of your face, keeping you a lot cooler. These items are typically marked up exponentially just for tourists in local markets so bringing your own can save you the time and money of having to go buy those things once you get there.

Above everything, give yourself plenty of time to pack. Trying to get it all done the night before is generally a nightmare. The less you pack, the less you have to carry.