Planning a tropical vacation?

You’re in good company. Almost 30 million people took Caribbean vacations last year.

What’s not to love about a tropical destination?

Hot weather. Unlimited food and free-flowing drinks. Once-in-a-lifetime excursion opportunities.

The only tricky part of a Caribbean vacation is packing for it. You don’t want to forget any essentials. It’s not like you can find a Wal-Mart down the street if you’ve forgotten to pack something important.

Our Caribbean vacation packing list ensures your suitcase has all the necessities. Read on for tips on picking your island wear and all other trip essentials.

1. Sun Protection

Your skin may be used to the sun exposure you receive where you’re from. But the Caribbean sun is a whole different ball game. Even if you don’t use sunscreen at home, you should commit to using it on your vacation.

You’ll need to apply sunscreen every day of your vacation, even if the sun isn’t out. Your body may not feel as warm as it would on a sunny day, but you’re still being exposed to UV rays.

If your vacation is a hot and sunny one, try to stay out of direct sunlight between 10 am and 2 pm. This is when the sun’s rays are the hottest and most damaging.

If you’ll be spending a lot of time in the water, buy sports-specific sunblock. This type is water-resistant and won’t run off even when you get wet.

Don’t forget to pack a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, too.

2. Island Wear

If you’re traveling during the hottest months, expect daylight hours to be very warm. Your tropical vacation outfits should be light in color and weight.

For bottoms, we recommend bringing capris and shorts. Choose fabrics like cotton or linen as they’re light and will dry fast if they get wet. Leave heavy denim clothing at home.

As for tops, sleeveless is the way to go. You can bring some t-shirts, too. But don’t bother with long-sleeve shirts made from heavy fabrics.

Evening weather can get chilly even in the Caribbean. Bring a light sweater or jacket. You might also consider bringing a waterproof jacket, umbrella, or poncho for rainy days.

If you’re going to an all-inclusive, bring a few fancier outfits for dinners out. Many a la carte restaurants have strict dress codes and won’t allow capris or tank tops.

If you’ll be swimming a lot, pack two swimsuits. Swimwear often takes a while to dry, so having a back-up will ensure you’re always ready to go in the pool. Plus, nothing feels…

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