Travel may be difficult lately, but NOT impossible. Rules are changing by the day, it seems, and we all have to do our best to keep up with new rules and regulations depending on where you live or if you’re vaccinated and the current situation at your destination. But despite all the travel woe’s, it is still 100% worth the effort.
I was lucky enough to make two trips this year. I visited Aruba back in January and St. Maarten at the end of February. Although a flight of 14+ hours while wearing a mask is certainly not something I want to do again anytime soon, it was worth it the minute I was able to sink my toes into the warm sand on Palm Beach! The customs and immigration were pleasant as always, and the car rental agency had me in my car and on the road in no time!
I attempted to pack light for both these trips while still bringing along some essentials for fun in the sun. Now, this is no easy feat for a notorious over-packer such as myself, but in my efforts to reduce my bags’ size and weight, I came across some winning items that should be on everyone’s packing list.
1. Take with you a mesh bag, this will allow you to throw all your beach items in at the end of the day, and with a few shakes, you are sand-free! Then toss that into your beach tote (like this one), and when your home, you can easily pull it out and rinse it all off in one go.
2. Bring along your favorite tumbler. The islands are hot, and if there is one thing I hate, it’s a warm drink! So I took this one along for my Aruba trip and was so glad I did. Fun Tumbler Not only did it keep my drinks cold, but it also kept most of the sand out with the clear lid (there is a hole in the lid which is perfect for a reusable straw, so pack that as well)
3. Baby powder-this is my all-time favorite tip, I have used it for years with the kids, and it still works great without them. Before you step into your car, sprinkle some powers over your feet and brush the sand away with your towel, the sand will fall right off.
4. Pack an umbrella hook-a quick Amazon search will deliver you a variety of choices in umbrella hooks, and I promise they are worth it. They give you space to hang up your items and keep them out of the sand! Mine was $12 and worth every penny!
For time spent off the beach, be sure to pack smart, and you will end up with more space for all the treasures you will find shopping locally! I took a lightweight wrap that helped keep me warm on the plane and doubled as a cover-up for dinners after a day in the sun for my trips. I also packed neutral tops that would easily pair with the bottoms I brought. It made mix and matching easy and gave me extra “outfits” that I could wear throughout the week. Some other great travel tips are:
2. I also brought a reusable water bottle with me for my St. Maarten trip, which proved handy when in the airport and on the road. This Hibiscus Tumbler is 22oz but is still slim enough to fit into your carry-on easily.
3. If you are new to your destination, be sure to download google maps before you travel to use them when offline. Not all islands have decent wifi, and very few have pre-paid sim cards available upon arrival.
4. Pack a clutch that you can use for your passports and important documents, and once one island, throw those into your hotel safe and use the clutch as your wallet! This Compass Clutch is made from vegan leather and makes a great addition to your travels!
5. Pair down on the shoes! Do you need all those shoes? (That’s what I tell myself every trip I take) Be realistic, a pair of flip flops, a pair of sturdy walking shoes for long walks down through Philipsburg (which can also be your in-flight shoes), and a nice pair of comfortable sandals for dinners out! Save the weight and space for spices and rum on the return trip!
Last bit of advice
Finally, my last travel tip…leave those valuables at home. Don’t wear all your favorite jewelry when you head out on your next tropical vacation! For one, you can quickly lose it while floating in the ocean, and we all know that no matter how hard you look, it is almost impossible to find.
In addition, you run the risk of being targeted for robbery. Let’s all face it; no destination is impervious to theft, so why take your favorite earrings or necklace with you and run the risk of losing it? I travel with a few simple pieces and use the opportunity to browse the local jewelry stores on the island. I have often found treasures while on vacation and brought them home with me as a souvenir! Often the prices are better and the choices broader!
I hope you can use some of these tips to pack lighter and enjoy the beach longer. Safe travel to everyone this summer, and please share your favorite island destination in the comments!