What’s that you hear in the distance? The cry of a small blonde blogger being crushed under the weight of her excess baggage? The clatter of non-travel sized toiletries hiding from the TSA? The crush of a bulging carry on being shoved into a tiny overhead bin? Must be time for another overpacking confessional slash exhaustive edition of Inside My Bag!
Packing for ten days in the Caribbean — an active week in Bonaire followed by three blissful days in Aruba — sounds fairly straight forward. A couple bikinis and some sunscreen and you’re good, right? Not so fast. Our itinerary included some specialized activities and dress codes, not to mention the fact that I knew I’d be out and about with two other bloggers — and thus, about a dozen collective cameras — the whole time. Hence, I put a fair amount of thought into what to pack for Bonaire and Aruba, and it paid off big time.
This trip, I ditched my backpacks for two roll ons — a big foldable suitcase borrowed from my mom that I checked (unfortunately I can’t remember the brand), and a small Lipault Foldable suitcase that I carried on (I went with the 22″ in teal and love how easy it is to spot on the conveyer belt.) My personal item on the plane was a Baggallini Hobo Travel Tote, a Christmas gift from last year that I initially sneered but am now completely obsessed with and take everywhere as my travel purse (thanks mom!)
Cute snap courtesy of Kristin!
Clothes and Swimwear
I focused on packing bright colorful clothes and tropical fun accessories — it’s the Caribbean, after all! Because I was bringing a full set of dive gear, I had to be somewhat picky about what clothes I brought along. While the days were all about wetsuits and bikinis, we headed to some fairly sophisticated restaurants in the evening for which I was happy to have brought along some cute maxi dresses and nice accessories. Here’s what made the cut:
• 6 dresses (4 short, 2 maxi, wore them all!)
• 4 skirts (2 short, 2 maxi — could have left the short ones at home)
• 2 shorts
• 1 romper
• 8 tops (2 tube tops, 2 tanks, 2 crop tops, 1 t-shirt and 1 beach cover up)
• 2 sets of workout gear (one I wore on the plane — could have left the other at home, sadly)
• 1 packing cube of socks and underwear
• 1 packing cube of bikinis and 1 one-piece
Shoes and Accessories
Ha ha to how many shoes I packed. I wish I’d used the trainers or ditched them as the only time I wore them was on the plane, but my workout aspirations were quickly ditched when I remembered how tiring diving all day can be. I also could have gone with either the flats or the dress sandals if I really wanted to pack light, but in the end I was happy to have both. Here’s what I brought along:
• 1 pair of trainers (embarrassed to say I didn’t work out the entire trip, rendering these more or less useless!)
• 1 pair of athletic sandals (brought expressly for a cave snorkeling tour, for which they were perfect)
• 1 pairs of dress sandals
• 1 pair flip flops
• 1 pair of metallic gold Tieks (a new acquisition I’m totally obsessed with — so comfortable for traveling!)
• 1 Welcome to Wanderland tote
• 1 wristlet
• 1 box of jewelry and 1 belt
• 2 pairs of sunglasses
• 1 scarf (perfect for chilly evenings eating on the water)
• 1 Flight001 Go Clean Laundry Bag (not pictured)
• 2 beach sarongs (not pictured but totally essential)
For a full (yet slightly outdated) list of the toiletries I generally pack when I travel, see this post. Here’s a few that deserve a special shoutout for this particular Caribbean getaway:
• Sun Bum Continuous Spray Sunscreens (I brought both SPF 15 and SPF 30)
• Lots of lotion and baby powder (the lotion for slapping on my dried-out skin after a dive, the baby powder for slapping on my sweaty skin when it’s been too long between them — chafing is real, y’all)
• Solid conditioner for my hotel room (while I can use any ‘ol shampoo, I need a good conditioner and the ones the hotels we stayed in — if they had it at all — left a lot to be desired!) and leave-in conditioner for my purse (keeps my hair from drying out after too much sun and sea)
• John Frieda Sheer Blonde Lightening Spray (my secret for leaving a beach vacation a bright blonde — I haven’t colored my hair in years!)
• Several spare contacts and my glasses! (Absolutely essential if you have sensitive eyes like me. Lots of time in the ocean can be tough on the eyes — I dive with my contacts in as I don’t have a prescription mask, and so I like to switch to my glasses as soon as I’m out of the water to give my poor peepers a break. Ideally it would be great to have a pair of prescription sunglasses too as a back up. Order online at Vision Direct!)
I get tons of questions about how I carry my dive gear when I travel. No secret travel tips here — I just shove it in. I put my regs and dive computer in my carry on as they are extremely expensive items that I would not like to have out of my eyesight, and the rest goes in my checked bag. For a full list of my dive gear and tips about how to start acquiring it, read this post. For the short version, carry on:
• Oceanic Mini Shadow Mask (not pictured) + snorkel
• Mares Avanti Fins (not pictured)
• Swish Suit wetsuit (get 10% off anything on the site using the code “Wanderland!”) + Billabong rash guard + Ripcurl surf suit
I had some pretty exciting gear upgrades before this trip — it was my first with my brand new underwater camera and housing system. I was blown away by what it could do! One thing I didn’t bring on this trip? My Kindle. I knew I’d be too busy gossiping with the girls, or flipping through a pile of old magazines I brought along to read and pitch to touch it. Here’s what I did bring along:
• MacBook Pro + charger (not pictured) + headphones (not pictured)
• iPhone 5 + charging cord and cube + LifeProof NUUD Waterproof Case + battery bank
• Time Machine Backup Hard Drive
What’s on your Caribbean packing list? Find more In My Bag posts here!
This post was brought to you by Vision Direct, Australia’s #1 in eyewear.
Please note I’m an affiliate of many of the products in this post and will earn a small percentage of your purchase if you buy them through these links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Alex in Wanderland! Additionally, some of these products were provided to me by the manufacturers. Feel free to contact me with any questions.