Packing for a trip to St Thomas
As a resident of 9 years on the island of St Thomas, I have almost always worn sandals. If you are looking for the essential things to pack for your upcoming trip to St Thomas, look no further. You will be packed in no time with extra room to spare. Leave the large luggage behind because you will only need a carry on. Unless of course you are traveling with kids. Keep reading as there is a great trick to save on food for all your little ones.
Light and breathable clothes
Let’s simply say leave your Levis at home! The Caribbean is basically on the equator… the hottest place on earth. So give your legs some sun and pack light. You will want to bring cotton material items that help absorb any sweat. Thin sundresses , basic tank tops, and linen shorts should be the majority of your suitcase. Any materials with spandex in them will just trap in all the heat. Don’t bother bringing those wired bras either, swap them out for a nice set of thin bralettes. Nothing too fancy is really needed for any fine dining in St Thomas, so a casual flowy dress or shirt is suggested. And yes, men can wear sandals to fine dining establishments because this island doesnt judge you on what you are wearing. Just be comfortable!
Light & Breathable
St Thomas has some of the best snorkeling in the US Virgin Islands. Protecting the reefs is essential and doing your part as a visitor to protect them helps keep them alive. Using a reef-safe sunblock in a cream form not only protects them but you as well. Spray sunblock is a bit frowned upon in the US Virgin Islands. Especially if you are going on a charter boat, the spray ruins the upholstery on the boats and can even fly into someone’s face who was not ready to inhale a puff of SPF. Leave the spray at home and pack 3oz cream SPFs in your carry-on.
Now that you have your reef-safe SPF, pack a snorkel mask to save costs on renting them out or even buying them on the island and then leaving them behind. You will not need fins as the ocean is a natural bouy for you. Trust me, at any beach you are at, you will hear someone yell…”TURTLE” and the first thing you will want to do is grab your mask to swim with the turtles. It’s magical! My favorite mask brand is Reef. Sold on Amazon or your local Target or Walmart. The best way to know if it fits you is by placing it on your face without the strap and breathing in. If it stays on, it shouldn’t leak, and you won’t miss that magical feeling of swimming with the turtles.
Pro Tip: Leave the full face snorkle masks home. They are bulky and fog up with your breathing.
Little to No Makeup & Accessories
If your aren’t in the AC, forget about wearing any makeup in the Caribbean. As a makeup artist, I barely wear any makeup on a daily because living on St Thomas consists of being outdoors in the hot weather. I have established a few favorite waterproof products that I swear by. So when packing for your trip, pack a small makeup bag with waterproof products.
You can get more ideas on my Smudge Proof Eye Makeup Post.
The Caribbean Approved
A great beach bag makes for a great beach day! You may be thinking, “I need a large beach bag for all my beach items” but the reality is, the smaller the bag, the easier it is to carry. Even an insulated one to keep a cold drink in. I love heading to the beach with a small beach bag that should have enough space for a thin towel, snorkel mask, SPF, phone, book, and a sun shirt. There are some really great foldable beach bags that you can consider packing because, with a large hobo bag, you will just be carrying sand back home with you.
Perfect for Beach Essentials
Hat & Glasses
Every day is sunny in St Thomas, on the occasional overcast days, you will still enjoy some extra shade as that sun is harsh enough to send UV rays through the clouds. A great baseball cap or a foldable sunhat will fit great in your carry on. And an extra pair of sunglasses are a must. I suggest leaving the expensive ones at home. I have seen many friends lose their glasses over board a vessel or after a fun day of drinking.
Extra Sun Protection
Taxi & Tip Monies
I don’t normally ride the taxis in St Thomas, but have experience in St. John. And the taxi drivers are not shy about asking for a tip. Be prepared with a little extra to give your taxi and servers a tip. That’s if they deserve it of course. With a friendly good morning & good night, you will have a great experience when shuttling around in a taxi or dining out. There are ATMs around the island so don’t come with a wad full of cash. Mostly every restaurant and tour in St Thomas takes credit cards but you will want to be prepared to tip your local drivers, servers & even boat captains. Explore St Thomas like it’s your island and remember to be kind to those who live on it.
Carryon or Check-in Luggage?
Be weight free on your getaway to St Thomas. With my tips on how to pack for your trip, you will easily have room for purchased goods. And with the US Virgin Islands being duty-free, you will need the room. My current traveling case is from Walmart. It’s super lightweight and fits just about all my necessities when I travel anywhere for less than a whole week. I hope you pack light when you travel to the Caribbean because all you really need is a drink in your hand and your toes in the sand to get the most of your vacation in Paradise.
Pro Tip: If you are traveling with kids, checking in a large suitcase with snacks and extra SPF is a wonderful idea. This will save you a lot of money as the price of food & sun block is pretty expensive.
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