I don’t know about you, but if there isn’t a trip somewhere on my horizon, there’s just no joy in my life. (I assume since you’re reading Uncommon Caribbean that you know how I feel.)
Thankfully, with recent trips to Charleston, Santa Fe, Chicago, Scottsdale, and New Orleans, my life has been oh so full of joy! National destinations like these are nice, but the Caribbean is hands down my favorite region to explore. The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Vieques – all have fueled my wanderlust.
For that recent trip to the Spanish Virgin Islands, here are a few of the must-haves that made it into my carry-on.
I was drawn to this bikini by the yellow, ruffled bikini top with narrow straps and a patterned bottom that provides plenty of coverage.
These shades from Tory Burch not only have the arms that fold back, but the glasses then fold in half to be the cutest, most stylish shades you can carry everywhere.
One of my favorite designers is Nicole Miller as I’ve spent time in her New York studio. Her clothes and styles constantly change, but her inimitable talent for dressing today’s modern woman shines through in all her designs, especially her cocktail dresses. This bold, vibrant number just screams Caribbean to me.
I picked up this colorful clutch/pouch in Playa del Carmen at the enchanted Mayakoba Rosewood Resort. Local goods with such character are always a score find, and this one is made right in Mexico by El Jaguar Dorado.
The clutch is large enough for a passport, money, cards, cell phone, lip balm, and a hair tie. I carry it by day down to the pool or beach and then switch it at night for an evening bag. The back of mine is hand stitched with “Be Alive” in gold script across the top. Couldn’t agree more!
Basic thong sandals with a little gold bling hardware to add flair.
I love mixing and matching bangles along with swimwear, and Judith Bright makes exquisite pieces with colored stones and gold hardware. Fun and flashy.
I like to disconnect from my phone and rely on my Canon PowerShot D20 fully feature loaded digital camera for my trip. With the release of the D30, I’m now looking to upgrade! This new version is waterproof down to an amazing 82 feet while also sporting an upgraded 12MP sensor. Perfect for snorkeling, even light diving, or poolside paparazzi shots!
A trip to the islands without a hat would be a big mistake… So I always pack two! I take one hat for travel and non-water activity, like this Panama hat, and another sporty one that I don’t mind getting wet or potentially even losing while on a wild adventure. This classic, starchy Panama hat is 7/8 grade with a lightweight feel and organic black ribbon band that never goes out of style.
There tend to be spots on your body that go overlooked when it comes to sun protection: the top of your feet, your scalp, and perhaps, most painfully, those precious lips! (I’ve learned that lesson the hard way too many times.) Packing a lip balm with SPF to protect my lips is a must. Is there anything worse than cracked, sunburned lips? Answer: no.
Sea, sand, and sun are a recipe for paradise – and bad hair! To tame my mane I recently got hooked on Bumble & Bumble’s Invisible Oil leave-in spray. The oil leaves your hair smooth and silky no matter how harsh the elements are, and it smells incredible too.
This Khiel’s lightweight, non-smelly sunscreen not only travels with me to tropical locations, but I wear it every day. It lasts the whole day and can be worn under your makeup. The 1.7 oz size passes the travel flying limits on liquids too.
You definitely want to protect your face from the sun. I once gave this to a dear friend for her 30th birthday with a note about aging gracefully for the next 30 years as she did for her first 30 years. She thought it was the best gift ever!
A passport holder helps keep my documents in order and paperwork private. I use this one from J. Crew in a grey snakeskin print.
In case of any accidents, J.Crew has collaborated with Band-Aid to create colorful bandages that will surely cheer you up. I pack them for the cuts, scrapes and jelly stings that hopefully never happen.
Now that you’ve had a peek into the goodies stocked in my suitcase, share your essentials in the comments below.
See you in the islands!