Paris Permenter & John Bigley's
Caribbean Family Tripper travel guide

Your guide to Caribbean family vacations from a husband-wife team of professional travel writers and guidebook authors.

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What to Pack for the Caribbean

When it comes to packing for a family vacation in the Caribbean, there’s no doubt that less is more. This axiom is especially true for a Caribbean vacation, where the order of the day is casual and cool. Most guests are comfortable in shorts and T-shirts in the day, switching to something “elegantly casual” in the evening hours: smart shorts sets or simple sundresses for women, khakis and polos for men, and “school clothes” for kids.

We keep a permanent packing list for our Caribbean trips. For a four-night trip, we suggest:


•3 pair shorts
•1 pair jeans or casual pants if you’ll be horseback riding
•3 T-shirts
•1 old T-shirt or UV protective sungear to wear while swimming
•2 dinner outfits, similar to school clothes
•2 swimsuits (one to wear and one to dry)
•1 pair beach shoes
•1 pair sandals
•1 pair sneakers
•1 pair swim shoes
• beach toys
• cap or hat with wide brim for shade

• swim diaper (for infants)
• water safety devices

Parents with infants will find baby needs readily available on most islands. In a few cases, disposable diapers are difficult to locate (on small islands like Little Cayman). If you have favorite brands, bring them from home. Prices are likely to be steeper on the islands, and the selection can be limited.


•1 pair casual slacks
•2 T-shirts
•1 pair jeans or very casual pants if you’ll be horseback riding
•2 polo or short sleeve shirts
•2 pair of shorts
•2 swimsuits
•1 pair walking shoes
•1 pair walking sandals
•1 pair swim shoes


•1 pair casual slacks (for the plane)
•1 pair nice slacks or khakis
•1 casual skirt
•1 pair jeans or casual pants if you’ll be horseback riding
•1 dress
•1 T-shirt
•2 short sleeve/sleeveless blouses
•2 pair of shorts
•2 swimsuits
•1 pair sandals or tennis shoes
•1 pair evening sandals
•1 swimsuit cover-up
•1 pair swim shoes


We also carry all the necessary accessories (which, on some islands, can be expensive or difficult to buy):

•film and camera, extra camera battery
•sunscreen (usually two bottles of different strengths)
•snorkel gear (and certified divers must bring a “C” card)
•aqua shoes
•insect repellent
•all prescriptions (in prescription bottles)
•2 pairs of sunglasses each
•paperback book or two
•antiseptic for bug bites
•aloe vera lotion for sunburn
•first aid kit with aspirin, stomach medicine, bandages, children’s aspirin, etc.
•airline tickets
•mini-address book for postcard writing



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