Suggestions for Packing for a Vacation in Antigua

With these tips you'll bring exactly what you need to Antigua, and not have to worry about leaving anything important behind

Photo credit: © KatieUlett

Packing for Antigua

If your trip to Antigua is coming up soon, you may suddenly be wondering just what to pack. The long list of clothing, toiletries, and more can be daunting for some, but there is no reason to allow that empty suit case to overwhelm you.

With average temperatures in the 70s and 80s throughout the year, planning what to wear in Antigua is easier than when you travel somewhere that experiences extreme shifts in weather within a 24-hour period. Despite weather conditions making packing easy, making sure you pack everything you need can be stressful if you don't have a plan.

First and Foremost

Customs officials in Antigua want to make sure you have a legitimate reason for visiting the island, so there are a few requirements you will have to meet in order to vacation there. First, you will need to have a valid passport. You will also be required to present your return or on-ward ticket, so make sure you bring your ticket for your flight out of Anguilla with you as you travel into the country. Customs officials will also want to see that you have sufficient funds to make it through your vacation, and a place to stay.

Not only should you keep your passport and other documentation with you as you travel to Antigua, but it is also important that you make copies and keep them in a separate location. This will come in handy if your original copies are lost or stolen.

Ensuring that you have enough money to make it through your trip should not only be important to customs officials, but to you as well. Credit cards are the most popular method of payment among tourists, but keeping cash on hand can come in handy in situations where credit cards are not accepted, or a machine is down. The official currency of Antigua is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, but the U.S. Dollar is widely accepted. You can exchange your money at the airport or banks on the island, as well as ATMs located at both locations.


Tourists entering the country to prescription medication should bring a note from their physician detailing your need for the drugs, in order to prove to customs that you should legally be allowed to bring the medication into the country.

A list of emergency contacts, rental vehicle information, and paperwork confirming your pre-planned excursions and activities are all papers you will want to keep in a safe place as well.

View a list of all important documents you will want to pack by click clicking here.


Antigua's tropical climate means that you will want to focus on packing clothing that will provide you with not only protection from the heat, but comfort in the heat. Light-colored, light-weight clothing is ideal for traversing the island, as they can help keep you cool. Avoid tight clothing, which can be stuffy and uncomfortable, and dark clothes are made hotter when the sun hits you directly. Cotton and linen t-shirts and tank tops paired with shorts or khaki pants are ideal. Women will want to save their cute dresses and skirts for times when their activity level is going to be low, such as a casual stroll through resort gardens or a nice dinner out. It goes without saying that athletic shoes and hiking boots are the best option for days when you will spend the majority of your time walking around.

Don't forget to include enough undergarments, socks, and pajamas to get you through your trip to Antigua. Read our Clothing checklist to make sure that you have everything.

Formal Wear

The important thing to remember when packing for your trip to Antigua is to know your setting. A casual lunch in a busy eatery will probably not require that you dress up, but a night on the town for a meal at an upscale restaurant might mean that more is expected of you. If you look forward to dining in a nice setting, bring along the appropriate clothing. Collared shirts and slacks will do for men, while sun dresses, cocktail dresses, or slacks paired with a nice blouse will be acceptable; and don't forget to bring shoes for the occasion.

Swim Wear

A swimsuit is a must when vacationing in Antigua, and if you can bring more than one it will make your life a little easier. Two swimsuits means not only that you have options, but that you don't have to pull on a suit that is still wet from the day before – one suit can spend a day drying while you wear the other.

In Antigua, it is not appropriate to walk around the island in your swimsuit. Suits are acceptable on the beach or by the pool only, so you will definitely want to bring a cover up with you – be it a t-shirt for men, or a sarong tied at the chest as a flowing dress, you will avoid insulting local sensibilities regarding modesty by throwing one on.

A few other items you won't want to forget include a sun hat, sandals or flip-flops, and sunglasses.

Toiletries and Health Care

While resorts typically provide you with a number of toiletries, such as shampoo and conditioner, soap, and lotion, not everyone feels comfortable straying from their normal routine. If this sounds like you, don't forget to pack travel-sized bottles of your favorites: hair care products, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, and the like. Some travelers like to wait until they arrive at their destination to make these purchases, however, many hotel gift shops mark up the price of these items so much that you would be wise to bring your own from home.

Mosquitoes are a nuisance in Antigua that you will want to avoid. Bring bug spray along with you that you will spray on your body before leaving your hotel, and periodically throughout the day. Hydrocortisone cream and Benadryl will be nice to have on hand as well, in the event that you are bitten.

Toiletries and Personal Items are not things you will want to forget, read our checklist to make sure you have everything.

What Else To Pack

If you tend to chill easily, you may considering bringing a sweater or wrap with you to Antigua for the nights when the temperature drops slightly due to lack of sunlight or the air conditioned restaurants. Many vacationers find that they are comfortable without that option, but others are glad they thought to bring one.

Antigua is one of the driest islands in the Caribbean, so unlike many other islands, you can get away with traveling to the island without an umbrella or rain jacket. Still, you may prefer to be prepared in case the rare rainstorm does hit, so that it cannot dampen your plans.

During your travels, you will probably run into some down time. Bring along a few items to keep you occupied during these times: puzzle books, a good book or your e-reader loaded with good books, your mp3 player, DVD player and DVDs, card games, a laptop, or a personal journal are all options.

Of utmost importance is your camera, along with all of the equipment you need to keep it charged up and running each day. Don't forget an extra memory card to store all those memories you will be making during your trip.

Click here to read the full checklist.

Finally, make sure to take a look at our list of of Other Miscellaneous Items to make sure that you are prepared for your trip.

Packing Concerns

Nobody likes lugging around over-packed, heavy luggage, but the fear of not having enough to wear is enough to allow travelers to justify it. Instead, consider choosing several articles of clothing that are interchangeable. Choose a small collection of clothing that will match each other in a few different pairing. A pair of cloth shorts will go nicely with numerous shirts, and a selection of colored shirts layered in different ways allow for a new look each day.

Many vacationers also worry about their luggage being lost during their flight. While this is rare, if it does happen, you don't have to panic; instead, prepare yourself for the situation. Pack a change of clothes, a swimsuit, and any small valuables in your carry-on. This way you will have at least one other outfit to change into while the airline locates your belongings.

Packing for your Antigua vacation can be a fun task if you allow it to be. As you choose each item to pack, imagine where you will be when you wear it. Let your daydreams guide you, but remember to make smart decisions in order to avoid over-packing, but still bringing with you everything you will need.

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