What Should You Pack for a Trip to Barbados?

Packing for Barbados consists of more than throwing your favorite outfits in a suitcase

Photo credit: © Studio Kirkland

Packing for Barbados

Imagine a world in which you've brought everything you need for your vacation in Barbados. You've not forgotten a single thing, and you didn't over pack either.

No, this world does not exist in a parallel universe. It is actually possible for someone to bring just enough and everything they need without going overboard. In order to achieve this yourself, you must be aware of the climate, the activities you will participate in, and the sense of style and modesty that islanders themselves have.

First and Foremost

A trip to Barbados inevitably means a trip through customs, and there are some pieces of paperwork you will need to have on hand as you meet with a customs official. In order to be permitted entry into the country you will need to show proof of your identity through a valid passport, and also show that you have a return or onward plane ticket. These items should be kept with you at all times as you travel, just in case you are asked to present them. It is also wise to make copies and keep them in a separate location (such as your checked bag) just in case the originals are lost or stolen.

If you have a medication on you, make sure to carry a prescription slip or note from your doctor as well. Also bring with you confirmation paperwork regarding your hotel, rental car, and activities you have planned. It wouldn't hurt to make copies of these items, either.


You should always have money on hand as well. Yes, credit cards can be your main form of payment, but a little cash in your pocket will be invaluable when credit card machines are down, or you end up in a location that only accepts cash. The local currency in Barbados is the Barbadian Dollar. You can exchange your money at the airport and many hotels for a fee, or local banks free of charge.

Double check and use our list to help you remember all the Important Documents and Money.


Due to the constant trade-winds and the cooling rain, the temperatures in Barbados is more comfortable than most Caribbean islands. Still, you don't want to overdo it with layers of heavy clothing as you traverse the island. Light-colored clothing will discourage the suns rays from overheating you, and light-weight clothing won't weigh you down and will allow the breezes to cool you off. Stick to natural fabrics, like cotton, when you choose t-shirts, tanks, shorts, and khakis. Athletic shoes and hiking boots will provide you with the most support on long walks. Don't forget to pack enough undergarments, socks, and pajamas! Click here to view a checklist of the items you might need.

Formal Wear

It is not uncommon for vacationers to plan at least one night out at an upscale dining establishment. For these situations, you will need something a little more formal than you shirts and shorts, especially in Barbados, where formalities are important. Women should bring along a cocktail dress or nice slacks and a matching blouse, while men should consider a sports jacket and tie. Don't go to all the trouble of packing a nice outfit, and then forget appropriate footwear. Men should go for closed-toes dress shoes, while women should bring along a nice pair of heels or fancy flats. Click here to read more about clothing and attire in Barbados.

Swim Wear

It is unlikely that you would forget to pack your swimsuit, but take this into consideration: pack two or more. If you have more than one suit with you, you'll not only have options, but you will be able to leave one in your room to dry while you wear another.

Barbados retains slightly conservative dress sensibilities from British occupation of the island. No, this does not mean that you will have to be covered from head to toe, but you should respect local customs by refraining from wearing your bathing suit anywhere but the beach. Bring along a cover-up if you are worried about making the transition from the beach to a restaurant, such as a sarong or a t-shirt and a pair of shorts.

You'll also want to pack sunglasses and a hat to protect you from the sun, as well as sandals or flip flops to keep your feet from burning up in the hot sand.

Toiletries and Health Care

Most resorts provide their guests with shampoo, conditioner, and soap, along with a few other toiletries upon request. You can use these, or choose to bring your own. These items, such your toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, shaving cream, razors, and more can be purchased in travel size containers to save space , or you can wait until you arrive in Barbados to pick up these items.

Find a checklist to help you pack these items by clicking here.

Your medications should be packed with your toiletries, along with a slip from your doctor. Mosquitoes and a few other bugs live in Barbados, so every day should begin with an application of bug spray. You can also bring hydrocortisone cream or Benadryl to provide you with relief should you get bit. Read our Medication and Health Items checklist to make sure you have everything you need.

What Else To Pack

Although Barbados is drier than most Caribbean islands, rain showers do occur in short bursts every now and then, especially during the “wet” season, which lasts between July and November. You can avoid your activity plans getting rained out by bringing along a poncho or umbrella. You may also want to pack a sweater or wrap for chilly nights.

If you are like most travelers, you will probably want to pack a few items to keep you entertained during your trip. Mp3 players, books or e-readers, a portable DVD player, a deck of cards, a personal journal, a hand-held video game, and a laptop are all options. Power cords and batteries should accompany most of these items.

Your camera and equipment, such as an extra memory card and battery charger, will be other items you definitely won't want to forget to pack. Click here to view a checklist of the electronic you might need.

Other Miscellaneous Items can also come in handy, follow the link to see a checklist of those too.

Packing Concerns

If you tend to be an over-packer, use this word of advice: pack a small collection of clothing in which every item matches the others. This way, you have several interchangeable pieces of clothing that can make a greater variety of outfits. A pair of neutrally colored linen shorts will work with most shirts, and a few colored t-shirts can be layered in different combinations for a new look each day.

One of the most often heard concerns for vacationers who fly is what to do if the airline loses their luggage. You can avoid a major meltdown by packing your swimsuit and one complete change of clothes in your carry-on luggage. This way you will have at least one clean outfit to change into while you wait for the airline to sort out the mistake, or until you can go shopping for something new.

Now that you know what you're going to pack, your vacation to Barbados is that much closer. Now all you have left to do is get ready for the time of your life!


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