As you plan for your trip to Dominica, be aware that packing your luggage properly can take time, and certainly takes a concerted effort.
In order to arrive on the island with everything you need, you will have to take into consideration the typical weather patterns during the time you are visiting, as well as the activities you plan to participate in.
Luckily, we're made it easier for you to prepare, by creating this step-by-step guide that will walk you though the packing process.
Traveling to Dominica means presenting customs officials with your passport. You should keep this valid and up-to-date document on your person at all times as you travel between countries, along with your government-issued identification card (such as a driver's license). On top of this, you should make copies of your passport and I.D., and keep them in a separate location, such as a checked suitcase. This will be a lifesaver in the event your important documents are lost or stolen.
It is also imperative that you make sure you have enough cash on you to make it from your home to your hotel. In Dominica, the official form of currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, though the United States Dollar, the Euro, and the British Pound at are widely accepted, along with many major credit cards and traveler's checks. Credit cards are the most popular choice for use amongst traveler's, however, you never know when you are going to run into a situation where a credit card is not accepted. In these cases, having cash on hand is very handy.
If you are bringing medication with you in your carry on bag, make sure you also bring your prescription slip, or a note from your physician regarding the legality of your possession of the medication.
Make sure you pack all these important documents by viewing our checklist here.
The style of dress on Dominica is not too formal, or too casual; it lies somewhere in between. This means that you probably need not make any adjustments to your personal style when you travel to the island. Instead, what you want to take into consideration is the weather and your activity level.
Most of Dominica's attractions center around nature, which means you will probably be spending a lot of time exploring outdoors. This means you will want to pack comfortable, light weight clothing that is suitable for Dominica's temperatures – which can be rather stifling. Light-colored, light-weight cottons and linen t-shirts and tank tops are the best choice, with shorts and khaki pants being ideal for your bottom half. Women will likely want to save dresses and skirts for outings that do not require much strenuous activity, for example while shopping, out to lunch, or a short tour through a museum. Stick to breathable fabrics.
Additionally, don't forget enough pairs of under garments and socks to get you through your trip. You will also want to bring along at least one pair of pajamas. Where shoes are concerned, comfort is key. Consider packing athletic shoes or hiking boots for traversing the island. Save the sandals and flip flops for times when you won't be doing a lot of walking.
Make sure you have the attire you need by viewing our Clothing Checklist.
You will probably have at least one night when you want to go out to a nice restaurant; or perhaps you have an event to attend. For this reason, make sure to pack at least one outfit that can be considered a bit more formal. Collared shirts and slacks for men, and sun dresses, skirts or slacks paired with embellished blouses, or cocktail dresses for women will suffice. Make sure to bring along shoes that fit the occasion, such as close-toed leather shoes or dock shoes for men, and heels or strappy sandals for women.
Unlike most of the rest of the Caribbean, Dominica's beaches are not the island's biggest draws. Still, there are coastal areas where taking a dip is a possibility, and there are pools at nearly every hotel on the island. For this reason, vacationers are urged to pack at least one bathing suit. If you can, bring a second. This way, you have options regarding what you want to wear each day, plus, leave one suit hanging to dry in your hotel while you wear the other.
Bringing along a cover up, such as a sarong or an over-sized t-shirt is important on Dominica, where wearing beachwear off the beach is considered to be in poor form. A few other accessories will round out your swim wear for the trip: a pair of sandals or flip flops to protect your feet from the hot sand, and a sun hat and sun glasses to keep the sun at bay.
If you use it on a daily basis, you will probably want to pack it to bring with you to Dominica. This includes dental hygiene products, hair care products and equipment, makeup, and more. Much of what you use will likely be provided to you by your hotel, but if you feel more comfortable using the items that you are familiar with, a toiletries bag filled with travel sized bottles will be fine. Don't forget to pack your sun block! Another note regarding prescription medication: any medication packed in your bag should be accompanied by a prescription slip, in case you are questioned by customs officials.
Make sure to remember all of these by clicking here.
There are no poisonous bugs or snakes on Dominica, but mosquitoes can be an issue. Since you will probably be spending much of your vacation exploring the natural side of the island, it is essential that you pack bug repellent and apply it liberally before you leave your hotel each day (and periodically throughout the day if you feel it beginning to wear off). On top of that, a tube of hydrocortisone cream of Benadryl will be a great relief if you are bit.
A checklist of other convenient medical items to bring can be found here.
Nights on Dominica can get a little chilly and some restaurants are air conditioned. Pack at least one sweater or wrap to throw on to make sure that you are comfortable. If you are going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, it is also important that you bring a rain jacket, a poncho, or an umbrella. Dominica experiences light rain fall on a near daily basis (especially in the forested areas). So, if you don't want to be caught out in the rain, arrive prepared.
Along with the items that will protect you from various types of weather, you'll also want to bring along some comfort items. These are things that will keep you entertained, and maybe remind you of home, when you aren't busy doing Dominica-activities. A good book, or your e-reader, a laptop, journal, hand held video game, an mp3 player, or a DVD player are all good options. In addition, make sure you have enough batteries, or the proper power cords to keep your electronics up and running. When it comes to power supply on Dominica, the plugs are different, so you will need to bring an adapter for any item you want to plug in to an electrical socket. The best thing to do is to call the hotel you are staying at to find out exactly what is needed. View our checklist on Gadgets and Electronics for a general idea.
Finally, don't forget to bring your camera and all equipment that goes along with it, including an extra memory card to store the hundreds of pictures you are likely to take as you try to capture all of your Dominica memories on film.
Also take a look at our checklist on Other Miscellaneous Items to see what else you might want to bring.
Many vacationers worry about over- or under-packing their luggage. This can be avoided by following one simple tip that expert traveler's typically share: bring along clothing items that are interchangeable. This means you can wear each piece of clothing more than once. A pair of cloth shorts will go great with a few different shirts, while solid colored t-shirts and tanks can be layered in various ways will give you a fresh look each day.
You may also be concerned about the airline losing your luggage. Though this rarely happens, you can be prepared for the occurrence. In your carry on bag, make sure to bring one full change of clothes, any small valuables, and your swim suit. This way, you will have a days worth of clothes to change into while the airline locates your belongings, or until you are able to buy new things.
What you have hopefully learned is that packing for your Dominica vacation may be a bit of a challenge, but if you have a plan, it should go smoothly. If you take weather and your vacation schedule into consideration, bring some toiletries, and a few items to keep you entertained, you will have everything you need to make your vacation the best it can be.
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