What Should You Pack for a Trip to the Dominican Republic?

Packing for your Dominican Republic vacation is just the beginning of the fun

Photo credit: © Brittany D Gates

Packing for the Dominican Republic

A trip to the Dominican Republic means going from the beach to tours of the interior or the island, then on to museum tours, and nights spent out at nice dinners or partying in nightclubs.

In order to have everything you need to be properly dressed in each of these situations, you will have to carefully plan what you will pack in your luggage.

First and Foremost

Upon entering the Dominican Republic, traveler's are required to present customs officials with a passport and government issued identification (this could be a driver's license). Not only should you keep these items on your person as you travel, but it is essential that you make copies of each, and keep them in a separate location. This will be a lifesaver should the originals become lost or stolen.

You will also want to keep an appropriate amount of cash on hand. The official currency of the Dominican Republic is the Peso, though some places will accept the United States Dollar. Most visitors depend on their credit cards to get them through their trip, but there are some instances where cash will be necessary. When you arrive in the Dominican Republic you will be required to purchase a Tourist Card, which costs $10(USD). You'll want to have cash on hand for this, just in case the credit card machines are down. If you are not able to purchase the Tourist Card, you will not be permitted to leave the airport.

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 to show to customs officials proof of your medical needs.

It may also be wise to keep a copy of your airline tickets, and confirmation of your hotel, rental car, and pre-planned activities with you.

Use our checklist on Other Miscellaneous Items to ensure you do not forget anything.


Dress in the Dominican Republic is similar to the United States, though the constant heat causes locals to dress in summer attire on a regular basis.

As you spend time exploring the island, you will want to have comfortable, light-weight clothing in light colors and breathable, natural fabrics (think cotton and silk) to keep you cool. Linen shorts or khakis along with cotton t-shirts or tank tops are perfect for touring the Dominican Republic. Shoes should be comfortable, such as athletic shoes or hiking boots.
Also, remember to pack enough under garments, socks, and pajamas to see you through your trip.

Find a checklist of what clothing to pack by clicking here.

Formal Wear

There will likely be at least one occasion at which you want to dress a little fancier than you would on a regular basis. Perhaps a nice dinner, or an event you are planning to attend. For these occasions, men will do well to don collared shirts and slacks with closed-toed leather or dock shoes, and women can wear nice sun dresses, skirts or slacks paired with embellished blouses, or cocktail dresses with strapy dress sandals.

Note that if you plan to visit a church, shorts are unacceptable on both sexes, men should remove their hats, and women should cover their heads.

Swim Wear

While you are unlikely to forget your bathing suit for your Caribbean vacation, you may want to consider bringing two. This will give you options, but also allow you to leave one suit to dry in your hotel room, while you are wearing the other out and about. It is common in the Dominican Republic to also wear a wrap, such as a sarong or an over-sized t-shirt over your bathing suit if you leave the beach or pool area.

Along with your swim suit and cover up, don't forget to bring a pair of sandals or flip flops, sun glasses, and a sun hat. These items will protect you from the hot sand and the hot sun.

Toiletries and Health Care

Hotels in the Dominican Republic will usually provide you with the toiletries you need to make it through your vacation. Still, you have the option of bringing along your own if that is what you are more comfortable with. You can buy travel sized hair care products, bathing items, and dental hygiene products at home, and pack them in a toiletries bag, or pick them up when you arrive on the island.

Make sure you don't forget any of these by viewing our checklist on Toiletries and Personal Items.

Mosquitoes and sand fleas are an issue in the Dominican Republic. Make sure to pack bug repellent to guard against them, and apply it liberally before you leave your hotel each day. A tube of hydrocortisone cream of Benadryl will be a great relief to you if you are bit, so make sure to have some of that on hand as well. You will not regreat bringing extra sun screen.

Click here for other medical items that you should bring.

What Else To Pack

Even at night, the temperature in the Dominican Republic rarely reaches below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, if you are sensitive to changes in temperature throughout the day, you should pack a sweater or wrap to keep you warm after the sun sets. Likewise, you don't want to let a rainy afternoon ruin your plans, so a rain jacket, poncho, or umbrella is handy to have.

Boredom will probably never strike you during your vacation, but it is still nice to have a few entertainment options on hand for the plane ride, or even while you are laying out in the sun. Options include a good book or your personal e-reader, a laptop, handheld video game system, mp3 player, DVD player, a deck of cards, a journal, and so on. Make sure you also bring batteries and power cords for any electronics. Visitors from the United States will not have to worry about power adapters, but those traveling from other countries should call their hotel to see if they will need to bring one along.

Speaking of electronics, don't forget to bring your camera, and everything it needs to remain up and running throughout the duration of your trip. An extra memory card will come in handy, as well, because you are sure to take hundreds of pictures of your time on the island. See our Gadgets and Electronics checklist to see if you have everything you need.

Also, do not forget to see our checklist on Other Miscellaneous Items.

Packing Concerns

What most vacationers worry about when it comes to packing is either over- or under-packing their suit case. You can avoid this by choosing similarly colored and styled clothing that is interchangeable. This means picking a pair of shorts that has two or three shirts to match, and a stack of solid t-shirts and tank tops that can be layered in different manners to create a different look each day.

Another concern is the airline's treatment of your belongings. It is rarer than you might imagine for the airline to lose your bags, but if it does happen, you can arrive prepared. Carry a full change of clothes, a bathing suit, and any small and valuable items with you in your carry on bag. This way, you will have at least one other days worth of clothing to get you through until the airline locates your things, or you have time to go out and purchase more.

Packing for your trip to the Dominican Republic is just the first step you'll take to going on the vacation of a lifetime. Pack smart, bring everything you need, but don't worry – in the end it won't be what you wore that will stand out in your memory of your time on the island.


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