Packing for your St. Lucia vacation is something like an art form. Aside from choosing clothing, toiletry, and entertainment items that you love, you have to take weather patterns, activity level, and comfort into consideration – plus make it all fit in your suit case.
Whether you're an over-packer, someone who always seems to forget something, or a seasoned veteran who feels like they have the art of packing down, everyone can use a little help in this arena.
Like much of the rest of the Caribbean, in order to travel to St. Lucia from another country, you will need a passports and proof of a return or onward airline ticket. Keep your passport, and your ticket, as well as your government issued identification card on you at all times as you travel between your home town and St. Lucia, especially when you are making your way through customs. You should also make a copy of each and place the copies in a separate location, such as your checked bag. This way, if your important documents are lost or stolen, you will have a backup.
You should also keep at least a small amount of cash on you, even if you plan to use credit cards to fund most of your trip. The official form of currency on St. Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, but many locations that cater to tourists accept the United States Dollar without a hassle.
If you're bringing prescription medications with you, remember to pack the prescription slip or a note from your doctor, in the event customs officials question you about the nature of the medicine. Also, make a list of emergency contacts, and keep paperwork with confirmation of your hotel, rental car, and pre-planned activities.
Make sure you remember everything by reading our Important Documents and Money checklist.
As you travel around St. Lucia, taking in the sites, your biggest objective will be to remain comfortable. This means choosing clothing that will not be restrictive, or draw in heat. Light-weight, light-colored clothing made from natural fibers will be your best option. Think linen shorts or khakis, and cotton t-shirts or tank tops, combined with athletic shoes or hiking boots. Dresses and skirts are fine for the days when you are participating in less strenuous activities, like touring a museum, or doing some shopping. Don't forget to pack the appropriate number of undergarments, socks, and pajamas. If you're worried about what is appropriate to wear on the island, outside of what it comfortable, check out our guide on St. Lucia's Clothing for more detailed tips. Also, find a checklist clicking here.
In St. Lucia, when the sun goes down, you'll want to break out the more formal clothing. This isn't to say you have to go all out, but when you head into a restaurants for dinner, you will be expected to put dress a bit more conservatively than when you were out hiking. Men should bring along collared shirts and slacks with loafers, and women will want sun dresses or slacks, and perhaps the occasional party dress.
Swim wear is the number one thing you won't want to forget when you pack for your trip to St. Lucia. You will definitely want to bring along one swimsuit, and perhaps even two. Having a second (or third or fourth) swimsuit handy will give you options to choose from, and ensure that you don't have to put on a wet suit from the day before. If you'll be participating in watersports, particularly snorkeling, bring along a rash guard to protect you from the sun while you're under water. While you're at it, you can save money by bringing your own snorkeling equipment if you have the space to do so.
You should know that it is considered inappropriate for people to wear their swim wear outside of the beaches and pool areas. This means when you step foot off the sand, you should pull on a cover-up of some sort, such as a sarong, pareo or over-sized t-shirt. A sun hat, sun glasses, and flip flops or sandals are a few other beach side essentials that you won't want to forget.
As you plan for some time on the beach, take into considerations some extras that will make your experience that much better. A parachute beach blanket is a great addition because it stays cool in the hot sun, is mildew-resistant, and it dries out quickly thanks to the nylon material. A dry bag is also great because it keeps your valuables dry and floats on water.
Typically, vacationers bring a toothbrush and toothpaste, makeup, hair care products, and any other specialty hygiene products along with them on vacation. Hotels will provide shampoo and conditioner, lotion, and soap, but if you have a preferred brand that you are wary of giving up for a few days, you can bring these along as well. All of these items can be purchased in travel sizes, or placed in travel sized containers, so that they do not take up extra space in your luggage. You might also choose to purchase a few items once you arrive on St. Lucia, but be aware that you may not be able to locate a specific brand, or find it at a price that you find acceptable. Read our Toiletries and Personal Items checklist to make sure you have packed everything.
It is important that while you are on St. Lucia you protect yourself from mosquitoes and fleas, which can swarm and bite at the most inopportune times. Bring along some insect repellent wherever you go, making sure to first apply it to yourself before you leave your hotel room each morning. If you are bit, hydrocortisone cream or Benadryl will be great at providing you with some relief. The importance of sunblock cannot be stressed enough. Bring a lot, apply it before you leave your hotel in the morning, and keep reapplying throughout the day. A lip balm with SPF is a great idea as well. If you do happen to get burned, aloe vera lotion will help soothe and heal.
You can't go wrong by packing a first aid kit. Pack within it bandages, disinfectant, aspirin, ibuprofen, antiseptic, anti-diarrhea, tweezers, a thermometer, and any emergency medications that will be important to you. Click here for some suggestions on what to bring.
Though St. Lucia is a tropical paradise, there are times when the sun takes leave, opening up the skies to rain clouds and cold fronts. You can prepare for these situations by packing a sweater or wrap, as well as a raincoat, poncho, or umbrella. These items will allow you to keep exploring, even if the weather is less than agreeable. While you're out exploring, extras like a collapsible cooler, bottle opener, and zip-lock bags will be good to have on hand, and keeping a little laundry detergent in your hotel for quick clothing clean-ups in the sink will be helpful in a pinch.
For those times when you are traveling, or just have some down time, bring along a few entertainment items. A good book or your e-reader, an mp3 player, a portable DVD player, a personal journal, a laptop, and a hand held video game system, are all items that fall into this category. Don't forget to pack enough batteries to get you through your trip or power cords. It is also important to be aware that the electrical outlets on St. Lucia are different than those in the United States, so you will need to bring along an adapter for your electrical devices. Voltage varies by location, so call your hotel to determine exactly what kind of adapter you will need.
Additionally, your camera is one of the most important things you will pack. Bring along any equipment you will need to keep it up and running, as well as an extra memory card, in case you get a bit overzealous with the picture taking. Our Gadgets and Electronics checklist can help you remember what to bring.
One of the best packing tips is this: pack clothing items that are similar in style and complimentary in color. Having just a few items that are interchangeable will save you space, but still allow you to pull off a fresh look each day. A pair of cloth shorts, for example, will go nicely with a variety of shirts, and a selection of colored shirts can be layered differently each day for a new look.
You may be worried that the airline will lose your luggage en route. This is a rare possibility, but if it happens to you, there is no need to melt down. Instead, arrive prepared. Pack one full outfit and a swimsuit in your carry on bag, plus anything you need to get you through your first day of vacation. This way, you'll have a fresh outfit to start your second day on St. Lucia with, which will buy you time as the airline locates your belongings, or until you can purchase a few new things. With this tip in mind, you should also note that current TSA guidelines regulate the amount of liquid you can carry-on in your toiletries bag. Each passenger is allowed one clear, gallon-sized zip-top bag to hold all liquid toiletries, and each must be contained in a bottle that is three ounces or less.
You may also want to take this time to review your airline' policy regarding luggage. The rules are getting stricter, and prices are going up for carrying luggage with you. Each airline is different, so it is best to contact them directly, but in a worse-case scenario, you are in charge of paying a fee for each bag you bring (including a carry-on), and you may face additional fees based on the size and weight of the bag.
You've read our guide and made your own checklist based upon the suggested items above; now the fun begins. Take all that you have learned and put together your St. Lucia suitcase, featuring essential travel items, clothes that make you feel good, and a few things to ward away the boredom that sometimes comes when you travel from one location to another. See, packing for St. Lucia isn't such a challenge after all!
Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.