Before we went to the Caribbean last spring, Captain Jon wanted a new piece of luggage. In my opinion, he watches just a tad too much television, but one show was worth it. There is a Rick Steves travel series that is fun to watch, informative, and promoted a “Rick Steves convertible backpack.” This great duffle bag has hideaway backpack shoulder and waist straps, and holds a ton of gear in a carry-on size. What’s not to love about that?
So, being the world’s best first mate, I bought him one and we proceeded to fill it with everything he needed for fourteen days. It all fit-including shoes, clothing, underwear, ditty bag…It’s amazing! Now it’s Jon’s favorite bag and he brags about it to everyone. I’m so glad he likes it. He maneuvered effortlessly through the airports with it on his back. It’s a miracle– a carry-on that fits everything a grown man needs for TWO WEEKS! Thank you, Rick Steves!
Now let’s talk a bit about what to put IN that bag for a sailing trip. If you are going to the Caribbean like WE ARE, (Want to come along, Spring of 2013? Check it out HERE), chances are you will NOT need a sweater or sweatshirt. If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll pack like a pro!
Ten Tried and True Packing Tips for a Caribbean Sailing Vacation
Following these tips will take the mystery out of packing for a sailing vacation in the Caribbean
1) Don’t over pack! **
2) Use a strong duffel bag (like the Rick Steves convertible backpack) that fits in the overhead bin on the plane-thus limiting how much you bring and allowing you to keep your luggage with you at all times,-the best way to ruin a vacation is to have to deal with lost luggage
3) Remember travel documents-passports and copies of passport
4) Pack sun protection-hat, sunglasses, travel size aloe and SPF 15 or higher sunscreen
5) Bring prescriptions in clearly marked original containers to avoid customs hassles. Have enough for extra days in case travel is delayed
6) Bring a few band aids, pain reliever, seasickness remedy, anti-diarrhea medication, small flashlight
7) Snorkel if you don’t want to use the ones provided by charter company (fins/mask/snorkel are all provided)
8) Digital devices AND chargers or extra batteries! Camera, IPod, phone (may not be able to use it in all locations), and a waterproof bag for all to be stowed in. Bag can also be used to transport these items on the dinghy, where splashing is common
9) Toss in several sizes of Ziploc bags – to separate clean from dirty clothes, to keep little items together, and to protect that extra copy of your passport and ID
10) Bring a deck of cards or paperback to pass the time on layovers
**For a one week sailing vacation, you will need the following clothing items: 3-4 swim suits; 3-4 pairs of shorts; 7 t-shirts (plus whatever you buy along the way); sandals and walking shoes (either tennis shoes or boat shoes) which can get wet; swim suit cover-up; enough underwear for the week; sleepwear; a light windbreaker for quick tropical downpours; a beach towel; and your personal toiletries.
It is also a good idea to have some kind of day pack or fanny pack that lets you carry money, sunglasses, passport, guide books, a water bottle, sunscreen or anything else you might need ashore.
Ready, set, let’s go!