In 2013 my husband and I got married on a beach in Negril, Jamaica. Our eight days in paradise were spent at a Sandals resort. Prior to this trip, I had always eyed their cheesy commercials with mockery.
But after only a couple days there, we were hooked. As a matter of fact, we booked our next Sandals trip at the “Soon Come Back” desk after only three days at the resort.
Since then, we have traveled to four other resorts and our next trip is in just a few months.
Over the course of our five trips, I have learned a thing or two about traveling to Sandals, so today I wanted to give you some ideas of what to pack for your upcoming trip (and a few things you can leave at home). We pack two carry-on suitcases, so we have to be selective in our packing.
These are the three things I always make sure to pack:
- Sunscreen–okay, I hate to be so obvious, but if you take nothing else, this is the ONE thing you should not leave home without. Obviously, you don’t want to get sunburned. My husband and I tan relatively easily, so if we go in the summer we usually go with a base tan just from living in Alabama and being outside all the time. Still, regardless of the time of year, we always pack both SPF 50 and SPF 30. We use the 50 for at least the first two days of beach time, and then we gradually switch to the 30 for the rest of the trip. So far this method has worked perfectly for us. We come home without a burn but with an obvious beach bum tan. Also, if you forget yours, you will regret having to pay full price for it at the Sandals Gift Shop.
- Four or less pairs of shoes–This might be hard for some of you, but I’m not a shoe person so it’s no biggie for me. You will definitely want to make sure you have the following:
- For women:
- one pair of rubber flip flops for the beach–some women wear their Tory Burch sandals on the beach, but I prefer to wear some I can stick under the beachside shower head to remove all the sand before heading to lunch or up to our room.
- one pair of neutral dress sandals (like these from Target, for example)–I like to be able to wear these with cute shorts and a tank or a dress for both the casual and dressy dinner options.
- one pair of tennis shoes–for travel (leggings and tennis shoes FTW!), for working out (okay, I might run once while we’re there), and/or for excursions that require closed toe shoes. You may need closed toes shoes to ride horses, ATVs, or zip lining, so make sure you check ahead of time.
- one pair of high heel shoes/wedges/sandals or an additional pair of dressy flat sandals–if you want to switch it up or if certain dresses look better with heels.
- For Men:
- Sandals–Guess it depends on the guy, but my husband just brings his one pair of Sanuks that he can use for the beach and dinner.
- Dress shoes–Men will need at least one pair of nice shoes for dinner at some of the dress code restaurants. Funny story: On our second trip, we came completely unprepared without dress shoes or pants for my husband. Since we got a fantastic deal on a butler suite, we were blessed with two awesome butlers taking care of us. One of them let my husband borrow a pair of shoes and a pressed pair of khakis–what a gem!
- Tennis shoes–Again, for traveling, working out, or excursions.
- For women:
- Jacket or Cardigan–This suggestions depends on the person. I often get really cold after I eat, so I like something to cover up my shoulders. Our last trip was to Nassau in December, and, as it turns out, it was much cooler than I expected at night and most of the restaurants had indoor seating, so I was often a little cold (I use that word loosely as it was still in the 60’s-70’s at night). I usually pack one neutral cardigan (black, white, or grey) to wear on the plane and then have for any nights I might need it. Luckily, they don’t take up much space so packing one or two is an easy fix.
What you can leave at home:
- Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and body wash–Sandals provides Red Lane Spa products and they are amazing! After our first trip, I stopped packing these toiletries. What’s the point? The shampoo and conditioner are sulfate-free, which is what I use at home. The lotion and body wash smell amazing. Even my husband leaves his behind and we share what Sandals provides. And don’t worry about running out, they will be replenished!
- Towels–Sandals provides all the towels you need, for your shower and your beach experience. The beach towels are nice and big, but we always use two each so they cover the entire chair and so we have one to dry with and one to sit on.
- Camouflage clothes or hats– Did you know that many of the islands in the Caribbean will not let you wear camo? Upon arrival at the airport in Jamaica, my husband was singled out by the somewhat scary Jamaican security officers and told to change his shorts in order to pass through customs. He was told not to wear them while in the country. Not gonna lie, it was a little scary. Lesson learned: We don’t pack anything camo when we travel to the islands.
Obviously this list list is not all-inclusive, but since the resort is (see what I did there?), you really don’t need much! Depending on your excursion plans, you may need a few items you wouldn’t otherwise pack, but for us beach bums, we can pack pretty light.
If you want to know more about traveling to Sandals, please feel free to send me an email, comment below, or check out previous posts about our experiences.