Packing can be a stressful experience, even for the travel pro's. Failure to bring that "one essential" item can at best put a frown on your face, and at worst affect your entire vacation. Don't be that person. With your best possible experience in mind we have consulted the travel experts and compiled a his and hers list of essentials.
If you are a minimalist vacationer you can shave off a few of the non-essentials, but if you are one of those well-prepared, ready-for-anything types, then you have come to the right place. The quantities are for a 7-day trip.
Weather and Climate in Punta Cana
Due to its near proximity to the equator and a flat sea-level tropical savannah landscape, Punta Cana will never experience some of the extremes we are used to in the United States.
No snow and no 100+ temperatures. Expect an average temperature in the (30 Celsius) 80's during the day with lows in the 70's during the rainy season. At night expect averages around mid-70's (21 Celsius) most of the year and as low as 60 (15 Celsius) during the rainy season. Rain is limited most of the year due to the flat, breezy land features. Expect the occasional ocean based gale or hurricane.
Packing for Him
Shorts (3-7) - Try to avoid jean shorts as they tend to take longer to dry and the material can feel quite heavy in tropical climates. Linen, wick-dry fabrics and synthetics are best.
Shirts (7) - tank tops and button up short sleeve shirts will give you the ability to dress up or down according to need. You might even include a light long-sleeve shirt to help keep the sun off and prevent burns during hikes and longer periods of sun-exposure. For this, check out Columbia sportswear for well-ventilated and airy shirts in high-tech, quick-dry materials.
Windbreaker, Raincoat (1) - Consider a very light shell jacket or thin sweatshirt for cool evenings and any storms that blow in.
Socks (5-7 pairs) - Ankle socks or longer, go with what feels comfy. Tip: Thin wool socks will wick away sweat and keep your feet dry, thus helping to prevent funky foot smells.
Shoes - Flip flops, walking shoes/tennis shoes, sandals and low top boots/loafers. In many coastal areas people often dress up for the evening dinner. For this you may need low-top boots or loafers to finish off the look. If you are minimalist backpacker then flip flops and sandals or hiking shoes will suffice. Don't be the guy who decides to go bushwhacking or rock climbing with open toed shoes. You'll probably regret it.
Undergarments (7) - Tidy whities or boxer shorts, you know what you need. Enough said.
Swim Trunks, Speedo (1-2) - In much of the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America the Speedo is still fairly common. Just go with whatever feels right.
Sun glasses - Great for protection against the eye-burn potential of water reflection!
Sunscreen, tanning lotion - You know your skin's needs, protect it!
Travel Towel - Usually a thin, easy to fold but super absorbent micro-material, the travel towel is always a good idea to include for impromptu swims, hikes or those moments where you run out of clean & dry towels. If you are planning to camp or stay in a backpacker hostel, it's a must!
Watch - An essential for scuba-diving, it will also help you keep tabs on time-commitments. It get's dark fast in the tropics so keeping tabs on the time is important especially when out exploring unfamiliar areas.
Plastic bags, Dry bags (2-3) - Use these to catch your dirty clothes and to pack your shoes. If boating/swimming or scuba diving is on your list then a dry bag can help prevent accidents.
Camera, smartphone & extra memory cards - Now, many smartphones come with decent cameras, which is great for those who want to avoid the extra bulk of a camera. Just be sure you have phone insurance in case of theft or loss. Also, taking the time to upload pictures to your cloud storage can help prevent loss.
Cologne, foot powder, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair gel, comb, deodorant - Clean and fresh, always!
Packing Advice - pack small liquid/powder accessories inside of ziplock baggies to prevent spillage! Place socks and small stuff inside of shoes. Fold pants/shorts in half and then roll them up to fit them into your suitcase better!
Packing for Her
Shirts (7-8) - Layering in light fluffy layers is a must when visiting the Caribbean. Do have light camisoles or spaghetti strap shirts to wear over your bikini top. Don't bring that old worn-out t-shirt that you have had since 9th grade. Also have at least one or two long-sleeved shirts to use as cover up in case of overexposure to the sun, day 1 after the burn, cool evenings or even unexpected changes in weather.
Shorts (5) - Go crazy! Just be sure they look cute! Consider packing that one pair that isn't too short, capri length even, for tours and adventure. Sometimes too short can get annoying when you sweat and then sit down in taxis, bus or boat seats.
Pants (2) - Jeans are not appropriate for the tropics. When they get wet they are thick and heavy. Even dry, too heavy. Instead opt for light cotton pants, or even synthetic moisture wick technology. Definitely pack at least one pair.
Dress (2-3) - Many tropical beachside destinations tend to dress more formal in the evenings. A light sundress or even a fancier cocktail dress might be just the thing for a special night out with friends or family!
Bra's and Panties (7 of each) - If your personality is more sporty/bohemian, then opt for sports bra's and bikini tops. However, you might want to bring at least one support bra for a fancy dinner out. Panties, do what feels the most comfy, keep a dry extra in your purse.
Socks (3-4 pairs) - If you plan to run, workout and hike then socks are a must. Tip: thin wool socks will wick away sweat and keep your feet dry.
Hat - Whether you desire a large sun hat or a small cap, having that extra shade is a lifesaver on the beach.
Sunglasses - Believe it or not, you can actually burn your eyes from sun off water reflection.
Shoes - As needed. Definitely include sandals, flip flops and athletic shoes. Avoid the stiletto heels and instead opt for chunky or low heels which are more well suited to uneven roads and sidewalks.
Jewelry - Opt for sensible hemp, natural & woven pieces. In many places they sell cute seashell pieces or handmade macrame. Avoid anything valuable that can be easily lost while swimming.
Make-up - Ditch the usual look for a light and breezy beach-blown look. Try semi-nude lip gloss or chapstick, a light & airy eye palette with some mascara for the extra pop. Tip: use a white pencil on the inside corner of your eye to give you a fresher look, especially after hot afternoons on the beach. Avoid dark tones or heavy shadowing. Instead of your usual black liner opt for a softer brown or color hue that blends well with your skin tone.
Perfume - Try using an essential oil like lavender for the spa feel, or peppermint for perkier aroma and feeling. Plus the small jars are easy to carry in a purse or clutch.
Oil - Did you know that coconut oil can actually help prevent sunburns? Also great for dryness and tanning. Be sure to apply before you go to the pool and then shower & reapply after for all-natural tanning oil and sun protection.
Burn Lotion - Anything that has aloe vera in it to soothe burns. Essential, don't forget!
Travel Towel - Check popular sites like Amazon.com for a selection of microfiber travel towels. They are usually super absorbent and fast drying. Benefit: their small size makes them easy to carry in your purse or beach bag.
Travel Purse - Something resistant to fading, stylish but usable, and not too flashy. To help prevent theft look for zippers and flaps which can close it off a bit to wandering hands. Pick a neutral or solid color like black which will match all your outfits. Go for something at least the size of a small notebook which has the space to carry your sunglasses, water bottle, travel towel and bikini.
Water Bottle - Instead of bringing that extra pair of shoes opt for a BPA-free water bottle. You will feel better and fresher by staying hydrated plus you won't have to spend the extra money on water, instead opting for that super-deluxe beach cocktail. Always chase with water to slow dehydration and even help reduce severity of sunburns.
Cotton Bandana (2-3) - Your winter-acclimated body probably won't make the switch in only one week. You can help avoid that nasty sweaty feel by having a cotton bandana in your purse to mop your brow when things get intense. Also good for flyaway hair and washing off your face and neck!
Now you have the basic list of must-haves to ensure plenty of beach bliss with all the essentials. How many items of each you take depends entirely on the traveler. If you are a minimalist then some things can be reused or hand-washed in order to cut down on space. However, like many of us you may just want to ensure you include a stuff bag for the dirties and pack enough to have something clean each day.
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