11 Items to Pack for the Islands

There is no reason to bring more.

[Note from Carl: Sorry for the late post today fellow beach bums. Normally I like to get these up by 8 EST at the latest. Unfortunately today I had to get up at 5 am and shoot a new bikini model at sunrise. Seriously taxing work. Tough, tough stuff. You can see the fruits of my labor at my bikini site soon. LOL]

It’s time to get back to the islands. It’s been five weeks since I was drinking rum in the Virgin Islands and I’m showing signs of withdrawal. Five to six weeks away feels okay to me because as a writer I get to relive the experiences. It takes me about that much time to package and share my thoughts, adventures and misdeeds with you.

Baggage Claim

Baggage Claim Image Flickr - cbcastro

Next week I’m heading down island again. I’ll be running a little competition for people to guess where. I’ll bring something back, as a prize  from said island and send it to them when I return a week later. For those of you who already know, don’t ruin it for everyone else!

On this trip I’m going alone, insofar as nobody is traveling with me. It is a working trip if you will. How else can I tell you island stories without being there? I will be the guest of two very genuine island bums, with a huge case of wanderlust, once I reach my destination.  I don’t want to show up with too much luggage. What’s the point? Island life is about minimal materialism and maximum memories.

I’ve always been a great packer but this trip I decided to really challenge myself on everything I bring. I’ve come up with this list, which includes what I’ll wear on the plane. This does not include my photography and video bag that most people do not need.

      1. Soft bag
      2.  T-shirts – 3
      3.  Collared button down shirt – 1 (not sure why, I’ll never wear it)
      4.  Swim suit – 2 (no banana hammock)
      5.  Cargo shorts – 2
      6.  Flip-flops – 1
      7.  Hat -1
      8.  Sunglasses – 1
      9.  iPhone/Android (with charger)
      10.  Credit Cards / ATM – 2
      11.  Passport

I don’t do roll-away type bags anymore. They are heavier than necessary and difficult to use in the islands. Good streets, sidewalks and smooth surfaces are harder to find in the islands making the wheels useless. Currently I use the Thule Crossover 70-liter duffel. It can be cinched down to adjust for what I bring and expand for the things I buy down island. Rum? No problem. I wrap the bottles in cloths and most places will give you bubble wrap, just ask.

Buy toiletries at your destination. A cheap toothbrush and razor can be had for free at most hotels or you can get them super cheap at the local store. When you leave, throw them away.

Washing cloths one time can save a lot of weight and space. I don’t let the hotel do it. Most islands have a local laundry where you can drop your things and return the next day. I did this in Tortola last month and tipped 50% it was so cheap. Besides my Team Cocktail swimsuits and T-shirts I also buy new t-shirts each trip. They are a reminder of adventures, my personal billboard of fun. My button down is normally something from Tommy Bahama.

Lately I really love my Lucky Brand cargo shorts. My one new item that I am most happy with are my Costa Limited Edition, Kenny Chesney sunglasses. Thanks to RumShopRyan for writing up a great review and convincing me to drop the coin on them.

My iPhone becomes my go to for all things electronic. Camera, music, movies, Kindle, iBooks, internet, Skype (I turn the phone off) and notes for articles. I have even been known to shoot a few drunken videos with it, one of which has made it to this blog. I can’t imagine being on the road without it now. I even post to my blog with it in a pinch.

Two credit cards. This is big one. I carry one AMEX and one Visa. One can cover for the other’s shortcomings. And if I forget one in a bar one night, I can still grab a rum before heading back later to find the lost card. Cash for me comes from ATM’s and I make sure I have at least two banking systems, such as Cirrus, covered.

Rarely do I carry my passport. I have color copies I keep in my bag and a scan I keep on-line in case I loose my passport and have to show the U.S. Embassy. If I can’t secure my passport in a safe place I’ll bring it out with me but after too many rums that can be more dangerous.

Next time you travel, challenge yourself with the choices you are making. Bring fewer, better items vs. a lot of crap. Take notes on what you really use and wish you had so next trip you pack even better. Your destination will have stores, buy it when you get there. You’re heading to the islands. Relax.

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3 Responses to “11 Items to Pack for the Islands”

  1. RumShopRyan August 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Thanks for the shout out bro! Good list, underwear? I live in my boardshorts when on island, never know when the ocean will call.


  2. Trey Fliehs August 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Great article! Here is my tip for people packing for a cruise in the islands: Pack how you normally would then take half the crap out of your bag, zip it up, and head to the airport!

    It’s amazing how much stuff you think you need that you never end up taking out of your bag.

    • Carl Grooms
      Carl Grooms August 13, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

      Amen Trey. I couldn’t agree more. Bikinis don’t take up that much room so you can take a few extra. Especially mine!

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