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Welcome Back! Due to COVID-19, travel is not advised at this time. But you can cure your wanderlust while stuck at home with posts on our site! Please keep yourself and your loved ones safe!
Disclaimer: Posts on By Land and Sea contain ads and affiliate links. If you make a purchase, we might make a little extra travel money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are our own.
The weather is getting warmer and the first day of spring is…. tomorrow! Longer days and bright sunshine make me dream of warm turquoise waters, soft white sand, and the hypnotic rhythm of the steel drums. If you’re counting down the days until your spring break trip to an amazing island like Jamaica, check out this great guest post by Anna and Ben of Two Nerds Travel. While we’re away on holiday, they’ve generously offered to share their tips on packing light for 10 days in Jamaica! Yeah Mon!
Jamaica. What do you think of when that word comes to mind? Before we visited Jamaica, we thought of white, sandy beaches, deliciously fruity cocktails, and endless sun … and we were right! Jamaica is many things, including downright beautiful, with smiles and fun as far as your eyes can see. We became friends with the locals, danced to reggae at the edge of a cliff in Negril, drove through the Blue Mountains, swam in stunning turquoise water…
It wouldn’t come as a surprise if we say Jamaica is one of our favorite destinations to date. Because it is. It stole a crucial piece of our soul with its lazy vibes and relaxed atmosphere; we can’t wait to return.
Before our ten day trip to Jamaica, Mr. Nerd and I surveyed our packing list and wondered what we should bring with us. We’d been to the Caribbean before (the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon) and shoved what we needed into a backpack, but we’d only been gone five days, with two of those days spent in transit. Ten days seemed like an impossibly long time. So, clueless to what we did and didn’t need, and wary of not bringing enough sunscreen, we pulled out a suitcase and loaded it with everything just because we could.
Big mistake. If there’s anything I regret from our amazing trip to Jamaica, it’s not packing lighter … even despite the fact that we had the time and means to check our bag! We packed waaaaaay too much for our adventure to the Caribbean and used less than half of what went into our suitcase.
If we could do our Jamaica trip all over again, here’s what I’d pack for a ten day trip!
I know this photo makes it seem like you’re packing hardly anything, but stay with me. I’m serious: when it comes to clothes, you won’t need much more than this.
Jamaica is humid, very humid. You don’t need jeans, long pants (for girls), or even long skirts. If you’re planning to hang out on the beach most of the time, I reckon you’ll end up dressed in your swimsuit with a t-shirt and shorts over it. We packed enough to ensure we could wear regular clothes every day of our trip and ended up wearing one or two different outfits, which we quickly shed once we reached the beach.
Here’s what I’d bring for clothes.
1-2 comfortable, free-flowing dresses to wear for outings/fancy dinners
A beach wrap (the floral shirt in the photo) to put over your swimsuit. I wore this every day, and to several restaurants at our resort that allowed casual beachwear
Loose fitting pajama shirt and shorts
A quick-drying, microfiber towel. We used this several times to brush sand off our feet or dry off when we didn’t have a resort towel to use
1-2 swimsuits. I personally recommend bringing two. One, it’s very humid in Jamaica, so your swimsuit is unlikely to completely dry overnight, and two, I actually busted my first swimsuit on our fourth day and would’ve been in trouble without the backup
1-2 pairs of shorts (yes, the floral, panty-looking item is actually shorts)
2 comfortable t-shirts
1-2 tank tops. I’d elect to bring one, personally, but two is fine if you want more shirt options
(Not pictured) As many pairs of underwear as you feel you need
(Not pictured) A bra. You probably won’t wear these often if you’re constantly in swimsuits, so I’d only bring one
(Not pictured) A pair of broken-in sandals or flip-flops. I stress broken-in because if you just bought them and wear them for ten days straight, you might find yourself with blisters. I made this mistake; my foot still has a mark after two months
For guys (not pictured):
2 comfortable t-shirts, preferably in lighter colors to reflect the sun
2 pairs of shorts
1 pair of pants & 1 nice shirt, button up or polo, for eating out (girls can get by with a dress for this)
1-2 pairs of swim trunks. As previously stated, I recommend bringing two to make sure they have time to dry properly
Pajamas of your choice. It was humid even in our room, so Mr. Nerd was happy just wearing boxers to bed
As many pairs of boxers as you feel you need
A pair of broken-in sandals or flip-flops
And that’s it! That’s all you should need—trust us on this.
When it comes to toiletries, I continue my theme of packing light and bringing only the bare minimum. On our trip, I loaded my bag with necklaces and earrings (I wanted to look cute on the beach) and ended up not wearing any of them! The beach was windy and salty, so my hair got caught in my earrings, it was a nuisance to take them off to swim, and I was constantly worried that I’d lose everything.
In fact, this was such a concern before our trip, too, that we left our wedding rings at home. You do not want the heartache of realizing your rings are missing after swimming in the ocean. Really.
Here’s what I’d bring for toiletries
Guys & girls (use what’s applicable for you):
Toothbrush & travel sized toothpaste (the one in the photo is big only because we ran out of our small travel sized ones on our trip)
Travel sized face wash and moisturizer, if you need it
Antibiotic cream for bug bites—sand fleas and mosquitos are real, people
Travel sized bug spray
Deodorant. You will work up a sweat in the sun
Tweezers and q-tips
Hair scrunchies, if your hair is long enough. I used these all the time and actually lost a couple, so bring more than you think you’ll need
Lip stick, eye shadow, and eye pencil for date nights*
Tylenol or (not pictured) Aspirin for headaches or fevers
Anti-diarrheal pills. I know it’s not fun to think about, but we were glad we brought these. New food and lots of alcohol can mess your system up in the most unfortunate way
(Not pictured) Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Bring as many bottles as you can fit in the ziplock bag or buy some in Jamaica
(Not pictured) Chapstick with sun protection. This was a lifesaver
*A note on makeup. I brought very limited makeup to Jamaica (basically what you see in the list above), and I’m so happy I didn’t bring more. Unless you don’t plan to go swimming or sit on the beach very often, Jamaica is hot and the air is damp. The sun feels amazing, but it doesn’t feel as amazing when your makeup starts melting and causing a problem. Creams, foundation, special hair products, lip gloss… All of these will end up feeling meh after a few hours of sitting on the beach or splashing around in the water.
Other than the above, we only packed a few other necessities, and I felt it was the perfect amount of miscellaneous to handle.
Travel credit card and some cash (in USD)
2 paperback books each for reading on the beach
Cell phones (which we used to take photos) & cell phone chargers
Any printed documents we needed for flight tickets or resort check-in
A small, foldable day pack that we used to bring our books, clothes, and sunglasses to the beach
And that’s all we’d recommend bringing for a ten day trip to Jamaica! I know it seems light, but as I said, we brought about double this in clothes and toiletries and only used half of it (if that) because we spent most of our time on the beach or wandering in flip flops and swimsuits around our resort!
If you want to avoid checking a bag…
Last of all, if you want to avoid checking a bag, tuck all of this into a backpack! It’ll definitely fit, and (bonus points) you don’t have to worry about lost luggage because you won’t need to check it.
What do we suggest? Well, I love to use my Osprey pack as a carry-on bag. Equally, Mr. Nerd loves his Camelback, pictured above. Both these bags are small enough to fit under the seat of a plane, which means it’s free to carry on, and they always have plenty of room for souvenirs if you enjoy bringing things back from your trips!
Have you been to Jamaica? What are your favorite packing tips for easy travel? Share your comments with us below!
About the authors: Anna & Ben Schlaht are two nerdy nomads hiking, flying, and blogging their way from here to there. Their goal is to see the world and write about every story that falls in their path. To learn more about them, visit their website, Two Nerds Travel, or check them out on Twitter and Instagram!
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