Planning a visit to St. Thomas or St. John? Thinking of all the adventures you’ll have sailing and snorkeling in the beautiful Virgin Islands? It isn’t hard to dream of a fabulous tropical vacation in our beautiful islands, and it’s so convenient that they’re in the US! Here are some tips for how to best pack for your trip and some things to keep in mind:
Pack light! We’re fans of not bringing too much luggage, but we also mean that it’s usually rather hot, so heavy clothing is not recommended. Think lightweight, cotton fabrics and light colored clothing for the daytime. Long sleeves are fine, especially for hanging out in the sun (that’s what we usually wear when sailing). People do really well at the beach and when sailing or snorkeling with sun shirts, commonly known as rashguards. They do well in the water, dry quickly, and really help protect your skin from the rays. Don’t worry if you can’t find one at home, there are plenty to be found in Red Hook, where Sail with Liberty and Justice depart!
Speaking of the Caribbean sun, we should mention something about sunscreen. We have plenty of sunscreen available in St. Thomas. In the last year, a new law has required all sunscreen being sold locally to be reef-friendly. This legislation is meant to reduce the amount of chemicals that are harmful to our reefs from coming into contact with this delicate and beautiful life force. If you can’t find reef-friendly sunscreen at home, pick some up at a local drugstore or surf shop when you arrive.
Whether you are staying in a condo, villa, or hotel, snacks might be part of your daily routine, especially if you are busy having outdoor adventures sailing, swimming, and snorkeling in St. Thomas and St. John. We have plenty of grocery stores in St. Thomas, and it’s not hard to find a selection of food you’ll need for your stay. However, if there is a particular snack or condiment, perhaps, that you really want or need, consider bringing it with you in your suitcase as our selections are not as wide and sometimes shipments of regularly stocked items are delayed.
One more word on clothing! The US Virgin Islands are generally pretty casual compared to city life stateside. This applies to hairdos, nails, and makeup, especially. The “natural” look in the islands is way ok! Struggling with your hair while away? Throw a hat on! It’s good to bring a cotton dress or khakis for a nice dinner out or if you plan to attend church services. In general, though, shorts and flip flops are just fine! Just be sure to cover yourself when you’re not at the beach (no bare chests on guys or bikinis on ladies). Entering stores or walking around public places in bathing/beach attire might attract some unwanted looks as it is not the local custom to do so. When in doubt, look at what locals are wearing. Chances are, you’ve nothing to worry about!