When deciding what to pack for your Caribbean vacation to St. John, be careful not to go overboard. While the island dazzles its visitors with its natural beauty and its calm, isolated charm – making it the perfect “getaway” from the hustle and bustle of normal life – it should also be considered a place of modern camping and resorts, making it a vacation destination that does provide the basic amenities to all of its visitors. Even if you plan to go to Cinnamon Bay and camp on the beach – about as rugged as it gets here – you won’t find yourself at a loss if you don’t pack an item like toilet paper. In fact, it is highly recommended that you be as sparse as possible, remembering that your destination falls within the “industrialized nation” category, and the restrooms generally come clean and fully stocked. What it all comes down to is that the important thing to keep in mind when getting ready for your vacation here is to pack lightly. To figure out how to pack lightly, the general rule has been best stated by one camp ground manager who once recommended that visitors to bring their great recipe ideas, but do their grocery shopping while on the island.
Pack lightly when visiting St. John
For clothing, you can leave the parka at home as the weather is consistently warm here, and even hot at times during the summer months. That said, however, it would be advisable to bring a light jacket – especially during the winter months – in order to stave off the slight chilliness that occasionally comes in during the early morning, and sometimes the late evening. In order to save on space in your travel bag, make sure that your light jacket also provides protection against the rain, as the Virgin Islands are known for frequent, although very brief showers throughout the summer and the winter seasons. Aside from this, be prepared to sweat a lot, and pack accordingly. Bring clothes that breathe well – preferably all cotton – and that include T-shirts and tank tops shorts, skirts and caps with brims to help block out the sun. Although you may think that the whole time you spend at St. John’s will be spent barefoot, pack a few extra pairs of socks if you like to hike at all. Remember that you’re packing clothes for the heat, so pack light, and pack cool.
In terms of footwear, try to remember that you will be able to do a wide variety of things while staying on St. John. Happy vacationers – like you – to the island participate in everything from extreme water sports to long hikes, and in between these activities they might spend a lot of time kicking it on the beach, or back at the hotel or campground. If you know that you will spend all of your time on the beach, be sure to pack flip-flops or, preferably, water proof sandals so that you can spend a little time walking up and down the hot white sand and occasionally stepping into the cool water. If there’s any chance that you will enjoy the beautiful hiking trails that run through the National Park at St. John, bring hiking shoes that have a good tread, but make sure they are light and comfortable. Remember, the island is relatively small and none of the trails should take you more than one or two hours to complete. In addition to boots and sandals, you can also bring along a pair of tennis shoes for something like, say, playing tennis at one of the local courts. For the various water sports you may take part in, make sure that you get any appropriate foot gear before beginning.
In addition to these clothing items, bring sun protection including sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat with a brim. Also, a digital camera is essential to remember your vacation by. Any other personal items such as medication and prescriptions should also be packed along. But keep in mind that you are packing for a short vacation, and bring only what is absolutely necessary. You are sure to find any forgotten items at a local pharmacy or other retailer. It should be mentioned that although St. John is still a part of the United States, U.S. travelers – along with everyone else – are not required to bring their passports. But it is highly recommended should you wish to sail to the BVI’s. Furthermore, do not bring any illicit materials that could get you in trouble. Most importantly, however, remember to bring along a sense of adventure, and be prepared to have the time of you life!
See you on the Island,
John & Heidi Walsh
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