What to Pack for Bali, Indonesia
Bali Packing List, Outfit Advice and Travel Tips
Only joking by the title. Today’s post is a Bali packing list to help make the most of your trip to Indonesia! I’ve gotten lots of questions about what to pack for a trip to Southeast Asia, so more generally this post will cover that as well.
How Conservatively Should You Dress in Indonesia?
I didn’t think much about packing until the night before (I hate packing) but I did have a moment of panic as I wasn’t sure if Indonesia, as the world’s largest Muslim country, might have more conservative standards of dress so I only brought one pair of shorts and stuck to mostly dresses.
It depends where in Indonesia you’re traveling to. Bali can be pretty similar to America in terms of what the women wear (shorts, sundresses, etc) so you don’t need to cover head to toe. Locals are more accustomed to the heat than we are so I saw lots of midi skirts and longer dresses and few short dresses.
I wore sleeveless tops a couple times around Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta and never felt uncomfortable or stared at. On the more touristy islands like Lombok and Gili, the islands are completely overrun with Westerners wearing whatever the heck the want.
Indonesia runs on a pretty broad clothing spectrum. For instance, there were lots of women in the hijab and layers when we went outlet mall shopping in Bandung but there were also girls dressed in tank tops and shorts. So, I would bring the more conservative summer clothes that you have but you don’t necessarily need to stress and buy a whole new wardrobe.
For temples like Borobudur and Prambanan, there are no overt clothing restrictions but be respectful as they are ancient religious sites. I packed scarves and maxi dresses as I thought the temples would have knee and shoulder covering requirements like in Bangkok (the King’s Palace is especially strict and also Ayutthaya and Sukhothai temples) but they did not. I’m sure if you visit Muslim mosques in Indonesia they will have strict clothing requirements.
Here’s what I would most recommend to pack for Bali, Indonesia:
I always bring a couple maxi dresses if I’m going somewhere tropical. The longer length makes them versatile for temples or religious sites while the flowy fabric doubles as a swim cover up.
I got this maxi in a size small and it fit well. The arm holes were slightly big but I tightened the front laces, which was a handy touch. The skirt length fit but probably could use a 1″ hem just to look a little tidier (or I should just wear it with a slight heel) and I liked the long side zipper – it made getting in and out of it super easy.
When visiting temples in Indonesia, try to wear more conservative clothing. We visited Borobudur and Prambanan which are ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples / religious sites and there weren’t any entrance clothing constraints but everyone still was covered up.
I remember in Thailand the Buddhist temples all required covered shoulders and covered knees – nothing like that in Indonesia. Still, I recommend wearing a dress that covers to the knees and ideally covers the shoulders. Or, just bring a scarf in case you need to cover either end.
I got this Free People dress just for the trip and was SO thrilled with the dress. It comes with a slip dress underneath with adjustable straps so that nothing shows through. The fabric is a beautifully soft, light weight cotton that was comfortable even in 90 degree weather. Also I loved the pink embroidery detailing and was really happy that the embroidery continues from the front to the back of the dress as well. Free People tends to be more expensive but they really get all the details right! Overall, I got tons of compliments on it and would recommend.
I’m wearing an XS and I think it fits a bit over sized, which I like. The sleeves are a bell shape and the bottom skirt is incredibly flowy. I washed it a couple times and it seems to have gotten shorter so I would recommend air drying.
The sandals are an old pair from Everlane. I was drawn to them as they’re genuine leather but C calls them Jesus sandals and is not a fan. They took about 3 days to wear in and have been extremely comfortable ever since.
I’ve had them for about two years now and finally had to chuck them at the end of this trip as the leather on one shoe completely stretched out and slips off my foot at each step. My fault, I wore them in the rain a couple times and the leather got slightly stretched.
I wore this backless dress the day that we hiked Piaynemo. It wasn’t the most practical since that day felt like 110 degrees and there is absolutely no shade up high on Piaynemo. But, the back is slightly open so it wasn’t too bad!
I love the bell sleeves on this dress and of course the lace up back. The dress has a longer hem length, it comes about 1″ almost to the knees so even though there is skin exposed on the back I think it still look relatively covered up and I packed a scarf to wear as a shawl just in case. Raja Ampat is remote so you likely won’t encounter anyone else there except other tourists.
Another great site for summer clothing (rompers, dresses, tops) is Revolve. I always have to resist browsing because I just end up wanting everything. The nice thing is they have sales pretty often so I try to wait for those!
I’ve been quietly shopping at Abercrombie for about two years now. It’s one of those places I don’t really mention since they went through such a decline but I love browsing every so often because they’ve really made a comeback and have a couple standout items every season or so at amazing deals simply because no one thinks to shop there!
I now get a bunch of new swimsuits from them each year. I love their one pieces, they tend to have strategic cut outs in all the right places and are also really affordable.
The one bad thing about one pieces is how annoying it is to go to the bathroom. I may switch back to bikinis next year – that was a big problem on this trip ha!
When we stayed at Raja Ampat, we stayed on our own private island at Raja Ampat Dive Lodge. Each day for activities we would zip over by speedboat to a different island. Some were surprisingly far away (almost 2 hours for the dive day) so I wore this handy beach cover up dress by Tolani many, many times.
I love how lightweight the fabric is so even when it got wet, the dress dried very quickly. The print I think is quite fun for a beach-y environment. It’s also a three quarters sleeve dress. I try to cover up as much as possible with sunscreen, hats etc when I’m out without shade so I liked that this wasn’t sleeveless. The only downside is that after I machine washed it, the fabric got insanely wrinkled. Nothing a little steam dryer won’t fix though! I use this small one from Conair that easily steams out any fabric in under 5 minutes.
One thing to mention – it’s socially acceptable to wear your swimsuit (two piece, bikini, one piece, whatever) in the water but when walking around on the islands you should wear a cover up or real clothing. Many of the Raja Ampat islands are Christian, not Muslim, but still feel uncomfortable and disrespected if you strut around in a bathing suit. I recommend a cover up with long sleeves to the knees that’s lightweight (similar to the above) or just a sarong and t shirt at the very least.
Indonesians are big fans of the bidet, as I learned the hard way. On my first day in Jakarta I was in a glitzy shopping mall and a pit stop in the restroom resulted in me getting very wet. Be ware of what “handles” you’re pressing!
A lot of Indonesian restrooms will have a small communal dispenser in the main area for tissues so check first for that before going in a stall. Of course, Jakarta, Bali and the more touristy areas will have your standard restrooms.
When we got to more remote locations and in smaller airports, I saw a lot more squat toilets and maybe one western style toilet. Local women carry tissue packs so definitely bring a bundle for your trip to Indonesia! I also recommend packing wet wipes in bulk – they come in handy pre-packed sizes so I just chuck in a couple for each trip.
Indonesian women prefer feminine napkins so you’ll find it difficult to purchase tampons in Indonesia. If you’re headed to any of the islands, like Lombok, Gili or Raja Ampat definitely pack these in advance so you can enjoy the beach.
as a tropical country, sometimes there are small showers throughout the day and a small poncho or umbrella will really come in handy. I particularly like this mini option since it doesn’t take up much room in my suitcase.
The first time I visited Indonesia, I got EATEN ALIVE. I literally came back looking like I had chicken pox, I had so many bites. Granted, I am particularly attractive / allergic to mosquitoes in general but I would definitely recommend some strong deet-based mosquito spray (I like this one with 40% deet). Bug spray is one item I will never go “organic”..
I realized I’ve been writing a lot of travel-heavy posts so I wanted to pop in with a quick “life in NYC” update and share some spring sales happening this weekend.
This week the weather was fantastic so we started working out again. We are on Week 1 of the BBG and my legs are killing me. Somehow I seem to always start week 1 and not progress very far, so this year I’m really hoping to complete all 12 weeks.
For LISS, we do the full lap around the Central Park reservoir. It’s a nice, scenic walk around the lake and just a little over 1.5 miles in length, so we get in the full 30-45 minute LISS workout that way.
We also took the opportunity to snap some more photos by the cherry blossom trees! I love the beginning of spring and hearing all the birds chirp again. Outside my apartment windows we have a bit of a ledge and all winter the pigeons would stroll back and forth along it and now my AC unit has so much pigeon poo. I’m hoping they migrate now that it’s warmer.. even though I know they probably won’t.
I’ve also been thinking of trying out Class Pass again. They are offering some amazing deals where all plans are 70% off and the intro plan is 3 classes for $13.50!
Next Saturday (one week from today), I’ll be stopping by the Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square for the Harlem Eat Up! event. It’s going to be centered around food, music and culture and co-hosted by Marcus Samuelsson and Harlemite Karl Franz Williams.
One of the restaurants on my long NYC-dinner bucket list is Red Rooster so I’m so excited to attend this event! You can read more about the Macy’s event I attended last month here. There will be a chance to taste Harlem’s dynamic culinary scene with a number of other prominent Harlem eateries. Here is the full list:
Red Rooster Harlem
I hope to see some of you there! You can grab a ticket through Eventbrite here. All festival attendees will receive 2 drink tickets, a $25.00 Macy’s gift card and wristbands for samples from the participating restaurants.
If you purchase $40 or more from the Home Department the day of, you’ll also receive a copy of The Red Rooster Cookbook, which Marcus will sign! I can’t wait and hope you’ll join me.
Lord & Taylor – 30% Off
Also going on this weekend are some really great sales! The Lord & Taylor Friends and Family sale is still going on for a couple more days where most everything is 30% off. You can get an extra $20 off if you spend $160 or more on Sunday 4/16 only, using my secret code BONUS.
I am loving the suede pink jacket I got and have been wearing it nonstop (you can see more outfit photos of the jacket from different angles in this previous post). I took a quick look once more and there’s lots more sandals and handbags for spring that I thought were cute.
Ann Taylor – 50% Off
And finally, my workwear favorite Ann Taylor is offering 50% off all weekend. I try to avoid looking on their website because I rarely leave without buying something. They have really cute and comfortable blouses for work (none of that stiff cotton button down stuff), unique blazers and some fun skirts that are still work appropriate. I’ve included my favorites from the sale below. I usually scoop in when their sale stuff is 60% off but 50% off everything (even new arrivals) is pretty rare and a really good deal.
Shopbop – up to 25% Off
Also going on is Shopbop’s annual sale – it’s 20% off if you spend under $500 and 25% if you spend over $500. Shopbop is one of my absolute favorite online stores but they carry some higher end designers that also leave my wallet hurting, so I love when they do a sale! Last day is today! Almost all the items below that I picked are under $100, to keep it reasonable :)
Being on the East Coast, I was familiar with Cancun and Tulum but hadn’t experienced much of Mexico on the Pacific Coast. A couple weeks ago, C and I took a relaxing getaway to Nuevo Vallarta, or the new Vallarta – an up and coming beach retreat quickly making a name for itself as a celeb getaway and surfer haven.
About 15 minutes by car from Puerto Vallarta International Airport, this small peninsula is largely sheltered from coastal storms due to its location on the Pacific Coast and boasts incredible sandy beaches, vibrant colorful towns and a luxurious strip of all inclusive resorts. Nuevo Vallarta has something for everyone. From the hippie community at Sayulita chock full of expats and surfers to the Ecological Park home to exotic bird species and little human life, Nuevo Vallarta was an amazing experience.
If you’re considering a fun getaway for the upcoming holiday season, check out the Nuevo Vallarta region within the Riviera Nayarit!
Before You Go
When to go: The best time to visit Nuevo Vallarta is in the winter months. December is peak season.
Where to stay: This region of Mexico next to Puerto Vallarta is best known for all inclusive resorts.
What to do: for the water babies, you’ll find every possible activity from diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding and more.
Decided to head to Nuevo Vallarta? Great, you won’t be disappointed. Here are just a few of the top things to do in the Riviera Nayarit (I managed to squeeze them all in on a 24 hour visit but would recommend a solid 2-3 days if you have the time).
6 of the Best Nuevo Vallarta Things to Do
1 | Tequila Tastings
Tequila vs Mezcal vs Sotol – Do you know the difference?
We had a tequila tasting at an amazing liquor shop. I am admittedly a tequila lover but this was a really interesting experience since we got to learn about the flavors and notes in the liquor. We also learned about Mezcal and Sotol and the differences between each type. I especially loved the smokey burn! If I didn’t have luggage weight restrictions, I would have bought a ton to take back home. Most of the brands in this really cute shop were Mexican only brands.
Sher’s Tip: Tequila is a mezcal, but specifically made from only a single type of agave plant, blue agave. Technically tequila liquor can only be produced in the state of Jalisco and select areas of 4 other states. Picture the difference between tequila and mezcal as akin to the distinction between Champagne from the Champgne region and sparkling white wine. Finally, sotol tastes similar but is made from the Sotol plant (nicknamed Desert spoon) and not technically from agave so it’s not a mezcal!
2 | Sayulita
A Sleepy Surf Paradise
This colorful hippie expat town is perfect for those looking for vibrant activities and shopping. We loved browsing at the various small boutiques, which sell everything from beautiful towels to day of the dead skulls and colorful hats, and also stopped in the Sayulita Wine Shop for local Mexican liquor. The town has pastel colored buildings, gorgeous wall murals and flags and more! You can dine at one of the many restaurants on the water or indulge in some water sports.
Sher’s Tip: There were so many great shops, cafes and restaurants in Sayulita that I really wish we had bought more pesos (and that my apartment was bigger than a shoe box). I especially loved the neon skulls and refreshing roadside coconuts!
Each month, I write a short recap about the high’s and low’s of living in New York City. Here’s to July 2017! You can find all my monthly recaps here
Living in NYC
Happy 4th of July
The month started off fun, with a long weekend, Independence Day celebration and an event with Macy’s.
First, on Saturday I stopped by Macy’s Herald Square for their 4th of July weekend event. The Home department was decked out in colorful cookware and Macy’s heated up the grill for some amazing hot dogs, with condiments provided by Stonewall kitchen. I loved the relish condiments they had – the chili radish packed a nice kick!
I spun the roulette wheel and managed to win a prize, which was fun! They also had a couple stations showing their summer kitchen products and I loved the cute New York City themed cookie cutters and bottle stoppers, which I used my newly won gift card on. Even though my kitchen is the size of a shoebox, I can never resist cute nick knacks or cooking gadgets.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017, including key dates, early access, key picks, included brands & more.
Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017
Once a year, Nordstrom holds it’s biggest sale of the year for Nordstrom cardholders. The sale is different from regular sales in that it’s new merchandise that goes on sale, and not out-of-season, old products that are discounted.
If you’re excited about the 2017 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, you’re in luck! Here’s my ultimate guide for what to expect this year, product reviews and key sale dates.
Here are my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks for workwear, casual clothes, activewear fitness clothing and beauty!
Nordstrom Anniversary Sale FAQs
I’ll be updating this post throughout the sale with product picks, styling and reviews. In the meantime, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the Nordies sale, including early access dates, promo codes, included brands, perks of being a Nordstrom cardholder and more.
Click each question below to expand.
When is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017?
The 2017 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale will be July 21 – August 6, 2017. But, Nordstrom credit cardholders get ‘early access’ to the sale, allowing them to both preview + purchase items a full week before the sale opens to the general public. It’s a way that Nordstrom rewards it’s most loyal customers.
If you have a favorite in-store salesperson, perhaps you’d like to shop in store. Personally, I prefer to shop online and try items on in the comfort of my own home.
Another benefit of doing this is sometimes items will later go on deeper sale in late August and if you purchase online, you can easily ask an online sales associate to price-match in the chat box. If you buy in-store, you have to go in-store to price match (which I think is super annoying).
If you choose the third option, to buy and pick up, you’ll get a text to your phone when your items are ready. Some Nordstrom store locations even provide curbside pickup, where a sales associate brings your purchases straight to your car. Nordies really knows how to open our wallets, ha.
How can I view the the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 catalog?
The catalog will be mailed to Nordstrom cardholders and is expected to ship out the week of 6/26.
Designer shoes: Stuart Weitzman, Vince slip ons, AGL, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Rebecca Minkoff, Sam Edelman, Seychelles, Franco Sarto, Via Spiga, Alexander Wang
Active wear: Nike, Zella, Adidas
Jewelry: Monica Vinader jewelry and Michele watches
Cosmetics: Nars, MAC, SK-II, Clarisonic. They release beauty sets during the sale.
Other Beauty: Diptique, Volupsa, Jo Malone, AHAVA, Amore Pacific,
Good Value buys: Zella workout pants, Barefoot Dreams cardigan, Natori bras, Chantelle Rive bras
You can get an idea of products and brands that go on sale from my last 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks post. Until the catalog is released.. people like to guess or call their sales associates for insider tips, but no one knows for sure.
How Can I Get Early Access to the Sale?
All Nordstrom cardholders automatically receive early access to the Nordstrom sale. You can also sign up for a Nordies credit card and gain access that way.
While some cult favorite items sell out very quickly, and designer things will definitely sell out in the pre-sale, most things get continually restocked over the length of the sale so I wouldn’t say it’s a “must” to be a cardholder.
You can shop it as a general public member just fine. Just know that if you have your heart set on a designer bag, there are very limited quantities of those and it pays to be a card holder.
If you do decide to sign up, sign up before July 9th and make a purchase the day you open it. Then you’ll be mailed a $20 bonus note in time for the anniversary sale.
Typically you need to spend $100 on the day you’re approved for a Nordies card to get the $20 bonus note, but they are waiving that during this time period for the Anniversary Sale.
What are the benefits to being a Nordstrom cardholder?
Here are a couple perks that a Nordstrom Credit or Debit card gives:
Early access to the sale
2 points/$ spent at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, HauteLook and TrunkClub (these are all Nordstrom-owned brands)
24 hour customer service
I believe that they have discontinued Nordstrom debit cards at this time. Only open a credit card if you are able to pay off your balance in full each month, otherwise it’s not worth going into debt for a sale!!
There are different levels of Nordstrom cardholder status. Here’s a handy chart below or visit this link for the complete details. Level 4 cardholders will have first access to the sale on July 12th.
Key sale dates are summarized below:
July 12th, 2017
Sale opens for Level 4 Nordstrom Cardholders
July 13th, 2017
Sale opens for all Nordstrom Cardholders
July 21st, 2017
Sale opens to general public
August 6th, 2017
Last day of the sale.
Note: Nordstrom is based in Seattle, Washington and opens the sale at 12:01am on each of the dates listed above, pacific time.
In celebration of the recent launch of Lili Alessandra a maker of fine linens and soft furnishings on Nordstrom.com. I have partnered with a few of my favorite bloggers to give away a $500 Nordstrom gift card! Simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter. You’ll receive one entry per completion. This giveaway is open internationally and ends on 8/2. Winner will be announced here. Good luck!
Wow has it been HOT lately! I was looking for something chic yet cool to survive the latest heat weave and quickly put this together. I love how it has a little tennis vibe and this skirt/short pair has been a classic that has lasted me so many seasons.
The top is actually another active wear piece – I love how stylish active wear is now a “thing” because I get double the wear out of all my tanks! This top has two cute button openings in the back and the perfect sloped angle cute in the front to show off toned arms for the summer. What are your favorite activewear as casual wear picks?
Also I LOVE these Miu Miu tinted sunglasses. I’ve never tried colored tinted lenses before and these make the whole world look rosey :) Plus the leopard frames catch the light really well and look quite distinctive! I rented them from Ditto.com which makes it really easy to try out multiple designer pairs without committing to buying each pair. You can see the first frames I rented in this earlier post. I am secretly wanting to keep these Miu Mius though, ah! If you would like to try Ditto’s rental service, you can get your first month free with my code ‘SherSheGoes‘. Let me know if you try it! I’d love to know which styles you rent.
P.S. only a couple more days to enter my Nordstrom Anniversary salegiveaway! If you’ve never heard or shopped the sale before, take a look at my picks and suggestions about what to buy and what to pass on here.
After wearing OluKai shoes and sandals throughout my travels, I can confidently proclaim these the most comfortable shoes ever.
Olukai Review: Are These the Most Comfortable Shoes Ever?
I’ve written before about the best travel shoes that blend style and comfort and today I wanted to add to that list! I recently discovered OluKai, a Hawaiian-inspired shoe brand that makes shoes suited for an ocean lifestyle. Their durable, high-quality craftsmanship shows through in every shoe and their sandals, flip flops and sneakers provide excellent comfort without sacrificing style.
For summer travel, I always pack at least 2 pairs of shoes: one slip-on sneaker for the airport and general sightseeing and one strappy sandal for the beach, casual dinners and light-walking days. OluKai specializes in exactly these two types of womens’ shoes and so I decided I needed to try them! For this OluKai review post, I’ll be covering the OluKai Pehuea slip on sneaker and OluKai Upena strappy sandal.
Keep reading to find out if these are the most comfortable shoes for women!
The OluKai Pehuea
First, I have to admit that I love slip on sneakers. They’re so easy to throw on, they cover your foot so if you’re as accident prone as I am you won’t get stubbed toes, and they’re a comfortable, stylish alternative to sneakers.
The main problem I’ve had with slip on shoes in the past is chafing as some shoes require a bit of breaking in. Not so with OluKai! The Pehuea is amazingly comfortable, with a quick-drying fabric outer that is both flexible yet durable. It comes in a wide range of colors – I opted for the pale grey. It’s also quite easy to slip them on, as there’s a wide opening and slight dip – OluKai calls this their drop-in-heel.
But wait – I have to get to the best part. The footbed looks flat from the outside but it’s cushioned inside to provide both heel stability and arch support! Man, oh man these supportive footbeds make these the most comfortable shoes for long days whether you’re standing all day or out running errands.
I must walk oddly because I always get callouses on my little toes but the OluKai Pehuea footbed is designed with anatomical foot support and provides lots of extra cushioning so my heels don’t ache at the end of the day.
The inside footbed is also removable which is GENIUS. Shoes getting a little worn and stinky? No problem, just take out the footbed and throw them in the wash! I do always wear slip on low ankle socks with these shoes but if you don’t, you could wash them more frequently.
Meanwhile, if you were doing some light walking on a slippery dock or perhaps hiking a wet trail, the Pehuea shoe has a rubber out-sole to provide some grip and stability. The rubber itself is made from a synthetic that doesn’t leave scuffs or marks, if you are wearing them indoors.
In summary, OluKai’s Pehuea shoe has my vote for most comfortable walking shoe for women due to its:
Now that I’m back in NYC, I usually wear sandals when out and about. New York sidewalks can get gross so I want sandals with a little more support and structure than flip flops and the Upena sandals are perfect!
I opted for the all black, because I think black makes your foot as slimming as possible and while I love shoes, I don’t necessarily want to draw attention to my toes. The footbed is insanely comfortable and I could probably walk the entire length of Manhattan in these shoes, no problemo.
The Upena sandal has the same anatomically molded footbed to cushion your feet and the best part is that the shoe doesn’t look like it has a clunky insole from the outside. Again, I like my shoes as slimming as possible and these make the cut! The sandal comes with a non-marking rubber sole as well
I also love how the straps can be adjustable – you just gently pull and tug them into place if you want them to sit on your foot differently. I think the Upena would even work well for all my wide-footed friends or those with bunions looking for comfy walking sandals!
Sunglasses: Fendi / Bag: Celine / Wedge Sandals: Marc Fisher
Look 1: Embroidered Shift Dress
Boy did summer turn on like a switch! I used to love the sun and summer heat but lately I can’t really take hot temperatures without feeling like I’m about to collapse. For summer, I’m loving lightweight fabrics like linen and loose, breathable silhouettes.
This Max Studio shift dress from Macy’s fits the bill perfectly and I’ve been wearing it nonstop! It’s a forgiving cut, so I especially love it for brunch or picnics. Meanwhile, the ruffle details on the cap sleeves and hemline keep it interesting and I love the viking-esque embroidered bib on the front.
As you can tell from the photos I’ve been wearing it non stop and simply switching up my shoes/bag to keep the look fresh.
Blouse: Ann Taylor Jeans: Abercrombie / Wedges: Jack Rogers
Look 2: Casual Fridays at the Office
For casual days at the office, I usually wear a sleeveless blouse and bring along a statement jacket. Even though it’s boiling hot outside, inside the air conditioner leaves me with goose bumps so long sleeves are key.
I love the casual, loose fit of this Max Studio jacket. It’s got vertical stripes to help length my (very short) torso and the blue and red embroidery give it some pop.
I picked up this white lace romper and immediately loved the halter neck, criss cross back and loose short bottom. To dress up the look, I added this smart cropped blazer from H&M which comes with adorable ruched sleeves. Both were a great deal and under $50! I try not to overspend on summer clothes since I never really get to wear them anymore with work. Anyway, I’m drafting this as I watch the NBA finals game which is turning out to be a much closer game than I thought it would be… so I’ll keep this short and hope you all have a great upcoming week!
I just returned from Jamaica last month and it was hot, hot, hot! I visited Kingston and Port Antonio in 5 days, 4 nights on a relaxing getaway focused on beautiful natural sights like Frenchman’s Cove, the Blue Lagoon and the coffee-heavy Blue Mountains. You can read more about my trip itinerary and the top sights I recommend in this post, Rafting on the Rio Grande and Other Must Do Things in Portland, Jamaica.
For short trips under a week, I like to pack with just a carry on. Whether you’re staying at an all-inclusive on Montego Bay or docking in Ocho Rios, read on for my Jamaica packing checklist!
Swimsuits | The obvious one and my choice for what to wear all day. Pack a couple suits for lounging around on the beach and water activities. Jamaica is blessed with beautiful waterfalls and rivers and Port Antonio in particular has the most serene lagoons I’ve ever seen!
My go-to stores for bathing suits (both one pieces and bikinis) are Revolve, Nordstrom and Shopbop. They always carry the best range of colors and styles in every price range. I like to pack a mix of one piece swimsuits and bikinis that cover up but still have cut outs and color.
Day Clothes | I packed a mix of dresses and casual clothes but ended up mostly wearing sundresses over bikins. Jamaica is a very relaxed tropical environment and I only felt the need to slightly dress up during dinner times, when I swapped flip flops for closed toed shoes and shorts for pants. Other than that… relax away!
Sunscreen | The sun is strong in Jamaica and I like to bring both a facial sunscreen and all over body sunscreen. For the face, this Japanese brand is my hands down favorite – it’s non greasy, affordable and non-tacky without any scent. For the body, I love this broad spectrum sunscreen which smells like coconuts and leaves your legs nice and glowy.
Aloe Vera | Sunburns inevitably happen and aloe vera gel is the key to relieve any pain. Currently I’m using this organic version made from cold pressed aloe.
Lip Balm with SPF | An absolute must have to avoid chapped lips! My favorite day balm is Bert’s Bees, my night version is from Vaseline and my heavy duty must have is by French brand Aquaphor.
Bug Spray | There are definitely mosquitoes and bugs around so protect yourself from any potential viruses by bringing along some bug spray in advance. Look for a high level of deet in order to be effective and just make sure to wash your hands with soap and water after applying.
I use this spray if I’m in the woods or a forested area but for regular day time use, I’ve been loving these wrist bands. The bracelets contain a blend of insect repelling oil so you don’t have to apply bug spray directly on your skin. I usually get 2 – one for my wrist and one for the ankle otherwise the range of coverage doesn’t seem to extend across the full body.
Snorkel Gear | If you love water sports and are thinking of snorkeling, pack your own. It’s much cheaper to buy an inexpensive set off Amazon than to rent… not to mention more sanitary. I got this inexpensive snorkel set off Amazon, which comes with its own waterproof bag for easy transport.
Lightweight Beach Towel | Typically hotels will provide towels but I like to bring a small, light weight towel of my own just in case. This is my favorite as it’s made of microfiber and dries quickly – perfect for those times when you only stay overnight in a hotel.
Carry On Suitcase | Luckily, Jet Blue has direct flights from NYC to Kingston and Montego Bay so I could have checked a bag if I wanted to free of charge. In the end, I decided to travel light and just go with a carry on. I’m currently using this hard shell CalPak carry on which wheels around easily and is quite compact. Inside there’s a zippered section on one half where I like to keep heavier items like shoes and toiletries and on the other side, I mainly keep clothes.
Packing Cubes | I like to group clothing by color or function and pack each group of items snugly in their own packing cube. These are a lifesaver for keeping your suitcase organized in your hotel room and are my number 1 secret to maximize space and function in just a carry on suitcase. I typically reserve one packing cube for all my worn clothes to separate the dirty stuff from my fresh clothes!
Amazon has their own inexpensive 4 piece packing cube set and several travel blogger friends swear by this set from eBags. Personally I use a set from CalPak which I love. They’re machine washable for easy cleaning and if you have CalPak luggage – they’re perfectly sized for their carry on luggage pieces!
Travel Bottles | If I know I’m going somewhere tropical, I prefer to pack my own hair products since my hair tends to dry out from chlorine. I currently like these for shampoo and conditioner.
Canon 5D Mark III | This is my go-to travel camera and I brought along one lens, my trusty 24-70mm. In hindsight I took all of ~15 pictures on this bulky beast and could have spared the weight. Oh well!
Along with the camera, I also bring my spare battery, battery charger and extra SD and CF cards. I now shoot with just SD cards since I realized you can insert them in your laptop to easily offload, but I keep all my cards in this wallet to keep them organized and easily reachable. When I kept my SD cards loose, I would lose them all the time – even if they were in a zippered pocket. The memory card case fits both SD and CF cards and was under $7 so it’s a no brainer purchase.
Portable Charger | In the end, pretty much all my photos were taken with just the iPhone. I currently use an iPhone 6S and this Anker portable charger to keep it fully charged at all times. This charger is small and sleek with enough life to fully charge an iPhone 2x. Also I really love Anker’s products since they have great customer service. I once bought a product that ended up dying and they quickly sent me a replacement free of charge, so I highly recommend them!
GoPro | On this trip, we visited the Blue Lagoon, Rio Grande river and Frenchman’s Cove so I also brought along my GoPro to get some video footage. There wasn’t much underwater life though so I would only bring this if you want some fun underwater group shots or plan to snorkle. For those half sky, half underwater shots I use this GoPro dome.