What to Pack for a Trip to Beaches: Turks and Caicos--and What NOT to Pack!
I went to Turks and Caicos last October for the Social Media on the Sand Blogger Conference. It was amazing and has had me dreaming about white beaches and turquoise waters ever since. Was it really a dream? I have the photographs to prove I was there, so it must be true. See more about the Social Media Conference at this post.
Immediately after coming home I wanted to go back. I was not ready for the harsh reality of cold, brown Autumn in Utah. Now that I've been to the island of Providenciales, I know how to travel there better next time, and I'm going to tell you all about it in this post!
What you MUST take with you to Beaches: Turks and Caicos...and what you MUST leave home!
Okay, first off, when planning a trip to Turks and Caicos...most people you tell will have NO idea where Turks and Caicos is. Some people will think you mean Turkey...some people will just give you the blank stare.
I took 2 friends with me to the island, both named Kara, and it was a blast. We got used to telling people that we were going to the Bermuda Triangle...as Turks and Caicos is the bottom edge of the triangle. This gave most people the bearings. Between the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Above Haiti. In the Caribbean. Here's the map:
The first thing you will notice when you arrive on the island of Providenciales is the humidity. It is warm and humid. Now, I lived in Alabama for 2 years and got used to humidity...but I was still shocked and unprepared for the humidity in T&C.
Seriously, it felt like 8000% humidity. This is essential to know when packing! But with waters and views like this, totally worth it.
I brought a bunch of clothes. You know, going on a trip for 5 days, packed 32 outfits...just in case! I did pack light, but I did end up bringing things I did not need.
You will spend your days in bathing suits and cover ups. That's pretty much all you need.
There are pools everywhere, so even if getting in the amazingly clear ocean isn't your thing, you will be in the pools too. Plan on spending most of your time in the water. With this in mind, you need lots of swim wear.
Food at Beaches resort is all included. We visited 18 of the 21 restaurants in 5 days. The trick is we didn't eat much, but jumped around to multiple restaurants all day. The food is amazing and totally worth experiencing.
Lots of people are thrilled that the alcohol is included...I don't drink, so I don't know much on that topic. Some guests we spoke to said the alcoholic beverages were great! I got all my drinks virgin. In fact, my favorite drink is call fruit punch and is amazing! I made a copycat version here.
Ten Things TO Pack for a Vacation at Beaches: Turks and Caicos:
(affiliate links included)
Pack a pen in your carry-on. It needs to be blue or black in. On your flight to Turks and Caicos the airline will pass out the customs forms and they must be filled out with pen. Neither my friends nor I had a pen with us, so we had to borrow one while we were in line--which went surprisingly fast! It would have been so much better to just have a pen with us!
2. Powder SPF
Yes, powder. You will need to wear sunblock, the island is so near the equator that you will turn brown in no time. But you do not want to get burned! Sunblock will drip and sweat off your humid face so fast...so bring powder for your face. SPF Powder is great for the kids too.
3. Swim Wear (about 1 per day)
I brought 2 swimsuits. They will not dry hung up overnight. They can start to mildew a little too because of the blessed humidity. Bring a swimming suit for each day you are planning on being there. It's not a big deal, but I would have liked more variety. Bring rashguards too--keep from burning in the hot island sun. Especially if you are bringing kids, make sure they have covering. I got this cover-up in black and loved it!
4. Tight swim shorts to prevent chaffing
I've got some chub on my thighs for sure...but even girls with incredible thigh gaps are going to want to have the option of some spandex shorts. We walked all over the resort about 5-8 miles each day we were there! So, those legs are going to be rubbing together with powdery sand and salt...and you do not want to deal with uncomfortable chaffing, believe me. My shorts were too loose. They were more like board shorts...so get some tight spandex shorts. Even for men, wear jammers or spandex under your swim shorts.
Here's some for men too
Kids need them too!
5. Beach Resort Evening Wear
Okay, there are a couple of restaurants that are just open for dinner and require fancy dress. And yes, those restaurants are incredible--so send the kids to the daycare facility and go on a night out. "Evening resort wear" is basically not swimwear, t-shirts or jeans. This is where you need a light dress. Put a flowy dress over a swim suit and you are ready for an evening out. Men can wear a button up short-sleeved shirt with some shorts and boat shoes. The rest of the time a tee shirt or cover up is all you will need. I love this dress, I got the Green Vegetation one.
6. Fancy Sandals
As part of the resort evening wear, fancy sandals are required. Basically anything but those super cheap flip-flops. The sandals I brought were perfection. They were super comfortable, no blisters the entire time, and they were perfect for the fancy nights as well as just playing on the beach. I wore Teva Mandalyn Sandals the whole time and LOVE them. I thought they were a little pricey at first, but would buy them again in a heartbeat!
7. Selfie Stick
You need the proof that you were on a tropical vacation! There is friendly staff members everywhere, but it's nice to take a good selfie and get more background scenery in the pic. It's perfect for taking pictures of the whole family...or the girls on a fun Girl's trip! This selfie stick is great!
8. RFID Wallet
The resort will give you a key to your room that looks like a credit card. Unfortunately, storing the key with your phone will wipe out the card. So, you will want an RFID wallet to store your card in so you can store it by your phone.
9. Check a Bag!
I wanted to travel light, so I only brought a carry on with me. 4 ounces of sunblock was plenty for me during my 5 day trip. On my way home I checked my bag so I could bring a big conch shell that I purchased from some locals with me...plus some of the conference swag. So bring a bag that has a zipper expansion so you can take more things home with you and check the bag. It was just $30 more at the airport.
Traveling out of the country of course, you will need your passport. I have only been out of the country twice now with a passport...not counting Canada. So I had to get a new one. It takes about 6 weeks, so plan ahead. If you are considering going, get the passport paperwork moving too.
Things NOT to Pack for a Vacation at Beaches: Turks and Caicos:
1. Beach towels
The resort has loads of giant towels on the beach, at every pool and everywhere in between. Don't pack towels.
2. Flat iron/curling wand/curling iron/blow dryer
Not worth it at all. The resort had a blow dryer in our room, but it's too hot to want to use it...and nothing seems to dry anyway. If your hair has natural curl, it will curl much more! Your hair won't dry enough to bother curling, plus, you'll want to jump in the ocean or pool anyway. All the weddings we saw there, the brides looked gorgeous but their hair was generally in an updo or casual beach waves and a crown.
I brought all my make-up and realized it was a mistake on day one. The humidity makes you feel like you are in a steam room all the time and your face will just drip. Use powder to help keep you dry. But leave the expensive foundations at home. I did wear mascara, but not even my eyeliner would stay in place. Embrace your natural beauty in the island sun.
As mentioned earlier, we walked 5-8 miles every single day we were on the island. Everything is very close, but it's a big beach with immaculate pools and building villages. There's lots of walking. Blistering is so easy. I brought some fancier shoes but ended up with blisters after wearing them one trip to the conference room. Wear fancy sandals, but make sure they are comfortable. There's not a big amount of "night life" that needs club wear or high heels.
5. Giant Camera
I brought my Canon camera and lenses...I took them out to the beach a couple times to get some good shots. However, it's big and bulky...and phones take amazing photographs these days. Take a bunch of pics with your phone and leave the big camera home. There's a photography studio that will do a free professional shoot for you and if you like the pictures, you can purchase them. We did a photo shoot but did not feel like any of the pictures were worth buying.
6. Power Adapters
No need to have a bunch of adapters if you are coming from the USA, all the power outlets are standard for us.
What do you think of my list? Do you think I've forgotten anything important? Please, let me know in the comments!