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I am going to Aruba – what should I pack?

You are excited! You’ve booked a great deal on Aruba and have your airline and hotel reservations lined up, you’re ready to go. The next question is “what should I pack?” If there could be two words to describe the contents of your suitcase when you arrive for your Aruba vacation, they would be comfortable and casual.

Aruba is a country where people are very friendly and “go with the flow”. Walking down the street near “high-rise” and “low-rise” hotels, you see people in all kinds of casual clothing. At night, vacationers can change into their informal “dresses,” but the rule of thumb for clothing on the island is to stay comfortable and cool.

Remember that Aruba is a tropical country: daytime temperatures are often close to 90 degrees F and at night drop to the high 70s F range. Humidity can be high even though it’s mostly a desert island. Also note that the island has a constant trade wind. This keeps things comfortable even in warm temperatures.

So given all this, what should you pack?

1. First, pack light. If you’re staying on the island for a week, you can easily pack everything you need in a carry-on bag. The benefit of this is that you leave the airport faster when you arrive and also when you return home.

2. Swimsuits: The most important item of clothing in Aruba, in our opinion, is your swimsuit. Bring at least two of them. You can wash/rinse them in your hotel room and hang them to dry on the line most hotels have in their showers or bathtubs.

3. Shorts and t-shirts are the next vital pieces of clothing to put in your suitcase. We usually pack two to three shorts and four to five t-shirts. If you’re shopping for clothes for your trip, look for lightweight shorts and t-shirts that are worn for outdoor activities, like hiking. These can be easily washed and quickly dried, meaning you can reuse clothing while on vacation.

4. Shoes, slippers, sandals, beach shoes, etc. – The sand on the beach gets hot and depending on your location on the island, the sand along the water may contain small stones and shells. You will want to have sandals or beach shoes to wear on the beach and possibly in the water. Comfortable sneakers or casual shoes are ideal for walking through shopping and restaurant areas at night. If you are going to do anything, you may want to bring some walking shoes or sneakers. If you play golf, you can bring your own shoes or rent some on the course.

5. Hat and sunglasses: Head and eye protection is important: the sun hits Aruba with very direct rays as it is close to the equator. A hat is a great idea and sunglasses are almost essential for your days at the beach. Do not skimp on either for your trip.

6. Evening Wear: If you feel more comfortable “dressing up” for dinner, men can pack a light pair of pants and a golf shirt. The woman may want to pack a light sundress. Remember, casual is the keyword even at the best restaurants on the island.

7. Sunscreen Beach Shirt: If your skin burns easily — and even if it doesn’t — you might want to pack a sunscreen beach shirt. These shirts are designed to be worn in the water and offer a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50.

Well, these ideas should be a great start to packing your suitcase. Remember the two key words, comfortable and casual!

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