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Wondering what to wear in the Bahamas? We’ve got eight must-have essentials for you to bring on every single trip. Find out what they are!
What to Wear in the Bahamas
Written By: Rachel Campbell
As with any island destination, packing for the Bahamas is great if you’d rather stick to a carry-on instead of a heavy checked bag. Basically everything you’ll want to pack is lightweight, easy to fold (or roll up), and can be hand-washed in your hotel or resort sink or shower if needed.
The following recommendations are based on my experience spending multiple summers exploring and free diving Grand Bahama Island in the northern tip of the island chain. Because of the great year-round weather, your packing list won’t vary much through out the seasons. Here are a few key items you’ll need:
You will get wet
Because you’re traveling to an island or two surrounded with year-round warm water, you should definitely take a swim and snorkel trip. Though some people always find the ocean to be cold, most visitors find that the water near the beach can get pretty warm.
This means you’ll want to pack a few bikinis. Generally speaking, you’ll want at least two swimsuits to choose from. This way you’ll be able to comfortably put on a dry bikini when the other one is drying from your morning swim.
If you plan on doing a lot of snorkeling, freediving, or scuba diving, a bikini that stays in place will be your best friend.
Here are some tips for the best gear for first-time snorkelers!
Bring a rash guard
If you tend to burn easily, pack a rash guard for the Bahamas.
Because the islands are covered in white sand beaches with plentiful coastline, the sun tends to reflect off the sand, making the rays a bit stronger than what you might be used to. This is also true when you’re in the ocean, as the shallow waters also have a white sand bottom.
The key is to start off in your bikini and then after a certain amount of time, put on your rash guard. That way you can still get some great Instagram bikini pictures that don’t include red shoulders!
Read these tips on why polarized sunglasses are a must for a trip like this!
Bring a ziplock bag of hair ties
If you’ve got long hair that tangles easily, you’ll want to bring some hair ties with you. I’ve always found that wearing my hair in a bun or even just a ponytail while swimming and snorkeling helps to fight hours of detangling later that day.
These ribbon hair ties are amazing to avoid hair breakage!
Pack a few small containers
This may sound strange to some, but if you love to collect sand and seashells from your island travels, you’ll find that the Bahamas offers a fantastic selection–and you won’t have to buy it at a roadside stand next to your resort. To avoid odors, pack up your collections in an airtight container.
A great tip is to pack these plastic containers with your smaller carry-on items like your bikinis. This will help your bag take up even less space!
For more options (including your toiletries), these are the best travel containers!
Don’t forget an underwater camera
Luckily, because of all of the great options available, you don’t need a thousand dollar underwater setup to take great pictures. Even your iPhone combined with an underwater case like this or this will do the trick.
I’ve always found that the GoPro is a great choice because it’s small, meaning that you’ll hardly even know it’s in your carry-on.
If you do have a GoPro that you’re going to take with you, consider investing in a color filter. These filters help remove any extra blue or green in the water and adds the reds, yellows, and oranges back into your photograph.
Here are a few more waterproof cameras to choose from!
Bring battery backups
Though you might not end up needing to use it, it’s always a good idea to bring an extra battery or two for all of your electronics. This is especially true if you’re thinking about visiting the island chain during the summer months when thunderstorms and blackouts are more common.
During my first trip to Grand Bahama Island, we experienced a heavy thunderstorm that left us without power for a few hours. Luckily, I had an extra battery for my camera. I didn’t have to worry about the fact that my original battery was nearly drained and wouldn’t be charged before my next trip into the water.
To charge other items like your phone, tablet, and e-reader, use a portable power bank like this!
Pack a few nice pairs of shorts along with some tank tops
Even though you’ll be staying on a Caribbean island, it’s not a good idea to walk into a store in just your bikini and flip flops. Some of the Bahamian islands can be rather conservative, meaning that you may be looked down upon if you wear next to nothing at the grocery store.
When packing your tank tops and flowy tees, choose ones that are lightweight and easy to take on and off. This way you won’t be struggling with your outfit each time you go into the ocean.
Take a look at these cute summer dresses for more ideas!
Pack waterproof makeup
If you like to wear makeup no matter what, it’s a good idea to stick to the waterproof or water-resistant type. Even if you don’t plan on venturing into the ocean that day, sweating may cause your foundation to run down your face.
Also, if you wear mascara and eyeliner into the ocean that isn’t waterproof, the salt water will strip it right off, making it look like you’ve been crying for hours.
TFG readers voted for the best waterproof mascara and the above two were the clear winners!
What are your tips on what to wear in the Bahamas? Share below!
For more North America packing tips, please read:
- Caribbean Cruise Wear Essentials
- What to Wear in Grand Cayman
- What to Pack for the Bahamas
- What to Pack on a Cruise
Suggested travel resources:
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Author Bio: Rachel Campbell is a professional travel writer who has been slowly exploring the globe since 2013. Though her heart belongs to Florida and the Caribbean, she can still be found making snow angels in the cold white north from time to time. For more, follow The Florida Living Magazine and My Caribbean Island Vacation along with her adventures on Instagram.