What to Bring; The Essentials

If you look around on the internet you will find tons of advice and literally tons of crap that people suggest you need for a vacation. Most of this is just marketing and attempts to get you to buy more stuff!

All you really need if you spend most of your time on Tower Island or SSB!

If you’ve never travelled to a tropical island or Jamaica, keep reading to find out the essentials you will need for travel to Jamaica and any international destination.


You need a valid passport to travel to Jamaica. A visa is not required for US citizens.

For US citizens, most airlines will not let you fly if your passport is going to expire within 6 months of travel.

If your passport is expiring within 6 months of travel it’s best to go ahead and get it renewed before you travel! Otherwise, you could be denied boarding.


You need some, but not a lot of cash. Mostly in small denominations.

Read our blog post on how much to bring and who to tip.


This is absolutely essential for everyone. The sun is very bright in Jamaica and you can burn very, very fast.

A sun burn can put a real damper on your vacation and I see couples every year that don’t head this warning.

Read out blog post on how much sunscreen you will need as purchasing sunscreen at the resort is very, very expensive.


The sun is very bright in Jamaica and it hurts my eyes without sunglasses. After a couple of days I will start to adjust some but still feel much more comfortable with a good pair on.

I bring 2 extra pairs because I will eventually lose or break at least one pair! Buying a new pair at the gift shop is an option, but they may not be the type/kind you prefer.

Bathing Suits

You need a different bathing suit for every 2 nights you are staying. By the 3rd day, your suit will start to smell – even if you try to wash it or rinse it out as they will never get completely dry – even sitting on the balcony.

You can get away with fewer swim suits if you plan on spending most of your day at Tower Island or SSB, but you will still need suits for any water sports, catamaran trips and many other activities as they will still start to smell even if you only use them once.

Water Shoes

If you plan to climb YS Falls, Dunn’s River Falls or plan to swim in the ocean near tower island or sunset beach then water shoes are a must.

For the falls it’s about having enough traction to climb.

But for Tower Island and Sunset beach it’s about avoiding the sea urchins. They are very numerous near and around the island and in parts of sunset beach.

Read our blog post on Sea Urchins to understand why you really want to watch out for these guys.

Good Flip Flops or Sandals

You will do a lot of walking – a good pair of flip flops or sandals is essential – I even bring a back up pair just in case.

Beach Bag

To carry all your stuff around including the towels.

This becomes essential if you plan to “Trade Places”, or if you are at Sans Souci and not staying in the beachfront suites as it can be a pain to go all the way back to your room to get something.


More of a personal choice, but since a lot of people are celebrating honeymoons or weddings, they may dress up really nice for dinner or the evenings so don’t be surprised to see other’s dressed very sharp for dinner.

Other’s may dress very sexy for each other since it’s an adult’s, couple’s only resort so don’t be surprised to see short skirts and plunging necklines.

It’s really up to you as to how many and types of outfits you want to bring.

For men – the main thing to know is that you cannot eat in the nicest restaurant without nice pants, collared shirt and close toes shoes (no sandals!).

You also cannot wear bathing suits to any restaurant for dinner but nice shorts and collared shirt is OK at some.


Obviously prescription medications, but any and all over the counter medications you might possibly need during your trip.

There are some basic medications in the gift shop so if you just need a Tylenol for a hangover one day, this isn’t a problem.

But if you need anything more than the basics, then getting what you need can be a bit of a “pain”…

The reason is a trip to the store is not cheap ($40 for a taxi) and it’s likely they won’t have the exact medicine you need anyway so you might have to drive to two or more stores.

Read our blog post for more information on bringing medications.

Bug Spray/Itch Relief

You will eventually get bitten by a mosquito (except in December/January – the Windy Season) especially in the evenings as they can come out with a vengeance on certain nights and places.

You may also need bug spray to avoid sand fleas. Read our blog post on how to protect against sand fleas.

The resort sells bug spray, but’s it’s expensive to buy there.

First Aid Kit/Anti-nausea

You do NOT want to call the resort doctor unless it’s absolutely necessary. And so you definitely don’t want to call them for a band aid…

Thus, a simple first aid kit with the basics is a good idea.

Throw in some stuff for heartburn and anti-nausea/anti-diarrhea and you should be ready to go!

Non Essentials

That’s really all you absolutely must need to have a great trip out of country on the beach.

Other’s will list things such as:

  • Tervis cups for water (Hard to clean right but usefull)
  • Lights for your balcony (Meh)
  • Hair Dryer (One in room, but if you care, bring one)
  • Chair Clips (Not necessary but yes, they keep the towel on the chair!)
  • Watch or “Clock Lock” – helps you know what time it is without getting your phone out which ultimately leads to distractions
  • Books/Kindle… If you want to read (I don’t! but my wife does)
  • After sun care/Aloe (I just don’t get sunburned in first place)
  • Bluetooth speakers (can be nice, remember to ask your fellow guest if it’s ok!)
  • Lot’s of Cover ups/sun dresses – my wife brings a ton – I look silly in mine so I leave them for the bedroom 😉
  • Shampoo/Conditioner – the ones at the hotel are not that great but will work if you really need them

Now that you’re packed…

Take half the things out! because I guarantee you just packed way too much. You will not need nearly as many outfits as you think you’ll need…

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