So I was driving along the North Shore the other day when I noticed a business was selling beach noodles for $14. Fourteen dollars for one pool noodle! I know things are pricey here, but my goodness, that is just nuts. I joked to my island tour guests that I should start selling noodles out of my trunk! Ok, so I won’t get that crazy, but it got me thinking… An inflatable pool noodle is such an easy thing to pack for a vacation to St. John. There are so many minor things that you can easily pack in a suitcase that will not only save you some pennies when you’re here, but it will also make your St. John vacation that much better. So you know what I did? I compiled a list for all of you. 🙂
Here are some items that you may want to add to your St. John packing list. I included links to buy, when possible, too.
Clearly we have to start with beach/pool noodles. You can purchase inflatable ones on Amazon for as little as $4.55, and they take up no room at all in a backpack or suitcase. Traveling with a group? I recently purchased six inflatable noodles for only $17. Click here to check them out on Amazon.
There isn’t a ton of shade on the majority of our beaches here on St. John. And let’s be honest, it’s hot here, so shade is our friend. The Neso tent is a great way to bring some shade along with you to the beaches that have less natural shade. These are definitely a pricier item, but they are a great investment. They come in a variety of sizes, they don’t take up a ton of room in your suitcase (you can put it in your carry on too), and they are easy to set up. You simply put the poles up (not into the sand, so they’re turtle-nest friendly), fill a few bags with sand and voilà! Click here to check them out on Amazon.
Reef Safe Sunscreen
It is actually illegal to use sunscreen that is not “reef safe” in the US Virgin Islands. This law was enacted back in March 2022. Rather than scrambling to find some when you arrive, you can grab some off of Amazon and bring it with you. There are numerous options, but Caribbean Sol is one of my favorites. Reef-safe sunscreen protects us, our coral and the marine life that we are all so excited to see while snorkeling. Basically you do not want to use sunscreen with any of the “Toxic 3 Os” – oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene. Click here to check out Caribbean Sol’s reef-safe products.
Caribbean Fish ID
This is a handy tool for snorkelers. This waterproof card shows you which fish and other sea creatures you may see while you are snorkeling or diving in our waters. And the best part? It’s only $3.99 on Amazon. Click here to check it out.
Speaking of snorkelers, defogger is a must. Nothing ruins a snorkel faster than not being able to see anything due to fog on your snorkel mask., A couple dabs of defogger will do the trick! You can also use Dawn dish soap as a backup defogger, and sometimes you will find that in your villa or condo rental. Both the defoggers and dish soap are sold in containers that are less than three ounces, so you can easily take them along with you even if you are not checking a bag. Click here to check out a few defoggers on Amazon.
A GoPro Waterproof Camera
I absolutely love my GoPro. I can strap it to the Jeep to take cool driving videos, and I can take it in the water to shoot video underwater. It is very pricey, but you truly cannot beat the quality. I film all of my driving videos using a GoPro, and I filmed the walk through the Caneel Bay Beach Club earlier this week using it too. Click here to check them out on Amazon.
A Soft-sided Backpack Cooler
These backpack coolers are great because it can double as your carry on bag on the plane. It makes it easier to bring drinks and snacks to the beach being that it’s a backpack. A lot of villas provide coolers, but they can be the larger, bulky ones. This is another great investment, and you will likely use it at home too. Click here to check out a few options on Amazon.
Baby Oil or Skin So Soft
I learned this little trick from a taxi driver several years back, and it changed my life. If you are one of the unlucky people, like me, that gets eaten alive by the no see ums, baby oil is a must. I haven’t tried Skin So Soft, but a lot of my tour guests have said it works well too. In either case, the oil prevents the no see um from biting you. I promise you, it will change your world. 🙂
Insulated Travel Cup
A lot of people opt to bring their favorite insulated cup with them on vacation. It’s great to have on the plane, so you can have a lid on your drink when it gets bumpy. And then you can obviously use it at the beach, or even at a restaurant to keep your drink colder longer.
A few other items that are helpful to bring are reusable shopping bags, a reusable water bottle, and reusable straws because not all restaurants provide straws.
I hope this helps you all plan your next trip to St. John. And if there is anything you think I should add to this list, please email me at email@example.com. Thanks everyone!
This is one of the best purchases I have ever made. We are renters here on St. John, and we do not have a pool. We purchased this Intex hot tub and use it as a pool for our son. It’s great because it holds up to the island heat, and it has a filter so it stays nice and clean. And as you can see in the picture above, Dalton loves it!
You can buy it from several places, but here is a link to buy it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/46IVfkO
(I’m all about free shipping through Amazon!)
Tag: St. John packing list