Menu Close

Helpful Items to Bring to St. John

Cinnamon Bay

Hello everyone, and happy Tuesday! Let’s be honest, there isn’t a whole lot of work happening this week. Am I right?? Haha. So today, let’s talk about shopping. 🙂

So I was driving along the North Shore earlier this year 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. This list is helpful for any warm-weather vacation spot.

Beach/Pool Noodle

One of my repeat island tour guests using a noodle at Saltwell Bottom.

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.

Neso Tents

Image credit:

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 of 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 videos underwater. It is very pricey, but you truly cannot beat the quality. I film all of my driving videos using a GoPro. Click here to check them out on Amazon. 

A Soft-sided Backpack Cooler

These backpack coolers are great because they 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 Thanks, everyone!

Something Not for Vacation, But Something My Family Loves 

This is one of the best purchases I have ever made. 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 this older picture above, Dalton loves it!

You can buy it from several places, but here is a link to buy it on Amazon:

(I’m all about free shipping through Amazon when possible!)

Later this week, I’ll tell you about local stores here on St. John that are great options for your holiday shopping. In the meantime, have a great day everyone!

Want to learn more about St. John? Take an island tour with us!

Learn more here –> Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

Follow Explore STJ on Social Media




Tag: St. John packing list


Related Posts


  1. Mary Pickens

    Hi there! Mary Pickens (Seacret Garden Villa) here … wanted to share a little tip that friend of mine just turned me on to … Walmart Plus. It’s basically Amazon but way faster! I placed an order on Saturday at 6:30pm and it arrived yesterday afternoon at the postal center by Starfish Market. I couldn’t believe how fast it all shipped … and in 1 box!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *