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Helpful Things to Bring on Your Summer Beach Vacation


With all of the power outage nonsense this week, I completely forgot that it’s Memorial Day weekend. I remember being so excited for this weekend when I lived in Connecticut because it was the unofficial start of summer, and I used to LIVE for summer! I’m sure many of you are planning to head to the beach this weekend or later this summer, so I thought I would re-share the following list of helpful items to bring on your summer beach vacation. For those of you planning a trip to St. John, a lot of these items are great to bring here too.

Neso Tents

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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 pricey, 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.

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. Click here to check them out on Amazon. 

Rechargeable Fan 

This is a must for hot summer days! It will not only keep you cool, but it can charge your phone too! This camping fan with LED light is affordable, and can be charged in your car. We have several of these at our house, and they are invaluable! Click here to check it out on Amazon. 

A Soft-sided Backpack Cooler

These backpack coolers are great because it can double as your carry on bag on a plane if you’re traveling. It makes it easier to bring drinks and snacks to the beach being that it’s a backpack. A lot of villas here 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. 

Items That Are Great For Your Next St. John Vacation 

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.

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.

Beach/Pool Noodle

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

Noodles sell for around $10 apiece here on island, which is crazy. 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.

A few other items that are helpful to bring to St. John are reusable shopping bags, a reusable water bottle, and reusable straws because not all restaurants provide straws.

Something Not for Vacation, But Something My Family Loves 

This is one of the best purchases I have ever made. We used to rent and now we have a small house. We currently do not have the ability to install a regular-sized pool, so this does the trick! We purchased this Intex hot tub and use it as a pool for Dalton. It’s great because it holds up to the island heat, and it has a filter so it stays nice and clean. We’ve had it for several years, and we haven’t had a single issue. 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:

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

Happy Memorial Day everyone. I hope you all have an enjoyable and safe holiday weekend.

Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

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Looking to purchase a home on St. John or interested in listing your property? I am now a licensed realtor. Please contact me to or at 203-376-3786 to see how I can help.

Tag: St. John packing list 




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