Barbados is one of the easternmost Caribbean islands. It is an independent nation but was ruled by Britain for over 400 years. In the capital city of Bridgetown, you’ll find colonial-style buildings and houses mixed in with modern styles and Caribbean architecture. No matter when you visit, the temperatures will be tropical and warm. Bring your swimsuit and sandals. Barbados and its people will entertain you with their history and island charm.
What to Pack for Barbados – 17 Essentials
1. Packing Cubes
Do you like to stay organized? Packing cubes are a great way to help you pack the right items and not overpack. They come in different sizes so you can have as much or as little space as you need for your different clothing. When you’re done with vacation, simply store all the dirty clothes together. No need to worry about dirty and clean clothes mixing with packing cubes.
2. Universal Waterproof Phone Case
Taking your phone out into the water with you and taking all those Instagram shots both above and below the water is fun. Be sure to do so safely with a waterproof phone case. It fits all size phones and comes with an easy carrying strap, so you won’t lose it.
3. VPN for Internet Safety
VPNs are an everyday travel necessity today. Keep yourself, your loved ones, and your private information safe with a VPN. It’s easy to use. Just connect and surf. There are many VPNs available on the market. Be sure to use a trusted and secure one. Enjoy your vacation with the peace of mind a VPN can provide.
4. Neck Wallet
A neck wallet is so useful for staying safe around town. You can store your passport, money, room key, and even your cell phone safely inside. Don’t worry about pickpockets. Keep your valuables securely in the neck wallet next to your chest and you’ll be able to have everything handy and safe.
5. Floating Wrist Straps
With the number of water activities Barbados offers, you don’t want to risk losing your phone or camera to the bottom of the sea. If you accidentally drop your device when paddle boarding, snorkeling, or jet skiing, these flotation straps will keep it from sinking! They are also useful to stay hands-free to enjoy your activities fully but always have your camera secure and handy.
6. Cooling Towel
The direct sunlight on the island of Barbados can be very hot so it’s recommended to bring this cooling towel to help adjust to the heat. Stay safe and keep from getting heat stroke. All you need to do is soak the towel in water, wring it out, and cool down!
7. Insect Repellent
Insects like the tropical islands too. Be sure to pack Repel Insect Repellent to use on your outdoor adventures. This repellent uses natural ingredients to keep the reef and you safe. And it smells good too! You’ll feel safe from the bugs and good for helping the environment.
8. Quick-Dry Travel Towel
A quick-dry travel towel is an absolute travel essential. It takes up almost no space and is lightweight. When you get to your destination you have a large and comfy towel you can take to the beach, pool, gym, or even use in your room. It’s also great as an emergency scarf or wrap in a cold car or airplane.
9. LifeStraw Water Bottle
It’s very important to stay hydrated, especially in hotter tropical climates. The best way to make sure you always have fresh, safe water with you all day is to use a LifeStraw bottle that has a built-in filter to remove potentially harmful bacteria from your water. It will save you from having to constantly buy plastic bottles and will reduce the amount of single-use plastic that could potentially pollute the island.
10. Universal Travel Adapter
Just in case you find yourself needing a travel adapter, packing this universal one should always be on the top of your list. Never leave on vacation without it. Electrical standards are not the same worldwide so it’s best to be prepared with a universal travel adapter.
11. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks
The last thing you want to happen on your vacation to Barbados is to arrive and find that an essential travel item of yours has been swiped from your bag. It happened to me once. A pair of sunglasses were stolen out of my checked bag, and I was left having to buy an ill-fitting, overpriced pair for my beach vacation. Securing your bags with a luggage lock will decrease the risk of theft.
12. Lipstick-sized Portable Charger
A portable charger is a must-have. Tuck it away in your portable safe or neck wallet so you always make sure to have a charged phone with you. It’s so important to have your phone ready in case of an emergency. You also don’t want to miss that once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity!
13. Hanging Toiletry Bag
A hanging toiletry bag is a must, no matter the destination. This one will fun your sunscreen, after-sun cream, shower essentials, and more. It conveniently hangs so that you can easily access whatever you need without having to constantly dig through your luggage. You’ll be able to use it trip after trip. I’ve had mine for years!
14. Windproof Travel Umbrella
Tropical islands like Barbados can get lots of rain, depending on the season. It’s always best to be prepared with a windproof travel umbrella. It’s compact and travel-friendly and you’ll know you have it with you in case you need it. So better to be safe than sorry and add this travel umbrella to your packing list!
15. Travel Insurance
You never know what might happen when you travel, so it’s always wise to be prepared, just in case. Getting travel insurance can give you peace of mind that if something goes wrong, you’re covered. Best to add it to the list and check it twice! We like to use TraveInsurance.com to compare policies from top companies to find the one that’s best for our family and travel plans.
16. Affordable Underwater Action Cam
Planning on going snorkeling or scuba diving? If you’re an underwater lover, this action camera needs to come along with you. Take it out surfing and catch the inside shots or wade through the low tide pools and capture amazing underwater sea life just at the edge of the ocean.
17. After-Sun Cream
It’s inevitable. If you’re enjoying the sunshine and the beach, your skin will need extra nourishment. Remember to pack an after-sun cream. I personally use and love this one. Its oil blend will replenish and hydrate your skin to keep it soft and protected. Your skin will never feel better, even after a hot day in the sun!
What to Wear in Barbados
It’s a casual island and you’ll find the locals in shorts or jeans and t-shirts. Even the capital city is relaxed and laid back. Bring comfy and cool clothes for the daytime and a dress casual outfit for a night out. It’s worth it to pack a sweater or jacket when the nights get cooler or for those midnight strolls on the beach.
Barbados is a tropical island with a casual feel. Bring lightweight and breathable clothing. Be sure to pack a swimsuit cover-up or no iron shirt for the beach restaurants.
Plan to do lots of walking while visiting the beaches and downtown tourist areas. Comfy walking shoes, such as Vibram Hemp Barefoot All-Day Shoes, are essential.
The island does tend to get chilly when the sun goes down so bring a sweater or jacket to keep the wind at bay for the evening hours.
The locals don’t dress up on the island, so a comfy pair of shorts and a t-shirt are great for walking around town. Pack a polo shirt to visit some of the historic landmarks or eat in a nice sit-down restaurant.
Just in case the temperatures fall during evening hours, be sure to pack a cardigan or jacket and a pair of long pants.
Packing for the Seasons in Barbados
Dry Season – January, February, March, April, May
Rainy Season – June, July, August, September, October, November, December
The tropical temperatures are in the 70’s and 80’s all year so even in the rainy season it’s nice and warm. The water also remains warm year-round ranging from the upper 70’s to the mid 80’s.
Historic Landmarks – You don’t need to worry about dressing up for tours in Barbados. A nice polo shirt and either shorts or pants are just fine. Make sure you’re comfortable and wearing breathable clothing due to the temperatures. Flip-flops or good walking shoes are a must for the tours.
Nightlife – The locals love to dance and party in Barbados. You’ll find all nice salsa and daytime parades on a regular basis. Dress comfy, sexy, and cool, but don’t worry. There’s no dress code. Wear sturdy shoes if you’re going dancing all night or parading through the streets!
Spelunking – There are several caves in Barbados where you can go spelunking. They have guided tours as well as equipment to rent. Don’t worry about bringing your own. Headlamps and safety gear are already in place for you at the sites.
Catamaran and Submarine Tours – The waters around Barbados are spectacularly blue and taking a catamaran or submarine tour is a fantastic way to enjoy it. Wear your swimsuit, sunglasses, and hat, and be sure to bring your sunscreen and cooling towel too. If you fancy a dip into the sea, an underwater camera is just the thing.
What NOT to Bring to Barbados
1.DON'T Bring Fancy Clothes
This island is casual so don’t bring fancy clothes. Especially if you want to blend in with the locals, leave the high heels and satin in the closet and blend in with the local culture.
2.DON'T Bring Expensive Jewelry
Instead of expensive jewelry, bring costume jewelry or buy some in Barbados. There are plenty of shops with local artisan jewelry in fun local styles. If you must bring something, keep it in the portable safe just for “safe” keeping.
3.DON'T Bring Extra Books
With all the digital sources these days, you can leave the tour book at home and pack your kindle with an eGuide. Many hotels also offer small libraries if you want the paper feel in your fingers. But don’t waste the luggage space and weight on extra books.
5.DON'T Bring Lots of Makeup
It’s fun to dress up, but Barbados is a casual island. And if you plan on spending days on hiking adventures or diving into the ocean, extra makeup will be a burden both in your luggage and on your face. Bring the essentials and leave the rest for the fancy nights back home.
6.DON'T Bring Your Own Adventure Equipment
Whether you’re going spelunking or hang gliding or hiking, Barbados is fully equipped with all the rental options you will need. Save space and weight and leave the adventure equipment at home.
FAQs about Barbados
1. What language do they speak in Barbados?
English is the official language. You might also hear Bajan spoken on the island. Bajan is a combination of British English and West African languages. But don’t worry, English is spoken everywhere. However, it’s always polite to learn a few words in the local language or dialect. A little effort goes a long way.
2. What currency do they use in Barbados?
The Barbadian dollar is the official currency. The exchange rate favors the US at almost double the Barbadian dollar.
3. Is it safe to visit during the rainy season?
Because Barbados is on the eastern edge of the Caribbean islands, it can get hit with hurricanes so the rainy season could possibly be unsafe. It’s best to check the forecasts before planning to visit during the rainy season. The weather can be unpredictable. So even if there are no storms in the forecast, things can change quickly. If you don’t want to be dependent on the weather, then visiting during the dry season would be a wise idea.
4. What is the island’s main religion?
Because Barbados was settled by British colonists, most of the island is Christian. As more people move to Barbados, other religions have started to be introduced.
5. What country does Barbados belong to?
Barbados was part of Britain for over 400 years, so it has a lot of British influence. It gained its independence in 1966 and has been moving toward becoming a republic instead of a constitutional monarchy. The people of Barbados are proud of their country. It has its own distinct identity
6. Is there an airport on the island?
Yes, The Grantley Adams International Airport is in Christ Church, a bit east of the capital of Bridgetown. This is the only port of entry and exit for air travel to the island.
7. What is the food like?
Barbados is most known for its beverage, rum. There are many tours and distilleries around the island to try all the local favorites. The food is also good with a West African twist on traditional Caribbean classics. Since it’s an island in the Caribbean, expect lots of delicious seafood options. The food in Barbados is a delicious mix of many different cultures.