What to pack for Aruba? Shorts and dresses, surely? When my trip to Aruba was confirmed, I immediately thought: “YES, shorts and dresses!”. It hadn’t really been summer yet in Belgium and the other trips I’ve taken so far this year took me to cool places, but not exactly warm ones.
Of course, I took a bit more with me than just shorts and dresses and as I didn’t travel carry-on only this time, I thought I’d share with you my Aruba packing checklist.
What to pack for Aruba – Checklist for one week
Although Aruba has a rainy season from October to January, it only rains very briefly when it does. Aside from that, Aruba has warm weather with temperatures averaging around 28°C/82°F and higher all-year-round. There’s a constant wind, but it isn’t always strong and it’s hardly ever chilly.
This means that you can easily pack light clothing only, but that you do have to take into account that you’ll probably be sweating a lot as well. If you plan on spending your days at the beach or by the pool that doesn’t matter so much, but if you want to get active on Aruba like I did, it’s best to make sure you bring enough clean clothes so that you don’t have to walk around in stinky things.
But enough with the general information, here’s my Aruba packing list!
As almost always when I travel, I took my Jo Totes camera bag for women with me as my handbag. This is my go-to camera bag as it’s perfect for stowing away my camera and other things I need during the day.
Because I was also bringing my laptop bag as a carry-on, I stuffed this one in my suitcase and also brought a tiny leather shoulder bag just to keep my valuables while I was on board. I didn’t use it when I was on Aruba.
Inside this bag (while on Aruba)
- My FujiFilm XE-1 camera + extra battery
- Paper tissues
- My portable power back
- My Samsung Galaxy S6 phone + charger
- My Dynomighty wallet with credit cards, money etc
- My passport
- A little comb and some emergency medicine
- Sunscreen – one of the things to bring to Aruba, although you can also buy it there
- My sunglasses
- A little bottle of water
- Lip balm
2. Laptop bag
I’ve had my Eastpak laptop bag for years now and it still looks like now. It’s my travel bag whenever I make weekend trips and my electronics and food (Yes, food. Can’t travel without bringing food!) bag whenever I go away for longer. For Aruba, I used it as my carry-on bag but I didn’t use it while I was on the island.
In this bag (on the plane)
- My HP Folio 1040 laptop and charger cable
- Cookies and sandwiches (Yes, plural)
- All the things listed above for my camera bag, minus the sunscreen
- My e-reader
- My travel pillow
- A small camera bag that I could put inside the backpack on the plane and inside a tote bag for going to the beach etc when I didn’t want to bring my regular camera bag
- A notebook and pen
- My iPod
- A bunch of chargers and cables
- A case for my regular glasses
- My GoPro + selfie stick + headstrap
- My universal adapter, as Aruba uses US sockets
- My WD Elements external hard drive
3. Clothing and shoes
Because I knew it would be warm on Aruba, I only packed light clothes. I might have been able to fit them into my go-to Crumpler trolley, but because I also wanted to pack my Jo Totes camera bag and some other bigger items, I decided to borrow a slightly bigger suitcase from my mom.
The clothes and shoes I packed
- 2 long dresses, 1 with tiny straps and open back, one strapless
- 3 bikinis
- 4 pairs of low socks, 1 pair of high socks, 12 underwear and 4 bras
- 2 shirts to sleep in
- My Teva sandals
- Casual yet dressy flat sandals
- 3 above-the-knee dresses
- 2 above-the-knee skirts
- 1 pair of shorts
- 4 tops
- 1 cardigan
What I wore on the plane
I like to travel comfortably, especially when I’m taking a long flight, so I dressed specifically for the flight, knowing that I wouldn’t wear that outfit while on Aruba and I could wear it again for the journey back.
- My Nike Juvenate sneakers. These are super thin and breathing so they’re the perfect alternative for the Nike Air Max sneakers I most often wear
- Regular socks
- Loose, stretchy pants (think elephant pants)
- A loose t-shirt
- A cardigan
- A scarf
4. Other stuff worth mentioning
One other practical thing I packed and that’s worth mentioning, was Mosquito spray. I didn’t feel like there were that many mosquitos on Aruba, except for when we stayed at the Boardwalk Hotel. Now, not that there were so many, but when I was sitting outside by the pool in the evenings, there was some buzzing going on and I was happy to have brought the spray.
As always, I also brought some Eagle Creek Pack-It cubes. I love these for organizing my stuff and usually use them to put away my dirty laundry.
How did I do?
The things I shouldn’t have packed
Well, I packed more clothes than I needed, something that doesn’t happen often anymore. I figured I’d be sweating all day and so I packed an outfit for every day, plus some more dressy clothes for the evenings. I ended up not wearing some of my tops and one dress. Two other dresses I only wore for one night.
I also shouldn’t have packed so many bras, because I ended up wearing a bikini underneath my clothes every day. I find them more pleasant to wear when you’re sweating a lot, and as we went to the beach practically every day, wearing them also meant I could just strip and be ready.
Lastly, I didn’t have to pack so many socks. I always wore my Tevas during the day so the only time I needed socks was to fly back home.
Things I was happy I packed
Because the clothes I wore during the day did really get dirty because of the sweating, the sand and the sunscreen, I was very happy I could put them in a packing cube and keep them separated from the stuff that was still clean when I packed up again to home.
I was also happy that I’d brought some aftersun (not listed above) because only one of the two hotels we stayed at offered complimentary body lotion in the rooms and after a full day in the sun and a nice refreshing shower, your skin can use a little bit (or a whole lot!) of moisturizing.
Lastly, the Aruba Tourism Board gave me a cool beach bag that I ended up using more than my camera bag during the day as I could also put a beach towel in there, so it was a good thing that I also took the small camera pouch to keep it safe inside the beach bag.
And that was it! Now, are you ready for Aruba?
Where to stay on Aruba
While I was on Aruba, I stayed at two completely different hotels.
The Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is a high-end hotel that has its own harbor, food plaza, private island and casino. The poolside is a great place to chill during the day and listen to DJ sets and live performances in the evenings.
The Boardwalk Hotel Aruba is a small, family-run hotel made up out of different casitas that have their own kitchen, living room and balcony with barbecue. It’s perfect for those who like having a home-away-from-home in a more intimate setting.
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