The Travel Necessities!
Hello lovelies! After going on my first extended sailing trip (7 days of sleeping/eating/travelling on a catamaran), there are a few things I wish I had brought with me to make the trip a bit more comfortable. I did quite a bit of research beforehand on what to bring, as I wanted to be as prepared as possible so I could spend more time enjoying the trip! In no particular order of importance, here is a list of my top ten must-have items for a sailing trip:
1. ReliefBand - I cannot stress this one enough! Even if you aren't prone to seasickness, you don't want to find out on the first day of your trip that you actually are. I have never been seasick, but I brought them just in case and I am SO glad I did. I let my poor queasy sister wear it most of the time - she was thankful I didn't need mine. Dramamine is only effective if taken up to 12 hours BEFORE you get nauseous and can take up to 6 hours to take effect. Dramamine also makes you drowsy, so there is a chance that may be super nauseous and dead-tired for your whole trip unless you get a ReliefBand which works INSTANTLY. Bring some extra batteries too, just in case. Point made, I hope.
2. Zinc Oxide Sunscreen - I don't need to lecture you on the necessity of protecting your skin (hopefully), but it is worth buying sunscreen made with zinc oxide to avoid stinging your eyes. Most of my time on the catamaran was spent either sweating in the sun or swimming/snorkeling in the ocean - either of which would have been miserable if my eyes burned the whole time from regular sunscreen dripping into my eyes. You've been warned!
3. Rubber Soled Shoes - Yes you will look like a frat boy/sorority girl wearing Sperry's, but they may help you not slip and fall off the boat. Sailboats can get very slippery so it is best to wear shoes that have grooved rubber soles - you don't want to be the first "man overboard" on the trip. Another good reason to wear close toed shoes : you will be surprised at how often you stub your toe on the boat. The most common injury by far is stubbed toes - my poor brother-in-law broke his toe on our trip. There are also a lot of surprisingly sharp objects on the boat that can cause an infection if you cut your foot open - WEAR SHOES.
4. Polarized shades - If you're prone to headaches/eye strain/migraines, do yourself a favor and get some decent polarized sunglasses. It may sound prissy, but the glare of the sun reflecting off the water (as far as the eye can see) can induce some monster migraines.
5. Hats/Cover-ups - These may seem like no-brainers, but don't underestimate how much time you will be in the sun. Your scalp will thank you for a hat and your sun-kissed skin will appreciate the added layer of protection. I brought way too many day clothes for the trip - most of my time was spent in a bikini, a coverup, my Sperry's, a hat, and sunglasses.
6. Snorkel Gear - Some of the islands are only accessible by swimming (Norman Island Caves, The Baths, Sandy Cay, etc), so it is advisable to bring snorkel gear that fits you. Bring your own mask at the very least for better visibility and fit. Flippers are helpful too, though, as some of the islands are much farther than they seem. Most charter companies provide snorkeling gear at an extra charge - I brought my own mask and rented flippers and the dry snorkel to save some room in my bag.
7. Ear plugs - If you've never slept on a sailboat before (or even if you have), bringing earplugs can make all the difference in getting a good night's sleep. Sailboats are loud : there is clinking and clanking, waves hitting the boat, other sailboats staying up late and being loud, etc. I am a super light sleeper unfortunately, so my earplugs and a white noise app on my phone came in handy. I sleep with a floor fan at my house, but having options that take up less room in a suitcase are necessary.
8. Over the counter meds/Swimmers Ear - Most OTC medications like Swimmer's Ear, Advil, Tums, etc. are available on the islands - but they are highly marked up. It's best to simply stock up before you leave for the trip. I am prone to ear infections when I swim a lot (small ear canals), so having swimmer's ear on hand is necessary for any beach vacation.
9. Small waterproof bag - As I mentioned earlier, some of the islands are only accessible by swimming. Having a small waterproof bag to fit your wallet, phone, and other small necessities is super helpful. Also, the dingy ride to shore can sometimes get pretty wet - there's nothing worse than a water-logged phone mid trip.
10. GoPro - Piggybacking on my last point, having a waterproof camera is a must in the BVI's. I brought my super nice (not waterproof) camera, but was often too scared to bring it out on the island for fear or it getting wet/falling in the water as I slip overboard/etc. Just bring a GoPro and save yourself the worry. There are plenty of opportunities to capture really cool marine life footage as well - snorkeling in the BVI's is some of the best in the world!
I could make a much longer all-inclusive list of necessary items, but these are MY top ten that I found extremely useful on the trip. Save your experience from being ruined by nausea, exhaustion, extreme sunburn, broken/sliced toes, ear infections, and a slew of other uncomfortable situations, by simply preparing properly before your vacation.
Love to know your must-have travel items!
Kat - Wander Life