So, you’ve booked a beach vacation to Aruba, and now it’s time to decide what to pack! The great news is that no matter the dates of your trip, you can expect temperatures of 80-90°F during the day. However, especially if it’s your first time visiting One Happy Island, you’ll want to ensure you bring all the essential items you’ll need during your getaway.
With this in mind, we’ve put together the ultimate Aruba vacation packing list to ensure nothing important gets left at home. For example, you may have already laid out bathing suits and sundresses, but did you pack an external battery, a portable cooler, or a reusable water bottle?
This complete Aruba packing list begins with important essential items, what to wear on the plane, and what to pack for the beach. Then, we cover what to wear during the day and how to dress for dinner in Aruba. After reviewing this guide, you should be prepared for a fantastic trip!
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Table of Contents
Important essential items to pack for Aruba
When preparing for Aruba, there are certain items that would be devastating to forget, like your passport, driver’s license, or credit card. With this in mind, let’s start our packing list with ten essentials. These ten things to remember to bring on vacation should be the first items you make sure to have in your suitcase, purse, or carry-on!
Traveling to Aruba is popular for American tourists looking for a sunny getaway. And while it’s true that you need a valid passport to travel to the island, there’s no need to worry about getting a visa. Americans can stay in Aruba as tourists for up to 30 days without any hassle.
You’ll need a valid U.S. driver’s license when visiting Aruba because it’s the only way to rent a car on the island. While other transportation options are available, renting a vehicle offers much more flexibility and freedom.
For example, with your own set of wheels, you can explore the island at your own pace and make stops whenever and wherever you please. Taxis, Uber, or public buses can’t compete with this level of convenience!
You do NOT need an international driver’s license to rent a car in Aruba. However, most companies require drivers to be at least 25 years old.
Portable chargers and plug-in chargers
When contemplating what to bring to Aruba, people often overlook items they need to charge their devices. However, it’s important to remember that you’ll likely spend a lot of time outside, away from outlets. For this reason, we recommend packing a portable power bank.
This way, you can charge your phone while enjoying the pool or beach. Our favorite is the Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger. Additionally, make sure you pack all plug-in chargers for your devices, including a phone charger, camera charger, laptop charger, and possibly even an electric toothbrush charger.
Fortunately, if you’re American, you won’t need to worry about packing a converter or adapter; Aruba has the same voltage standard of 110V, and the plugs are almost always the same as those used in the United States (type A and B).
Cash in USD
It’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand just in case. Although I wouldn’t suggest walking around with large amounts of money, $100 or less broken into small bills would be helpful. Remember that U.S. dollars are widely accepted in Aruba, so there’s no need to exchange your money for Aruban florins.
Furthermore, if you need more cash, you can withdraw both dollars and florins from most of the ATMs on the island. Many Aruba hotels have an ATM either on the property or nearby.
Debit and/or credit card
Since you can withdraw cash from the ATMs in Aruba, it’s a good idea to bring your debit card along. Additionally, most establishments accept major credit cards. We suggest having a credit card in your wallet that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the most popular options.
Windproof travel umbrella
Although Aruba doesn’t experience much rain (only about 18 inches annually), it does have a “rainy season” running from October to January. During this time of year, rain tends to fall in short and light bursts. However, sometimes heavy rainfall can seem to come out of nowhere! Therefore, you should include a windproof travel umbrella on your packing list for Aruba, just in case.
Camera & SD card
You’ll definitely want to bring a camera to capture your favorite moments on One Happy Island. We brought a Nikon D5600 to be able to take high-quality photos during my Aruba vacation. You’ll also want to double-check that your SD card is in your camera before leaving home for the airport!
We travel with a 128 GB memory card to ensure we have enough space for all of our family photos. For an Aruba trip, it’s also worth looking into buying an affordable underwater camera. This way, you can capture photos and videos during water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing.
Plan to use strong sun protection during your entire time in Aruba, such as sunscreen, chapstick with SPF, and sun hats with UV protection. However, you’ll want a backup plan if you get a little burnt. For this reason, we always suggest packing aloe vera for an Aruba beach trip. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Mosquito repellent bracelets
Mosquitos do not pose as big of an issue in Aruba as on other Caribbean islands due to the consistent trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Nonetheless, if you usually struggle with mosquito bites, it’s advisable to bring some repellent. We recommend the mosquito repellent bracelets because they’re easy to wear, and many are waterproof!
On your checklist of things to bring to Aruba, prescription medications should be at the top. Keep in mind that they should go in your carry-on bag and be kept in their original containers. U.S. health insurance isn’t accepted in Aruba, so you don’t want to forget any medications you might need!
What to wear on the plane to Aruba
Remember that although you’re traveling to a tropical destination, you may want to dress differently for the airport and your flight. Planes are typically kept cooler, so you’ll want to wear layers, like a tank top with a light sweater and thin jogger pants. We wouldn’t suggest wearing shorts unless you layer pants over them for the flight or bring a blanket.
Instead of wearing sandals on the plane, you’ll probably be more comfortable in sneakers. Tennis shoes take up more space in your suitcase anyway, so you’ll save a little room by wearing them. Additionally, you may want to carry any larger sun hats onto the plane, so they don’t get squished in your suitcase!
What to wear during the day in Aruba
Daytime temperatures in Aruba tend to be around 84/88°F (29/31°C), so consider packing clothing that will be comfortable in this climate. If you’re planning to spend most of your time at the beach, you may want to focus more on coverups and sandals than actual daytime clothing. The Aruba dress code is very laid-back, so consider packing casual outfits you would wear in the summertime.
Light, breathable clothing
The key to dressing comfortably in Aruba is to bring light and breathable clothing. For example, linen is a great choice as far as fabric for hot weather conditions. You’ll also want to avoid wearing darker colors like black since they absorb more heat.
Regarding clothes to pack for women, sundresses, thin shorts, and tank tops/t-shirts all make great Aruba outfit ideas. Short-sleeve button-down shirts, t-shirts, and breathable shorts are ideal for men. Athletic shorts are a must for more casual days! As far as whether or not to bring pants, you won’t find many people wearing jeans in Aruba due to the heat.
If you’re planning to spend one week in Aruba, I would pack around 3-4 bathing suits. For water activities, you’ll want swimsuits that are comfortable and fit well so that they don’t shift while you move! You’ll likely want to pack a one-piece swimsuit for this reason.
Men may wish to purchase swim trunks that can double as shorts to maximize packing space. Moreover, we suggest finding swimsuits that are quick-dry for the beach.
Since you’ll probably be in your bathing suit most of the time in Aruba, you’ll also want to pack plenty of cover-ups. If you’d like to quickly walk up to a beach bar or restaurant and grab food and drinks, throwing on a cover-up is the best option!
With this in mind, we suggest packing at least three cover-ups or sarongs in your suitcase. If you don’t want to spend on cover-ups, just bring some comfy athletic shorts and t-shirts.
Considering the island’s extremely high UV index, you’ll need at least one pair of sunglasses on your Aruba packing checklist. Ideally, your sunglasses should either be polarized or have some sort of UV protection. While you can find cheaper sunglasses that will do the trick, we tend to splurge for polarized Ray-Bans.
We’ve mentioned that the sun is intense on the island; however, the wind is also substantial. So, if you’re wondering what to take to Aruba, don’t forget a sun hat. When searching for a hat for your vacation, make sure that it sits securely on your head and won’t blow away. Hats that are adjustable and fitted are your best bet!
When packing shoes for Aruba, you’ll want at least two pairs of sandals or flip-flops. We suggest bringing one pair of designated beach sandals that are bound to get sandy! Additionally, have a second pair of more formal sandals to wear to dinner. You may also want to consider bringing water shoes or hiking sandals if you know you’ll be doing lots of water activities.
When thinking of what to pack for Aruba, you may not immediately think of sneakers. However, in our opinion, it’s always worth bringing one pair of tennis shoes in your suitcase.
In fact, you may even want to wear them on the plane to save room in your checked bag or carry-on. Keep in mind that you’ll be required to wear tennis shoes if you participate in activities like off-roading in Arikok National Park or horseback riding.
What to pack for the beach in Aruba
A trip to Aruba will involve plenty of time spent on the beach. Therefore, you’ll want to double-check that you pack all these vacation necessities in your suitcase! If you happen to forget any of these items, you will be able to buy them in stores around Aruba. However, they’ll likely be more expensive on the island than they would be at home.
Coral reef-safe sunscreen
Beginning in 2020, Aruba instituted a ban on suntan lotions that include oxybenzone–a chemical that contributes to coral reef deterioration. So, when you’re stocking up on supplies for your trip, be sure to purchase reef-safe sunscreen. Due to the high UV index in Aruba, it’s best to go with sunscreen that’s SPF 30 or higher.
Chapstick with SPF
People often remember to put sunscreen on but forget to protect their lips! We highly recommend packing chapstick that has at least SPF 30 and is reef-safe. Aruba is both sunny and windy, so chapstick is a necessary item when hitting the beach.
Reusable water bottle
Did you know that you can drink tap water in Aruba? This fact makes it a lot easier to stay hydrated in the heat. With this in mind, you’ll definitely want to bring a reusable water bottle you can carry to the beach! An insulated bottle is an excellent way to keep your water cool while sunbathing.
Waterproof phone case
Since you’ll be spending most of your time by the water, it’s 100% worth investing in a waterproof phone case. Whether you’re at the pool, the beach, or even visiting Renaissance Aruba Resort to see the flamingos, you don’t want to risk dropping your unprotected phone in the water.
You won’t be able to carry all your beach essentials without a beach bag! While you may be tempted to grab whatever tote or backpack you have lying around, it’s best to buy a sand-free or packable option. This way, you won’t find yourself carrying around unwanted sand, and your bag will fit into your luggage.
Sand-free beach towel
A sand-free beach towel is one of the best items you can buy for the beach in Aruba. We all know how annoying it can be to come home from the beach and find sand in random places for days! So, why not invest in a sand-free towel? They’re incredibly affordable, so it’s worth packing 2-3 for a week on the island.
Some Airbnbs and hotels have portable coolers for guests to use. However, you might not want to take the chance of not having a cooler for the beach! If you have the extra room, we’d recommend packing a collapsible cooler in your suitcase.
If you’re an avid reader, one of the best ways to save room in your suitcase is to bring a Kindle instead of physical books. With a Kindle, you won’t be limited in space at all! Due to the lighting at the beach, the best option is the Kindle Paperwhite. This e-reader has a sharper screen and is waterproof. If you’d like a premium option, check out the Kindle Oasis.
What to wear in the evening in Aruba
As far as what to wear in Aruba at night, evening wear on the island is very laid-back. So, don’t feel like you need to pack anything particularly formal. For women, maxi dresses with a light cardigan and comfortable sandals are your best bet. Due to the tropical climate, it’s recommendable to stick to light fabrics like linen and silk. If you prefer wearing pants, stick to linen wide leg or palazzo pants.
For men, slacks with a belt, a thin button-down shirt, and a pair of comfortable loafers will do! A light jacket is one of the most important things to bring to Aruba for evenings.
Additional important items
Other items to consider
Scanned copies of important items
The U.S. Department of State recommends carrying a scanned copy of the information page on your passport. This way, if you misplace your passport, it’s easier to obtain a replacement. If you’d prefer not to pack a physical copy, you can also send the scan as a photo attachment to your e-mail in case of an emergency. You’ll also want a copy of your travel insurance!
Aruba travel guide book
If you’d like helpful travel advice at your fingertips, you may want to carry an Aruba travel guidebook. Especially if you prefer to make last-minute plans, having this resource in your pocket can be convenient.
Leave-in hair conditioner
Between the wind, sun, and saltwater, you may want to take some extra precautions to avoid damaging your hair. Packing a leave-in conditioner that you can apply after showering is a great solution!
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An earlier version of this article was published in October 2020 and has since been updated.