So, you’ve booked a beach vacation to Aruba and now it’s time to decide what to pack! The great news is that the island is warm throughout the year. Therefore, no matter the dates of your trip, you can expect temperatures of 80-90°F during the day. This fact makes packing for an Aruba vacation a little easier! However, it’s still important to remember to bring all of the essential items that you’ll need during your getaway. To make sure nothing important gets left at home, I’ll be breaking down the ultimate Aruba vacation packing list. This list will include what to wear on the plane, what to pack for the beach, and what to wear during the day and in the evening in Aruba. I hope this packing list and these travel tips help you to have a great time on your vacation!
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Table of Contents
Important essential items to pack for Aruba
When getting ready for Aruba, there are certain items that would be devastating to forget at home. With this in mind, let’s start off our packing list with 10 essentials. These 10 items should be the first things you make sure you have in your suitcase, purse, and/or carry-on!
Yes, U.S. citizens do need a valid passport to travel to Aruba. However, you don’t need a visa of any sort to be able to visit the island. Americans can stay in Aruba as tourists for a maximum of 30 days.
I highly recommend renting a car during your stay in Aruba. In order to do so, all you’ll need is a valid U.S. driver’s license. Driving on the island is simple, affordable, and comes with a lot more flexibility than depending on taxis, Uber, or buses.
Portable charger and plug-in chargers
If you’re planning to spend large parts of your day outside, you’ll want to pack a portable power bank for your phone. This way, you can charge your phone while lounging by the pool or at the beach! I personally use the Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger. Moreover, double-check that you’ve packed all plug-in chargers for your devices. Don’t forget a phone charger, camera charger, laptop charger, and maybe even an electric toothbrush charger!
If you’re American, you won’t need to worry about packing a converter or adapter. Conveniently, Aruba has the same voltage standard of 110V and the plugs are almost always the same as used in the United States (type A and B).
Cash in USD
It’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand in case you end up needing it. Although I wouldn’t suggest walking around with large amounts of money, $100 or less broken into small bills would be useful. 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 find that 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. I recommend having a credit card in your wallet that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. For example, I always travel with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
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’ll want to pack a windproof travel umbrella just in case.
Camera & SD card
You’ll definitely want to bring a camera along to capture all of your favorite moments on One Happy Island. I personally bought a Nikon D5600 to be able to take high-quality photos during my Aruba vacation. You’ll also want to double-check that you have your SD card in your camera before leaving home for the airport! I travel with a 64 GB memory card to make sure that I have room for all of my 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, if you get a little burnt, you’re going to want a backup plan. For this reason, I always suggest packing aloe vera in your suitcase. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Mosquito repellent bracelets
Mosquitos do not pose as big of an issue on Aruba as on other Caribbean islands due to the consistent trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Nonetheless, if you normally struggle with mosquito bites, it’s advisable to bring some sort of repellent. I recommend the mosquito repellent bracelets because they’re easy to wear and many are waterproof!
Remember that when packing for Aruba, you should always put your necessary prescription medications in your carry-on bag. They should also 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
Keep in mind that although you’re traveling to a tropical destination, you may want to dress differently for your flight. Planes are normally kept cooler, so I would recommend wearing layers, like a tank top with a light sweater and thin jogger pants. I would not suggest wearing shorts unless you’re planning to bring a blanket for the plane. Instead of wearing sandals, you will probably be more comfortable in sneakers during the trip. Additionally, you may want to carry any larger sun hats onto the plane so that 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 that 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. Regarding clothes to pack for women, sundresses, thin shorts, and tank tops/t-shirts are some of the best options. For men, short-sleeve button-down shirts, t-shirts, and breathable shorts are ideal. You won’t find many people wearing jeans in Aruba because of 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 suits that are comfortable and fit well so that they don’t shift while you move! Men may want to purchase swim trunks that can double as shorts to maximize packing space. I also suggest finding swimsuits that are quick-dry for the beach.
Since you’ll probably be in your bathing suit most of the time you’re 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! I’d recommend packing at least three cover-ups in your suitcase.
Considering the extremely high UV index in Aruba, you’ll need at least one pair of sunglasses. Ideally, your sunglasses should either be polarized and/or have some sort of UV protection. While you can find cheaper sunglasses that will do the trick, I personally invested in Ray-Bans that I knew would keep my eyes protected.
I’ve mentioned that the sun is strong in Aruba, but the wind is substantial as well. So, when you’re searching for a hat to wear on the island, make sure that it stays on your head and won’t be blown 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. I would recommend bringing one pair of designated beach sandals that are bound to get sandy! Additionally, have a second pair of nicer sandals that you can wear out to dinner.
You may be thinking, “I’m not planning to go to the gym, so do I really need to pack tennis shoes?”. In my opinion, it’s always worth bringing one pair of sneakers. I typically wear mine on the plane since they would take up more room in a suitcase compared to sandals. You’ll also be required to wear tennis shoes if you decide to do activities like off-roading or horseback riding.
What to pack for the beach in Aruba
A trip to Aruba is sure to involve plenty of time spent on the beach. Therefore, you’ll want to double-check that you pack all of 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, you’ll find them to be pricier than they were at home!
Coral reef-safe sunscreen
As of 2020, Aruba has instituted a ban on suntan lotions that include oxybenzone–a chemical that contributes to coral reef deterioration. So, when you buy lotion 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! I 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 the 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 that you can carry to the beach! An insulated bottle is an especially good idea to keep your water cool while you sunbathe.
Waterproof phone case
Since you’re going to 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 of your beach essentials without a beach bag! While you may be tempted to grab whatever tote or backpack you have laying around, it’s best to buy a sand-free and/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
One of the best items you can buy for the beach in Aruba is a sand-free beach towel. 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 extremely 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! I’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
Aruba is very laid-back when it comes to evening wear, 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. For men, slacks with a belt, a thin button-down shirt, and a pair of comfortable loafers will do! The most important thing to pack for evenings in Aruba is undoubtedly a light jacket.
Additional important items
Other items to consider
Scanned copies of important items
The U.S. Department of State actually recommends carrying a scanned copy of the information page on your passport. This way, if you were to misplace your passport, it’s easier to obtain a replacement. If you’d prefer to not 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 to have helpful travel advice at your fingertips, you may want to carry an Aruba travel guide book along with you. Especially if you prefer to make last-minute plans, having this resource in your pocket can be really convenient.
Leave-in hair conditioner
Between, the wind, sun, and saltwater, you may want to take some extra precautions to avoid damaging your hair. I’d suggest packing a leave-in conditioner that you can apply after showering.