If you're an all-inclusive vacation veteran, then you're probably a pro at packing for one, but if you're going on your very first all-inclusive, you might be thinking "how hard could packing for this be?" The things you should bring with you on these types of vacations might be pretty straight forward, but I would have found these tips helpful before going on my first one.
Here's a helpful guide on what to bring and what NOT to bring with you on your all inclusive vacation:
Bring LOTS. You're going to be living in your swim gear all week and it's not pleasant having to squeeze back into a wet bathing suit because you didn't bring enough. Chances are, you'll be changing in and out of your swimsuits multiple times per day, so if you're staying for a week, I would bring at least 4 or 5.
On our very first all inclusive vacation to Punta Cana in Dominican Republic, I only brought 2 bikinis and my husband brought a single pair of swim trunks. We were constantly damp, if not wet. We definitely learned our lesson for next time.
When you're not in the water, throwing a bathing suit cover-up on for a stroll down the beach or a look through the markets is really helpful. Plus, most sit down restaurants on the resorts down South won't allow you to enter wearing only a bikini or swim trunks. The easiest thing to do is just to throw on a beach cover-up so it's quick to take off as soon as you're done eating to hop back in the pool or the ocean.
Check with your resort first, but you may need to bring a beach towel with you. Most will provide one for you, but just in case, you'll want to make sure you have one to use while you're there.
You'll need to bring 3 kinds of clothes: day, night, and excursion clothing.
Your bathing suits and cover-ups cover your day time clothes. But for the evenings, you'll need to get a bit more dressed up for dinner and for the shows. Guys, you might need a nice pair of slacks for your dinner reservations. And ladies, bring your cute sundresses, light maxi dresses/skirts, and any classier summer clothes you would wear out on a date. Some restaurants on all inclusive resorts have dress codes and won't let you walk in dressed in foam flip flops, a crop top, and booty shorts.
You should also decide beforehand if you'll want to partake in any excursions because some activities require certain kinds of clothing.
Before we headed to the Dominican Republic in June, we looked at the excursion options at the resort and decided beforehand which ones we wanted to do. One of them included a dirt buggy excursion that took us through farmlands, to Macao Beach, a diving cave, and a cacao farm. Because of how dry it was there during that time of the year, the dirt roads were DUST roads and zipping down these bumpy roads in an open buggy was just like inhaling a bag of sand. I felt bad for all those people who came without sunglasses to throw on to protect their eyes from being scratched out by sand and a spare t shirt or bandanna to wrap around their noses and mouths to prevent coating the inside of their bodies with a layer of dirt. Not being prepared would have made for a less than pleasant excursion - having to close your eyes, miss everything during the buggy rides, AND not being able to breathe? Yeah, I'd say that would ruin your exciting adventure. To the resort's defense however, they did specify on their website recommendations on what to bring.
You'll need beach sandals, like flip flops, something easy to put on and take off. And make sure you bring cheap ones you don't care about because you'll be slipping in and out of them and leaving them around when you're going into the ocean for a dip or joining in on a game of beach soccer or beach volleyball.
Also, bring a pair of dressier sandals or dressier shoes for the dinner and shows. You're going to have your hair done up, all prettied up in your cute little sundress, and you're not going to want to put on your grungy beach flip flops for your dinner reservation.
Don't forget your travel shoes. Airports and airplanes are usually cold, so prepare yourself for that as well.
Don't choose to be squinty. Don't choose to be blind. Choose sunglasses.
It's obviously going to be hot wherever you decide to go on your beach vacation, but heat stroke isn't fun, and a hat will help prevent that.
I'm not one to burn that easily, but my husband is WHITE. Like as white as you can get. And he goes from white to red at the snap of a finger. So we made sure to bring LOTS of sun screen with us and applied it a handful of times per day, because you can be sure your trip won't be as enjoyable if you: 1. Have to stay out of the sun, 2. Can't move, and 3. Are in pain.
This is to help if you didn't follow the rules above.
It's normally too hot during the day for the mosquitoes and little bugs to come out, but once the sun is down and nightfall hits, they all come out and feed. So bug spray is good to have when you're out for a stroll at night or simply walking from your room to the restaurant and back.
Outlet adapter/ voltage converter:
Depending on where you're headed, you may need an outlet adapter and voltage converter for your phone chargers, hair straighteners, blow dryers, and whatever else you'll be plugging in. Find out what kind of electrical sockets and voltage the country you're visiting uses.
I've personally never done this before, but some people like to bring insulated travel mugs with them to all inclusive resorts because they don't have to get up as often to refill their drinks and they'll stay chilled for longer. I just see this as an inconvenience so I wouldn't bring one, but some people do prefer this option. It's all up to you!
Waterproof phone case:
Don't bring your phone with you into the ocean or pool without a waterproof phone case. You're not going to be happy when it's soaking in a bag of rice for your entire vacation, especially if it's the camera you're relying on.
Figure out how much you want to spend on souvenirs, shopping, etc. Keep in mind that you're staying at an all inclusive resort, so all your meals and drinks are already taken care of. All you would need extra money for is if you go shopping and for extra activities or excursions. Also look up what the main form of currency is in the area you're visiting.
When we went to Punta Cana, we assumed their main form of currency was the Dominican Peso, but most locals there prefer American money. It's worth it just to do a bit of research beforehand. One upside to going to Dominican with American money is that it would have been easier for us to tell if the local market owners were trying to overcharge us. It would have taken a lot more for us to fall for the "amazing deal" we got on my Punta Cana mug that I so badly wanted to add to my mug collection.
Your toiletries and all your necessary travel documents, like your passports, any medical certificates, or travel visas you may need to visit the country.
What NOT to bring:
Full makeup kit:
You'll get sweaty as soon as you step out of your room. There's no need to put on your regular makeup routine, because it'll melt off your face within minutes anyway. Plus you'll save on luggage weight!
You're in and out of the water, sweating profusely, playing beach volleyball, and going on adventures. Jewelry will only get in the way.
You'll stick out like a sore thumb and attract thieves. End of story.