Where + Wear: Beach Escape to the Bahamas
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I began traveling largely carry-on only years ago, and it was one of the single most wonderful travel commitments that I made. In the years that have passed, I’ve curated a collection of travel-friendly toiletries, prepped packing cubes and my go-to ‘electronics kit’, and have really honed in on how to edit down my wardrobe to fit comfortably into a few tightly packed cubes. There’s no doubt that it takes more thought and planning to master a carry-on only approach but the result is a quick check-in, a quick airport exit, and no risk of being left high and dry in a destination when your luggage hasn’t made it. When it came to packing for the Exumas for our recent trip to the Bahamas, the no-frills casual destination made going carry-on a total breeze. Check out this guide on packing for the Exumas – and other guides in this series – for packing inspiration.
Join me in sharing your thoughts and tips for packing and travel fashion with a series of destinations around the globe. Download this quickie cheat sheet of travel style inspiration for the Exumas, including some tips on highlights, where to dine, and what to do. Pin this guide for a quick reference on what to wear during your Bahamian escape!
Download the Exumas Travel Fashion Guide | The Wanderlust Effect for easy reading on iPad.
Vibe + Packing Tips
The Exumas are a destination anchored heavily in boating. To see the island chain properly, joining a boat trip or chartering a vessel for a day (or more, ideally!) really brings the experience of visiting the Out Islands to the fore. With a focus on sun, sand and sea in its truest and rawest sense, the Exumas as a destination are very casual. While Bahamians will tell you that they’re not Caribbean (they’re not!), their high and low seasons coincide largely with a traditional Caribbean calendar: high season in the USA’s winter and early spring months, shoulder season in the summer, and low season in the August through October period when hurricane season is at its peak.
The warmer temps mean that packing light is a given: a bathing suit will be your daily uniform, plus you’ll want a range of cover-ups or beach outfits for day. That same casual daytime garb (think denim shorts and a lightweight button-up) can easily be worn out to a casual dinner as well. Most restaurants slant towards the casual and many of the most reputed dining establishments still bring a laid back vibe that would make designer duds feel wholly out of place.
For men, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a place where a collared shirt is a must. Bring a couple of button-ups to be safe (places like 23 Degrees North at Grand Isle don’t require it but it fits the vibe), but know that shorts and tees will be fine for the majority of your trip. For ladies’ attire, think shorts and top combos, rompers, or casual summer dresses; all of which can be worn by day or night. Cute beachy accessories zhuzh up an otherwise casual outfit so chunky bracelets and statement earrings are perfect if you want to feel a bit more put together. My sandals – in seashell pink, linked below – are perfect for casual evenings out.
Shop The Look – Packing for the Exumas
- Lightweight Striped Button-Up: Lulu’s Yellow Striped Button Up ($46)
- Denim Shorts: Express Double Roll Denim Shorts ($54.90)
- Sleeveless Romper: Red & White Striped Romper – hand wash! ($49)
- Dressy Romper: Black Ruffled Skort Romper ($58)
- Tan Panama Hat: Brixton Woven Panama Hat ($55)
- Swimwear: Becca bikini ($44 per piece) + my PilyQ suits here and here ($76 per piece)
- Straw Round Crossbody: Clare V. Bag – Black ($255)
- Athleisure Sandals: MIA Sandal in Blush/Clear Vinyl ($69.95)
- Sunglasses: Gucci Sunglasses ($375) — more affordable version here ($17)
Tried & True Carry-On Must-Haves + Electronics
Carry-on only is a breeze for an island getaway since most of your items will be lightweight (and there’s no concern about bulky outerwear). I’ve gone through many carry-ons in search of my favorite. My previous Genius Pack was a go-to and this new Speck Travel 22″ carry-on is fabulous for folks going carry-on only since it allows you to fit a lot (and it has a built-in locking mechanism). Both sides can be filled, and zipped and there are additional compartments for storage. Each side fits two mid-sized packing cubes perfectly, too!
- Carry-On Bag: 22″ Speck Travel Carry-On in Grey ($200)
- Packing Cubes: Eagle Creek Packing Cubes ($33.95)
- Underwater + Action Camera: GoPro HERO 8 ($399 – ON SALE FOR $299) – the new GoPro is 1000x better than the original version!
- DSLR/Daily Use Camera: Canon EOS T7i ($799)
- Drone: DJI Mavic Air ($1149.99) – this is our first drone – great quality and simple to use!*
- Wi-Fi Hub: SkyRoam Solis ($149.99 – use code ‘SKYROAMTWE’ for 10% off)
- Eye Masks: Shiseido Smoothing Eye Mask ($68 for 12)
- SPF: EltaMD SPF 46 ($35) SuperGoop Powder SPF 45 ($30)
* Keep in mind that there are regulations about using a drone. In the Bahamas, for example, you have to submit a request via email for approval.
- Go Boating in the Exumas with Sugar Adventures
- Discover 10 Things to Do in the Exumas
- For more Caribbean information, click here!
Have you been to the Exumas? What are your recommendations when packing for what to wear?