This is a no brainer. Duh, you need your passport if your flying out of the country. I added this because some travelers don't always do what I'm about to suggest. Taking your physical passport and additional identification is a given but did you ever think of a back up? What I do is I photo copy all available travel documents plus identification. I keep a printed copy with me along with the real versions and I leave a digital copy in my email box or secure cloud service, like google drive. That way, I have all my bases covered just in case anything happens.
It's expensive enough as it is here but it'll be loads cheaper on your wallet if you do purchase through your local store than at your destination resort hotel or town. They might not carry the brand you like or use more often. I like having 2 forms of sunblock. One that you can spray on your body and one that is meant just for your face. Trust me, your skin will thank you if you keep with your most common use sun block lotion. Protection is key.
3. Snorkeling Gear
It's always cheaper to take your own set from home if you have one or buy yourself one locally first. They are priced super high at tropical destinations because of high tourism. You don't want to fork over $60-$80 USD for a set that would have cost you around $30 on amazon.
4. Travel Insurance
I'm a big advocate for purchasing travel insurance when I travel to places I've never been before. It's just "peace of mind" to have in case (heaven forbid) anything should happen. From lost luggage to getting sick abroad. I purchased mine when I bought my flight ticket which most airlines offer before you check out. Paid $19 bucks and it covers a lot, even trip cancellations, with certain conditions of course.
I always take cheap ones that I don't care if I loose or break. If you have a fancy pair that you must take with you, no worries, just keep your eyes on them. Otherwise, pack an extra pair of cheap sunglasses just in case.
6. Ipod & Earphones
Always great to take your favorite tunes with you to make your vacation just a tidly bit more enjoyable. Don't forget to charge up your device before you fly.
7. Portable Speakers
Since I'm traveling with an awesome group of friends, we will most definitely be dancing around our island and what better way to have our music play with some portable speakers. Battery powered are the best. I'm taking my panda speakers with me that I've been taking to the beach with me every time I go. Has powerful sound and super cute to pop on top of the sand and takes batteries and connects to solar powered chargers too.
8. Book & Sketch Pad or Notebook
The hours you will have to do absolutely nothing will be limitless (until your vacation is over) but what to do when you're not snorkeling? Swimming with the sharks? or hiking up the jungle? Just take one book, a sketch pad, or a notebook. Your brain will thank you. I suggest Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips, since it's an awesome novel that will keep you on your toes and it has nice little breaks that you can easily put down and pick up again where you left off.
9. Portable Solar Charger or Batteries
This little device is cool for spots that don't have a lot of electricity available. Since I'm going on a small private island where electricity will be scarce, I'm taking advantage of the abundance of sunlight to recharge my portable speaker, ipod/phone, whatever. Batteries can help too if your device takes them. Just remember to keep the dead ones until you return so you can recycle them at home.
10. Your Favorite Snack
Don't go overboard with this, I only suggest it because I sometimes miss a familiar flavor from home that I can't get when I'm away. Having your favorite trail mix, nutrition bars or my favorite, Pocky Pretzel Sticks (a deliciously cute snack invited by the Japanese), can help you just a little to feel like you're home. It's also good to snack when your waiting for that plane, boat or bus.
Please take my advice as you will. I've traveled a lot recently and these are just items that I've learned on the way to take with me or do. To give my list some credibility, below is a list of places I've been to in the past 5 years in no particular order.
- Costa Rica