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12/12/2010

How to Pack for a trip to Grand Cayman

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There is not an easier destination to pack for than Grand Cayman. People often wonder what they need to bring, but it really is quite simple. First of all, the island is extremely laid back. There are no dress codes requiring long pants at restaurants. Beach attire, with cover-up or t-shirt, is acceptable at most stores. Sandals or flip-flops are appropriate everywhere.

It's to the point now where I am able to pack everything into a carry-on every time I go down. This blog will give you a quick checklist of things to make sure you have before you head to the airport.

  • Passport. The Cayman Islands are a British Colony and not part of the United States. You must have a passport to leave and enter the country.
  • Swimsuit. In all honesty, you could probably survive with the clothes you wore on the airplane and a swimsuit for a few days. If you check a bag, always throw a swimsuit and cover-up in your carry-on. At least then you can lay by the pool, in case you have to wait for lost bags. 
  • Dress shorts. A few pairs to wear to dinner. (Men)
  • Collared shirts. A few to wear to dinner. (Men)
  • Sun dresses. A few to wear to dinner. (Women)
  • T-Shirts and cover-ups
  • Sandals or flip-flops to wear to dinner or to the store
  • Workout attire. If you plan on working out, pack a pair of tennis shoes as there are several options to workout near the various condo complexes.
  • Ipod and reading material for relaxing on the beach or by the pool
  • Sunscreen!!! Whatever SPF you think you should wear, add about 15 to it. If you typically wear 15, take 30. The sun is intense, even on the cloudy days.
  • Sunglasses. If you forget these, you'll want to make a trip to one of the many sunglass shops in downtown Georgetown, where you can buy a nice duty free pair of your favorite brand.
  • Camera. There are numerous photo opportunities in Cayman, including sunsets, under water, and beach photos. Make sure you don't forget the charger!!
  • Money. There are ATMs on the island, and virtually everywhere accepts credit cards, so you don't need to bring a ton of cash. Bring enough cash for taxis and anywhere else you would rather use cash than a charge card. Don't forget the US Dollar is only worth 80 cents in Cayman. You are able to use US money at stores, but change is always given in Cayman money. For example, don't pay for a $5.00 purchase with $100 US bill or you will end up with a lot of Cayman change.
  • Snorkel gear. If you plan to do a lot of snorkeling you could bring your own, but it is included in any of the boat snorkel trips.
  • No Need for Beach Towels. All Cayman Condos properties are equipped with towels and hair dryers so save the room in your bag and take advantage of these amenities. (No electrical converters are required in the Cayman Islands for items such as hair dryers, as outlets are the same as the U.S.)
  • Cell phones. Unless you need it for work, leave the cell phones turned off after you land in Grand Cayman. Most carriers have extremely high rates for internet charges, text messaging, and talking. Be sure to check with your provider before going on vacation. No matter who your provider is, make certain your data roaming is turned off or you could be looking at thousands of dollars worth of charges. Most places have wi-fi on the island, which allows you to do the same things on your phone that data roaming would allow. If you want to call back to the states, phone cards can be purchased on the island. It is safer to purchase after you get to Cayman as some of them purchased in the United States don't work. Cayman Condos has prepaid phones available to rent, which is the cheapest way to call home frequently, while controlling what you are spending on phone calls. However, smart phones or lap tops with Wi-Fi capabilities are the best way to stay in touch with people back home.
  • Laptop. Many units have free wi-fi. Inquire about this before leaving for Cayman. There are also internet towers available for rent for the units that do not have internet yet. Having a laptop can be the cheapest and easiest way to keep in touch with people back in the states, via e-mail, facebook, or skype.

Once you've completed this check-list, print off your boarding pass and go to bed. When you wake up you'll be heading to paradise and you can rest easy that you didn't forget anything.

Comments

My favorite trick for out of country vacations is to bring a phone with WiFi that supports Skype or Google Talk. Then use the WiFi to make free phone calls back home.

Very, very nicely done!

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