The Good and Bad Items I Brought to Aruba

When Traveling to Aruba What Should You Pack?

While on the five hour flight back from Aruba I was contemplating what I had brought and what I wish I had packed. My instinct to make lists overcame me and I made this one.

**Note: None of these are affiliate links. Although, that would have been cool, wouldn’t it?

Good: Earplanes with Earplanes+ App

They sell Earplanes and Earplanes+. It is advised that you use new earplanes each flight. I’m going to be honest and say I still have my first pair from a few years ago. For reference I used them for 3 trips-6 flights- and they still seem to work fine.

However, this was a 5 hour flight- the longest flight I’ve ever been on, so on the safe side I re-purchased earplanes. By actual accident I got earplanes+. Side-by-side I can’t tell you the difference. However, the earplanes app,

that’s only promoted on earplanes+, was amazing. It tells you the barometric pressure of your cabin and tells you exactly when you need to put them in and when it’s safe to take them out. This is ideal for someone who isn’t exactly sure when to use them. It DOES only have silent notifications so keep an eye on it and maybe set an alarm for an hour before descent if you plan to nap so you don’t miss putting them on.

Bad: Sling Bag

I have a running issue with bags. When I was in school I always opted for larger-than-life bags as my book bag. As an adult that means I essentially just have way-too-big bags as options for a purse. I also have yet to find a bag that is

  • Big enough to carry all of my random “I may need this one day” things
  • Small enough that it isn’t cumbersome.

I am aware those basically are at was with

each other and so my search for a bag is endless.

The leaves me with few bags to pull from. Ideally I wanted a backpack but my last few trips I purchased small backpacks and found their material wasn’t ideal for carrying.

Note: if you’re going to be in the sun for hours don’t buy a bag with metal parts in their straps because you will 100% burn yourself with the sun on the metal directly on your skin (assuming your like me and always in a tank top).

So I grabbed a small sling bag that ended up accidentally ripping the adjusted strap on my hat that was actually one of my most essential parts of my trip. Out of spite I may chuck it.

Good: My Hat

I bought a cute Safari-esq hat for my getup for Animal Kingdom a few years ago. It collapses to go in your bag and it has a neck

strap to stop it from fling off. This trip I had just had nose surgery and knew I wasn’t allowed to put anything on my nose. Like sunglasses. In Aruba. Needless to say it was going to be rough. So I grabbed my hat. This hat was amazing. I took it everywhere, even in the water. It kept my scalp safe from the grueling sun and made me passably able to see. Unfortunately my bag snapped the neck strap so I didn’t have it for what I really wanted it for- an ATV Tour. But it still came in handy and mostly stayed on my head with a few blow aways. I didn’t have it for a sunny boat ride either, but it would have don’t great. It got wet, covered in sand, had the sand stick to the hat, and look perfectly fine once my hat dried. 10/10 for my little hat.

Bad: Didn’t Bring a Sewing Kit

I have made this mistake twice, now. The last trip to Disney my boyfriend’s shorts’ button immediately popped off and he was down to one pair of shorts. This trip my hat I mentioned above broke on the first day when I really needed it for the ATV on day 3. I also ripped a part of one of my cover-ups. So now I am going to invest in a small travel-sized sewing kit to prevent having yet another rip.

Good: Face Shield

This one is going to be a very niche market. So you just got your nose fixed after over 15 years of it being awful: congratulations for you. You’re celebrating your best friends’ birthday on your first international trip ever: amazing. You can’t put anything on your nose: oh no. I mentioned above my inability to wear sunglasses, but for the ATV Tour they advise you wear something on your face for the sand. My aunt sent me a phot of her on one and they had sunglasses and face scarves. What can I do to save my face? Initially I purchased a giant sunglasses Shield that made me look like a member of Daft Punk. Unfortunately I didn’t see it had a small nose bridge that kept it on your face. So in a moment of panic I bought a face Shield that now made me look like I was about to partake in a 5 hour lab. But it

  • Stayed on my face via my head
  • Kept sand out of my eyes

It did blow in the wind so I had to hold it to stop it from touching my nose sometimes, but it was more convenient to hold than those that wore hats.

Bad: Didn’t Bring Sandals

This was the first time I didn’t have a checked bag which means I actually had to be mindful of my use of space. Usually I just toss anything in my checked bag that is bonus or a liquid. Normally I’d have two pairs of sneakers and two sandals (one being flip flops). But this trip I had one sneaker, one fancy sandal, and boat shoes. The sandals hurt after the first day, so I had to use boat shoes whenever we did anything. But if we were walking the town I don’t exactly want to be wearing boat shoes. I also forgot them for the ATV Tour so I had to walk rocks to the Natural Pool barefoot and sat out when there was a fish foot massage because I was in my socks and sneakers and didn’t want to put wet feet in them. I think if I can redo it I’d have brought hiking sandals for it. One of our party had them and she went right in the water with them on.

Good: Pantene Shampoo

My only trips in the last year have been to Florida where the water is hard and hates my hair, hates my face, hates me. So I have learned to bring good shampoo and conditioner to combat the water. This trip, however, my friend said her hair loved it so I didnt. Plus, the whole “no checked bag” thing. Usually I bring a huge makeup bag and throw it in my checked bag but this time I couldn’t. My hair didn’t hate this water but it did knot my hair like crazy. So luckily, I had brought a Pantene shampoo that I used every day to combat knots. I still used their provided as conditioner but I’d have a spare conditioner next time. I also absolutely love Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo, that’s what I used in Florida to combat hard water.

Good: Boat Shoes

My friend insisted we get these for the trip and I’m glad she did. They actually saved my boyfriend from getting more hurt than he did. We somehow managed to find the one part of the beach that was very rocky. For 30 minutes or so we played “try not to come down hard on the rock when the waves hit you so you don’t hurt your foot” (how did we not notice our grup was on the compete other side?”. So at one point we found a truly rocky place where we essentially had small boulders. We decided to get out and for my safety he carried me across his arms. At one point a wave hit him and smacked his leg into one of these boulders. He came out bloody but okay. Right beforehand his foot got slammed and he’s convinced he’d have been way worse if his foot had been bare.

Bad: Snorkel Gear

This was provided so it was a waste to have

it taking up carry-on space.

Good: Dramamine

We took a boat cruise that ended up being on our only overcast day. The water was rough and about 30 minutes in both myself and my boyfriend felt sick. I had asked him if he wanted Dramamine before but he assumed since he’d been on Cruises before he was fine. He was not fine. We took the Dramamine too late but it definitely helped and was better than not having it. We also took it before the ATV no issues. So it’s just great to have on-hand.

Good: 32Degrees Cooling Shirts

We had gone to Florida in September and my boyfriend mentioned how hot he felt the whole trip. I knew that Aruba, being next to the equator, would be worse. So I did some digging and came across these cooling shirts. For black Friday they were $5 each

instead of $20. I got him 4 and hoped for the best. He at no point mentioned being hot, outside the typical “Yea it’s sunny and I’m hot tlday”, instead of “Oh my God I think I’m going to pass out why am I here?”. So I’ll give this a win. Plus they’re bizzarly soft.

Good: Separate Bag for All My Flying Documents

I used a zip tote that, while a good size, had abysmal internal organization. It had one zipper and the smallest little pouch that only fit a contacts case. It drove me nuts I couldn’t find anything. Luckily? I used a nice clutch for all of my travel documents this trip. It was very with bright pink internal straps so it was easy to pick out to grab important information.

Bad: Not Enough Cover Ups

I came with two Bathing suits and two cover ups. Heads up, if you’re in Aruba, you will want to be in the water all the time. So essentially I could have worn the same 2 outfits all trip. Instead I had to wear my fancy dresses over my wet Bathing suits which I didn’t find ideal. We added in an ATV tour and I was going to wear pants until I found out we went to a natural pool. Luckily I had brought a long, lightweight dress “just in case”. Ideally, I’d say bring a lot of coverups that can double as an outfit you wear around. The island is very relaxed so you can pretty much get away with wearing coverups around town.

Bad: No Tote

I just said we wanted to the beach a lot. So I kept longing for a nice tote bag. Just something simple and plastic that the sand will slide off of to hold our towels and such. I didn’t want to bring my nice travel tote and get that dirty. I think the best one I saw was an oversized shopping bag one of the members of my party had.

Good: Sweats

I learned in Disney I always need sweats.

Even in a hot climate. The temperature of my room makes me freezing and if I’m in it for over an hour I’m shaking I’m so cold. So now I opt for some long, lightweight pj bottoms and a light sweatshirt on top.

Good: Long Cardigan

Remember when I said I get cold? It applies outsde too. If I’m dressed for 90° weather chances are if there’s an AC ANYWHERE I’m getting cold. This could be on a long ride line in Disney, a restaurant, it simply being nighttime, you name it. So I’ve learned to just carry a long cardigan that can cover up as much of my body as possible and can be thin enough it can be tossed in a bag (usually a backpack, I’ve never found one that can fit a purse but if anyone wants to patent a packable sweater that you can clip onto a bag that’s the size of a bar of soap I would invest).

Bad: Spray Sunscreen

I fell down a huge research hole once on proper sunscreens. Mineral not chemical,  no benzene, Zinc is good, that kind of stuff. I found the EWG site and spent DAYS compulsively looking up good sunscreens. Good to me meaning a scale of 1 out of 10 in safety. I found one and I’ve used it three trips now. My only problem is applying it is a pain. It sprays so it gets everywhere: on your clothes, anyone helping to apply it’s clothes, your bag, the nearby baby, you get it. And imagine trying to apply it on a boat or an ATV? It’s a nightmare. It’s still great for Disney but I wish I had had a sunscreen stick for easy access while moving. Now I’ve seen them in action and how easy they are to apply. I guess it’s back to the EWG site.

Good: Eyemasks and Sound Machine

I have spare eye masks in my travel bag. My ideal situation is never really needing to

remember what to pack, all I need is to grab a Toiletries bag and just check if I need to refill shampoo and Toothpaste. All else I use on a day to day-a hair band, chapstick-I leave a spare in my bag so I don’t need to think about it. So recently I invested in travel eye masks and they are great. You never know how bright a place is so having backup blackout eyewear is just a good idea. The sound machine is our every day, but it’s just useful on vacation because, like the light, you don’t know how loud your surroundings will be.

Good: Yoga Pants

This one is a it’s good but it’s bad I can’t link you situation. I got yoga pants for Christmas last year. I honestly don’t wear them THAT often but at the time I did yoga daily. In a pinch I grabbed them thinking they’d be a good idea for a flight because of their pockets. I was so right and they are a necessity for every flight. This is because of their pockets. They’re down my leg, not at my hip, and fit my phone and passports perfectly. Also boarding passes if they printed fit too, and since they’re down my leg they won’t get bent. It makes my life so easy going through security while having all of my necessary documents at my side.

Red-Eye Wrap

Betabrand. Make these again, I beg you. This was an item I had on my radar for years. I always say: “why don’t cardigans have zipper pockets? I’d love to throw my wallet and phone in one on a sunny day so I dont need a bag like I do with a winter coat?”. And in my search to find one I found this: The Red-Eye Wrap. It’s soft and has the deepest pockets, especially by women’s clothing standards. They easily fit your passport and boarding passes, and any travel documents. It has a built-in eye mask into the hood for sleeping

on a plane. It was out of stock for years but then one day I checked and it was available and I bought it faster than I’ve ever bought anything. Unfortunately, right after that the link to them got taken down and they have no plans of re-releasing them (I asked).

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