People often ask me how to prepare for a trip to Eleuthera, a more-remote Bahamian island compared to New Providence. So, I put together a quick Amazon shopping list to make trip prep easy! This list includes insect repellants and bite remedies, beach gear, and other useful items for any island vacation.
I hope you find my shopping list helpful as you get ready for what’s sure to be a life-changing trip, whether you’re heading to Eleuthera, the Exumas, Long Island, Cat Island or any other island destination.
Off Botanicals Deet-Free Insect Spray
I picked up this scent-free insect repellent recently and was pleasantly surprised. Even without deet, it’s still effective and I love that I don’t walk around smelling like noxious fumes after using it. This 4 oz. bottle is also great for travel! We typically just bring carry-on bags to the out islands, so this product is a great fit for us.
Johnson & Johnson Creamy Aloe Baby Oil Lotion (for sand fleas and no-see-ums!)
For whatever reason, baby oil (and this particular baby oil lotion) is supposed to be the trick to avoiding sand fleas and no-see-ums. I guess it works, because I have yet to suffer the ill-effects of sand flea bites even though I always come across visitors to Eleuthera who have. Since it contains aloe, too, there’s really no harm in bringing some along. Whether as a bug repellant or a sun-burn soother, it’s bound to be useful on your trip.
CeraVe Anti-Itch Hydrocortisone Cream
I never imagined I could love a hydrocortisone cream so much… (such a mom thing to say, and I don’t even have kids yet!) This CeraVe hydrocortisone cream very-quickly cured a red face rash I’d battled for a few weeks, so I’m now a dedicated fan. It’s fantastic for itchy bites, rashes, and a plethora of other minor skin conditions. With this and the aloe baby oil listed above, you should be set on skin-relief products for your island vacation.
Reef-Safe Mineral Sunscreen
I recently read about how harmful oxybenzone and other “bezone” chemicals can be for humans, so I’ve made the switch to mineral sunscreen. I like to mix something like this Badger sunscreen into my daily moisturizer as a foundation, then use a spray sunscreen to touch up throughout the day. I always make sure to use reef-friendly products, too, since mother nature is what makes the islands so great!
Grippy Water Shoes
I get that water shoes can look kinda dorky, but the out islands are the perfect place for them! Many of the beaches in Eleuthera have limestone rock in the sand, which can be extremely hard on your feet and make it difficult to wade around without getting hurt. It’s also common to come across a *treacherous* patch of coral between you and the place you’d like to go. So, I always keep a pair of these in my beach bag. They dry quickly and they’re surprisingly nice for a floppy pair of rubber shoes.
Travel-Size First Aid Kit
Eleuthera and most small islands around the world do not have a proper hospital. You can usually find a clinic or some sort of resort-provided medical care if needed, but it’s smart to have a first-aid kit handy for minor emergencies. I like this one because it has a sturdy case and a full range of medical items for cuts, blisters, and the like.
Packing Cubes + A Wet Clothing Bag
Since we usually just bring carry-on bags, packing cubes are useful for making our limited space go further. I like these particular packing cube sets because they come with a laundry bag to conceal the funky odor of salt-water soaked swimwear and a shoe bag. Some of them also come with a PVC toiletry bag, so be mindful of which one you choose if you decide to buy from this listing.
DJI Mavic Mini Drone
This is the latest version of the drone I use on all of our island vacations. It’s surprisingly capable for being so small! I’ve been using these for a few years now, and the technology has come a long way. Both the video and photo quality are amazing, and they’re easy to learn how to fly. Just be sure to buy a hard case, extra batteries and additional remote-to-phone connection cables (here’s one for iphone and one for android, but be sure to check the compatibility with your specific phone). My remote cable went out the last day of our most-recent trip, preventing me from capturing the photos I wanted of Pink Sands Beach. Lesson learned!
Waterproof Solar Charging Bank with Built-In Flashlight
I’m including this particular charging bank because it ticks multiple boxes for my island vacation needs. To get started, charge the device with a traditional wall outlet. Then, as you’re out and about, you can use solar to keep the power bank charged up. I love that it’s waterproof and has a built-in flashlight, because electricity is less reliable in the out islands. I find myself using charging banks on most trips, because I hate looking for outlets in busy airports. No matter where you’re going next, this charging bank is an essential thing to have!
Inexpensive Sunglasses (I like this pair from Sojos!)
Don’t pack one pair of $200 sunglasses for your next trip to the out islands. Odds are not in your favor! I have one pair of Dior glasses I carry that resembles this pair of Sojos, so I grabbed these for backup. They’re super comfortable, sufficiently dark, and I love the color of the tint. Literally, nothing annoys me more than a pair of brown-tinted sunglasses on a Caribbean beach. A brown hue takes the magic out of turquoise water, but these sunglasses with grey lenses keep the magic alive.
Cooler Bag for the Beach
We’ve been lucky to find rental houses that provide small coolers, but in case you don’t have access to one, an insulated bag is a fabulous thing to bring! When you’re out searching for beaches on the unpaved back roads of a small island, it’s great to have cold drinks when you need a break. I like this insulated tote bag because it can be used as a water-proof beach bag or something to bring groceries home in. Just be sure to pack zip-lock bags for ice or freeze some water bottles to keep your bag cold.
JBL Flip 5 Waterproof Speaker
My husband got one of these JBL Flip speakers at a business conference last year and I didn’t think much of it. However, it’s become one of the most used items in our house! The sound quality is unexpectedly awesome and it’s waterproof. We take it on all our vacations now. While he did make me listen to Bossa Nova music the entire time we were in Eleuthera this year, it was great for the beaches we had to ourselves and white noise in our rental house. 10/10 recommend!
Shark Shield Shark Repellant
Okay, this may seem over the top… But, remember what I said about there being no hospital? I’ve seen several sharks around Eleuthera and I’m always leery of spending too much time in the water for that reason (yes, I’m a wimp). That said, if you’re an avid snorkeler or interested in spear fishing, you might want to consider buying something like a shark shield for your trip. My friend John does a lot of spearfishing around Abaco and North Eleuthera and swears by this device. Considering that it would take more than an hour to be airlifted to Nassau from most islands in the Bahamas, it’s something to think about!
You’re Ready – Enjoy Your Island Vacation!
And, with that last extravagant suggestion, we’ve reach the end of my island vacation shopping list. If you’d like to view the list directly on Amazon.com, you can do so here. If you swear by any additional products for your beach vacations, drop me a comment below. I’d love to make this list more comprehensive for future out island travelers!