Aruba is a popular tourist destination for many reasons: the white-sand beaches, the clear turquoise waters, the friendly people, and the endless activities. But before you can enjoy all that Aruba has to offer, you need to pack your bags! To help you out, I’ve created a complete packing list for your next Caribbean vacation.
This packing list will cover everything from clothes to electronics to toiletries – everything you need for an enjoyable and stress-free trip.
So, whether you’re packing for a family vacation or a romantic getaway, be sure to check out my complete Aruba packing list.
What to consider when planning a trip to Aruba
When planning a trip to Aruba, it is absolutely essential to have a passport. You should also double-check that your passport has at least six months of validity, or you could be denied boarding. American and European citizens do not need a visa for Aruba. If you are traveling from another country, please be sure to check your embassy website for entry requirements to the island.
Top Tip: I recommend keeping a photo of the information page of your passport on your phone and also emailing a copy to yourself. This helps to speed up the process of getting a replacement if you lose it or it gets stolen. Furthermore, it is also wise to have a passport holder and a neck wallet to hold your passport and other important items securely when traveling abroad
2. Driver's License
You should bring your Driver’s license when going abroad, and you do need a valid U.S. driver’s license if you plan to rent a car in Aruba. With your own set of wheels, you can explore the island at your own pace and make stops whenever and wherever you please. Just keep in mind that most rental companies require drivers to be at least 25 years old.
The driver’s license can also serve as a form of ID that you can carry with you as you explore the island. That way, if anything happens to it, it will be annoying but much better than losing your passport.
3. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is highly recommended when traveling abroad and is an important part of any trip to Aruba. Not only can it provide protection in the event of an unexpected medical emergency, but it can also provide peace of mind if something unexpected happens that causes you to need to cancel or interrupt your trip.
Unexpected expenses such as medical bills, lost or damaged luggage, or cancellations due to illness, injury, or natural disasters can add up quickly and can leave you in a financial bind.
Travel insurance can help you be reimbursed for these expenses and can also provide coverage for medical evacuation if necessary. It can also provide assistance if you lose your passport or need legal assistance while away from home.
4. Flight Tickets
You can’t enjoy your vacation in Aruba if you can’t get there and since most people fly in, make sure to book your flights in advance. When comparing and contrasting different flight tickets, there are several key factors to take into consideration.
Firstly, you should look at the departure and return dates, as well as the departure and arrival airports.
Additionally, you should consider the flight duration and the number of stops, as this will affect the cost and the total travel time, direct flights are ideal, but they can also be more pricy.
I usually compare prices on Google Flights and then book directly with the airline or a reputable website like Expedia. That way, if you have to make any changes, you have someone to talk to.
There are a variety of accommodations available in Aruba, ranging from luxurious resorts to budget-friendly hostels, and just like with flights, it’s best to book in advance to get a good deal.
Luxury resorts offer five-star amenities such as private beaches, world-class spas, multiple swimming pools, top-notch restaurants, and exclusive lounges. For those looking for a more affordable option, there are budget hostels and guesthouses with basic amenities, and you can find some good deals on Airbnb.
For those who want to be close to nature, there are also glamping options available on the island.
6. Cash and Credit Cards
Most large establishments in Aruba will accept major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Your Resort, car rental company, and large restaurants will accept most cards, but you should also have some cash on hand for small purchases and tips. Try to use a card with no foreign transaction fees, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and you get travel rewards.
The official local currency is the Aruban Guilder (AWG), but US dollars are widely accepted, especially in tourist areas. For cash, you bring dollars with you or withdraw money from a local ATM. Again a debit card with no foreign transaction fees would be great. Capital One has the 360 Preferred Debit, which works great internationally.
TOP TIP: When paying with your foreign Credit Card, if you get prompted to choose the currency, always select the local currency, AWG, not USD. This way, your home bank will do the conversion at the daily rate, local banks tend to give you a very bad conversion rate.
Similarly, when using your Debit Card to take out money from an ATM, never accept their conversions. Always choose “Continue without conversion”. The reason is the same, your home bank will give you a much better rate.
Aruba is a beautiful, warm island, so when packing for your trip, it’s important to bring swimwear. You will spend a lot of fo time on the beach or doing water activities. You should consider bringing at least two pairs so one has time to dry out as you are using the other. Ladies, if you want to tan, go for a two-piece swimsuit. For men, find swim trunks that double up as regular shorts so you can walk around in them.
I also recommend bringing a light swimsuit cover-up, so you don’t have to change in and out of the bathing suit when going for lunch or ordering something from the bar. It’s also great to protect yourself from the sun while not getting too hot.
Hair Tools Travel Bag
Regardless of the season, it’s very hot in the Caribbean, so when planning a trip to Aruba, it’s important to have the right sunscreen to protect your skin from the intense sun. A high-level SPF and UVA/UVB protection is a must, get the ones with many +++ signs on them.
For those with sensitive skin, a sunscreen marketed for babies is a great option.
Finally, a good pair of sunglasses with UV protection will be necessary to protect your eyes. I bring a “fancy pair” for walking around and a cheap “active” pair for water activities.
To choose the best spot, check out my article on The Best Beaches in Aruba.
9. Beach Towel
Most hotels and Resorts provide beach towels, but I always bring a lightweight, quick-dry towel with me. A sand-free beach towel is one of the best items you can bring for the beach in Aruba since it helps keep the sand off your other belongings. A quick dry towel is also great for outdoor activities like hiking or exploring, that way, you don’t have to carry a wet, heavy towel around all day.
When traveling to Aruba, it is important to protect yourself from the intense sun and wind, so you should pack a few types of hats for your trip.
The most popular hat style for the Aruba sun is a wide-brimmed sun hat to protect your face and eyes from harmful UV rays. Look for a sun hat that is adjustable and fitted, so it won’t blow away in the wind.
Other great options include a packable knit fedora, a beach hat, or a simple baseball cap. Whatever style you choose, make sure it provides adequate sun protection and fits securely on your head.
Related Story: Top Vacation Places in the Caribbean.
11. Beach Bag
When planning a trip to Aruba, it’s important to consider what type of beach bag to bring. During your long days spent soaking up the sun, you’ll want to have a bag that’s lightweight and stylish but still roomy enough to contain all your essentials.
The best option would be a sand-free or packable beach bag with an insulated bottom compartment to keep your drinks cold. It should be big enough to fit a towel, swimwear, sunglasses, a snack, and reading material.
I try to pack as lightly as possible but also ensure I have everything I need. When planning a trip to Aruba, you should consider packing clothes such as sundresses, tops (vest/t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt), jumpsuits, underwear, bras, shirts to sleep in, skirts, shorts, and a hoodie.
Additionally, bring a cover-up to wear over swimwear at the beach/pool, 2-3 pairs of swimwear, lightweight, loose-fitting tops in natural fibers, a super lightweight foldable waterproof jacket, sleepwear, and accessories to jazz up your evening look.
It’s warm in Aruba year-round, so you will not need many pairs of shoes. I usually pack three pairs of shoes: a pair of comfortable sandals for walking around, flip-flops for the beach, and some comfortable sneakers for hiking and exploring. Wear a pair of nicer shoes on the way there, such as Toms that can be dressed up for dinner parties or clubs.
14. Mosquito Repellent
When planning a trip to Aruba, it’s important to consider the best way to protect yourself from pesky and potentially disease-carrying bugs like mosquitoes.
There are a variety of options when it comes to mosquito repellent, ranging from sprays to lotions to wristbands. If you don’t get bit by mosquitos a lot, I recommend the mosquito repelling wristbands, as they provide up to 300 hours of protection, and you don’t have to worry about applying spray or lotion all the time.
However, if you are like me and are always the one being destroyed by mosquitos, then you have no choice but the use the DEET mosquito repellent. You can find sprays with all kinds of concentrations in the local stores, I usually go for the 8-10% DEET ones.
15. Snorkeling gear
Since water activities are my favorite, and snorkeling is mostly free, I tend to do it a lot on island vacations, and I bring my own snorkel and mask from home. I know it may sound like a waste of space to carry it on your vacation, but if you love the ocean, you will thank me later.
There are rental ones available for a small fee around the island, but they are usually of bad quality and worn out. Plus, they tend to splash them in the water a bit and give them to the next person in line, gross! You can also try to buy one, but you will find only overpriced, terrible-quality ones that are pretty much useless.
Additionally, I use a waterproof dry bag as my daypack. It’s an essential item for anyone doing any water activities, as it’s a great way to keep your wallet, phone, and other important items dry. And if you ever have the misfortune of losing it from your boat or kayak, it floats on the surface and is easy to recover. Don’t ask me how I found that out!
16. Underwater Camera
If you’re heading to Aruba and plan to do some underwater activities, then you should definitely invest in a good waterproof camera. I use GoPro and DJI Osmo Action. There are a few cheap ones on Amazon, but don’t bother, they will ruin your vacation. You should also get the floating orange handle with a strap for your camera, if you ever drop it by mistake, it will just float to the surface.
Additionally, you should also look into buying a waterproof phone case. I know most phones are waterproof nowadays, but trust me, they don’t like salt water or sand. Get one of those cases you can wrap around your neck, and your phone will be safe.
17. Travel umbrella
Aruba has two main seasons: dry and rainy. During the rainy season, you will get almost daily showers, but they are very short. Even in the dry season, you are not 100% safe, you can still get wet.
That is why I bring along a compact travel umbrella. Not only is it lightweight and portable, but the canopy is designed to stand up to winds without breaking. This ensures you can stay dry during a rain shower, and it can provide much-needed shade from the intense rays when it’s sunny.
18. Power Adapter
Aruba is a constituent country of the Netherlands but is located in the Caribbean, so it uses 110V power like the US, with both US sockets and European sockets, so I always make sure to bring a Power Adapter.
I also bring a small power bank with me for “juice on the go” to charge my phone and GoPro when needed. You tend to use the GPS a lot and take many pictures, so you will find your battery draining much faster than usual.
When planning a trip to Aruba, it’s important to make sure you have the right chargers for all your gadgets. You will want to be sure to pack a charger for your phone, laptop, tablet, smartwatch, and GoPro.
And don’t forget all the cables needed to charge all your devices. I like to keep them all in a small travel case, so they are easy to carry, and I don’t forget any of them plugged into the wall when I leave.
Most hotels provide a few basic bathroom items, but it’s important you bring your toiletries. A Hairbrush, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, shampoo/conditioner, lotion/moisturizer, makeup, face wash/wipes, razor, and your glasses or contact lenses.
You can also buy some of these items at a local store if you use mainstream products like Head and Shoulders, but if you use anything special, bring your own. I always pack them in a freezer bag or ziplock, that way, if anything spills, they won’t ruin my clothes.
21. Medications and supplements
If you take any prescription medication, make sure you keep them in their original container and have enough for the duration of your trip and a few extra days in case of any delays. And make sure you have a copy of your prescription on as well or at least a picture in case you get questioned by TSA or the Police.
You should also pack over-the-counter medicines such as painkillers, diarrhea medicine, motion sickness medicine, and a mild laxative. Hand sanitizer, bandaids, and wet wipes are always good to have when exploring the island in case of any minor scrapes or bruises.
22. In-flight Essentials
Aruba is fairly close to the US, so if you are flying in from Miami, it’s a short hop, but from other cities like New York, your flight will take quite a few hours. Either way, I bring some in-flight essentials to make my time on the plan more comfortable.
Pack a sleep mask, a travel pillow, headphones (preferably noise canceling), an eReader, music, and movies downloaded offline, and some snacks. For hygiene, bring disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and a travel bidet.
23. Reusable Water Bottle
It is important to bring a reusable water bottle on a trip to Aruba for both environmental and practical reasons. The tap water in Aruba is safe to drink, and hotels have filtered water in the lobby, so bringing a reusable water bottle is an easy and efficient way to stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste. Get an insulated reusable water bottle to keep your water cool in the heat.
As a few finishing touches, you can also bring a compact first-aid kit, Reef-Safe Sunscreen if you intend on spending a lot of time snorkeling or diving, and a Rain Jacket. It will help you stay dry in the wet season, and you can use it as a windbreaker in the brisk evenings of the dry season.
I also use Packing Cubes to keep my clothes organized and pack them more compactly.
My Top Aruba Travel Hacks
Bring a Travel Laundry Bag
One item that I consider essential for travel that is often overlooked is a travel laundry bag. Travel laundry bags are perfect for separating clean and dirty clothes and are lightweight and portable, making them ideal for trips. Furthermore, the material of these bags allows for some airflow, preventing odors and bacteria from building up when clothes are damp or sweaty.
I usually try to get a dark color, solid material one over the mesh so I can easily carry it with me to a laundromat without people looking at my dirty laundry.
Pack Light but Bring Essentials
We all tend to pack too much stuff when traveling, but experienced travelers will tell you: Packing light is the way to go. There is a fine balance between bringing everything you need and over-packing, so here are my top tips:
- To save as much space as possible, wear your bulkiest items, such as tennis shoes, sleeves, pants, and a hoodie on you, on the way there. Airports, buses, and airplanes are usually cold, so you will need them anyway.
- Use packing cubes. They will help you stay organized and create additional space in your suitcase.
- If in doubt, leave it at home, don’t bring stuff “just in case”. You can always purchase T-shirts, a bath towel, and a pair of Flip-flops when you get there if you need more.
- Finally, don’t stuff your suitcases, leave some extra space for souvenirs!
Bring SPF Chapstick
When we bring sun protection, we always think about our skin but ignore our lips. In tropical climates like Aruba, it is important to bring SPF Chapstick because it is both sunny and windy, meaning extra protection for your lips is essential. It is cheap, light, and easy to bring, so there is no reason not to have it.
Bring a Car Charger
Many of the activities and attractions in Aruba are located away from your hotel or resort, and you will use your electronics a lot for navigation, pictures, and videos.
If your phone battery usually lasts you through the day, know that on vacation, it will probably only get you through lunch. You tend to use it a lot more for pictures, insta-stories, and looking for places to explore, which will drain your battery very quickly.
With a car charger, you can charge your devices while traveling to and from locations, ensuring that your devices remain powered and ready to use. Even scooters have a car charger port now, so you should definitely bring a charger with you.
Plan Ahead for Activities
There are a ton of activities to do in Aruba, so to make sure you take full advantage, I always try to plan ahead. I always research the activity on google maps and forums to know the best time to go and the things I need. Some places are better at sunset, some at sunrise, and some are altogether scams and should be avoided. Do your research and stay safe.
Bring a Backpack for Excursions
Whenever I travel, I always bring a small backpack (aka day bag) with me. With a backpack, you can bring the minimal essentials that you need for the day, such as a camera, water, snacks, and sunscreen. Find a comfortable, waterproof back around 20L in size. It should be small enough to carry around but big enough to fit a change of clothes, a small towel, and a few other items.
Hair Tools Travel Bag
Safety and Security
Aruba is one of the safest places in the Caribbean, with the violent crime rate being very low. That being said, as with every popular tourist destination, you have to use common sense and keep your personal belongings safe.
The most common issues tourist encounter when visiting are pickpocketing and general theft. Keep your valuables in zip pockets away, and always keep an eye on your belongings when on the beach or exploring. Stick to tourist areas, and don’t walk around alone at night.
Other general safety steps I take when traveling abroad are:
- Keep a picture and a copy of my travel documents, and also email them to yourself in case of loss.
- Keep emergency cash in an envelope, separate from my wallet.
- Put all my valuables in the safe when leaving the room.
- Negotiate prices before starting any activity or taxi ride so you don’t get scammed.
- Inform family and friends of my travel plans, hotel name, and flight itinerary.
- Use common sense. It sounds like a bad idea, it probably is.
What type of currency is accepted in Aruba?
In Aruba, the official currency is the Aruban Florin (AWG); however, U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Major debit and credit cards are also accepted in most hotels and resorts. If you want to have some local currency on hand, I recommend going to one of the local ATMs and avoiding currency exchange booths, especially the ones in the airport.
What types of activities are available in Aruba?
Aruba is a paradise for many different activities. From snorkeling at Arashi Beach and Catalina Cove to exploring the National Park, the options are nearly endless.
There are also many great options for more active travelers, such as kite- and windsurfing at Malmok Beach, kayaking at Boca Catalina, and sailing on a catamaran. Horseback riding is also offered at The Gold Mine Ranch, with breathtaking views of beaches and ruins.
In addition to the outdoor activities, Aruba also has great shopping, restaurants, and cultural attractions.
Also read my 21 Travel Tips for Aruba.
Are there any items I should not bring to Aruba?
Items you should not bring to Aruba include excess cash, expensive jewelry, bulky clothing, books, boots, and a hairdryer. Additionally, such items as heavy clothing, umbrellas, suits, formal wear, travel irons or steamers, and bulky beach towels should also be left behind, as most resorts will provide these items.
Do I need a passport to travel to Aruba?
Yes, you must have a valid passport to travel to Aruba. US citizens, as well as most of the EU, do not require visas to enter the country. However, visitors must have a current passport that is valid for at least six months in order to enter and remain in the country.
What type of footwear is best for Aruba?
When visiting Aruba, the best type of footwear to bring is sandals or flip-flops. They are simple and ideal for most activities during the day. For evenings out, you can step it up a notch with summer sandals or a pair of Toms.
Additionally, you may want to consider bringing water shoes or hiking sandals if you plan on doing a lot of water-related activities.
As far as sneakers go, they are helpful if you are planning to hike in Arikok National Park or go horseback riding. However, keep in mind you will be on your feet a lot, so try to opt for more comfortable, breathable styles.
How can I protect my valuables while in Aruba?
Nothing will ruin your vacation faster than losing your valuables or having them stolen, so here are some steps to take to protect them:
- Use anti-theft items: Purchase anti-theft bags and locks for your luggage, and consider having a spare money stash just in case.
- Leave behind expensive jewelry: Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and leave behind expensive jewelry.
- Use your Credit Card as often as possible. It can be easily canceled and replaced in case of loss. And if you use one with travel rewards, you will also have bonus points to get you started on your next vacation.
- Don’t leave your valuables unattended at any time. This goes for the beach, exploring around, and especially don’t leave anything in your car.
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The Complete Aruba Packing List
No matter what kind of traveler you are, I hope this Aruba packing list helps you plan and pack for your upcoming trip. If you have any other suggestions or items you think should be on the list, feel free to leave a comment below.