St. Martin/St. Maarten: What to Pack
Always start with the most important items. These include valid passports, airline tickets, vouchers, reservation numbers, itineraries, ATM cards, cash, credit cards, driver's licenses, prescription drugs, glasses, contact lenses and any important phone numbers.
It's a good idea to keep copies of your documents in your luggage and at home. There are some travelers who also scan and e-mail copies of important documents to themselves in advance.
Even though there is far less crime in St. Martin / St. Maarten than in most large US cities, it never hurts to be cautious when you are in an unfamiliar environment. International travelers should keep critical items with them at all times or in their hotel’s or villa's safe. If you have an early morning departure, be sure to retrieve your valuables from the hotel safe the night before since they may not be accessible before the regular work day begins.
WHAT TO WEAR
Dress in the island is generally informal. Casual sports clothes in cotton and other light fabrics rule the day. One can choose to wear the latest fashions but remember, this is the tropics. Jeans, shorts, polos, tees, sandals, sneakers and boat shoes are de rigueur. While swimwear is perfect for the beach, it is not considered proper in town. In the evenings, women tend to "dress up" a bit but, as for the men, ties and jackets are rarely seen.
Topless swimming and sunning are acceptable and common at pools and beaches on the French side. Nude sunbathing is often practiced on the south end of Orient Bay beach. A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended for solar protection during the day.
DONT FORGET TO PACK:
1. The Essentials (see above) plus your clothes, phone, swimsuit and toiletries
2. A 110-220 voltage converter and a plug adapter for appliances if needed
3. Contact lens solutions and backup lenses
4. Candles in small containers (useful for power failures and/or romantic moods)
5. A portable music player (ask the locals about the latest island music)
6. Copies of any helpful guidebook pages or articles
7. A camera and plenty of film (yes, some still use film!) or digital storage media
8. A special film bag to protect any high-speed film from airport scanners
9. A paper map of your destination (for when your GPS or online services fail)
10. Names & addresses for postcards (putting them on labels in advance works great)
11. A French mini-phrase book/dictionary
12. Books or your e-reader (local books may not be in your language)
13. A rain poncho and traction-sole shoes if you plan to hike in wet weather
14. Mosquito repellent
15. Sunglasses and hat
16. Lots of sunscreen and lip block
17. Alarm clock (you may not need it until your departure day)
18. Sandals & sneakers
19. Plastic bags (zip-locks are best) for laundry, etc.
20. Sports gear (snorkel, mask, etc.)
22. Spare batteries for cameras, clocks, etc.
23. A small flashlight
24. Spare glasses and/or contact lenses
If you check all of your luggage with an airline, there is a chance that it may be damaged, delayed or even lost forever. Experienced travelers keep their most important items in a carry-on bag. Travel as lightly as possible. Check with your airline for maximum sizes, weights and restrictions.
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