View of Cruz Bay in St. John USVI
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St. John USVI Packing List: Helpful Items to Bring

Are you planning an island getaway to the U.S. Virgin Islands? Here is our Ultimate St. John, USVI packing list! Whether you plan to bask in the Caribbean sun, dive into crystal-clear waters, or explore lush trails, packing smart is your first step to an unforgettable beach vacation. Here’s your personalized packing guide to ensure you have everything for an idyllic island getaway.

The Windmill Bar and Restaurant on Neptune's Lookout. Susannaberg windmill built in the 1780's. They have live music daily and a spectacular view of the sunset.

Helpful Items to Include on Your St. John USVI Packing List

1. Beachwear Essentials

Embrace the island vibes with swimwear that makes a splash. Pack at least two swimsuits for those endless days at the beach. Don’t forget a stylish cover-up, sun hat, and UV-protected sunglasses to shield you from the tropical rays. Enhance your beach experience with beach noodles for lounging in the water and a small cooler to keep your drinks chilled. One of my best purchases has been a lockbox safe to secure valuables while swimming or snorkeling.

2. Sun Protection & Bug Repellent

The Caribbean sun is no joke, so lather up with reef-safe sunscreen and reapply often. Protect your skin with sun-protective clothing, a big-brim sun hat, and an SPF rash guard to block harmful UV rays at the beach. Don’t let the no-see-ums spoil your day; Avon’s Skin So Soft is an effective deterrent against these tiny pests. Protect your lips with SPF lip balm, and bring aloe vera or after-sun lotion to soothe your skin after a day in the sun.

3. Comfortable Footwear

From sandy beaches to cobblestone streets, your feet deserve comfort. Pack flip-flops for the beach, sneakers or hiking shoes, and sandals for those island nights out. A pair of water shoes or reef booties are great if you do a lot of snorkeling.

4. Island-Ready Attire

Keep it light and breezy with airy fabrics like cotton and linen. Include a mix of shorts, tees, and a few sundresses for women or collared shirts for men for dining at that seaside restaurant you’ve been dreaming about. Most people live in their bathing suits all day, so make sure to bring at least two.

5. Waterproof Gear

Protect your electronic devices and documents from water splashes with waterproof cases and bags. A dry bag is also necessary for boat trips and water activities. I have found that this dry bag is a great investment for water activities when traveling to tropical climates. I always have a waterproof phone case to store my iPhone. 

6. Snorkeling Equipment

The U.S. Virgin Islands are famous for their pristine beaches and snorkel locations with marine life. Bring your snorkel, mask, and fins, or rent them on the island. We usually travel with our snorkeling gear but rent our fins on the island.

CT Tip: Be respectful to marine life and sea turtles, and do not disturb the coral reefs. If you are not a strong swimmer, consider an inflatable pool noodle while snorkeling. 
Remember to always use reef-safe sunscreen. There is a difference between reef-friendly and reef-safe sunscreen. The USVI requires reef-safe sunscreen.

Having a repair kit in your snorkel bag is a good idea. We searched for a snorkel clip on our last trip to St. John. I now stock a replacement mouthpiece, clips, etc.

Defogger solution makes a world of difference in eliminating snorkel mask fogging. A little trick is to use baby shampoo instead of a defogger solution. Just remember not to put sunscreen on your face. 

7. Travel Documents

Keep your passport, travel insurance, COVID vaccination card, and other necessary documents secure and accessible. Consider a travel wallet or organizer for extra peace of mind. When you travel to BVI, secure your passport and documents in a waterproof pouch. 

If you are not a US citizen, check the visa requirements for entering the Virgin Islands. If you plan to visit the BVIs on a boat charter, know the requirements and costs beforehand.

Purchase Travel Insurance for peace of mind. In the last couple of years, I think we have all learned the value of having travel insurance in case of cancellation or illness. 

8. Camera and Video 

Capture the beauty of St. John with a good camera or smartphone. A GoPro is also great for capturing that favorite moment of seeing turtles or other sea life underwater. Bring spare batteries and memory cards. I always travel with a tripod, too.

9. Daypack

A lightweight backpack or tote is perfect for carrying beach essentials or souvenirs from local markets. Choose one that’s comfortable to carry and easy to clean.

10. Eco-Friendly Water Bottle

Stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste with a reusable water bottle. Fill up at your accommodation and keep cool water on hand during your explorations.

11. First Aid Kit

Be prepared for minor scrapes or insect bites with a basic first aid kit. Include band-aids, antiseptic wipes, moleskin, and any personal medications. Also include jellyfish ointment. Don’t forget motion sickness medicine and sea bands for boat trips and driving on curvy roads.

12. Entertainment

Bring a good book, download some podcasts, or create a beach playlist to enjoy during those moments of relaxation under the palm trees.

Do not forget a small waterproof speaker for entertainment at the beach. Be respectful to other visitors on the beach, though, and don’t play your music too loudly.

13. Power Bank

A portable power bank keeps your devices charged on the go. You won’t want to miss out on capturing those stunning sunsets!

14. Lightweight Jacket or Wrap – Optional

Evenings can get breezy, so pack a light jacket or shawl to stay cozy during waterfront dining or late-night beach strolls. Consider a rain jacket or poncho for those unexpected rain showers. 

15. Travel Adapter – Optional

If you’re coming from outside the US, remember to bring a travel adapter for your electronics. St. John uses standard US plugs and voltage.

16. Hiking Outfits and Gear for exploring the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park

Pack sturdy hiking shoes for St. John’s rugged trail adventures to navigate the terrain comfortably. A day pack for essentials and hiking poles for extra stability are also necessary.

17. Miscellaneous Helpful Items to Bring on a St. John Vacation

  • Don’t forget Ziplock bags—they’re versatile and can keep personal items dry or store wet clothing after a day at the beach.
  • Consider renting beach chairs and sun shelter.
  • Many people will bring a Neso tent because most beaches lack shade. It is a pricier item and takes up suitcase space, but if you require shade, it is a great investment. Just be sure to be courteous about where you set it up so as not to block others’ views.
  • If you plan on sailing around the BVI and USVI, opt for soft luggage over hard side cases to save storage space on the ship.
  • Beach bag is essential for toting items to the beach.
  • Reusable shopping bags are handy for shopping or carrying items to the beach.
  • I always travel with a pop-up laundry basket to keep dirty clothes off the floor.
  • Pack cubes are versatile. They keep you organized while packing and conveniently pack items in the beach bag.

Leave off Your St. John USVI Packing List

To make your travel lighter and more island-friendly, consider leaving the following items behind when you are packing for St. John:

  • Heels – The island’s laid-back vibe and terrain don’t mix well with high heels.
  • Sunscreen that isn’t reef-safe – Protect our oceans by choosing eco-friendly options.
  • Beach towels – Most accommodations provide these.
  • Hair dryer, fancy clothes, expensive jewelry – Embrace the island’s casual ethos.
  • Jeans – They don’t dry quickly in tropical climates.

Which clothes to pack for St. John USVI

Packing smart is key when venturing off to St. John in the USVI. The island’s tropical climate means your clothes should be quick-drying and comfortable. Below is a list to ensure you have just what you need.

  • Rain jacket just in case you encounter a tropical shower
  • Two or three swim suits are a must for those multiple beach days
  • Two Cover-ups for transitioning from beach to cafe
  • One SPF shirt
  • Five tops
    • Two short sleeves
    • Two tank tops
    • Long-sleeve for sun protection or cool evenings
  • Two shorts, one pants (Men: 3 shorts)
  • One dress
  • One lightweight sweater or sweatshirt – Optional
  • Socks for hiking shoes
  • Undergarments
  • Wide-brimmed hat

Remember, while style is important, comfort and versatility are your main goals when packing for St. John. With this list, you’re ready to enjoy your island getaway easily!

St. John imports everything, increasing costs. It’s often better to come prepared than to purchase items on the island, but some shops sell SPF rash guards and t-shirts if needed.

Salt Pond Beach, St. John, USVI

Which Shoes to Pack for St. John USVI

How to Pack for St. John USVI

Visiting St. John with just a carry-on and a backpack is easy. Since many people stay on the island at vacation homes or villas, there will most likely be a washer and dryer. We stay at the Westin St. John Resort Villas, and every unit has a washer and dryer. It makes it easy to pack light. Since we are avid snorkelers, we travel with our equipment and some beach accessories. Because of this, we usually check one bag. Pack light since you must travel from the St. Thomas airport on a ferry to Cruz Bay and then to your lodging. 

St. John Packing List PDF

You can grab the PDF checklist I made for visiting the Virgin Islands. Sign up for our newsletter and download this handy guide. 

Our Trusted Resources for booking accommodations

Fare Drop: for finding the best airfare deals.

Viator or Get Your Guide: for all my activities

Discover Cars: for car rentals

Airalo: for eSIM card

Trainline: for booking train tickets

Vuori & prAna: great sources for travel clothes

Columbia: great clothes and accessories for outdoor adventures.

International Drivers Permit: for getting your IDP

Travelex: for Travel Insurance

Are you traveling to St. John and looking for St. John Activities?

Check out our other posts for our Travel Guide to St. John.

Final Thoughts on St. John USVI Packing List

Remember that everything in St. John is imported, increasing the cost. While in some locations, it is easier to purchase toiletries or sunscreen once you arrive, it’s better to arrive on the island prepared.

With this packing guide, you’re all set for your St. John adventure. Cultivate your passion for travel with stress-free bucket list trip planning and create memories that will last a lifetime. Let’s get planning your next adventure!

Frequently Asked Questions about St. John USVI

Do I need a passport to travel to the US Virgin Islands?

U.S. citizens do not require a passport to visit the US Virgin Islands, as they are a territory of the United States. However, a valid passport will be necessary if your travel plans include a trip to the British Virgin Islands or other international destinations in the Caribbean. Always check the latest travel requirements before your trip to ensure a smooth experience.

Is St. John a safe destination for tourists?

Yes. St. John is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. As with any tourist locale, it’s wise to remain aware of your surroundings, exercise common sense, and secure your belongings. The local community is known for being welcoming and friendly, contributing to the island’s reputation for safety.

What is St. John known for?

Over 60% of St. John is encompassed by the Virgin Islands National Park, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in unspoiled natural beauty. The island boasts some of the world’s most stunning beaches, including Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay. Additionally, St. John’s close proximity to the British Virgin Islands and other Caribbean Islands makes it a prime spot for island-hopping adventures.

Why should I include St. John in my travel plans?

St. John is an idyllic destination year-round, boasting an average temperature of 85.7°F and inviting water temperatures around 81.3°F, ideal for swimming and various water sports. Peak travel season runs from December through March, offering the best time to experience the island. For those seeking a quieter visit, April to June serves as a shoulder season with fewer tourists and pleasant weather just before the onset of the hurricane season. The period from July to November is considered the wet season, which offers some of the best rates for airfare and accommodations despite the increased chance of storms. Investing in travel insurance if you choose to travel during this time is advisable.

What are the best souvenirs to purchase in St. John?

To capture the essence of your St. John vacation, consider acquiring a piece of handcrafted jewelry symbolic of the island, such as designs featuring the iconic hook, ancient petroglyphs, or the coordinates of St. John. Beyond jewelry, numerous local boutiques offer an array of unique artwork, clothing, home décor, and hats that make perfect souvenirs or gifts.

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