Packing for a vacation involves balancing out what you want and need with what you feel like carrying. Since the Bahamas is a warm weather destination, you’ll be able to avoid most of your bulkiest clothes. This leaves more room in your suitcase for the stuff you really want to wear.
What Should You Wear in the Bahamas?
What to bring will depend a lot on your itinerary. Think through your activities and make sure you have what you need to be comfortable and happy during your trip.
If you are heading to one of the many resorts, you’ll probably want to pack plenty of resort casual clothes. Think flowy sundresses and loose, elegant clothes for women.
Men will want to bring a few pairs of shorts in good condition, some long pants for dinner, and smart shirt options like polios and golf shirts.
There are some great pool coverups that look good enough to wear on the street or into a restaurant. These can be good things to pack if your day is going to involve both time at the pool or beach and a trip to the shops or a restaurant.
If you are going to be spending a lot of time on the beach, shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, and swimsuits are fine. The weather is warm year round, but you will encounter both especially hot and a few surprisingly chilly days.
What to Wear on the Water
The Bahamas is renowned for its good fishing. Bring along a few essentials to keep yourself comfortable on the boat. Long sleeve fishing shirts are a great on-the-water option. The long sleeves keep the sun off you. The vented back ensures you don’t get too hot.
And, the fabrics are typically quick-drying synthetics, so you won’t stay wet too long. A dry bag with a change of clothes can be a lifesaver.
This way, you have something clean and dry to change into if you get messy or wet. Bring a light windbreaker, jacket, or sweatshirt along. The breeze offshore can be cooler than you’d imagine. This is especially true if you are out after dark.
Be Bug Smart
Mosquitos and noseeums can be a literal pain a lot of the year. This is especially true around sunrise and sunset. Long sleeves and pants can help keep bugs off you.
Some people swear by light colored clothes to repel insects, but I’ve never known it to make a difference. Avoiding perfumes does seem to help keep bugs away. A simple bug spray applied right before you head outside can also help a lot.
Be Prepared for Rain
July through December is the rainy season in the Bahamas. It won’t rain all day (usually) but you should expect a heavy rainfall for 30 minutes or so in the afternoons. Synthetic fibers that dry quickly can keep you comfortable if you get caught out in the rain.
This way, you aren’t cold and miserable if you duck into an air-conditioned building after getting caught in the day’s shower. If you are going to be out in the late afternoon, consider bringing along a small travel umbrella or a light travel towel.
Pack More Than One Bathing Suit
The beaches and clear, tropical water are the biggest draws in the Bahamas. Bring multiple swimsuits. This way, you aren’t fighting your way into a wet swimsuit when you decide to go to the beach two days in a row.
When it comes to what kind of swimsuit, there aren’t really strict rules. Thong bikinis aren’t against the law, but they aren’t a popular choice. Men typically wear American style swimsuits, no banana hammocks.
Topless sunbathing is tolerated at a few of the resorts, but really not encouraged. (This is an area I haven’t explored personally, as sunburnt nipples just aren’t comfortable.)
Protect Yourself from the Sun
The sun in the Bahamas can shine intensely. If you aren’t prepared, you can wind up spending a lot of your vacation recovering from a bad sunburn. Sunscreen lotion is one solution, but it can be better to shield yourself with the right clothing.
UV protectant long sleeve shirts can help protect your upper body.If I’m going to be out on the water kayaking or swimming, I’ll also slip some water leggings in my bag. These keep my legs protected from not just excess sun but also jellyfish stings.
Remember It Can Get Chilly
A lot of people are surprised at this. After all, it’s a tropical paradise, right? The Bahamas is a humid country. While that can make hot temperatures more intense, it can also mean that cooler weather leaves you feeling more chilled.
If you are out in the evening, you may find that you want a light sweater or pashmina. You’ll also want some sort of windbreaker if you are out boating for the day. The air can get very cool over the water.
Mind the Dress Codes
While most of the time, you’ll be in shorts and a t-shirt or a swimsuit, there are times you’ll want to dress a bit smart. Some of the restaurants and nightclubs have dress codes in the evenings. This means no shorts, no tank tops, no open toed shoes for men.
Ripped or frayed jeans, flip-flops, swimsuits, and athletic wear are also a no go. Women can wear nice sundresses and some dressy sandals or shoes.
Skip the swimwear unless you have a nice coverup that can double as an appropriate dress for evening. For men, consider long pants and a polo shirt or button up shirt. A few men have reported being turned away from some restaurants for wearing shorts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions to know before packing for the Bahamas:
What do people wear to The Bahamas?
The climate is pretty warm year round, but there are some cooler days in the winter. Bring light, airy clothes to keep the sun off and avoid overheating. You’ll also want some pants and a light sweater in case you encounter cooler evening or seasonal weather.
What should I pack for Nassau Bahamas?
What you pack depends on how you plan to spend your time. Bring some casual clothing like shorts and t-shirts for during the day. At dinner, people tend to dress up a bit, so bring smart casual staples like sundresses, polos, and khakis.
What you should know before traveling to The Bahamas?
The Bahamas is a tropical destination. The sun can be intense. Bring lightweight, comfortable, breathable clothing. Make sure you have garments that can help protect your skin from the sun. It’s no fun to spend most of a vacation suffering with a sunburn.
How much money should you bring to The Bahamas for a week?
Plan on $100 to $150 a day for food, drinks, and activities in the Bahamas. Don’t worry about exchanging currency before you go. The Bahamas dollar is pegged to the US dollar, so they can be used interchangeably.
Summing Up: How to Dress for the Bahamas
Don’t overthink it. You’re on vacation, so you shouldn’t be getting too stressed out over dress codes and no-white-after-Labor-Day style traditions.
Bring along clothes you’d be happy to wear to a party at a friend’s house. Leave the bleached out, stained or frayed clothes at home, and pack the things that look and feel best. Happy travels!