Dominican Republic / Punta Cana Packing Tips and Ideas

Crissandra's Packing Tips!


Planning a trip to the D.R? Sweet!

Packing is sometimes the hardest part of the travel preparation process (at least for me... I'm an over-packer). However, there are some items that can be easy to forget or may add a nice touch to your vacation that you may not have thought about.

Hence, the list. I won't make this a long read. I will start with some things that are required or may be necessary where applicable and then dive into the fun extra stuff! Take from it what you will...

*Required Items*

If you are traveling from the U.S., this information will apply to you. I sometimes book Canadian citizens but for the purposes of this blog I am addressing travelers from the U.S.

  • A Valid U.S. Passport- I can not stress this enough. To go to the D.R., American citizens must have a passport book. As a travel agent, I am surprised at the number of times I have been asked if a passport is needed. If you are flying into the D.R. the answer is 100% always yes. You can find current information here: U.S. Department of State Website
  • Completed E-Ticket- All travelers to the Dominican Republic must complete and entry and exit E-Ticket. This can be    done 72 hours prior to your trip all the way up until going through immigration at the airport. Obviously I recommend doing it earlier than arrival day. You will do this for each passenger and you should receive two QR codes (one for entry and one for exit). This is FREE. Some scammer sites exist and try to make you pay for this. Do not pay! This is the appropriate site here: Electronic Ticket Portal

*Recommended But Not Required*

These are simply suggestions based on my own experiences with traveling both solo and with family / kids as well as suggestions from family, friends & clients!

  • Custody, Court Orders, and Other Paperwork- Here are some scenarios where having documentation may come in handy. *Please note that these are my recommendations and may or may not be required. Please do your due diligence here!

-When a child is traveling with only one parent - A notarized letter from the other parent, a copy of a court order showing that the parent that the child is traveling with has permission to travel with the child (the custody order may have provisions for international travel, show full/ sole custody, etc.), or a copy of the birth certificate if only one parent is named on it. I am not an attorney. Please consult an attorney to see if this may apply to your situation. Having this paperwork handy may help prevent any unexpected or unpleasant delays at the airport. Worst case scenario: If you are asked to show proof and can't, you may not be permitted to travel. I can't say you will or will not be asked for this but I WILL say that I have had personal experience with this. It was one parent trying to cause trouble for another parent in a custody situation. Luckily the traveling parent was able to prove that she was allowed to make the trip by showing a court order.

-When a child is traveling without either parent- Situations such as vacationing with grandparents or friends may require the adults to provide proof that they have permission to travel with the child. A notarized letter signed by both parents, and/ or other official documentation may be needed. Again, if you want to know what might apply to your specific situation, I advise consulting your attorney.

*Different airlines have different rules for these situations as well, so please make sure to check your airline's requirements.

  • Bug spray or wipes- I like the wipes because I can keep them in my purse or beach bag and I don't have to worry about the bottle leaking. I also prefer the ones that are individually wrapped like a moist towelette because then I don't have to worry about the unused ones drying out before I get to them. 
  • Hydrocortisone cream- I can not tell you how much I rely on this stuff in the summer... not even on vacation. But nothing will annoy me more than my older kids refusing to put on bug spray and then complaining about itchy mosquito bites so have this for my own sanity.
  • Biodegradable sunscreen- Sunscreen *is* a necessity. Pack your own from home because buying it at your resort is going to cost you bigtime. But if you like spending a little more to save the planet (and not just because of high prices on normally affordable essentials that tourists will have to pay if they forgot theirs at home), check out the biodegradable kind, especially if you plan on doing any snorkeling or swimming in the ocean. If you are planning a trip to Mexico for another time, you'll see many of the tour companies require your sunscreen to be biodegradable so that's something to keep in mind for later.
  • Portable phone charger- I don't think I really need to explain this. Traveling days are long. Charging stations at airports can be hard to find and not all airplanes have charging ports at your seat (and if they do, there are times that they just do not work). Excursion days or beach days can be lengthy and your phone may not last the day on it's full charge from the night before. Do yourself a favor. I have this one for my Samsung phone and I love it. Obviously check to see if your phone is compatible first.
  • Anti-nausea / sea sickness pills, patches, remedies- If you know you suffer from sea sickness or motion sickness you may want to consider bringing something to remedy it. While there is a lot to do in the Dominican without being on a boat, you may find yourself on an excursion that includes a boat ride. Or you may not do well sitting in a moving shuttle or taxi getting to and from the resort, airport or place of interest. I honestly don't know if my kids will get sea sick on an upcoming deep sea fishing trip so I'm getting this for them to try:
  • Small bills for tipping drivers, resort staff, and tour guides- Good Lord, please don't forget to tip for service! I know some resorts say tips are included in your price and that's true--- to a point---. But if someone goes above and beyond at a "tips included" resort, consider tipping anyway. Other resorts do not mention including tips so if someone helps you, make sure they get your gratitude in the form of a gratuity / tip. Obviously this is not required... But why would you not want to thank (with cash AND words) those who help you out?  Typical tips are $2-$5 USD, or you can tip in pesos also. PLUS, don't forget tips for drivers, tour guides, and airport staff who may assist you (such as wheelchair service or luggage assistance).
  • Insulated cups- I never go anywhere without my insulated water bottle. On a vacation to an all-inclusive resort these babies can come in handy for a variety of reasons. 1) keeping your water from getting hot while you are at the beach, 2) it's way harder for sand to get in these than a regular cup or a cup that "sweats" on the outside, 3) get your adult beverages from the beach bar and keep them cold in here. I like the cups with the carrying straps or sports clips so I can hook them onto my backpack, purse, beach bag, etc. like this one here:
  • Aloe or other sunburn treatment- I am currently obsessed with everything from Aruba Aloe and so I'll list them first. I've visited their factory in... you guessed it... Aruba.... and their stuff is fabulous. But if you are looking for something in a different price category, check this out as well:
  • Inflatable pool toys- Please keep in mind that I'm suggesting these toys for use in POOLS. Please use discretion when ordering toys and inflatables for use at the beach / in the ocean. I like these because they are easy to fit into your luggage without taking up space. If you have the room in your luggage, also consider taking your own snorkeling gear or goggles! and these:
  • Collapsible sandcastle kit- My 7 year old loves this sandcastle kit because it's fun... I love it because it is collapsible and takes up very little space in our baggage. He's already planning what he's going to do with it on our next trip.
  • Luggage AirTag/ GPS Tracking- If you have ever experienced lost luggage, you know the terror that fills your mind during subsequent travel. You probably obsess over where your suitcase might be, especially if you have layovers on your journey. Give yourself a little peace of mind. Find one that is compatible with your smart device and relax a bit. Some airlines have luggage tracking on their app (American Airlines for one) but not all of them do and so you might feel more at ease after making this small investment. AGAIN--- PLEASE VERIFY COMPATIBILITY WITH YOUR SMART DEVICE PRIOR TO BUYING!
  • Extra bathing suit- I don't have any links to offer here. You can search for your own bathing suits, mmmkay? But in all seriousness, I do not like putting on a damp bathing suit and I plan on being in the water a lot between the pools and the ocean and excursions so a 2nd bathing suit does make things a little more pleasant for people like me. 
  • Towel bands or clips- Perhaps it is a windy day. Perhaps you want to remember which chair is yours. Or perhaps you are one of those people who gets up early, claims their beach or pool chairs, and then goes back to bed for a few hours while everyone who is actually ready to go to the beach has to fight each other over the remaining chairs you didn't stake claim to. Towel bands or clips are nice for those scenarios. I have these ones for my family:
  • Document protector- You already know to keep your important documents on your person or in your carry-on luggage while traveling, right? If not, well, now you do. But I take it a step further and make sure they are not only with me, but that they are protected from me. Accidents happen. Things spill and get smooshed and lost in the bottom of the abyss otherwise known as my purse. In order to keep my paperwork safe, I like to keep it together in something waterproof. What kind of paperwork might you be traveling with other than passports? Well, if you are a single parent traveling with your children, you might have travel consent forms signed by the other parent, custody documents, etc. Or you may be an over-preparer like me and print out every single airline, resort and excursion confirmation because it makes you feel a little more prepared and covered incase you lose your phone or something catastrophic like that.
  • Sunglasses & case- I'm only putting this on here because on my last trip my sunglasses broke in my purse and I had to buy new ones while I was on my trip. It was an added expense I was not happy about paying. So I suggest a hard shell case for sunglasses so you don't end up having to buy new ones as they can get really pricey in tourist areas.
  • Sunhats or boonie hats- These aren't for everybody. You know your sun tolerance. But these are cute especially if you are a lady who wants to put her hair up AND wear a hat. These are breathable and somewhat waterproof, too.
  • An allergy card with allergies listed in multiple languages- My family, luckily, doesn't have any food allergies that we know of. However, I know many of my clients and friends that have serious allergies and traveling in other countries can be a challenge especially when you need to let the food service know your needs and there may be a language barrier. Something like this may come in handy. Use your best judgement on whether this or something similar might be beneficial for you.

I will update this list as needed / as things come to me. If you have any suggestions or ideas of things to add that others might find helpful, please drop a comment below or reach out to me here!

Of course you do not need to buy anything from the links above. You can order something different, buy from another store, etc. These are merely suggested items that I or others have found helpful for this type of trip.

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases*.

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