Barbados | Packing List Part 1


You’ve decided to Study Abroad in Barbados. CONGRATULATIONS! You’re about to embark on one of the most exciting, culture-filled experiences of your life! I’m sure your head is whirling with ideas of what you will see and do. Let me assure you, living in Barbados truly is living in paradise. But to enjoy paradise to its fullest, be sure to come prepared and pack responsibly!  

First Things First: Get the Right Luggage 

I have been living out of one 60 L backpack and one small gym duffle bag for the past 8 months so if I can do it, you can too! A lot of international students travel with TWO FULL SIZED SUITCASES. Granted I am a minimalist at heart, but personally I think extensive travel with a suitcase is just too much. They are hard to get around, and don’t always fit well in the trunks of smaller cars in other countries. Not to mention, most airlines allow for one checked bag free for international travel. This means that you would have to pay extra both ways for your second checked bag. If a second checked bag is a must for you, at least bring a relatively empty one so that you have space to bring back souvenirs and gifts.

I bought my backpack at Big 5 (I worked at Big 5 for four years to help pay for school, so most of my gear is from there) three years ago $64 with a coupon while it was on sale. It has been one of the best purchases I have ever made.

I also bought my Under Armour duffle at Big 5 for $35. I am not usually loyal to any particular brand, but I decided to go with an Under Armour bag because most of them are water resistant and I knew I would be traveling through rainy/snowy areas this year. That being said, you can find large brand non-specificduffels for around $15. Personally, I prefer not traveling with black luggage so that it is easier to spot coming off the airport carousel.

 Packers Tip: Be sure to pack AT LEAST one change of clothes, PJS, and basic toiletries in your carry on. While traveling from Ghana to Germany my checked bag got lost (don’t worry, it was found and delivered to my house five days after I arrived) and I made the mistake of not having extra clothes. Fortunately, my travel buddy and I are around the same size so I could wear her clothes for a couple days. Now I travel with all my socks and underwear in my carry on because it’s easy to wear the same shirt a for a couple days, but it’s always nice to have clean underwear. 

Clothing and Accessories

(Seeing as I am only speaking from first-hand experience, this section is geared more towards females. Sorry guys!) 

The average day time high in Barbados is between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the heat in addition with humidity and it can get quite warm so bring comfortable, flowy clothing. Don’t bring anything you absolutely love. Between the massive amount of bug repellent,

the sunscreen oils, and the suns rays, most of your clothing will get destroyed. My ex-favorite pair of short shorts now look like “mom jeans” on me, and all of my shirts are several shades lighter than they were when I first arrived in Barbados.  

  • 7 shirts/dresses 

Bring enough shirts/dresses to last you one week of wear. Clothing is affordable in Bridgetown (I have purchased several shirts and dresses for between $7.50 and $20 U.S.) and a lot of the styles are quite cute.  

  • 1 pair of jeans 
  • 2-3 pairs of shorts 

 Bring at least one pair of jeans, but nothing designer. They will get ruined whether it be from the sand, the sun, or a number of other things. Also, it’s way too hot to wear jeans during the day. The humidity affects us Californians, it’s VERY different from dry heat. I live in shorts, day and night here. I miss sleeping in pajama pants, here it’s too hot for me to sleep in anything but shorts and a tank top. 

  • 2-3 “night on the town” outfits and one pair of “going out” shoes 

Barbados is paradise, and in paradise there are plenty of places to go out and have a good time. While several places are casual, it’s nice to have a couple “nicer” outfits to go out in. When I go out, I usually wear jeans and a nice blouse because if I wear a dress I get eaten alive by the mosquitos.  

  • AT LEAST two bathing suits 

International students are well known for always being at the beach here in Barbados. It’s true, we simply cannot get enough of the crystal-clear water and white sandy beaches. Sometimes I even wear my bathing suit under my clothes and head down straight after class! I brought a one piece that I purchased in South Africa, and a two piece from Old Navy. Because I have very

fair skin, it’s nice to have a one piece as it allows me to go to the beach but keep my stomach out of the sun.  

  • 1 rain jacket

I bought my Columbia rain jacket on Amazon for $40 (vs. paying over $200 at REI) and I love it. I suggest getting one with zippers under the armpits to help keep you cool. I also love mine because it can fit inside it’s pocket to make it compact for packing purposes! 

  • 2-3 shorts and tank tops for sleeping

 It’s always nice to have a comfy pair of shorts and a tank top for sleeping or lounging around your house/dorm. Especially if you’re trying to adjust to sleeping in a climate that is MUCH warmer than California’s winter. 

  • 2-3 hats and 2-3 pairs of sunglasses 

Especially if you have fair skin, bring at least two hats. While I admit that my naturally curly hair is sick of me wearing hats all the time, but skin is very appreciative. I would also bring multiple pairs of sunglasses in case one pair breaks or gets lost.  

  • 2-3 sets of workout clothes/1 pair of running shoes 

I have my spandex tights/shorts and running tank tops, which make it much cooler for my morning runs. UWI also has a (VERY) small gym that is free for all students.  

  • 2 pairs of comfortable walking sandals 

 Some days it is simply too hot to wear closed-toed shoes outside. This problem is solved by getting a comfy pair of walking sandals (bonus points if you can wear them in the water!). I have a lovely pair of Keens that are great for long distance walking and wading in the water; but sadly they’re not the most stylish shoes on the planet. If you have more of a sense of fashion than I do (and let’s face it, most people do, I have no “sense of style”), I would recommend Chacos or Born sandals. They’re both on the pricier side, but your feet will thank you for it after you walk endless miles in them. And they last forever so it’s worth the investment. Be sure to check your local Ross or TJ Max. I found a pair of Born sandals last summer for $30 at TJ Max when they retailed for over $100! 

  • All the socks/bras/underwear you have! 

Really, a traveller can never have too many pairs of socks or underwear. I bought Under Armour “one size fits all” underwear before I left. It’s quite expensive ($12 a pair!) but I’m really grateful I brought them because after living in West Africa, I lost a lot of weight so it’s nice to have underwear that still fit me well.   

Unfortunately that’s all the time I have right now. Tune in next week for the second half of the Packing List which will include things such as toiletries, mosquito repellent/sun screen recommendations, and bank card advice! And don’t worry. It may seem like a lot of work to get ready, but soon you will be living in paradise!  

Angela Howard studied abroad in Cave Hill, Barbados, in Spring 2017:

Barbados | Time is Relative


Every country I have lived in has their own unique perspective on time. In California, people generally try to run “on time” meaning arriving within a +/- 10 minute window of the event start time, with the main exception being “fashionable late” to parties. In Germany the stereotype about Germans being punctual is an understatement. In northern Germany in particular, if you are anything less than 15 minutes early, you are late. Before I understood this nuance of “on time” I would often arrive to upset company. The conversation would generally go something like this (but keep in mind it probably sounded must harsher as it was in German): 

Friend: “Angie! I was so worried, where have you been!? We agreed on meeting at 12:17*. It’s 12:18!!!!”  

Me: “…Sorry I was one minute late.”  

Friend: “ONE MINUTE?! I expected you here 16 minutes ago!”  

* It was common for meetings with people to start at oddly specific minute increments. 

In Ghana there was GMT. Not Greenwich Mean Time, but rather “Ghana-Maybe-Time.”  (Ironically enough, Ghana actually is in the GMT time zone!)  

UCEAP Advisor in Ghana (during orientation): “If an event is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., arrive at noon and bring a snack and a book. Or simply be mentally prepared to wait until it actually starts.” 

GMT was very subjective, sometimes events would “only” start 30 minutes late, and other times they would not even be set up by the designated start time. Even my courses at the University of Ghana would frequently start 30-45 minutes late. Being someone who is very involved in German culture, it was very difficult for me to adjust to GMT; however, it most definitely taught me the virtue of patience. 

In Barbados the phenomenon is referred to as “Island Time.” Island Time is known as “a certain slack attitude toward the clock” and to be honest, I’m still unsure how much time to allot myself (or not to allot myself rather) before getting to an event. For example, a few weeks ago I went on a cruise around the west coast of the island. The flyer for the cruise said “Boarding at 11 a.m., Setting Sail at Noon Sharp.” Not wanting to miss the boat, I promptly arrived at 11 a.m. only to find that the crew for the ship had not even arrived yet. We finally set sail until after 2 p.m. When people invite me to events, I generally have to ask what time they actually want me to arrive. One would think that after seven weeks of living here, I would finally understand the time schedules; however, unfortunately I do not. I can say that “Island time” and Ghana’s GMT have taught me to relax and reflect in situations where I would not normally do so. It’s liberating to not live the fast paced city live I had while attending UCLA.  

Seeing as UWI is in the middle of midterms I have spent most of the past week studying (and catching up. I got behind when my family visited last week). I have also been resting because I caught a double ear infection cough from too much swimming. 

I did have time to make delicious banana bread. Food is expensive here on the island because just about everything has to be imported, so we followed the recipe as close as we could… and I accidently added a third egg because I wasn’t paying close enough attention. But it turned out delicious so no complaints! We also don’t have a beater, but we figured out that when we are improvising, a blender works just as well!  There’s also always time for ice cream, no matter how much studying you have to do! 

I was texting an old friend this morning on WhatsApp, and as they exclaimed how excited they were that I was coming home soon, it made me realize how little time we have left here in Barbados. Sure, we still have two and a half months left, but in the grand scheme of being gone for 11 months total of traveling, two and a half does not feel like long at all. We are on the last leg of our trip, which means graduation and job hunting are right around the corner. I think I will seize my island time experiences as much as I can for the next couple months before getting back to bustling California. 

 Finally, sports are picking up right now. Possibly one of the only reasons I am looking forward to coming back to California at the end of May is so that I can watch the SF Giants at AT & T Park again. I’ve watched the Giants BEAT the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in the past two years, but I have not been able to catch a Giants game at AT & T Park since I have been living in Los Angeles. I always wear my SF Giants baseball cap to keep the sun off my face here, so it will be nice to see the team I have been supporting internationally!  

Don’t forget to watch UCLA in the upcoming weeks! UCLA basketball is currently RANKED THIRD IN THE COUNTRY! With March Madness right aroundthe corner, this is particularly exciting! (For those of you that do not know, March Madness is a huge NCAA college basketball tournament that runs for the last two weeks of March every year.) This year, I have been teaching some of my Bajan friends about basketball, in exchange for them teaching me the rules of cricket, and we have all agreed to watch and support UCLA in the tournament. I wear UCLA affiliated clothing most days, simply because it’s what my limited wardrobe consists of, but I wish I had larger sizes to distribute for everyone to wear. As long as they don’t wear red, we should all be in the clear! GO BRUINS! 

Angela Howard studied abroad in Cave Hill, Barbados, in Spring 2017: