What to Pack for your Holiday
There's nothing particularly formal about Tobago. Sure, all the larger hotels will ask that you respect their dress code of shirts (no ties) and slacks (no jeans) for men, and no shorts or jeans for women, but on the whole, smart casual is the best way to dress.
You may be treated differently if you choose to break the dress code at hotels like Coco Reef, the VHL Tobago, Blue Haven and Le Grand Courlan. Rather than tell you that you are wearing the wrong thing, the staff may appear rude, seat you at a table out of the way from other diners and give you inferior service. Why risk it? It could ruin your evening. Just don't push the boundaries and you'll be fine.
Wherever you choose to stay, you'll find a few pairs of plain cotton trousers (linen's good, too) and a blouse or smart top for each evening more than sufficient. Shorts are fine for the day - Coco Reef and the other best hotels expect you to cover up with these or a sarong to walk through the hotel. And skirts are good, too, though you'll find that trousers offer more protection from those mossies.
It's probably not worth packing very smart stuff - that little black dress might even make you feel out of place. Better to dress your outfits up with jewellery if you're eating at a 'smart' restaurant (though there's really no such thing, in British terms). Anything really dressy, short or revealing will simply draw attention to you if you are out and about, or not planning on eating at some of the more expensive restaurants.
Remember that you'll probably feel chilly on the plane, but the heat will hit you like a wall as you leave the plane in Tobago. Pack shorts and a T-shirt or something light and comfortable into your hand luggage to prepare for this. Likewise, on the way home, have a jacket or long-sleeved top and trousers to hand for the journey and when you arrive back in the UK.
What you can buy depends on how near you are to a supermarket. If you're close to the Lowlands mall, or even a Pennysavers supermarket, or near Crown Point, you're in luck, but if you're headed up the island to Speyside or somewhere on the way, you'll need to be a bit more prepared.
What you can buy:
- Tampax etc
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Washing powder/conditioner. Laundrettes are aplenty on the island and it's easy to do your washing
- Sunglasses, but better to bring your own anyway
- Mosquito repellent
What you should bring:
- Sun hat
- All the clothes you'll need
- Hair products
- Shower gel
- A small purse-bag that can hang round your neck and tuck in if need be. You should never carry passport and credit cards or more than £40 or equivalent with you, so a small purse is ideal. Failing that, wear trousers with pockets
- Beach towels, unless staying at one of the larger hotels
- Trainers, if you're planning to take a trip round the island and certainly if you want to visit the rainforest (bring them anyway - you'll probably want to do it all when you get there)
- Mosquito repellent - check out our Tobago forum for the best buys
What you won't need:
- Heels - leave your Jimmy Choos at home
- Strappy sandals/delicate court shoes. Apart from in the luxury hotels, you'll be pushed to find an occasion on which to wear them
- Mini skirts - smart trousers and jeans are more practical and less likely to draw unwanted attention towards you
- Hair straighteners. The humidity makes these almost useless. Step out of your room and your hair will do its own thing again. Just go with the flow, tie it back or use lots of product to keep the frizz at bay
Other things to bear in mind:
Topless sunbathing is not only highly frowned upon on this very religious island, it is also against the law. Please respect local feelings and laws.