If you have been keeping up with my Instagram lately (@ressamazing), then you'll know that I got the chance to finally island hop around El Nido! It was my very first time island hopping in the Philippines, so I had no clue on what I was expected to bring. So, being the over-packer that I am, I ended up bringing a lot of stuff. However, there were some products and items that weren't necessary. This inspired me to share some tips I have found out during my island hopping adventures. If you are about to go on a beach adventure for the first time, here are some things I've learned:
1. Bring your own towel.
Even when my package tour provided towels for every passenger, I was so glad I brought my own. Think about it- if you are going to five beaches within 6 hours, you're going to be wet FIVE times. That means you're expecting your towel to be completely dry within a 30-60 minute time length between each beach you visit. Having two towels meant I could switch towels off between each beach destination, and ensure that I'm completely dry. Why would I want to be dry if I was going to be wet anyways? In my case, I was carrying my DSLR with me, so I had to make sure I had dry hands, face, and hair to avoid wet lenses or camera damage.
2. Hair ties are a must.
Surprisingly, out of everything I brought, this was something I did not have and really wished I did. A lot of the island hopping adventures consisted of activities such as snorkeling and kayaking, and when you're trying to swim and/or paddle, it's such a pain to always flip your hair back. Trust me when I say this, bring a hair tie and an extra one for a friend. Just make sure that your hair ties have a no-slip grip!
3. Leave the purse at the hotel room.
At the time, I was thinking, "Why would I leave my wallet, passport, and ID in the hotel room? I might need it!" I was so wrong. Not only did I end up not using my purse, but I was super paranoid in getting my purse wet or stolen the entire time. If you are part of a package tour, showing ID isn't necessary since they prepared all the paperwork for your trip. Plus, there isn't anything I ended up buying because I was too busy participating in all the beach activities. Your beach bag is enough, I promise.
4. Don't even bother with makeup.
It is probably hypocritical of me saying this on my beauty page, but it's true. I only wore sunscreen, face moisturizer with SPF, and chapstick. I didn't even attempt to wear any mascara because it is absolutely unnecessary. Island hopping is all about enjoying the beach, not about who has the best hair or having eyebrows on fleek. Trust me, if you paid a lot of money to island hop, your face will inevitably be wet. I did bring a pair of sunglasses, and I pretty much wore them if I ever decided to take solo photos (since my face can look pretty oily).
5. Bring a hat.
I was so glad I bought a hat from a vendor right when I arrived in the island. I pretty much wore my hat every time I was riding a boat. You'll be dealing with a lot of sun exposure, so protecting your hair and face with a floppy hat helps prevent sunburn. Plus, if you're swimming, hiding small belongings underneath your hat is a good trick to keep your items safe from being stolen.
6. Bring sunscreen.
This is definitely a no-brainer, but I was so surprised when I find out no other passengers brought one! I ended up sharing my sunscreen with the whole boat group, and fortunately had enough sunscreen leftover for the remainder of my Philippine trip. I recommend buying a sunscreen spray for quick application. Plus, it's so useful for applying on hard to reach areas. Enough said.
7. Bring toilet paper.
I would also pack the toilet paper roll in a plastic bag to avoid getting wet. A lot of the bathrooms in the islands don't provide toilet paper, and I always felt bad whenever I met a tourist that didn't bring any and needed to use the stalls. So, be prepared to pack one in case you or someone else need to use it!
That's pretty much it! Keep in mind that you do not need to bring a lot of items: minimalism is key. I hope this helps some of you out there the next time you're about to go on a beach or island hopping adventure! If you think there are some items I should've added to the list or have any other tips, please leave a comment and share it! Until next time- Ressa
Hi there! My name is Ressa and I am a Filipino-American travel and style blogger with a heart for music.