23 In Far & Away/ Travel Wise

Packing for Saona Island Day Trip with Kids

Saona Island Day trip with Kinds (Dominican Republic) - Mind Over Latte

You booked the tour and are excited to spend the day with your kids in the paradise called Saona Island.  Your tour operator told you to bring the usual – bathing suit, towel, sunscreen and some clothes to wear on you way there and back.  Is that all? If you’re a mom, you know it’s never THAT simple.  And you’re right! Here is my personal list of things to bring with you (and a few tips along the way) to make sure your days in paradise as amazing as it should be.

 

BIG Beach Bag

As a mom, you know that you’ll end up carrying it all.  So make sure that the bag you bring with you can fit most of the items that follow.
Saona Island Day trip with Kinds (Dominican Republic) - Mind Over Latte

 

Shoes

The moment you step off your bus and walk out onto the beach you will be asked to take you shoes off and you won’t be putting them back on until you get off the catamaran in the late afternoon.  So make sure to bring a bag big enough to fit all of your family members’ sandals and/or flipflops.

Saona Island Day trip with Kinds (Dominican Republic) - Mind Over Latte

 

Bathing Suit

Bikini, tankini or one piece? That’s totally up to you. But keep in mind that you’ll probably be taking lots of pictures, so pick a bathing suit that makes you feel comfortable and beautiful.
saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com

 

Cover ups / UV protective clothing

If I were to do it all over again, I would have worn a bathing suit wrap / cover or a very light, fast drying dress on the way there, instead of the recommended skirt / shorts and shirt. You’ll be taking your clothes off about 15 minutes after you get on the first boat (if you choose to go snorkeling).  It’s so much easier and more convenient to put on a bathing suit wrap after snorkeling rather than your regular clothes.  Especially that you’ll be taking them off when you get to natural pool and then to Saona Island. So if you’re kind of old school or modest like I am, and feel a bit too exposed sitting on a speedboat with 20 other people in your bikini – cover up is the easiest way to go.



As for the kids – they’ll be happy and warm, just wrapped up in their towels during the short trips between the snorkeling, the natural pool and the island. However, I’d encourage you to bring a UV protective clothing for the kids if you have them. They will definitely come in handy on the 1.5 – 2 hours on catamaran. It is very easy to get burnt on the water.

saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com

 

Clothes

Make sure to bring something easy to put on at the end of the tour when getting back to the shore. Most of the tours take you to the shopping centre before bringing you back to the hotel. So make sure to have something you’ll feel comfortable to wear at the mall.

saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com

 

Towels

Pick up some fresh beach towels just before your trip and bring one for each of the family members. They will come in handy not only to dry yourself after a swim, but also to sit on or to lie down on while lounging on the catamaran.

saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com

 

Sunscreen

Put plenty of sunscreen on before you leave the hotel.  Yes, you’ll be on the bus for about an hour, but the moment you get on the boat, your mind will be on the beautiful scenery, not on sunscreen.  And remember to reapply the sunscreen every few hours. I was very diligent and yet, ended up with a burnt forehead. 

 

Sunglasses

I know, it’s an obvious one. I rarely forget my own, but the kids are another story. So don’t forget to bring a pair for them as well. After all, you’ll be spending the day under a bright, hot sun and your eyes are well worth the protection.
saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com

 

Hats

You will be asked to remove your hat on the speedboat, unless you can tie it under your chin. But it will come in handy on the island and on your trip back on the catamaran.  I love the large rim hats for my daughter and UV protective hats with the neck flap on the back for my son. 
saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com

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Waterproof Phone Cover

If you and your phone are inseparable, make sure to bring a waterproof phone cover.  Ideally, I’d suggest you buy one at home and bring it with you, as buying it in Dominican Republic will cost you a proverbial arm and a leg. 
saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com

 

Camera

Now this is a tricky one. You probably have a camera on your phone that takes good enough pictures to turn into a wonderful photobook later, so really do you need one? If you have a small, waterproof camera like GoPro, I’d say – go for it!

If you have a big, expensive DSLR, I’d say leave it at the resort, unless you are a professional. And I’m talking from experience. I took mine, just to take family photos and then spent more time worrying about not getting it wet and sandy than actually enjoying taking pictures with it.




Besides, every tour has a dedicated professional photographer, who will take as many photos of your family as you wish during all the stops. You do not have to commit to purchasing them right away. Once you’re on the catamaran, the photographer will come to see you and show you all the pictures.  If you like them, you can purchase them. If you choose to buy them, you’ll end up with an album of professionally edited, high quality photos from paradise that include ALL  of your family members.  Trust me, it’s well worth the money!
saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com

 

Snacks for Your Kids

Yes, they offer drinks on the boats, but not food. The only food you will see is the buffet lunch at Saona Island. You’ll be eating lunch around 1:00pm and getting back to your hotel around 6:00pm. By the time you get on the catamaran, the kids will be getting tired and whiny. You don’t want to add hungry to that list as well. So bring a few granola bars or grab a few muffins from the breakfast buffet.
saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com

 

Water Bottle

It makes no difference if it’s the bottle provided to you at the hotel or a reusable one.  Make sure to keep one on you at all times.  You’ll have an opportunity to refill your bottle on the glass-bottom boat, the island and the catamaran.  Otherwise, you’ll be stuck refilling the tiny plastic cups every time you want a few sips.
saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com

 

Money

Make sure to bring plenty of change and some bigger bills. Yes, your trip is paid for, but you will be prompted to leave voluntary tips at the end each leg of the tour. The bartenders on the beach don’t mind a tips either.  In addition, there are vendors walking on the beach offering massages and selling jewellery. If you choose to purchase the pictures taken by the tour photographer, he’ll ask you to put down a non-refundable deposit.  Finally, when you get back to the main island, a local vendor will be selling personalized bottles of sugar cane rum. 
saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com

 

BONUS: Snorkeling Gear

If you are planning on snorkeling and have your own gear, I’d encourage you to take it with you as well. True, the tour company provides you with it on the boat. But I’m not convinced that the mouth pieces are properly sanitized after each use.  If you don’t have your own gear, but want to snorkel, consider bringing some wipes. Even hand sanitizer will do.
saona Isalnd with kids - Dominican Republic - mindoverlatte.com
 
It may seem like a lot.  But I assure you, packing those few extra items will save you some headaches and make your day in paradise much more relaxing and enjoyable.

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    momknowsbest15
    January 23, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    I so would love to be at a beach right now. It is cold here but these pictures helped me feel warmer.

  • Reply
    Crystal
    January 23, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I could really use an island vacation right now LOL. This looks like a great place to visit and I love all your ideas for what to pack for the kiddos. Snacks are a must have on any trip my family goes on.

  • Reply
    Sarah Bailey
    January 23, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Oh my goodness what an amazing looking island to go and visit. Right now I would absolutely love to go and spend some time at the beach just relaxing.

  • Reply
    Adaleta Avdic (@adaatude)
    January 24, 2018 at 1:12 am

    Wow, this looks like the perfect day trip! What an amazing location.

    • Reply
      Mira
      January 25, 2018 at 10:58 am

      It is! You have to go on a trip to Saona Island when you’re in Dominican. It’s heaven on earth…

  • Reply
    emma white
    January 24, 2018 at 6:25 am

    oh my word I am sat here freezing cold surrounded by snow and ice so yes I am extremely jealous

    • Reply
      Mira
      January 25, 2018 at 11:00 am

      I know the feeling all too well… I so wish I could go back right about now…

  • Reply
    lavandamichelle
    January 24, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    I live in the south(ish) and on the east coat and I don’t go to the beach that much, but this post is inspiring.

  • Reply
    EG Green
    January 24, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    You covered the full spectrum with that list. Great job highlighting everything to make a day at the beach with kids run smoothly.

  • Reply
    mj
    January 24, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    you covered all the essentials here. In travels like this I made sure we have enough money and all the necessary things like sun block and hats including food too

  • Reply
    Erica Swedish
    January 24, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Being in the frigid Midwest I would love a beach vacation right now., I have actually never been on an island…

    • Reply
      Mira
      January 25, 2018 at 11:07 am

      Then start planning 🙂 Saona is gorgeous… Simply paradise…

  • Reply
    Yona Williams
    January 25, 2018 at 12:25 am

    When we go to places where water is, flip flops and water shoes are a must. I cut my foot badly on coral in Hawaiian waters, and that was before I discovered water shoes.

    • Reply
      Mira
      January 25, 2018 at 11:11 am

      I’m sorry to hear that. I hope your foot healed well. I have to admit, I don’t wear water shoes often, but I make my kids wear them all the time…

  • Reply
    Our Mini Family (@ourminifamily)
    January 25, 2018 at 9:58 am

    A day trip to the island is exactly what we need right now! Saving our essentials list!

  • Reply
    Ruthie Ridley (@RuthieRidley)
    January 25, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Such an amazing spot for a family vacation and great packing list!!

  • Reply
    Khushboo Motihar (@kbmotihar)
    January 25, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I am an overpacked and even on day trips I tend to carry lots of unnecessary things. I love your packing tips 🙂

  • Reply
    The Frugal Exerciser
    January 26, 2018 at 12:48 am

    I couldn’t find it anywhere in the article where this is located.

    • Reply
      Mira
      January 28, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      It’s in the Dominican Republic, near Punta Cana. 🙂

  • Reply
    Blair Villanueva
    January 26, 2018 at 3:56 am

    I love your packing guide! I also make sure I have all the things i need for beach trip. It is cool to be always ready.

  • Reply
    Angela
    January 26, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Looks like a fun island trip! So lovely.

  • Reply
    ceciliacannon
    January 29, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    any tips I can get when traveling with my kids I will take but that iphone water proof case, WANT IT

    • Reply
      Mira
      January 29, 2018 at 7:23 pm

      It is very handy. The first time I put my phone underwater (in the case), I was worried. But it worked surprisingly well 🙂

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