Planning a trip can be quite tricky, especially when you pick your destination last minute! You might think that you still have lots of time to plan everything and then, sooner than you expected, you find yourself checking in at the airport, ready to board, wondering if you forgot to do something or to bring some important stuff. Well, this description absolutely applies to me on my trip to Guam. I’m usually an extremely well-organized person, I always double check that I have everything I need and also try to plan everything (or almost) I want to do on my trip quite in advance. Now, since I epically failed this time, I decided I wanted to help you plan the perfect getaway and I came up with a list of five things you shouldn’t forget on your trip to Guam!
Despite being one of the most random and less planned trips I’ve ever taken, my Guam adventure also turned out as one of the MOST MEMORABLE. Hopefully, my list will be helpful to you, and you all will have a memorable and epic vacation just like me!
Five things you shouldn’t forget on your trip to Guam!
① Apply sunscreen!
Bring sunscreen and, most important of all, don’t forget to use it!
I was very prepared! I brought my 50++ sun protection and, being as pale as a ghost, I carefully applied it all over my body! And yet, by the end of the day, I turned into a well-cooked lobster. Yes, I’m not joking. I got one of the worst sunburns ever. And I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain how bad and dangerous this is for your skin.
Beyond increasing the risk of getting skin cancer, you also mess up part of your trip. That’s right because then you won’t be enjoying the sun anymore. You will want to stay in the shade at all times. Every inch of your body will hurt and you’ll have to use tons and tons of aloe just to cool down the constant burning feeling that follows you anywhere you go, no matter what you do.
Don’t let yourself be fooled!
Apply sunscreen regularly (I would say every hour or 30 minutes). Don’t stay too long in the sun when UV light is strongest. And above all, find shelter under the shade of a nice tree at some point. I understand that with all the excitement of being at a beautiful tropical beach (especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve been to such an idyllic place), you might just want to chill in the water, sunbathe, go snorkeling around and so on. But trust me, chilling under a tree right on the beach, enjoying the breeze and the beautiful landscape, is just as satisfying and it’s the perfect break from intense sun exposure.
Remember, Guam is a tropical island in the middle of the ocean, and as such, the weather is very warm and clear throughout the whole year. On a nice sunny day, sun rays can be very very strong and very very dangerous. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a cloud here and there can protect you somehow. So be prepared (if you don’t want to end up like me). Sunscreen is certainly one of the five things you shouldn’t forget on your trip to Guam!
② Bring sunglasses!
This may sound a bit silly. Who wouldn’t bring his/her sunglasses to go on a vacation to the beach?! Well, dear friends, ME and let me tell you, it could happen to any of you when you leave in a rush.
My sunglasses were right there on my table, staring at me while I was scrambling to get ready and leave with my cute small blue trolley case. And there they remained because I totally forgot to grab them on my way out.
It might seem like a small thing but, with that amazingly beautiful sunny weather, forgetting my sunglasses was actually a big deal to me. I stubbornly insisted on not buying a new pair, not even a hat to protect my face a bit. Well, as you can all imagine, at some point the light was bothering my eyes so much that I could barely keep them open. That was a shame considering that I wanted to enjoy the view of Guam’s beautiful landscape to the fullest.
I have light eyes so I’m extremely sensitive to sunlight but, regardless of the color, it’s important we all take precautions and protect our eyes from the sun because yes, UV rays are as dangerous to your eyes just as much as they are to your skin.
Some other reasons I regretted not having proper eyewear!
Beyond the dangers of the sun, your sunglasses will be of great help in many outdoor activities that you may want to experience while in Guam. You may want to try out riding a jet ski for instance, and in that case, wearing sunglasses you will manage to keep your eyes open and see where you’re actually going. I was completely blinded by the wind and the spurts of the waves and didn’t see a thing! Needless to say, I couldn’t fully appreciate my 10 minutes ride.
You may want to go on a boat tour and you will need sunglasses to protect your eyes from the wind (especially if you wear contact lenses). You may want to go “boonie stomping” (a local term for hiking in the jungle), and you definitely don’t want to spend the day scratching your eye because you feel some dust has gotten in it. To avoid all these small but somehow annoying inconveniences, just make sure that your sunglasses are on the list of five things you shouldn’t forget on your trip to Guam.
③ Rent a car!
Guam is a small island and you can easily go all the way around it in one day. If you think you can do that by using public transportation, however, you couldn’t be more wrong. While several buses operate 6 days per week (no service on Sundays) connecting all the main towns on the island, service frequencies can vary between 30 minutes to even 2 hours. I do not recommend it at all if you actually want to see places at your own convenience. The solution is renting a car: it’s cheap and it’s convenient. By doing so you will have more time to explore, you will have a more flexible plan and you won’t have to be tied to the bus schedule.
We had a reservation for just one day but seeing how convenient (and fun) it was to drive around, we decided to extend our reservation. We didn’t need to go back to the reservation office, we just called and we could easily extend our contract over the phone.
Relax and drive!
Driving will ease your trip in many ways. You will be able to reach all those amazing treasures hidden on the island as well as enjoy all the astonishing landscapes. The drive itself is also a fun and pleasant experience! As I explained in my “Best of Guam: 4-day getaway trip!” post, streets in Guam are not busy, especially the further away you go from the main towns. Rather than rushing, people in Guam take their time when driving.
In the true Guam spirit, don’t rush! You will be driving through the lush hills and jungle, and you will admire the spectacular view of pure and uncontaminated shores. Stop wherever you feel like it, take a deep breath and inhale the pure salty air that surrounds you, take as many photos you like to treasure the memory of what you see, but above all don’t forget to feel! Feel the cool breeze on your skin, feel the peaceful sounds of the nature around you, feel the fragrance of the ocean, feel everything you can. If right now you’re excited and can already imagine yourself having a blast on the roads of this amazing island, then renting a car is definitely one of the five things you shouldn’t forget on your trip to Guam.
④ Bring protective beach footwear
Just because Guam has some amazing idyllic beaches, it doesn’t mean there are no dangers at all. What may look like an innocent dive into clear waters could actually hide some unexpected harms. Indeed, Guam’s ocean is home to a few dangerous creatures you wouldn’t want to step on such as sea urchins, cone snails, stingrays, jellyfish, scorpion fish, stone fish, lion fish, crown of thorns starfish and eels, to name a few.
Before setting foot into the ocean, wear the appropriate protective footwear and, even so, always check where you’re stepping. Protective doesn’t mean invincible, so it’s always better to use some caution, especially if you’re snorkeling near some rocks or the reef.
Protective beach footwear should definitely be among the five things you shouldn’t forget on your trip to Guam. However, if for any reason you don’t have them with you, don’t worry, as you can always find a pair in many shops for a cheap price. We got ours from ABC store, for about 15 dollars and since they are super light, now that I have a pair, I can bring them with me on my next trip. You never know if they might come in handy!
⑤ Have some common sense: beware of currents!
Poisonous sea creatures are not the only danger in Guam. The main danger actually comes from the strong currents. Anywhere I went, I saw signs inviting visitors to be careful and pay attention. From what I heard, accidents involving people drowning because of the strong currents are not unusual. Now, you don’t want to screw up your chill vacation by getting dragged away by the strong currents of the ocean (which is undoubtedly a shocking experience, if you survive it). So common sense is definitely one of the five things you shouldn’t forget on your trip to Guam: always “bring” good judgment with you.
Be informed and before venturing into the waters, check the beach warning flags and signs. Even if you’re an expert swimmer, never venture beyond the reef line and beware of the waves close to the reef.
I consider myself a good swimmer (I’ve been in a swimming team for over 6 years and I also took part in an open water competition in a lake once) and yet I was surprised to see how some areas have such strong currents, even ashore in very shallow waters. That’s why sometimes, despite really wanting to go explore and snorkel in deeper waters, I actually judged it safer to stay close to the shore.
Be ready for your trip!
These are the five things you shouldn’t forget on your trip to Guam. This list is based on my own personal experience and so you might have several other things you don’t want to forget. After reading this post, please take a few minutes to consider what else you think you may need! Have fun and stay safe on your trip to this lovely island in the heart of the Pacific Ocean!!