Whether your choice of entertainment is The Blue Lagoon, Survivor or a good old travel classic like The Beach, we have all dreamed of being stranded on a deserted island at one point or another, with or without Leo. Sometimes dreams come true and a modern day castaway is faced with the eternal question of what to take to a deserted island.
While some of us are enjoying the autumn colors and dream of white Christmas, I, the eternal sun seeker, am dreaming of my last island getaway and am busy planning my next big adventure. I’m thinking of Raja Ampat in Indonesia. An archipelago which is made up of 1500 islands and perfect for a little solitude island time surrounded by palm trees, clear turquoise water, and of course, some of the best diving to be found.


While I am still busy saving up, I have already come up with a packing list. As I am still a Travelette I just want to chuck my heels away for a couple of days and not worry about food supplies or fire making skills – they call it barefoot luxury. With that prerequisite I can focus on the ‘necessities’ how to make life in paradise even more paradisiacal. Here are my top ten to bring when you are ‘stranded’ on an island and may want to impress a Friday or a local…

1. Leave only footprints

While I plan on spending most of my time barefoot or wearing fins, there comes a time for a beach exploration. Nothing better for that than our childhood favorite: jelly shoes.

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  1. Vivienne Westwood two-toned Jellies, available here.
  2. Tory Burch Jelly Sandals, available here.
  3. Magenta Melissa Shoes, available here. 
  4. Ancient Greek Jelly Sandals with Wings, available here.
  5. Gogladius Wedge Sandals, available here.
  6. Louis Vuitton Jelly Sandals, available here.

You can go for the good old classics or take it up a notch with a more sophisticated version from F-Troupe.


2. What would Arielle wear?

While I probably won’t need to put my fishing skills to the test – thank god! – I plan on spending a lot of time in the water. Raja Ampat is known for its great diving and snorkeling. Nestled in between the Indian and the Pacific oceans, the water is warm-ish, but as I can never get enough of chasing Nemo I love my Cynthia Rowley shortie which also provides SPF 50. And to top it all off – it is the first wetsuit I’ve found, I actually think is rather chic. Where art thou, Robinson?

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1. Colorblock Wetsuit, available here.
2. Denim Wetsuit, available here.
3. Floral Print Wetsuit, available here.
4. Black & White Shark Deterrent Wetsuit, available here. (THAT name!)
5. Wildlife Print Wetsuit, available here.


3. Solid foundation

With all this time spent frolicking on the beach and in the water, I knew my hair and my skin isn’t going to be happy. In order to minimize damage and luggage size, I stocked up on solids from Lush: face cleanser, sunscreen, and a rocking shampoo & conditioner combo.


4. Sleek & Smooth

If solid basics aren’t enough to nourish sun and saltwater soaked hair and skin, I like to grab a coconut. Inside & out coconut oil it is one of the best things you can feed your body.


Depending on where you are stranded add some Moringa oil for your skin and of course, the mother of liquid gold: Argan oil. I got into a routine of using it as an additional conditioner after showering and applying extra before a day outside.

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1. Moringa Oil to boost daily skin nutrition, available here.
2. Coconut Oil Body Mist for rehydration, available here.
3. Hair Treatment to protect your hair from strain, available here.


5. Shady Business

When it comes to certain aspects of travel clothes I cannot and will not go for the practical option so chances you will ever see me wearing a cap or a bucket hat are slim to none.

islandessentials-travelettes-annikaziehen20150926_0639 Instead, I don’t leave home without my beloved Panama hat, the epitome of a travel outfit classic.

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1. Panama Hat at J.Crew, available here.
2. Teardrop Panama Hat at Urban Outfitters, available here.
3. Mesh Panama Hat, available here.
4. Wide brim Straw Hat at Urban Outfitters, available here.
5. Viyella Panama Hat at Austin Reed, available here.


6. Let me entertain you!

In order to make space for ‘essentials’, I like to keep my entertainment digital. Murphy’s law challenged me though when my Kindle screen cracked in the middle of the ocean on my last trip. Luckily there is a Kindle reading app for your smartphone.


And if I get tired of playing tic tac toe in the sand, I just found an app to play Settlers (the original version is called Catan) and other board game classics. Either way, I take a portable battery – electricity is known to be selective on deserted islands, even today.

7. Message in a Bottle

While the idea of the message in a bottle is quite nostalgic and romantic, I prefer a more error-proof way to say hi to my loved ones back home. If you have a mother like mine who doesn’t really know what a smartphone does, emails & WhatsApp are out for me. Therefore, I love a service like Touchnote that creates real postcards and sends them, but with my very own pictures and text.

8. Face time
I will admit that I am girly enough to still put Mascara on when I go diving. I took too much on my last trip and as I didn’t use much, I will now only pack three items for the next island getaway: Maybelline Great Lash mascara, waterproof, of course, Muji blotching papers when the sheen on my face turns into sweat, and Lush lip stain. Add to this a golden tan and you are good to go!


9. Undercover

For the proper beach attire, check out my swimsuit post from the summer. With the perfect bikini goes the perfect cover-up for when you had enough sun or to literally cover up when a trip to the beach bar is in order.

islandessentials-travelettes-annikaziehen20150926_0628 I had to go all the way to Stellenbosch in South Africa to find my Indian beauty, but I have found some awesome alternatives here:

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1. Black & Embroidered Cover Up Dress, available here.
2. Dip-dye Cover Up Dress, available here.
3. White Beach Tie Up dress, available here.
4. Simple Cover Up Dress, available here.
5. Tory Burch Caftan, available here.


10. Groundwork

I think the single most used travel item for us Travelettes are scarves or sarongs. I usually use my Moroccan hammam towels which function as both and as beach towels. While some practical-minded people swear on microfiber towels I just can’t – or has anybody ever found a pretty one? Until that day, I will use my hammam towels which also fold up tiny and will dry in the wind in no time.

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1. Mustard Cotton Towel with silver stripes, available here.
2. Black & White Hammam Towel, available here.
3. Lightblue Turkish Cotton Towel, available here.
4. Pink Hammam Towel, available here.
5. Blue Handwoven Hammam Towel, available here.


Tell us, what are your essentials to take to a deserted island?


All images by Annika and via Unsplash.

This post was written by Annika Ziehen who was a Travelette until 2019. Originally from Germany, Annika has lived in New York and Cape Town and now travels the world full time. She considers herself a very hungry mermaid and writes about her adventures, scuba diving and food on her blog The Midnight Blue Elephant. You can also find her on Instagram here!