THE BLOG
02/05/2014 05:33 pm ET Updated Apr 07, 2014

5 Things You Should Never Wear in the Caribbean

It's the night before your Caribbean vacation and you're packed and ready to roll. But wait! Before you close that carry-on, make sure your luggage isn't harboring one of these fashion criminals.

1.Sandals and socks
I truly thought that the fashion travesty of sandals worn with mid-calf and knee-high socks was a thing of the past -- or at least reserved only for middle-aged British men. Turns out I was wrong because I saw this "look" alive and well on a couple of would-be hipsters during a trip to Montego Bay last month. But trust me, travelers: Even when worn "ironically," sandals and socks are NEVER cool.

2. Beaded Braids
First, let's be clear: I'm not talking one or two plaits or cornrows or an Olsen-twin milkmaid updo. The fashion offense in question here is the head full of braids, each punctuated with a plastic bead or colorful elastic band. I know you don't want to offend the nice rotund lady at the cruise port who's offering braids for a dollar a pop. I know you think it'll be a "fun, island look" for your Caribbean vacay. I know you're thinking, "Well, they were cute on Bo Derek... " But here's the truth: She won't be offended (they're plenty more suckers on the gangplank behind you). Except for the odd unfortunate child, NO ONE in the Caribbean is walking around with a heavily beaded 'do. And no, they were never cute on Bo.

3. Bum bags
Every so often, fashion decision-makers try to convince us that the bum bag/fanny pack is a good idea. Even now, Tory Burch et al are touting "belt bags" as a cool way to tote your stuff for Spring 2014. With the plethora of cross-body bags and wristlets out there, do you really need to make your waist or hips look bigger in the name of hands-free haulage? I think not.

4. Obvious sunscreen
It's great that travelers are heeding dermatologists' advice and slicking on the sunscreen. But for the love of God, please don't be sloppy about it. If I had a dollar for every tourist if I've spotted with white streaks of sun cream caked in their hairline, on their ears, between their fingers and on their forearms, I'd be kicking back on a private island right now instead of writing for a living. Rub it in, folks; rub it in.

5. Novelty Hats
This brings me to one of my peeviest of pet peeves: the knitted cap with the faux dreadlocks attached. I've said it once and I'll say it again -- NO! These caps are un-cool, un-funny and unconscionable. Same goes for those gargantuan sombreros they sell in Mexico, and that green banana leaf topper the beach vendor is trying to convince you to buy (it'll be dry and brown in a week, trust me). If you need sun-coverage, do it in style with a Panama, fedora or jauntily tied headscarf, I beg you.

Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon is a Caribbean travel expert, award-winning travel journalist, TV personality, and black-belt shopper. Former executive editor of Caribbean Travel +Life magazine, she ventures to the beach and beyond, sharing the diverse culture, relaxed lifestyle and colorful people of the world's favorite warm-weather destination. She is also jetsetter-in-chief at JetSetSarah, where travel and shopping meet.