The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing Checklist

Getting ready to head to the beach and enjoy the sun, surf and sand? Since you’ll presumably be posting up on the shore for most of your trip, you want to make sure you’re packing to maximize fun and minimize sun damage. If your itinerary involves long days at the beach and nice evenings out, you need to think about packing two or three outfits each day, and that can feel overwhelming! Luckily, we’ve got everything you need to pack in our list below to make sure that you reap the full benefits of a relaxing beach vacay.

Clothing and Essentials: From Beach Club to Nightclub

How many swimsuits should you pack for a trip to the beach? To ensure that you always have a dry suit, pack at least one quick-drying swimsuit for every two days you plan on swimming. Guys should go for versatile men’s swimwear that doubles as regular shorts so they can be worn into the cabana bar or resort restaurant when dry. Here are some more essential clothing items you’ll want to stash away in your suitcase:

  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • T-shirts
  • Polo shirts
  • Light jacket
  • Packable rain jacket
  • Swimsuits
  • Flip-flops or slide sandals
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Dinner outfits
  • Dinner shoes
  • Socks
  • Sightseeing outfits
  • Workout clothes
  • Nice sunglasses
  • Clutch or small purse
  • Backpack or waist bag
  • Beach cover-ups
  • Wireless headphones
  • Slip-on shoes for the flight
  • Phone chargers
  • Laptop or tablet
  • Portable phone charger
  • Passport or ID
  • Boarding passes
  • Hotel and rental car confirmation codes
  • Camera
  • Camera charger

Sun Protection: Beyond Sunscreen

Never head out for a day at the beach without reliable protection from the sun. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a water-resistant SPF of at least 30 when you’re engaging in recreational activities at the beach, but kids and those with sensitive skin should go even higher. Make sure to re-apply regularly, as swimming and sweating will melt away your protection throughout the day. If you’re flying, make sure to put full-sized bottles of sunscreen and toiletries in your checked luggage to meet TSA requirements. Pack the following:

  • Sport sunscreen
  • Face sunscreen
  • Kid-friendly sunscreen
  • Beach cover-ups
  • A wide-brimmed hat
  • Polarized sport sunglasses
  • Aloe vera lotion
  • SPF lip balm
  • Beach umbrella or canopy
  • UPF clothing and hats 

Any lightweight, airy apparel will work as a beach cover-up and help you stay protected from the sun. For example, breezy men’s linen shirts are perfect for throwing on over your swimsuit. Ladies can save suitcase space by investing in a large square scarf wrap that doubles as a skirt cover-up at the beach and a scarf at dinner or on your flight home.

The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing Checklist Getting ready to head to the beach and enjoy the sun, surf and sand? Since you’ll presumably be posting up on the shore for most of your trip, you want to make sure you’re packing to maximize fun and minimize sun damage. If your itinerary involves long days at the beach and nice evenings out, you need to think about packing two or three outfits each day, and that can feel overwhelming! Luckily, we’ve got everything you need to pack in our list below to make sure that you reap the full benefits of a relaxing beach vacay. Source: REDPIXEL.PL/Shutterstock.com Clothing and Essentials: From Beach Club to Nightclub How many swimsuits should you pack for a trip to the beach? To ensure that you always have a dry suit, pack at least one quick-drying swimsuit for every two days you plan on swimming. Guys should go for versatile men’s swimwear that doubles as regular shorts so they can be worn into the cabana bar or resort restaurant when dry. Here are some more essential clothing items you’ll want to stash away in your suitcase: ◻ Shorts ◻ Pants ◻ T-shirts ◻ Polo shirts ◻ Light jacket ◻ Packable rain jacket ◻ Swimsuits ◻ Flip-flops or slide sandals ◻ Pajamas ◻ Underwear ◻ Dinner outfits ◻ Dinner shoes ◻ Socks ◻ Sightseeing outfits ◻ Workout clothes ◻ Nice sunglasses ◻ Clutch or small purse ◻ Backpack or waist bag ◻ Beach cover-ups ◻ Wireless headphones ◻ Slip-on shoes for the flight ◻ Phone chargers ◻ Laptop or tablet ◻ Portable phone charger ◻ Passport or ID ◻ Boarding passes ◻ Hotel and rental car confirmation codes ◻ Camera ◻ Camera charger Sun Protection: Beyond Sunscreen Never head out for a day at the beach without reliable protection from the sun. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a water-resistant SPF of at least 30 when you’re engaging in recreational activities at the beach, but kids and those with sensitive skin should go even higher. Make sure to re-apply regularly, as swimming and sweating will melt away your protection throughout the day. If you’re flying, make sure to put full-sized bottles of sunscreen and toiletries in your checked luggage to meet TSA requirements. Pack the following: ◻ Sport sunscreen ◻ Face sunscreen ◻ Kid-friendly sunscreen ◻ Beach cover-ups ◻ A wide-brimmed hat ◻ Polarized sport sunglasses ◻ Aloe vera lotion ◻ SPF lip balm ◻ Beach umbrella or canopy ◻ UPF clothing and hats Any lightweight, airy apparel will work as a beach cover-up and help you stay protected from the sun. For example, breezy men’s linen shirts are perfect for throwing on over your swimsuit. Ladies can save suitcase space by investing in a large square scarf wrap that doubles as a skirt cover-up at the beach and a scarf at dinner or on your flight home. Source: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com Toiletries: Self-Care Staples and More Go through your daily routines to determine which toiletries to pack. While you may not need to invest in any special products, remember that you may need a little extra lotion or hair serum to offset the sun damage you experience throughout the day. Ladies with long hair may also want to consider packing some sea salt spray to create the perfect natural beach waves after a day of swimming. Include the following: ◻ Toothpaste ◻ Toothbrush ◻ Shampoo ◻ Conditioner ◻ Face moisturizer ◻ Makeup ◻ Regular hair products ◻ Sun protective hair serum ◻ Sea salt hair spray ◻ Brush ◻ Comb ◻ Hot hair tools ◻ Hair dryer ◻ Hair ties and hair clips ◻ Dental floss ◻ Small first-aid kit ◻ Prescription medication ◻ Contacts or eyeglasses ◻ Hand sanitizer ◻ Face masks ◻ Analgesics ◻ Antacids ◻ Antihistamines ◻ Motions sickness medication Planning on boarding a cruise ship, chartering a boat or taking the water taxi to an island? If you’re not used to being on the waves, you may want to consider bringing along some motion sickness medication and packing it in your day bag. Some common medications to combat seasickness include cyclizine and dimenhydrinate, but you can always ask your physician or pharmacist which is best for you. COVID Packing Note: If you’re traveling during the pandemic, make sure to pack extra washable cotton and disposable masks for your trip. Always check with the cruise ship company, hotel or your country’s embassy to determine whether you need to present your vaccine status or COVID test results when entering or leaving the country. Americans should always follow the travel guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Source: Breslavtsev Oleg/Shutterstock.com Beach Fun: Sandcastles, Good Music and Plenty of Snacks With all the focus on packing your clothing, swimwear and sun protection, you might forget to stock your beach bag with basics like toys for the kids and entertainment for yourself. One important thing to note is that, unless you are staying at a hotel or resort, you may need to pack your own beach towels, beach chairs and tote bag. Always check with the hotel or vacation rental beforehand to see what is provided, such as: ◻ Beach towels ◻ Beach chairs ◻ Beach tote ◻ Bluetooth speaker ◻ Beach playlist ◻ Podcasts or audiobooks ◻ Water bottle ◻ Cooler ◻ Drink tumbler ◻ Beverage koozies ◻ Beach toys for the kids ◻ A book or magazine ◻ Snacks If you’re bringing a Bluetooth speaker and plan on stocking a playlist full of great beach jams, make sure to download your songs onto your device. Depending on how remote your resort or rental, cell and Wi-Fi reception may not reach the beach. Downloading your playlists, podcasts and audiobooks beforehand ensures that you’ll have them to play on the beach and your flight. Don’t forget Bob Marley and the Beach Boys! Thoughtful Packing for a Great Trip Taking the time to plan out everything you need for a great vacation will help guarantee a good time at the beach! While every family and individual has their own unique itinerary and needs, the above checklist serves as a solid starting point to ensure that you’ve got everything you need to soak up the sun and get some good relaxation time without any issues.Toiletries: Self-Care Staples and More

Go through your daily routines to determine which toiletries to pack. While you may not need to invest in any special products, remember that you may need a little extra lotion or hair serum to offset the sun damage you experience throughout the day. Ladies with long hair may also want to consider packing some sea salt spray to create the perfect natural beach waves after a day of swimming. Include the following:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Face moisturizer
  • Makeup
  • Regular hair products
  • Sun protective hair serum
  • Sea salt hair spray
  • Brush
  • Comb
  • Hot hair tools
  • Hair dryer
  • Hair ties and hair clips
  • Dental floss
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Prescription medication
  • Contacts or eyeglasses
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face masks
  • Analgesics
  • Antacids
  • Antihistamines
  • Motions sickness medication

Planning on boarding a cruise ship, chartering a boat or taking the water taxi to an island? If you’re not used to being on the waves, you may want to consider bringing along some motion sickness medication and packing it in your day bag. Some common medications to combat seasickness include cyclizine and dimenhydrinate, but you can always ask your physician or pharmacist which is best for you.

COVID Packing Note: If you’re traveling during the pandemic, make sure to pack extra washable cotton and disposable masks for your trip. Always check with the cruise ship company, hotel or your country’s embassy to determine whether you need to present your vaccine status or COVID test results when entering or leaving the country. Americans should always follow the travel guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Beach Fun: Sandcastles, Good Music and Plenty of Snacks

With all the focus on packing your clothing, swimwear and sun protection, you might forget to stock your beach bag with basics like toys for the kids and entertainment for yourself. One important thing to note is that, unless you are staying at a hotel or resort, you may need to pack your own beach towels, beach chairs and tote bag. Always check with the hotel or vacation rental beforehand to see what is provided, such as:

  • Beach towels
  • Beach chairs
  • Beach tote
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Beach playlist
  • Podcasts or audiobooks
  • Water bottle
  • Cooler
  • Drink tumbler
  • Beverage koozies
  • Beach toys for the kids
  • A book or magazine
  • Snacks

If you’re bringing a Bluetooth speaker and plan on stocking a playlist full of great beach jams, make sure to download your songs onto your device. Depending on how remote your resort or rental, cell and Wi-Fi reception may not reach the beach. Downloading your playlists, podcasts and audiobooks beforehand ensures that you’ll have them to play on the beach and your flight. Don’t forget Bob Marley and the Beach Boys!

Thoughtful Packing for a Great Trip

Taking the time to plan out everything you need for a great vacation will help guarantee a good time at the beach! While every family and individual has their own unique itinerary and needs, the above checklist serves as a solid starting point to ensure that you’ve got everything you need to soak up the sun and get some good relaxation time without any issues.

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