5 Essentials To Pack For A Beach Vacation (& 5 You Don't Need)

Let’s face it, a beach vacation is the best vacation. Sightseeing is beautiful, but there’s nothing like sitting under the sun with some saltwater in your hair. Whether you’re taking your family, going on a couple all-inclusive or just enjoying a day solo, there are certain essentials that you should never be without.

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Packing can be difficult, especially if you’re packing for the whole family. Making a list is helpful so you don’t forget any of the important stuff. There are also a few things that you could leave at home to free up some room in your suitcase. Here are five things you should already have on your list, and a few that you can cross out.

10 PACK: Sunscreen

This might seem like an obvious one, but let’s all say it again for the people in the back. Bring enough sunscreen for you and your room neighbors! It’s important to protect your skin while spending time in the sun.

It’s tempting to skip it and work on your tan, but sun exposure can be very dangerous. Here’s a tip for tanning with sunscreen on; bring different strengths of sunscreen. Start with SPF 60 and make your way down to 25, that way you can adjust to the UV rays over your vacation but you avoid burning and harm to your skin.

9 DON’T PACK: Beach Towels

Beach towels take up so much room and are inconvenient to lug around. Having to hang them to dry to use it the next day is also not the most sanitary practice. If you’re staying in a hotel, skip the beach towels and use your hotel towels instead.

The room keepers give you fresh towels every day and you can always ask for more at the front desk. The towels you use at the beach will get taken the next morning and thrown in the wash, leaving you with a fresh and plush one. This avoids the extra weight in your suitcase, giving you more room for the necessities.

8 PACK: A Book

There’s nothing more boring than spending hours on the beach with nothing to do. You can’t spend all those hours tanning or you’ll get heatstroke, and there are only so many beach naps you can take a day.

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A book or Kindle is a great item to bring. They’re easy to throw in your bag, and one book will likely last you the whole trip. It’s a peaceful form of entertainment to keep you busy and relaxed on your vacation. It’s also a good way to keep up with your readings on a spring break trip.

7 DON’T PACK: Cover-Up

Cover-ups may be cute for pictures, but they’re also unnecessary. If you’re going to the beach to swim and tan, you’re going to be spending the majority of your time in your swimsuit anyway.

Instead of wasting baggage space on a slinky cover-up you’ll only wear for five minutes a day, use a pair of shorts and a tank top that you’ll most likely also wear once the sun goes down. Repurposing your day clothes as “cover-ups” is a great way to save an extra 20 dollars while also minimize your packing.

6 PACK: Shampoo and Conditioner

Shampoo and conditioner as must-brings. After a long day in the salty ocean water or chlorine-filled pool, you’re going to want a nice hot shower. You might not wash your hair every day, but you might want to when you're on a beach vacation.

The tiny tubes of it that the hotel provides you with is barely enough for one person, so bring your own, especially if you’re multiple in a room. The conditioner is especially important because salt draws out moisture, so the saltwater is going to dry out your hair.

5 DON’T PACK: Water Shoes

Water shoes are fun for kids, but flip flops will do the trick. Water shoes are usually meant for kayaking or water sports to prevent cuts from rocky environments. They can be super useful in certain situations, but for a beach vacation, save the money and ditch the water shoes. No one wants to bring a million pairs of shoes on their vacation.

Keeping track of them is always a disaster and somehow you always end up missing some. If you’re planning on doing water sports or exploring some potentially dangerous rocks, this may be a good investment, so plan accordingly.

4 PACK: Reusable Water Bottle

The world is changing and becoming more ecological. We’re all aware of the amount of plastic that ends up on our beaches and in our oceans. While we want to avoid plastic, we don’t want to get heatstroke. The simple solution? A reusable water bottle!

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Bring your own from home and refill it back at the hotel or at available water fountains. If the drinking water is unsafe where you are, empty the single-use into your reusable one and then recycle them properly! Your reusable one will keep your water colder longer too! Be respectful of the environment and take care of the beaches you’re visiting.

3 DON'T PACK: Makeup

Makeup is an art and a beautiful practice. It’s also very expensive. Why waste good products that’ll wash off in the ocean? Tinted moisturizers and a few other light products are not the end of the world but how many of us are going to reach for their eyeshadow palette before taking a swim.

At the end of the day, do what makes you feel good and if makeup brings you confidence, go for it. Or, you can use your beach vacay as a way to give your skin a break for a few days and breathe with the ocean air.

2 PACK: Moisturizers

After sunscreen, this should be your next item in your bag. Moisturizer serves many purposes and is crucial to take to the beach. Got a sunburn? Use moisturizer to soothe the skin and promote healing. As mentioned before, salt draws out moisture. Your skin is going to feel very dry after a few days in the saltwater.

Moisturizing after your shower is a great way to ensure you take care of your skin and keep it healthy even when you're away from home. Aloe vera moisturizers are great because they have wound healing properties that will replenish your skin after a day under the sun.

1 DON’T PACK: Jeans

We all say this at one point or another during the packing process, “What if I want to wear jeans to dinner?” Be honest, will you really wear them? If you’re going on a beach vacation, that means you’re probably going to be exposed to hot and humid weather.

This is the worst weather to wear jeans and will make them even more uncomfortable than they already are. The thicker fabric will cling to your skin because of the humidity and can cause chafing. Stick with some breathable skirts or fabric shorts that’ll keep you cool.

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