Ain’t no party like a 60’s era beach party where you have the beach boys playing, “Kokomo” in the background and an array of different surfer girls doing “the twist” (that’s a dance in case you’re not in the know and this is all WAY before your time) in polka dot, high waisted bikinis. Am I right? Of course, I am, which is why you need this beyond epic, beach vacation packing list in your life! Especially if you’re planning an amazeballs 5 days in Maui itinerary.
Trust me here people. Because this epic, beach packing list is filled with, count em, 20 different items that are all essential, must-haves when creating the beach trip packing list of your dreams. You’ll also probably have an endless array of on the beach quotes swirling through your head.
I mean, packing for your beach vacation is all fun and games until you forget something insanely important, like one of the best beach umbrellas on the market today or sunscreen. In which case, you then proceed to sizzle like bacon in the sun and get third-degree burns all over your arms and legs.
Or is that just this pasty AF, white beyond belief, girl over here who burns to a crisp in about 2.5 seconds flat? Actually, on second thought, don’t answer that. Because I think you smell what I’m trying to throw down here.
Sure, beach vacations are hella fun. But only if you come prepared and have everything you need. I mean, ain’t nobody got time to feel parched beyond belief because they forgot their water bottle at home and are now left crawling through sand dunes thinking, “please sir, I want some water”.
And yes, you should 100% imagine that I said that with a whack-tastic British accent that sounds like something a second rate, “Oliver” cast member would use.
But, enough idle chitty chat because you’re a busy human with lots of superhuman(y) things to do. So onwards my faithful readers, as wel discover 20 things to pack for the beach, with some wicked awesome surfing accessories that may or may not be thrown in for good measure.
Dear wonderful, beautiful, and oh-so-amazing reader (Yup, I lay it on thick for my dozens of fans). Since I am incapable of making it rain money, there’s a high probability (like 99.999%) that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
Beach Vacation Packing List – Clothes
1. Bathing Suit
I mean duh, right? After all, this IS a beach vacation packing list, So yeah, bringing your bathing suit is kind of a no brainer.
But, you’d be surprised by just how easy it is to forget the most obvious items on your packing list, especially when traveling to some of the best places to visit in Mexico! Not that I’ve ever done that…(insert a cute winkie emoji here because yes, I have 100% forgotten to add a bathing suit while packing for a beach vacation)
Okay, yes, yes I have. But please, no follow up questions. Because we’re here to prepare you for your upcoming trip. And a bathing suit is arguably THE most integral part of any beach vacation packing list.
So, like, no pressure or anything, but you wanna make sure it’s cute and comfy AF as you explore the many beaches in Krabi Thailand. And while I know many of us out there already have our fave bathing suits primed and ready to go, I’m still gonna throw my opinion on bathing suits out there. You know, just in case you need it. Because don’t worry, your girl’s gotcha covered! And yes, that lame pun was 100% intended.
And sorry guys but I’ve only got recommendations for the ladies!
Now, if you’re anything like me, then you HATE bathing suit shopping. I mean, it’s kind of the worst, right?
Because even if you’re super thin and fit (which I am not because I love cake), it’s just this ridiculously daunting task of finding something that’s cute and makes you feel cute when you’re basically naked and feeling super vulnerable since the world can see literally every lump and bump on your body.
So yeah, it’s like a living nightmare, even though we really should all love our bodies cause we’re frigging awesome.
Sadly though, years and years of social beauty standards are hard to break and the muffin top struggle is all too teal.
Because no matter how comfortable I am in my own skin and how much fun I’m having at the beach, I’m still hyper-aware that I’m super exposed, which makes me more than a little paranoid that people are hardcore judging my lady lumps.
The point is, I love me some beach time, but I also love me a little extra coverup too. And that’s why I absolutely love this high-waisted bikini!
It’s super cute, it’s stylish, and it shows off just enough skin to feel a little sultry. But since it’s high waisted, it also keeps my food baby hidden away, which makes me feel even more confident. And I for one think that is a double win!
Wait, did I mention that it also comes in several different ultra-fab colors and a whole range of sizes?
And although it might not look it, there’s plenty of room up top for the girls. Yeah, that’s a little something, something that we top-heavy ladies always have to worry about. This way, we don’t, whoops, accidentally flash someone.
Cause let’s be honest, we’ve all at least NEARLY been there, right ladies?
But how much does it cost, you ask? Well, for a brand new bathing suit, this is cheap! It’s less than $20 for the whole suit.
Yup, not $20 per piece as is all too often is the case. Therefore, I can actually afford TWO so that when I’m on a long beach vacation to some place cool like Bali, I can switch it up a bit.
However, if you prefer something a little less revealing, then you can always rock out in this one-piece version of this glorious piece of swimming attire (which comes in EVEN MORE colors!!).
Plus, my ultra-fave thing about the one piece is that you can wear it as a top with some cute shorts or jeans and feel beachy without actually being at the beach! Yes, my dear reader, we call this winning at life.
2. Flip Flops
There’s nothing more irritating than being on a beach vacay and trying to enjoy the sand beneath your toes while stomping around in sneakers.
Ugh, just no. A thousand times no.
That’s why it’s essential to add flip flops to any beach vacation packing list. Or, I guess, another light sandal that you can easily slip on and off your feet.
But, I bet I know what you’re thinking. Flip flops are the WORST! They’re so uncomfortable and they give me toe blisters. And I hear you, cause I used to think the same thing. And really, who even knew toe blisters were even a thing until they wore an awful pair of flip flops? Yeah, exactly my point.
However, my attitude towards flip flops totally changed once I discovered Sanuk flip flops. Yup, I quickly slid my feet into a pair of these bad boys and have never looked back since! Because wearing these flipflops literally feels like walking on air and could not make my feet any happier (I mean, they’re made with yoga mat material, how can you go wrong?).
Sure, you still have to learn to live with a piece of fabric in between your toes. But, when it isn’t cold, hard plastic it’s surprisingly easy to get used to. They’re also comparable price-wise to Havianas.
I know, I know. I sound like a total advert. But they’re genuinely the best flip flops I’ve ever owned. And trust me, I’ve tried A LOT of different flip flops in my day.
Plus, unlike a lot of other comfy, orthopedic type flip flops, they’re not any bigger than regular flip flops, which means they won’t take up much space in your suitcase. They also actually look cute on your feet so getting a pair is a total win-win! Especially since they usually cost around $30 a pair.
3. Comfy Coverup
I know, I know, this one is SOOO obvious. But you’d be surprised how often people pack heavy jeans on a beach vacation and are absolutely miserable.
Or so, uh, my friends have told me.
But what specifically do I recommend when it comes to uber-comfy, super cute, totally divine, beach cover-ups? Well, for all my fellow ladies you can opt for sundresses, shorts, and tank tops. Plus, a wickedly wonderful pair of the aforementioned flip flops.
For the guys, uh, shorts and t-shirts? Sorry, I’m less familiar with what works for you. Maybe sit this section out.
So yeah, opt for whatever comfy beach cover-ups work for you. But if you want my opinion, dresses are your best option for your beach vacation packing list since they take up less space than a short/shirt combo.
And I pinkie promise that I know JUST the dress for the occasion. Because I’m absolutely in love with this spaghetti strap summer dress! Trust me, it is an absolute godsend. It also comes in nearly 70 different designs (I own 4), so you could literally wear a different one ALL SUMMER LONG if you wanted to.
Plus, if I could afford it (or if I was Mary Poppins and had space), I would buy and pack every single one into my carry on! Because this dress is light, breathable, chic, and incredibly comfy.
But, the best part of all? It has POCKETS! And Ladies, come on, you know how rare that is in a dress, especially a cute, comfy on like this
So for less than $25, I think this dress is a definite no-brainer!
Beach Vacation Packing List – Accessories
Next up on this epic beach vacation packing list? Yeah, we’ve got towels. And yes, I said towels plural.
Look, I’m not saying you’ll have room for such luxuries if you’re going on a solo backpacking trip through Thailand for several months.
But if you’re trying to pack the best items for a beach vacation, I recommend putting in the effort and packing some of the best towels on the market today.
So, what do I recommend? Something fast drying and colorful, obvs! And I’ve got a few different options for you to choose from!
First up, microfibre towels, which are currently all the rage. And for GOOD reason! They’re super-fast drying and I can’t imagine how people fared before they were a thing. Did more hostels offer up towels way back when? Because that’s legit not a thing right now.
But, the best part of all? For an avid solo traveler and backpacker like me, they’re beyond perfect since they dry quickly, are compact, are light, and are durable AF. Plus, they shake off sand-like nothing I’ve ever seen and are big enough to actually cover the entirety of my body (HOORAY!).
They also come with a nifty little case that you can use to fasten them to the outside of your bag so that you can save room in your backpack. Which is perfect for someone like me who is super bad at packing light (ahem, guilty as charged!).
That’s why, for an avid solo traveler like me, I usually opt for the somewhat added security of the Zavabay travel towel, which has a little hidden pocket in the corner where you can store valuables.
But, if you’re looking for a slightly more luxurious towel that could, say, fit a few friends or a small family, one of the girls I met during my 3 days in Phuket had this amazing giant towel that folded up nicely and that was only slightly larger than my towel while also comfortably fitting three of us on it at the same time!
But wait, I know some people can’t stand the feeling of microfiber. And I get it. They’re definitely a bit of an adjustment when you first start using them since they feel very different from a regular, terry cloth towel.
So if you absolutely hate microfiber towels, they check out this Turkish cotton towel instead! Not only is it light and fast-drying, but don’t feel quite so strange on your skin. The one downside though is that they don’t tend to come with a carrier case (some do), but they still fold up nice and neatly inside your bag.
***PSST…Although you might not need it for your beach vacation packing list, these days I don’t go anywhere without my self-cleaning face towel. It’s light, about the size of a tube of lipstick and actually feels like it’s exfoliating your skin when you use it! I bought one on a whim and it’s honestly one of the best things I’ve ever bought. Plus, it costs a mere $12.00. So I mean really, you can’t go wrong.***
If I’m spending the day at the beach (like I basically do all day, every day of the summer), then I kind of want the weather to be hot and sunny AF. Is that too much to ask? I think not!
However, that also means that I’ll need to add some epic sunglasses to my ever-growing beach vacation packing list to go. You know, just to go with the rest of my ensemble and make me look infinitely cooler than I could ever hope to be.
That’s why, I personally love these fun, comfy, stylish sunglasses which come complete with a nifty little case and cleaning cloth – all for less than $15 I might add! Which is a freaking steal!
And, If boring old black isn’t your thing, then not to worry because they also come in a variety of other colors (both frame and lens). Yeah, don’t hardcore judge me because but I definitely have a second pair with pink frames and brown lenses. Yeah, now you’re jealous.
But seriously, I get compliments on my sunnies all the time. Someone even once thought they were designer! Yeah, I could hear my bank account laughing in the background at that comment.
FYI, they also conceal my identity from the hordes of ever-adoring fans that mob me wherever I go. LOL. Just kidding! If only my blog was really THAT big of a deal!
6. Beach Bag/Carrier Bag/Backpack
Since I travel solo most of the time, I am forever paranoid about my stuff getting stolen, especially at the beach. That’s why I always try to keep my beach vacation packing list to a minimum so that I don’t have to worry about losing anything important.
However, it’s obviously impossible not to bring anything! Therefore, I always have a daypack with me on the beach. And to keep my valuables extra safe, I usually carry a Pacsafe Travelsafe day bag, which comes with a 3-digit combination lock. It also fits everything I need and gives my anxiety-riddled mind a little peace of mind! It’s also incredibly durable and infinitely more stylish than some other anti-theft bags out there.
Yeah, I know it’s pretty expensive at $80 per bag. But, safety is one of those things that I just never skimp on. That being said though, always keep an eye on your bag since there’s no guarantee that people won’t just walk up and steal the bag itself. But hey, at least they’ll have to try a bit harder to get whatever’s inside.
Plus, with Pacsafe bags, people can’t just walk past and slash the bag open since all of their products are made with special theft-proof, extra durable material.
What? Need something bigger? Yeah, I get that. Especially since there’s a lot on this beach vacation packing list and it might not all fit in the bag I just mentioned.
So if you need something larger, then check out one of Pacsafes slightly roomier backpacks, which are equally secure and durable, but also provide you with a lot more space to carry things! And while we’re on the subject of safety, you can also triple protect your most important valuables by getting a security wallet!
These typically come with RFID blocking technology so that people can’t just wander past you with a card scanner and steal all your credit card info! And if you’re traveling internationally they can easily hold passports too!
PS: Always bring some cash with you to the beach since many beach vendors don’t accept credit cards!
7. Sun Hat
I know a lot of people who assume that as long as their beach vacation packing list includes sunscreen and sunglasses, then they’ll be good to go and can skip the sun hat.
But that, either sir or madam, would be wrong, wrong, and, oh yeah, WRONG! And here’s why.
Hats provide you with personal shade, something that has the added benefit of reducing the amount you sweat. They also soak up any additional perspiration on your forehead, which means that you’re a whole lot less likely to sweat off your sunscreen and will actually be able to keep your sunglasses on your face.
Kind of awesome, right? See! I told you hats were worth shoving in your beach bag. “But what hat should I bring”, I hear you wondering? Well, I’ve got two solid options for you, depending on what kind of hat person you are.
Option Number 1:
A full-blown sun hat. Admittedly, these aren’t really for me, but I have managed to find one that I don’t actually abhor. That’s why my go-to beach hat du jour is this cute reversible one that not only folds up nicely (making it really easy to pack into your suitcase since you don’t have to worry about it getting smooshed) bu that is also a travel-friendly size and can roll-up in the back. This way, it’s not quite as floppy and doesn’t make me lokk like THE most awkward human on the planet.
It also comes in a few different colors, costs a mere $10 per hat, and is totally reversible. It’s also uber versatile and easy to match with just about any summer outfit that you might want to wear to the beach.
Option Number 2:
My personal preference is for this visor since it’s also just $10, super comfy, incredibly adjustable, and allows me to put my hair up when it’s insanely hot (which is one of the main reasons why I do not enjoy floppy sun hats since it looks beyond weird if you try to put your hair up while having one).
Sure, it looks slightly orthopedic when it comes to style. But, like the aforementioned floppy sun hat, it’s quick and easy to fold up and takes up minimal space when you travel. I also love that this visor comes with an extra-long brim to give my face much-needed protection from the sun. Because yes, I really am pale AF and need all the help I can get!
8. Reusable Water Bottle
Maybe it’s just me, but swimming makes me hella thirsty. I dunno, I guess being surrounded by water you can’t actually drink kinda has that effect on you.
But, buying water at the beach can sometimes be ridiculously difficult and expensive. It’s also just crazy bad for the environment to be throwing out all those single-use plastic water bottles.
So, since dehydration is never fun (and I also love to save money and the environment at the same time), I never leave home without a reusable water bottle. Actually a collapsible, reusable water bottle to be precise. Because after I first learned about them, I became more than a little obsessed! I also now definitely consider this to be one of the best eco-friendly gifts for hikers and adventurers.
But there are probably 10,000 different space-saving, collapsible water bottles out there on the market today. So, how do you choose the right one for you? I mean, I’ve bought some and man oh man did they suck.
Yeah, I kept opting for the uber-cheap ones that would immediately fell apart or start leaking all over the place after a few months of use. That’s why I eventually splurged on this Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle.
Sure, I was a bit apprehensive when I saw the $21 price tag, You know, just in case it wound up being just as useless as my previous ones. But, I am delighted to let you know that this water bottle has NEVER leaked on me and has never ripped. So yeah, fast forward a year later and I am still over the moon about my purchase! Because this water bottle is now one of my top travel items and a MUST HAVE for any beach vacation packing list!
Plus, not only is it dishwasher safe, but it can also safely hold both cold AND hot drinks. So, feel free to use it for your morning coffee when you’re at work dreaming about your next beach vacation!
PS…If you’re traveling somewhere where the water isn’t safe to drink, be sure to buy a Lifestraw Personal Water Filter so you don’t get sick drinking the local tap water! You can also check out the best filtered water bottle for travel and hiking.
9. Dry Bag
Imagine you’re at the beach and you’re maybe just a smidge too close to the water so you get SOAKED when a large wave comes in. Or maybe you accidentally drip water all over your brand new – not waterproof – phone and now you’re paranoid it’s ruined. Or, you’re traveling alone and just don’t want to risk leaving your valuables unattended.
That’s why you’ll want to include a dry bag on your beach vacation packing list. They’re totally waterproof, so once you put your valuables inside, they’ll be protected from any water you inadvertently throw at them. And, added bonus? They ALSO protect your wet items from getting everything else wet.
So, once you’re ready to vacate the beach, feel free to store any wet bathing suits, towels, etc inside until you get back to your home/hostel/hotel and hang them up to dry. This way, none of your electronics will get ruined by any rogue water droplets,
Sure, keeping your gear dry while camping or adventuring is awesome. But, I tend to use mine more for when I’m done at the beach and what to protect other items in my bag. Plus, they’re way more environmentally friendly – and last longer – than say plastic bags and are pretty dang cheap too since they start at $13 each. They also come in a ton of different sizes and colors, making it easy to choose the right dry bag.
I know this seems like a weird suggestion for a beach vacation packing list, but hear me out on this one!
No lie, as an avid solo traveler, having a spare frisbee in my bag is a fun and super-easy way to make friends at the beach! And it a great way to unwind after a strenuous day of sunbathing and reading. JK, but it is a great way to get in a bit of exercise on your vacation.
So, if you have room in your beach bag (and honestly, they don’t take up much space), I highly recommend squeezing in a frisbee. Just in case.
Because I hardcore love my Aerobie Super Disc! It gets great distance even if you’re not the strongest thrower. And yes, I’m talking about myself here. It also floats on water, so if you accidentally throw it in the ocean (i.e. can’t aim), it’s easy to retrieve. Plus, they’re super durable so if an animal chases after it and retrieves it for you, it won’t hurt the animal or damage the frisbee in any way.
11. Snorkel Mask
The idea of snorkeling used to terrify me if I’m being brutally honest! I was sure I was going to encounter huge, underwater creatures and be dragged down to the Atlantean depths like in a scene straight out of Jaws.
And then I actually went snorkeling. And now I am a convert and go every chance I get! Hence the whole snorkel mask thing! So, If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend trying it out. It really gives you an entirely different ocean experience and it’s just cool AF! Without being QUITE as intense as scuba diving. But if you are interested in scuba diving, you’ll still need a mask.
I mean, I guess you COULD just wear regular goggles, but you definitely wouldn’t get the full effect of spending an extended period of time swimming amongst the fish and coral that are hidden away in the depths below, a la Finding Nemo.
Plus, the whole point of snorkel googles is to give you a wider view of the ocean. Personally, I love and use this snorkel set right here since it’s airtight. As a result, I’ve never had to deal with a water leak while I’m swimming. And because the lenses are anti-fog, they also don’t fog up when I get it and adjust the goggles over my head. They’re also surprisingly comfy and even come with a handy carrier bag to help keep the kit organized,
And If you have kids, they’re completely adjustable for people of all ages. I mean, my friends’ kid borrowed them once and they fit her perfectly. So yeah, they should definitely fit you since I’m pretty sure that your head is larger than that of a 10-year-old!
The good news is that there’s no chlorine in the ocean to burn your eyes. That being said, It’s still worthwhile to include goggles on your beach vacation packing list. Especially if you want to see anything while you’re underwater.
Plus, if you wear contacts (like I do) it means you can still wear them in the water and actually see all of your underwater adventures.
That’s why I can’t go swimming without these epic goggles. They don’t leak, they don’t fog and because they’re tinted, they’re ideal for swimming in intense UV rays. They’re also wicked comfortable. So much so that I’ve literally forgotten I was wearing them and started reading my book before remembering to take them off!
They’re also shatterproof since I’ve dropped them more times than I can count and they still don’t have a scratch on them! However, they do come with a very swish case so you don’t repeat my mistakes. Plus, they come in a whole bunch of different colors. Which is why you’ll find me rocking out in either the blue or yellow lenses. Before you get them though, just double-check and make sure they’re tinted so that you can actually see when it’s extra sunny at the beach.
Beach Vacation Packing List – Skincare Products
I know, I know, another super obvious item to include on your beach vacation packing list! Like, duh, Kelly, I’ll be out in the sun all day!
And yeah, I’ll be the first one to admit that sunscreen kind of sucks. I mean, does anyone actually enjoy the feeling of sunscreen on their skin or the process of applying it and getting it ALL OVER your hands? Yes, I think not since it feels a whole lot like becoming a greased pig.
But, I think we can all admit that we’ve been sunburned before. And some of us pretty dang badly, which is an experience that is very un-fun indeed (yeah, I just made that word up so we’re gonna go with it).
So dear readers, humor me for just a minute and remember to pack some sunscreen, especially if you’re looking for toddler beach essentials.
Plus I’m not just here to get all mama bear on you. Because as you probably already surmised, I’ve got some sweet, sweet rec for you too!
But first thing’s first. If you love the beach then do me a total solid and respect the ocean. This means wearing “reef safe” sunscreen so you don’t inadvertently damage any coral reefs or ocean wildlife while catching some tubular waves (we still use that word, right?).
Plus, believe it or not it’s actually ILLEGAL to use sunscreen that isn’t reef safe in several places, including Hawaii (the first state to do so), the Caribbean island of Bonaire, Palau, and the US Virgin Islands. Most ecotourism preserves in Mexico also request that visitors wear reef-safe sunscreen too.
Now, what you should you look out for? Well, unfortunately, sometimes products that are labeled “reef safe” actually aren’t.
So, if you see chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate listed in the sunscreen’s ingredients, then steer clear since those compounds are believed to cause coral bleaching. Additionally, petrolatum (also called mineral oil) takes YEARS to biodegrade and can negatively affect aquatic life, as can titanium dioxide since it doesn’t biodegrade at all.
Plus, if those chemicals can harm sea life, imagine what they’re doing to you and you slather them all over your skin? Yeah, NOT good.
So, when at all possible, go natural! Because your skin will 100% thank you in the long run! That’s why I sometimes use Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 since it’s a hypoallergenic, gluten, vegan, and cruelty-free option. And although it’s not officially labeled “reef safe”, the only active ingredient in this product is zinc oxide, which is considered reef safe.
That being said though, my fave sunscreen of all time is definitely Kokua Sun Care SPF 50, which is again an all-natural, cruelty-free (not vegan, though, as it has honey) sunscreen made in Hawaii (and approved by their government). Seriously, it’s amazing and you’ll actually like using it since it feels mildly luxurious.
14. Aloe Vera Gel
Now, let’s be real here for just a minute. Because no matter how vigilant you are about applying sunscreen, sometimes burns still happen. Yeah, it’s a curse that we beach lovers must endure.
But, the exceptionally good news is that I know of an awesome, all-natural product that is a literal miracle worker when it comes to sunburn! And something that you’re definitely going to want to add to your beach vacation packing list!
And I’m talking about none other than aloe vera gel! Yeah, some people swear by apple cider vinegar or coconut oil. However, I’ve tried them both and they just don’t really work well for me. But I’m not discounting them since everyone is different.
For me though, aloe vera gel is a godsend. It immediately soothes my sunburns and helps them heal much faster!
However, like with any product you buy, always check the ingredients. Especially If you have notoriously sensitive skin, as I do,
That’s why, I recommend getting gel that is AT LEAST 97.5% + aloe vera. However, I personally use this gel right here which is 100% aloe vera and absolutely adore it. It’s also not gross and sticky like some of the more chemically brands out there. Blech.
And added bonus? It can be actually mixed with alcohol to create an on-the-go hand sanitizer. Although I’m not quite sure I’d trust myself to make decent hand sanitizer. FYI, that’s rubbing alcohol I’m referring to and not a fifth of vodka. #justsayin’ cuz I know exactly where your mind was going with that one.
15. Insect Repellent
To be fair, this item will be very location-specific. Because thankfully, not EVERY beach in the world is packed with hordes of bloodthirsty mosquitos.
However, if you ARE in a place that is filled with these not-so-delightful creatures, then you’ll definitely want to have some kind of insect repellent. But here’s the thing, most insect repellents are brimming over with DEET, a chemical that is no bueno for either the environment or your skin.
Therefore, when possible, I try to get plant-based, lemon eucalyptus insect repellent. And so far, it seems to work just as well as the DEET! Although, I will admit that it sometimes isn’t QUITE as long-lasting as DEET filled products (I tend to slather it on – a technique that makes it infinitely more effective). Plus, it doesn’t have the same sticky feeling as DEET based repellents, nor does it smell anywhere near as gross.
But, full disclosure? No one knows of the effects that lemon eucalyptus might have on coral reefs- good or bad. However, I do think the prevailing sentiment is that plant-based products are far less likely to be harmful to the natural environment. At least, it feels a whole lot less harmful to my skin.
Also, just as an FYI, some people get a rash from the plant-based insect repellents so try to test it out BEFORE you add it to your beach vacation packing list. Because if you happen to be allergic then you’ll need to use a DEET based product instead.
If you can, do try applying it when you’re done swimming for the day and just want to sunbathe. This way, you can limit any potential negative side effects that the product might have on the environment.
Toiletries is a hard thing to definitively recommend to people because everyone’s hair and bodies are totally different and react differently o the ocean and the surrounding environment.
I mean, some people NEED conditioner, and others don’t. I know I can’t live without a hairbrush, one of my friends NEVER combs her hair and somehow always seems to look like much less of a hot mess than me. Seriously, is she even human?
However, let’s put my basic inability to look like a well put together human aside and simply say that you should include some of your must-have, everyday toiletries on your beach essentials list.
You know, fairly standard things like hair products (shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush, hair ties), face and body wash, moisturizer (and other skincare products), toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, nail clippers, shaving tools, contact lens solution or lens cleaner for glasses (if needed), any medications you take, plus the aforementioned sunscreen, after-sun care (aloe vera), insect repellant, and anything else you can dream up.
And although it may be tempting to overpack, resist the urge to do so. Because unless you’re Bear Grylls himself and are preparing to live off the land in the Outback for a solid week, there’s no need to pack everything except the kitchen sink. Trust me, I’ve traveled all around the world, and nine times out of ten, there is a drugstore on the corner where you can get everything you need.
That being said though, there are a few products I consider an essential part of MY beach vacation packing list. One of those items is these eco-friendly shampoo/conditioner bars. I know what you’re thinking and yes, they’re BETTER than the LUSH ones. They make my hair oh so shiny and soft.
So yeah, if I had the physique for it, they’d basically morph turn into an A-list celebrity. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. And while I’m not saying they’ll be perfect for everyone, what I am saying is that all of my friends who have given into my constant insistence that they MUST try these bars have absolutely loved them. So yeah, do with that info what you will.
Also, don’t leave home without a good toiletries bag. Trust me, you might think you don’t need one, but you do. For one, if something breaks and leaks all over the place, the spillage will be confined to this nifty little bag (You know, rather than having moisturizer spilling ALL OVER your clothes and electronics! Yikes!). It also keeps everything organized. So, even though they might look bulky, they actually make your toiletries more compact and easier to fit inside your luggage.
And this beyond epic toiletry bag right here has everything you could possibly need in a toiletries bag. It’s the perfect size for all my junk, er, precious toiletries. It also has a durable hook so I can hang it from just about anywhere, a sturdy zipper so it actually stays closed, compartments galore to keep everything organized and all for only $16!
Oh, and If you’re as accident-prone as I am, then you may want to consider purchasing a small, compact, travel first aid kit. You know, just in case the worst should happen and you fall down a well and Lassie is nowhere to be found. And if you are totally perplexed by that reference, just know that I am old and that what I just said probably isn’t that important.
Beach Vacation Packing List – Electronics
17. Power Bank
Once upon a time, we went to the beach just to get away from life for a while, soak up the sun, and frolic through the waves.
And nowadays? Well, we all basically have our phones surgically attached to our hands. And this includes me since I definitely won’t be leaving my phone at home any time soon.
Especially since cellphones are now considered an essential item. You know, kind of like air. And no, I don’t just mean for Insta and Tik-Tok. Because honestly? I definitely need this little miracle of modern technology to call an Uber home or to check the time so that I don’t miss the bus after a long day at the beach (sorry, I’m not cool enough to own an Apple watch or a car for that matter)!
Plus, most of us – myself included – actually use them to listen to music and podcasts, which I love to do when I’m relaxing at the beach. So yeah, definitely don’t forget to add a pair of headphones and your cell phone to your beach vacation packing list.
But, sadly, the battery on my cell phone is not infinite. Nor is it solar powered. This is why another item that I always add to my beach vacation packing list is my handy dandy power bank.
Yup, this little superhero of the tech world charges phones, tablets, MP3 players, and basically any other electronic device you can dream up. At least as long as the device can be charged via USB, They also have a pretty impressive battery life (that can last all day when they’re fully charged), even when charging multiple devices!
Truly a total miracle. Because it’s honestly embarrassing how many times I forget to charge my phone before I head out of the house. Or, er, run down the battery while trying to get the perfect selfie. You know, a mildly decent pic where my hair isn’t swallowing my face, where I’m not dodging rogue seagulls, and where I’m not being photobombed by lost tourists.
As a result, I never really leave the house without my trusty power bank, even if I’m going to the beach! Now sure, this power bank is a bit pricey at $33 apiece. But I pinkie promise it’s worth it for the battery life and durability of the device alone. Plus, if you only need to charge one device at a time, then you can easily get away with getting the smaller, cheaper model.
Even better? Anker’s customer service is TOP NOTCH! And I only know that because I had an issue charging my phone initially and was super disappointed. But, when I contacted the company’s customer service representatives, they simply replaced the entire device for me and sent it to me within a week. And I’ve never had an issue since. I mean really, how amazing is that?! Yup, pretty dang awesome if I do say so myself…and I do.
While we’re on the subject of electronics, one of the number one things I like to charge on the go is my Kindle. And yes, you really should picture the heavens opening up right now and a choir of angels singing because this device really is that awesome.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still love a good, old fashioned book! I mean, there’s still something so magical about opening an old book or visiting a beautiful bookstore.
But, that’s a tangent for my best bookstores in NYC post and not this post right here.
So yeah, back to this epic bech day packing list. Because truth be told, there’s exactly nothing wrong with bringing your favorite paperback (or hardback!) to the beach. I mean, It took me a while to adjust to reading on a Kindle, but now that I have, I think I read more now than I ever did before!
And as a full-time traveler, my Kindle has definitely saved my butt more times than I can count. I mean, I just load a bunch of books onto my device (or buy some while abroad) and BOOM, I can endure flight delays with the greatest of ease and don’t have to worry about a ton of books weighing my luggage down.
So, moral of the story? I always travel with a Kindle. And more importantly, I include it on ANY beach vacation packing list since you can adjust the screen brightness to accommodate the epic amount of glare that the sun throws your way.
Plus, you can actually get WATERPROOF Kindles now too! Yup, you read that right! I mean, I was a bit skeptical at first and was worried about submerging mine in water. But, then I realized that Amazon would probably have to replace it if they lied to me. So I took a bath, splashed around and low and behold, me and the Kindle both lived to tell the tale!
In fact, according to Amazon, they are designed to withstand “accidental immersion” for up to 1 hour in 6 feet of freshwater. So yeah, these nifty little gadgets really are a beach lover’s dream.
That’s why, If you adore beach reading almost as much as I do, then consider adding a Kindle to your next beach vacation packing list!
19. Camera & Equipment
If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to take pictures of anything and everything when you travel. Granted,
these days most cell phones have the ability to take pretty rad photos.
And if that’s the case, I recommend bringing along a portable, extendable selfie stick tripod so that you can get the best beach shots ever, EVEN if you’re traveling solo.
And while I personally have a more high tech camera now, I still use one of these when I’m on the beach and uber-paranoid about getting my camera wet. It also has a remote which makes getting pics near the water 10,000 times easier. Whatever you do though, don’t forget to have a waterproof phone case! You know, just in case, WHOOPS, you drop your phone in the ocean. Not that I’ve ever done that or anything…
But, If you’re in the market for a new camera, I highly recommend the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless digital camera. I’ve always used Sony Alphas, but recently upgraded to mirrorless and I’m in love. It’s lightweight, takes insanely beautiful photos no matter the setting (night time, day time, moving, etc) and I’m also incredibly impressed with the battery life on mine.
Of course, if you prefer a different camera, no judgment here. We all have our preferences. However, here
are a few extra bits of camera equipment you might want to consider adding to your beach vacation packing list.
No matter how expensive your camera is, they always seem to come with a teeny, tiny 2 GB memory card that is pretty useless, especially if you’re going on a long vacation. So splash out (lame pun intended) and get a 256 GB memory card so that you’ll (hopefully) never run out of space again! I also recommend getting the card reader bundle just because most computers don’t actually come with them built-in anymore!
Although my battery tends to last all day long, I sometimes go a bit photo crazy and runs out of battery life even faster than I expected. So, if I’m bringing my camera with me to the beach, I always pack a spare battery (this one is compatible with the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless recommended above, please double check you have the right battery if you have a different camera!).
Most people will recommend you go get a giant camera case or even an entire backpack! And while those are great in theory, they always end up being a giant pain in the ass to lug around. So, unless you have a ton of equipment to carry around (like extra lenses, UV filters, and tripods), I’d suggest getting a neoprene camera sleeve.
They are a little easier to carry and have always protected my camera from being scratched up and damaged by other items in my bag. They’re also much cheaper than a traditional case (this one is just $15) and come in a bunch of funky colors/styles! They’re also designed so that you can carry your camera around your neck and keep it protected until you need to use it.
Beach Vacation Packing List – Travel Insurance
20. Travel Insurance
And last but certainly not least, the one thing that bores everyone to death and that 99.9% of people absolutely hate talking about…travel insurance!
So yeah, I really am going to put my Mother Cap on for just a minute and lecture you, I mean remind you of the importance of travel insurance.
Because the first rule of travel? Yeah, you should NEVER leave home without travel insurance. I mean, I know it sounds highly unlikely but what if you cut your leg on a sharp underwater rock and get an infection? Or what if you accidentally brush up against some fire coral? Or, what if there’s an unforeseen natural disaster and you need to get home immediately?
However, it could also be something smaller, like that time I masterfully sliced my thumb open and needed four stitches mere hours before my flight to London! I mean, I hate to say it but there are a ton of terrible what-ifs that could happen while you’re traveling!
So, for your peace of mind (as well as your physical and financial well-being), ALWAYS purchase travel insurance, regardless of where you’re going!
But wait, which travel insurance company should you choose? Well, I honestly cannot recommend World Nomads enough! Any time I’ve needed their help, they’ve been so helpful and timely (very important with insurance).
And although they can be a bit pricier than some other companies out there, they also tend to be more comprehensive. They’re also a very well-established, international company that knows exactly what they’re doing and how to quickly get around/deal with all the red tape nightmares that can pop up with insurance claims.
Plus, they offer coverage for nearly any destination you can imagine, except for SUPER offbeat spots (like Pakistan) or dangerous ones (like Afghanistan).
And what policy do you need? Well, the average traveler can probably get away with the Basic plan, which covers any tech up to $1000 and provides you with emergency medical coverage of up to $100,000.
However, If you need more comprehensive coverage, then consider the Explorer plan, which is what I use. See, as a travel blogging, digital nomad who is on the go full time and lugs around a crazy amount of tech gear that is worth well over $1000, I definitely always opt for this policy. Especially since it also covers emergency medical procedures up to $100,000.
So, moral of the story? Be smart and always get travel insurance!
Before You Leave, Don’t Forget Your Free, Beach Vacation Packing List!A free, printable beach vacation packing list!
So, that just about concludes this hella epic beach vacation packing list!
Tell me, has your mind been totally blown (Kaboom)? And if you answered, “no” then that’s a good sign since this post really was just a regular old, beach-day packing list. Filled with 20 awesome products that every beach lover should definitely have.
That’s why, if you stick with this list of products then you should be totally prepared for your next trip to the beach.
And if you found this post even a little bit helpful, then feel free to pin this now so that you can read it again later!
Saturday 22nd of August 2020
This is SO useful for me. I always forget my sunglesses - don't use them much in Scotland! I like the frisbee idea too. I can't sit still for too long!
Saturday 22nd of August 2020
Great list!! I love the way you organized it to different categories. Every time I go to the beach I'm getting lost with all the different things and always forget something. Thanks for sharing!
Saturday 22nd of August 2020
Thanks for reading and I am so glad that you found this list useful!
Saturday 22nd of August 2020
I’m so glad you said you intended to say “please sit, can I have some water” with an accent – that’s exactly how I read it! Anyway, thank you for this awesome list - I wouldn't have thought of travel insurance since I tend to stay inside my state/country when going to the beach, but I know sooo many people actually go to other countries for the beach!!