There’s nothing more relaxing than a beach vacation – but it can be stressful if you’re not sure what to bring.Use our handy list below to make sure you don’t forget to pack anything that allows you to make the most of your trip and sit back, relax, and enjoy your seaside excursion.Our list includes items for both daytime and night-time activities and all the classic essentials plus must-haves for conveniences in the digital age.
What Should I Pack for My Trip to the Beach?
In both cold and hot weather, sun exposure can wreak havoc on your skin; and in all weather conditions, some sunscreens wreak havoc on coral reefs.It’s important to choose sunscreens that are free of oxybenzone, which, even in small amounts, can cause coral to break down. Most reef-safe sunscreen products will say so on the label; you can also check the list of ingredients.While you’re checking out sunscreens, also look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects the two types of UV light: UVA and UVB. And when you’re picking out the sun protection factor (SPF), go for 30 or higher.
2- Beach Bag
While out in the water or playing volleyball in the sand, you won’t want to be worried about keeping an eye on your valuables.For that peace of mind, you’ll probably want to leave your wallet or purse in the hotel room or the trunk or glove compartment of your car; take what you’ll need with you to the beach. Bring along a lightweight bag that has lots of room and can fold up easily in your suitcase.Also, a good beach bag is made of a material that is easy to clean the sand out of and ideally water-resistant. Some even have cooler compartments for your other beverages and snacks.
3- Cooler Bag
Instead of a traditional cooler, you can choose a cooler bag, which is the more travel-friendly option.These bags provide insulation so you can reach in and crack open an ice-cold beverage while out having fun in the sun. Most cooler bags are made of fabric that resists the elements and provides cushioning from jostling.There is a range of options to best suit your individual needs, whether you want to bring along a few drinks or are planning on an elaborate picnic.An excellent way to pack is to put whatever you’ll be eating last on the bottom and what you’ll be eating first on the top. You can add a few chilled bottles of water on the top for easy access.
4- Waterproof Phone Case
Whether it’s using your phone’s GPS to navigate or pulling up your playlists to listen to while sunbathing, your phone is going to be indispensable to your beach vacation, and you’ll want to make sure your phone stays safe and dry.To make sure your phone stays protected, be sure to keep it in a waterproof phone case.Even if you aren’t planning on going in the water, there will be spots where the sand is wet, and these cases protect from the sand, too. Keep your phone protected, so you’re not left high and dry without your phone!
5- Underwater Digital Camera
Whether you’re snorkelling, kayaking, or swimming, there are going to be many opportunities for underwater snapshots that you won’t be able to get with your phone.There are even underwater digital cameras with audio, so you can tap into your inner Jacques Cousteau and create fantastic footage of your vacation by the sea.There are sophisticated models for professional biologists and photographers but surprisingly affordable brands for the amateur who is just interested in casually photographing the mysterious and beautiful worlds of underwater landscapes.
6- Beach Blanket or Mat
You’ll want a beach blanket or mat to fit everyone, with enough room for snacks. The simplest solution is to bring along a beach blanket, though they can sometimes be heavy to take along and can also accumulate sand.Why not go with a beach mat instead? Some are made out of parachute material are exceptionally durable, washable, and quick-drying.They’re also a breeze to pack and many feature pockets and weighted corners.
7- Several Swimsuits per Person
Though you might have found the perfect swimsuit for your trip, it’s advisable to bring along a few extra.This way, you can always be sure to have a dry swimsuit on hand, as well as some variety – since you’ll be out in the sun most days. You might find yourself wanting to have a few different options for what to wear, switching between a bikini and one-piece or board shorts and swim trunks.Keeping your options for swimwear open is easy enough, too, since swimsuits hardly weigh anything and are easy to pack.
Be sure to bring a few summer dresses, gauzy shirts, or sarongs to keep you sheltered from the wind and sun when you’re not swimming, playing sports, or sunbathing.A simple wrap like a sarong or even a lightweight scarf can do double or even triple duty to protect you from the elements, serve as something to sit on or work as a fashion accessory. As with swimsuits, they’re easy to pack, so bring along a few for variety and convenience.
9- Appropriate Footwear
Be prepared to wear flip-flops near and on the beach. Sneakers are fine for a jog along the water, but they’ll be hot and uncomfortable if you’re sand bathing.Mesh water shoes are ideal if you plan to walk around tidepools or along the waterline, where there are jagged rocks and shells.These shoes are great for swimming and hiking, too, and in addition to being very versatile, they’re remarkably affordable. They also tend to transition better than flip-flops to a restaurant atmosphere if you’re going directly to dinner after your day at the beach.
10- Wireless Headphone
What is a trip to the beach complete without some music? It’s as easy as bringing along your phone so that you can play your music over wireless headphones.Small wireless models can be surprisingly powerful despite their compact size. And when packing for your beach vacation, go for a waterproof model.This way, if you’re planning on spending any extended amount of time at the pool or beach, you can be sure that you have music with you wherever you go!
11- Portable Charger
Today’s devices are sophisticated and powerful and drain batteries fast. It might be an afterthought to make sure all your electronic accessories like your phone, waterproof headphone, and digital camera are fully charged. So bring along a portable charger with you!Just connect your device with a standard USB cable – there’s no need to waste time waiting around an electric socket.
12- Filtered Water bottle
You’ll be visiting different places and can’t always be sure that water will be available or if the available water will be free of contaminants. To be on the safe side, carry along a filtered water bottle.Another advantage is that sticking to just one bottle of your own. It is easier on the environment than going through a bunch of bottles of water throughout the day.
13- Waterproof Bag
In addition to your beach bag, bring along a specially designed bag to keep items like your phone, magazines, or spare clothes dry.Though you’re sure to have a beach bag and cooler, these might accumulate sand or moisture when you take items in and out. A waterproof dry bag is a necessity for more delicate items like electronics and reading materials.
14- Rash Guard
If you’re planning on engaging in board sports, this is an absolute must. They’re comfortable and sleek and can be worn on their own or under a wetsuit.These shirts protect wearers from rashes that can result from repeated contact with surfboards or boogie boards as well as UV rays.
15- Sunglasses and Hats
These tend to get lost, so – as with swimsuits and cover-ups – bring a few to be on the safe side. And of course, sunglasses and hats give you a lot of different possibilities for your beachside selfies!Consider getting a sunglasses cord if you’ll be participating in extreme sports or having expensive or prescription sunglasses that would be incredibly inconvenient to lose. Hats should have broad brims to provide full coverage and ideally have a strap that you can adjust around the base of your head for a secure fit. Also, check out the sun protection for your hats and sunglasses.
16- Light Reading Material
If you’ve wanted to read War and Peace, this isn’t the time – stick to lighter materials like magazines and fun, light-hearted novels or short stories.To save on size and weight, load your reading onto a Kindle or another portable e‑reader, so you’re not lugging around a bunch of books or magazines.With most models, you can keep it safe in a Zip-Lock bag when you go to the beach and activate the screen through the plastic material.
So, there you have it, the ultimate checklist of what to pack for your next beach vacation. Don’t worry too much about what to pack; beaches are about fun, relaxation, and exploring!