By Darren Griffiths

Everyone's Must-Have Packing list for the Beach

31st May 2023

Packing for a beach vacation involves a different plan of action than other kinds of holiday trips. Apart from the non-negotiable items like sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats. There are other important things that you will need to pack into your suitcase with care.

On many beach destinations, the essentials may not be readily available. This is the reason I curated a checklist to guide you as to what you may want to carry, no matter which corner of the globe your next beach getaway is located.

Start your packing early

When packing for a beach vacation, it is important to organize things as early as possible, preferably a few weeks before your date of departure. Get your checklist together and check out joules discount code for awesome deals on beach wear and many other items you might not yet have.

Get everything together and lay it out. Take a good long look to check you have not missed anything, and double check whether your suitcase is big enough to hold all the stuff. If not, trim down some items and leave them at home.

This will not only make sure you pack everything you need, in addition, it will raise the excitement level of the trip before you head off to enjoy your days under the sun.

Travel documents

Make sure your travel documents are not in your checked-in bag or anywhere too far away from you. Items like photo ID, passport, birth certificate for minors, insurance, credit cards, and boarding passes should be with you at all times.

Beach gear you must not forget


Items that are an absolute must on any beach holiday, whether it is for a day or longer are:

  • Beach bag: You will need a beach bag for easy transportation of all the stuff you will need for the day. The bag should be foldable so you can store it easily during and after the vacation. Choose one with a distinct design that you can easily spot in a crowd. 
  • Dry and wet bag: A wet dry bag is a beach essential. It can store and seal the wet clothes till you are ready to wash them when back at the hotel. 
  • Beach blanket: A beach blanket or a large picnic tarp is just the right accessory to ramp up any beach vacation. Not only it is comfortable to lie down on when spread over the sand, but you can save on renting beach chairs as well.
  • Filter water bottle: A reusable bottle with an in-built purifier can provide pure water on the go in seconds from the sinks on the beach. An excellent affordable alternative to the plastic bottle.
  • First aid kit: Accidents can happen anytime, especially when you are with kids, so carry a waterproof first aid kit to treat wounds.
  • Waterproof carry pouch: A top safety measure, especially on crowded beaches is to pack your costly stuff in a waterproof pouch that you can wear around your waist. Now you can keep your peace of mind while swimming.
  • Sunscreen: Sunscreen forms the top most essential part of a beach trip as it protects your skin from harmful UV rays. Go with SPF 30 or higher and make sure it is water-resistant and reef safe. Carry an extra bottle in your beach bag to apply after getting out of the water. 
  • Beach toys: If you want to keep the little ones entertained on their day out on the water, carrying a few sand toys will work wonders on the trip.
  • Swimsuit and cover-up: You can’t enjoy a beach vacation without wearing the right attire. Pack a few swimsuits, an eco-friendly bikini, and cover-ups to mix and match and prevent tan lines
  • Beach towel: I recommend bringing a secondary towel for drying off, as opposed to the sandy one that you will be lying down on for a lot of time on your vacation. Choose one which is bright looking and large enough to share with others.
  • Beach accessories: Use thick-bottom flip-flops to walk on the hot sand. And you should also bring a large hat that will safeguard the skin and the eyes from the harsh sun rays. 
  • Bug spray: Look for a water-resistant and reef-safe spray, great for the evenings. 
  • Reusable bags: These will come in handy on many occasions to pack odds and ends on the way to the beach. It is good to have a few of the small re-tuckable ones on hand. On the way home you can pack your wet or dirty clothes in them.
  • Personal items: This includes portable electronic gadgets for entertainment, make sure they are properly sealed in waterproofing cases. Also, bring a book, and snacks to be with you at all times, plus a power bank and charging cords kept in plastic baggies.

What to wear for men

  • Swimming bottoms
  • Board shorts
  • Tank top
  • T-shirt
  • Short sleeve shirt

What to wear for women

  • Swimwear
  • Tanning bikini
  • Shorts
  • Dresses
  • Footwear

What to bring for kids

  • Baby wipes and antibacterial gel to clean the mess and wash the hands afterward.
  • Boogie boards which the children carry or drag themselves along with a rash guard to have on over their bathing costumes.
  • Travel-size baby powder with a rag for removing the sand if you have a toddler. 

After beach time

  • Robe: Nothing feels better once you come out of a hot shower after a long day on the beach. A robe and a pair of soft pajamas can enhance the beach experience. Make sure it is lightweight and quick-drying.
  • Dress bikini: Wearing a dress bikini to the beach at night as you walk to grab a cocktail at a party will make you feel your best instantly.
  • Coat or blazer: A breathable sports cost or blazer is a fun addition for men to wear at night. Just avoid anything loud, but feel free to include prints. Shoes should be casual, like a loafer or deck shoe.

You may also need:

  • Snorkelling gear of your own even if your tour operator provides them.
  • Inflatable floats for lounging on the water.
  • Toddler floats if traveling with small children.
  • Swim diapers for babies.
  • A pen and a small notepad will come in handy to entertain the kids or jot down phone numbers without getting your mobile device dirty.  
  • A small cooler for storing drinks is the best way to keep them chilled for some added beach fun.
  • Before you head to the beach with a phone, make sure you carry a waterproof phone case to protect your smartphone from moisture attacks.

In the end

You will need to make a judgment call on what you personally will need. As a rule, when traveling you should pack enough pairs of socks and underwear to change each day. And apart from several changes of tops, plus some pairs of shorts and pants depending on the weather, you should have everything you need.