What To Pack For A Beach Holiday

Couple relaxing on pontoon near the beach

Who doesn’t love the smell of the sea and the sound of crashing surf? Beach holidays are popular for a reason. But if you come unprepared, they can turn into hell as you find yourself spending the money you would have spent on ice-cream on the swimsuit you forgot.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the essentials (and other cool items) to pack for the beach holiday of your dreams.

The Basics

Assuming you have all the fundamentals, such as toiletries, underwear, money and the necessary travel documents, these are the additional must-haves for the beach:

  • A swim suit
  • A beach towel
  • A beach bag, such as a simple canvas tote, to pack all your beach equipment and a change of clothes
  • Sunglasses
  • Plastic bags for wet clothes
  • An insulated water bottle or thermos to keep your drink cool in the sun
  • Insect repellent, for the daytime flies and the sunset mosquitoes

Be Prepared

With a fair wind your holiday will be filled with love, laughs and memories that last a lifetime but even with  meticulous planning things can go wrong. They are a rarity but small accidents can occur so a small first aid kit containing some essentials. Also don't forget any medication you require or may require if you over indulge! 

Sun Protection

Beaches are highly exposed to the sun. If you’re going at the height of summer, spending long periods on the beach could leave you with severe skin damage. Even if you’re lucky enough to tan easily or you have naturally dark skin, you’re still at risk. Skin damage can make your skin age faster and can give you skin cancer.

But if you’re aware of the basic principles of sun protection – wear protective clothing, sunscreen, and look for shade – you can enjoy your beach holiday without the blisters. Here’s what you’ll need:

Sun protection, what to pack for a beach holiday

Don't skimp on the sun cream. Apply a high factor sun lotion liberally. Taking too much sun too soon can lead to serious problems on your holidays. Sun stroke is no fun and also you don't want to leave yourself open to longer term health issues.


  • Sunscreen look for a water-resistant brand with an SPF of 30+ or higher
  • A wide-brimmed hat
  • A beach umbrella or beach tent to provide shade
  • Long-sleeved, loose cotton clothes to wear before you jump in the water
  • Aloe vera gel, for a quick recovery in case you do get burned

Clothes

Choosing clothes for the beach doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s good to pack a mixture of neutral colors and a few items with a brighter ‘accent’ color, allowing you to easily mix and match.

Choose loose-fitting, preferably cotton garments for extra comfort in the heat, and depending on your destination’s climate, take a light jacket or cardigan for the evening breeze. Try to pack something that you can wear over or with your swimsuit, to avoid the hassle of changing constantly.

If you plan to go to a bar or a restaurant in the evenings, throw in a pretty dress or a collared shirt and chinos. Or if you’re the kind who loves early-morning runs or yoga on the beach, don’t forget your active wear – leggings or shortsa singlet and a cap.

Hopefully you will be basking in the sun and enjoying balmy nights but if unfortunate you may experience some inclement weather. Be prepared and pack a lightweight rain proof jacket and a light sweater if the mercury drops in the evening.

Get your packing right for your summer vacation

Take It To The Next Level

There’s a day at a beach… and then there’s A Day At The Beach. Make yours extra fun by bringing along these items.

  • A portable Bluetooth speaker that connects to your phone… get those sweet tunes pumping for a party atmosphere, or put on a piano sonata for some tranquility
  • Foldable beach chairs for extra comfort
  • A good book or a kindle, for a lazy, peaceful afternoon
  • A GoPro or a waterproof phone case, to capture those fun moments in the water
  • An Esky cooler to keep your beers, lemonade, and dips chilled
  • Snorkeling goggles and fins, to explore the underwater life of your beach paradise

For The Ladies

If you’re into make-up, it’s not recommended to take your usual kit to the beach. Even if you skip the water, the heat and sweat can still turn things a little soupy. Here’s what you should take instead:

  • Waterproof mascara
  • Instead of foundation, tinted, non-comedogenic face sunscreen
  • Instead of power blush, liquid tint to keep your cheeks rosy
  • High-SPF Lip Balm
  • Waterproof eyebrow pencil and clear eyebrow gel to keep things neat

For The Kids

If you’re heading to the beach with young kids or teens, just soaking in the scenery isn’t going to cut it. Here are some things that will spice up their day:

  • Spades and Molds for building sandcastles
  • Body boards
  • Water-shoes to protect their feet while exploring rock pools
  • A Frisbee
  • Sports equipment such as a soccer ball, volleyball, or cricket bat for some friendly competition
What to pack for your beach vacation

With this comprehensive packing list, there’s no way your beach holiday can go wrong. Zip up your suitcase and get ready to hit the sand and surf!

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