I think if we took a global poll on what the most stressful thing about traveling is, it would be an almost unanimous vote: packing. It’s hard enough choosing between a suitcase or backpack. Then you have to decide what you should actually put in it, painfully imagining the craziest weather situations and encounters. Hint: you likely won’t meet the Queen of England, so leave the heels behind.
While there are certain packing staples that are great for travel in general, your destination, the climate and your itinerary can drastically alter your packing list.
To make it easier for those embarking on beach travel, here are 13 must-pack items, as well as a sample packing list below.
Aromaflage — an essential oil and alcohol blend — is a delightful invention for those wanting an all-natural alternative to drug store insect repellents. It’s also saves space as it doubles as perfume. All the company’s products are under three ounces, so you can easily stay within TSA requirements and travel with just a carry-on. I also recommend After Bite for those times when mosquitos do get to you, as it’s one of the only products I’ve found that stop the itch (along with noni fruit and Windex).
2. Bathing Suit
An obvious item, yes, but I want to mention being aware of local customs while choosing your suit. For example, when I spent a summer in Southeast Asia outside of the touristy areas I made sure to cover up more than when I was home (the one time I slipped up on Cat Ba Island I had some issues).
Another reason I wanted to mention bathing suits is many people ask where I get my pinup-style bathing suits, such as the one above. I’m a big fan of Unique Vintage, which is also where I buy most of my clothes (along with Rainbow and Vintage Monk in Brooklyn).
3. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
When I’m enjoying some tropical beach travel I’m all about letting my skin breath and taking a break from makeup. To give my skin some moisture and to enhance my glow, I use Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum, which visibly tightens and brightens my skin. I also use Mad Hippie’s moisturizer and eye cream at home and on the road.
4. A Spray Bottle
I haven’t put heat or dye on my hair in over two years. The only product I use once in awhile is Not Your Mother’s Dry Finish Spray for some body. I love all natural beauty, which is why when I’m going to be near salt water I make sure to fill a small spray bottle I can pack in my carry-on with it to use for a tousled look made by Mother Nature.
Sarongs not only make for great coverups and accessories, but also beach blankets and as sun protectors. If you’re creative you can even craft it into a sundress and other fashions, as seen in the video above. A few pretty pattern options I like are Time Will Shell and Seaside Splendor, both perfect for beach travel! All are from Modcloth, one of my favorite online shops for travel accessories like wanderlust-theme wallets, organizers, bags and clothing.
Of course, you need sunscreen on a beach trip. If you’re like me and enjoy vegan products that stay away from parabens and also give back, Sun Bum’s Vitamin E-Rich Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion is great. This bottle is eight ounces, so I put some in these cute portable 3-ounce silicone bottles. Sun Bum is cruelty-free and have their own nonprofit, Protect the Groms, which puts on events and programs to educate on why it’s important to protect skin from the sun.
7. GoPro Hero4
My GoPro Hero4 (and its underwater housing) is a necessity for beach trips. I get great snorkeling shots and video and don’t have to worry about getting sand in my DSLR. I pair this with a GoPro Head Mount when going in the water so I’m hands-free, though the GoPro Arm Tripod is great for selfies (it can even act as a selfie stick).
8. Slip-On Canvas Shoes
I hate flip flops. Yes, they’re easy to take on and off, but my hyperhidrosis (a condition where you sweat profusely; sexy, I know) makes my feet slip right out of them. Canvas slip ons — I wear AirWalks which cost ~$20 at Payless — are more comfortable and quick to take on and off. They also look cute with sun dresses and shorts.
9. Healthy Juice Mix
While I love coffee, tropical destinations leave me craving caffeine that’s also cold and refreshing. Enter Everly Juice Mix. You mix with water for a calorie-free drink that contains no artificial sweeteners — there’s Stevia, instead. I also like their global good twist, as a portion of every purchase goes to ColaLife, a nonprofit working to save children’s lives.
Additionally, I travel with Jiva Java Cubes for when there’s no hotel coffee, or when the hotel coffee is bad. They’re tiny raw cane sugar-sweetened coffee cubes crafted from family-farmed Colombian coffee that dissolve in hot water or milk. I use two cubes per cup of coffee. Add ice for a beachy caffeine boost!
10. Portable Safe
I’ll admit I don’t own one of these; though I think it’s a pretty cool idea. An AquaVault- Portable Safe from AquaVault is a portable safe allowing you to lock up your valuables while you splash around in the water. It attaches to fixed objects like chairs, bikes and boat rails. The design is pretty inconspicuous, too.
11. A Beach Bag
This may seem obvious, but it’s something I’ve forgotten countless times (and am then reduced to carrying my belongs in a garbage bag). Choose one with a zipper to keep both sand and prying eyes away from your things. I love my Hedgren Breeze Backpack for the beach, but of course there are many options out there.
12. Sun Repair Lotion
Even when you pack sunscreen, it’s not uncommon to miss a spot or forget altogether. That’s why I like having skin refreshers. One option is a travel-sized rosewater facial toner and refresher, which soothes redness and burning, hydrates skin, and helps prevent sunburn if you apply it before the beach. Refrigerate your spray for the ultimate soothe.
Moreover, I’m a fan of the Sun Bum brand, including their travel-sized cool down after-sun lotion. I was given their SPF-laced banana lip balm by a friend, and was instantly hooked, trying their other products, too. The lotion is vegan and gluten-free, free of parabens and Vitamin A (which are thought to make rays more harmful to skin), isn’t tested on animals, and features aloe, Vitamin E and cocoa butter.
13. Inflatable Beach Ball
There’s only so much sunbathing I can do before I start to get antsy. Along with my book or a Kindle — with e-reader screen protector to safeguard it from sand — an inflatable beach ball adds some fun if I’m with other people. When deflated it takes up almost no luggage space.
Download the below beach travel packing list to be fully prepared for your next trip:
Clever Travel Companion Pickpocket-Proof Garments [Travel Safety]
100 Things To Do In Austin Before You Die by Reedy Press [Great Reads]
22 Unique Items For The Ultimate Backpacking Packing List [Blog Inspiration]