Beach Holiday Packing List – Summer Essentials

Beach Holiday Packing List – Summer Essentials

Packing for a beach holiday is always exciting!

I usually can’t wait to be under the sun and hang out in the water until my fingers are wrinkled. I daydream about sunsets, warm evenings wearing colourful summer outfits and drinking cocktails on the beach or by the pool.

In order to have a great beach holiday and avoid mishaps, it’s important to have a beach holiday packing list with summer essentials

Read my suggestions below and be mindful when you pack for your next beach holiday.

Beach holiday packing list by category

The sun is a source of vitamin D which supports the health of the immune system, gives skin a nice glow and has many other health benefits. However, during a beach holiday, we spend hours in the sun and the health benefits may turn into hazards. Therefore, it’s important to sunbathe carefully and protect our largest organ; the skin, from too much sun.


On the beach or by the pool I prefer hats that can get wet without getting ruined. After the holiday, I wash them in the washing machine and store them until the next beach holiday. 

hats, summer essentials
Hats to pack and wear in dry conditions
  • Pack a cotton hat with a large rim to fully protect the face and neck area. It won’t matter if your hair is wet after jumping in the water, it won’t lose its shape or colour.
  • To go in the water, I switch to a lycra visor which is completely waterproof. This protects my face from the sun and from the reflection in the water.
  • For strolls, dressed up lunches and being in the sun without getting wet, I wear straw hats and visors. They protect my face from the sun, from squinting and therefore, wrinkling, and they are great accessories to complete a summer day look.


  • A sarong is always handy; it can be worn as a skirt, dress, or used as a towel that will dry out fast. Even in beach resorts where towels are available, I like to have a sarong in my beach bag.

Beach/pool outfits

  • I like to pack a variety of bikinis/bathing suits. I don’t necessarily pack one per day, but I do like to bring different colours and styles. They don’t take up much space in the suitcase anyway.
  • Packing an SPF 50 rash guard is a good idea. You might use it or not, but it’s always good to have in your beach bag. It will protect you from getting a sunburn if you spend all day swimming, sunbathing or boating. It will also protect you from getting stung by jellyfish.
kayaking with a rash guard and cotton hat
Kayaking with a rash guard and cotton hat
  • Beach dresses, shorts and tops are key because they will be your day outfits. In this case, I bring one outfit per day because after a summer day out in the sun, they need to be washed.


When it comes to sunglasses, I pack at least three pairs. Remember that it’s important to protect your eyes from UV rays even when it’s cloudy.

  • A polarized, dark lens, pair of sunglasses to go in the water, protect my eyes from the UV rays and avoid glare.
  • A fashionable pair of sunglasses with dark lenses that will contribute to my look with a cool and chic touch.
  • A pair of light lensed sunglasses for overcast days and sunsets.


  • To show off your beautifully pedicured feet during your summer holidays, bring along nice and comfortable sandals. I like flat sandals or thick heels in case I wear them in the sand. You never know when you’ll be invited to a luau or a beach party.
  • Personally, I wear flat flipflops on the beach and by the pool. They are comfortable and practical. 
  • If I go to rocky beaches or swim near coral, I will pack a pair of aqua shoes to protect my feet.

Dry bags

I pack two kinds of dry bags. 

  • One for my wet clothes, to prevent everything else in my beach bag from getting wet.
dry bag with wet clothes inside
Dry bag with wet clothes inside
  • A small dry bag where I can fit my camera, phone, sunglasses, money, etc. This is useful when I go on a kayak or paddle board. It allows me to take pictures from the water, stop for a drink or bite on the way, and be reachable. It gives you freedom and peace of mind.
orange dry bag backpack
Dry bag protecting valuables from the water

Beach bag essentials

  • A big enough and comfortable beach bag or backpack is a must. I like bags that are water-resistant, especially for tropical weather. In Florida and Asia for example, thundershowers, even short one, are common in summer and having a water-resistant bag is handy. 
  • A refillable water bottle is also good to have in your beach bag. Even if you are in a beach resort, the water bottles that keep liquids cold for hours are great.
water bottle
The refillable water bottle that comes with me everywhere – it has a very active life as you can see
  • A thermal spring water spray bottle is a great ally of your skin and freshens you up at the same time.

Sun protection

This is one of the most important categories of your beach holiday packing list.

  • Pack a high SPF body lotion or texture of your preference. I usually use SPF 50.
  • Another SPF 50 for the face, your type of skin (sensitive, oily, dry, etc.)
  • Lip balm with SPF 30 or up is also key. Lips get easily damaged in the sun.
  • If you have any sensitive areas in your skin, get a specific SPF product for those. Sometimes they come in sticks or thick creams.
  • Natural and coloured hair suffer with UV rays, chlorine and sea water. Hair gets dry and the colour may become lighter and lose its shine. There are wonderful products to protect the hair while in the sun and swimming. In the past, I’ve had to rush to the hair salon after a holiday. Now, I avoid that with good hair sun care products.

After-sun moisturising

I used to apply the body lotion I found in the hotel bathroom and soon realised that it’s not enough after a long beach day. My skin needed more moisture and love so now I pack after-sun moisturising products.

  • A body gel, oil or cream with ingredients designed for dehydrated skin.
  • A hand cream is also important. You wouldn’t think how much hands dehydrate but it’s a thin and delicate layer of skin.
  • A hair mask to hydrate the hair or to protect hair colouring, depending on your needs.

Jewellery for beach holidays

I’ve had bad experiences going in the sea with a metallic waterproof watch and jewellery. The metal ended up becoming dark green and it had to be cleaned professionally. I had to send my watch abroad to be properly taken care of. Since then I have new packing rules for the beach.

  • I pack a rubber waterproof watch. 
  • I avoid metal and wear inexpensive stones, coral, shells, or nothing at all.

The summer holiday evenings

Once the beach/pool day is over, I love to take some time to relax, take a shower, put on my masks and feel fresh and ready for a fun evening.

  • A beach holiday is perfect to go a little overboard with colour. I like to wear colourful flowing summer dresses with fun sandals and big earrings. 
  • I don’t put on a lot of makeup because the glow that the skin gets from the sun is more than enough. However, I do like to wear bright colourful lipsticks. 
  • If the weather is humid and your skin gets shiny, blotting paper is great to have in your bag, for touchups. 
  • Have an anti-blister stick in your bag. These are great to avoid getting blisters. You never know when and where will your shoes or sandals rub your skin and damage it.

Where off to next? Where is your next beach holiday? 

Read more travel tips from around the world and get some inspiration and ideas here

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