Our beach holiday packing list makes it easy to have a hassle-free time, covering beach clothing and other essentials to useful accessories and health products to keep you safe in the hot summer sun.
Beach Bags? © romainpontida
Packing for beach destinations is fairly simple, but it’s important to make sure you’ve got everything you need before you leave to avoid having to buy expensive replacements once you arrive.
Things You Need On Every Trip
Below we’ve listed items specific for a beach trip. For items that you need on every trip regardless of the weather, see our main holiday packing list.
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Essential Beach Holiday Items:
- Beach Towels – Even if you’re staying at a hotel close to the beach, it’s worth packing a few beach towels. If you’re short on space and don’t mind sitting directly on the sand (or you’ve got a beach blanket) you can use quick dry towels, which take up a tiny fraction of the space of a typical towel in your suitcase.
- Beach Bag – A good tote bag makes carrying your swimsuit, towels and other essential beach items easy. Asics makes a great mesh beach backpack that’s big enough to fit a towel, swimsuit and more.
- Sunscreen – Every year, millions of people fall victim to skin cancer as a result of direct exposure to the sun. Protect yourself by packing a tube of sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 15. We recommend Neutrogena SPF 45 Drytouch Sunscreen, which is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, non-greasy and absorbs into your skin instantly.
- Insect Repellant – Beaches are hotspots for mosquitos and other insects, making it vital that you have a good insect repellant. Sawyer Picaridin is recommended by Consumer Reports as the best all-round topical insect repellent.
- Aloe Vera Lotion – Even if you don’t feel sunburnt after a day at the beach, exposure to direct sunlight will still dry out your skin. Aloe vera products like Banana Boat After Sun Lotion moisturise your skin to prevent salt, sand and sun damage.
- Lip Balm – Saltwater and sun don’t just dry out your skin — they also dry out your lips. A good lip balm like Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Lip Balm will help stop you from getting dry and cracked lips after a day at the beach.
Optional Beach Items:
- Goggles – If you plan on swimming, make sure to bring a pair of goggles. Most beach resort destinations will have a swim accessories shop, but you’ll get the best selection from a local shop or by shopping online.
- Mask, Snorkel and Fins – If you’ve got the space in your backpack or suitcase, packing your mask, snorkel and fins saves you from having to buy a new set at your destination or rent them on the beach.
- Beach Blanket, Chairs and Umbrella – For extra comfort, bring your own beach chairs, blanket and umbrella from home. Recommended if you’re travelling to a local beach and don’t have to worry about squeezing everything into your suitcase.
Beach Holiday Items For Kids:
- Beach Toys – If you’re travelling to the beach with kids, make sure to pack some beach toys to keep them entertained. A bucket, sifter, rake and shovel set, along with a football or frisbee, is more than enough to keep young children entertained on a beach holiday.
- Beach Shoes – Pebbles, rough sand and driftwood can take a toll on young children’s feet, making a pair of beach shoes an essential for kids. The Wave make great beach shoes for kids that protect against rough surfaces and stay on their feet in the water.
- Children’s Sunscreen – Many of the ingredients used in sunscreen aren’t suitable for young children with sensitive skin. Children’s sunscreen like No-Ads is formulated with hypoallergenic ingredients that are safe for sensitive skin.
- Baby Powder – Baby powder is an essential for young children, but it’s also a useful beach accessory for adults. Gently rub baby powder into your skin and the sand will brush right off, helping you clean up before you head back to the hotel for the day.
- Baby Wipes – Baby wipes are an obvious essential for any family on holiday at the beach, whether for cleaning up messes or for wiping down your hands after an ice cream.
- Waterproof Nappies – Waterproof nappies like Pampers Splashers let your kids enjoy the water without swelling up. Since they have protective double leg cuffs, they’re also safe for use in the swimming pool.
Beach Clothing and Accessories:
- Sunglasses – A good pair of sunglasses will protect your eyes from sunlight exposure while you enjoy the beach. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen on your face as well as your body to avoid getting “sunbed google” marks around your eyes.
For the best sun protection, make sure you get polarised sunglasses, which reduce the intensity of direct sunlight and glare from the water.
- Swimsuits – This one is fairly obvious, but unless you plan on spending all your time at the beach out of the water, you’ll need to pack a swimsuit. Pack a second pair so you’re ready to swim even when your first pair is drying out.
- Hat – If you plan on sunbathing, pack a hat that you can pull down to cover your face and protect yourself from the sun.
- Cover-up Beach Clothing – While it’s okay to walk around in your bikini in some beach destinations, some countries have more conservative attitudes to clothing that make an extra set of clothes essential. Pack a cover up or bring a change of clothes to the beach so that you can move freely without turning heads for the wrong reasons.
- Books – If you plan on spending all day at the beach, pack a book or two (or a tablet like the Amazon Kindle) to keep you occupied in between swim and sunbathing sessions.
- Tablet – As above, if you plan on spending a long time at the beach, a tablet makes it far easier to keep yourself entertained.
- Smartphone/MP3 Player and Headphones – For entertainment, bring your MP3 player with a couple of good albums. Listening to music is a great way to pass time while you’re sunbathing.
Useful Items On The Beach:
- Water Bottles – Since you’re going to be out in the hot sun for most of the day, it’s vital that you stay hydrated. Buy a bottle of water locally or fill up a water bottle (the Nalgene OTF is a great choice) so you always have a refreshing drink available.
- Waterproof Pouch – Protect your wallet and smartphone from water or sand damage with a waterproof pouch. The Lewis N. Clark Waterproof Multi Purpose Pouch is a good low-cost choice that’s big enough to fit most smartphones and point and shoot cameras.
Remember The Essentials:
- Make sure you’ve got your passport, flight tickets, travel vaccinations and all the other items essential to every trip abroad – see our essential holiday packing list to doublecheck you’ve got everything!
- Face mask – COVID is still very active in many countries and you may be required to wear an SFP2 facemask on the plane and in some indoor spaces. It’s also a good idea to carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser when you travel.