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Want to know what to pack for the beach?

Packing can make or break a trip, and learning what to pack for the beach will having you packing like a pro. I am ultimately gadgety, it’s my nature, so today I’m so excited that I am going to share with you my ultimate packing favorites!

Having the right amount when you pack for the beach is number one.  You want to have everything you need, but don’t want to waste valuable space by having crap you don’t need. Pack too much and you are overloaded with “stuff” and are miserable.  Pack too little and you are constantly kicking yourself for not bringing something. 

You may be asking yourself, “Who is she some packing guru?” I’m not exactly a minimalist but I do live full time in an RV so I don’t have a crazy amount of stuff.  What I do have is the best of the best stuff because space is always at a premium. 

I consider myself a professional in the packing realm because not only am I blogger and a full time RV’r I’m also a Flight Attendant. I spend about as much time in the air or in a hotel as I do in an RV so trust me, I’ve go you covered.

When Decide What to Pack for the Beach, Make a List and Check it Twice

Be a list maker.  Lists are so great because they make you so organized!  There is nothing worse than going on a trip and forgetting one of your comfort items. You can buy things while you are out if necessary, but that can get pricey and then you have double when you get back home.

When making your packing list, make your list by category, and spend time making the list weeks before the trip because things will pop into your mind as you go.  Then save that list for the next time!  Add to your list while you are on your trip, and subtract items too.  You really don’t know exactly what you need and don’t need until you are at your destination.

At the end of this post, I provided you with a Beach Packing Printable that you can easily download and use for your next trip to the beach.

Beach Packing List

Double Duty Packing Items

A lot of the things you pack should be able to do double duty, like this Diazul lithium ion rechargeable fan.  This fan not only keeps you cool in a hotel or on the beach, but it can charge your cellphone, and it is a flashlight.  You don’t need to carry batteries and I take this little workhorse everywhere!  If you take this with you on an airplane, you cannot leave the battery in your checked luggage it must be brought on board. 

Pack Coordinating Outfits

When traveling, you don’t want to be overloaded with clothes.  You can always do laundry while you are on the road.  Hotel coin operated laundry is actually cheaper than a laundromat.  A great way to minimize space in your bag is to have almost if not every piece of clothing that you bring able to coordinate.  When you coordinate your clothing you can mix and match and make all kinds of outfits with minimal clothes. 

A nice wrap can really dress up an outfit and keep your warm.  You can wear it around your neck like a scarf or around your shoulders like a wrap.  My favorite is the travel scarf from betabrand.  This is not an affiliate link, I just love this scarf. It has zippered pockets to keep lipstick and a credit card and if my kids get cold it even has room for one or two of them to snuggle under it with me.

Weather can change so much so it’s best to pack for all kinds of temperatures.  When all of your clothes coordinate you can layer to stay warm.  I like to wear a dress, and then at night when the temperatures drop I can add leggings and a wrap.

Another perk of having all coordinating outfits when you pack for a trip to the beach is that it’s super easy to get dressed, you don’t hardly even have to think about what you are going to wear. 

Keep your clothes wrinkle-free.

When packing for a trip to the beach (or any trip really!) to keep your clothes looking great a travel steamer is a great way to easily keep everything wrinkle free.  No one wants to have the perfect outfit picked out and it’s full of wrinkles from being packed in a bag.  Even if you are in a hotel, don’t  count on the iron. I’ve had my clothes ruined because of hotel irons.  Steaming is so much easier not worrying about creases is priceless!

Packing cubes are my favorite way to organize clothes on the road.  You can organize all of your items and they are completely contained.  You can even put your outfits together cube by cube if you would like.  You can fit more into your bag when items are contained into packing cubes and you never have to worry about opening your bag in public and people seeing the contents of your luggage. 

The set I linked to above even come with a travel laundry bag which is a great thing to have on the road.  When you lug your clothes to the laundry, it really helps to have a laundry bag.

Packing toiletries and makeup.

If you are traveling by air, you are only allowed liquids in 100ml containers in a see through plastic bag.  I pack the same way with my toiletries whether I am traveling by air or by land.  I like to keep my bags light as I can so I decant my full size products into 100 ML silicon tubes.  I have been using this brand for years and I have never ever had an issue with them leaking.

You can also buy sample sizes of your favorite products that you can use specifically for travel.  This goes for makeup too, I sometimes buy my makeup in sample sizes so that when I travel my makeup bag isn’t filled to the brim.  Benefit has a vending machine that I often use in Terminal 3 in San Francisco filled with makeup full and sample sizes.  I’m always in SFO so I never worry about running out of makeup while I’m flying.  I’ve also seen the Benefit vending machines in lots of airports.

Ipsy is a great monthly makeup subscription service.  You fill out your profile and they send you products that they think you would like.  It’s only $10 per month and you get a much higher value worth of products that are sample, deluxe sample, and some are even full size.  The items you get in your Ipsy glam bag are perfect for travel.  The Ipsy bag your products come in are perfect for packing your makeup for travel.

Be sure and keep your toiletries that can leak or spill in a plastic bag.  You don’t want to have anything ruined because something leaked!  If you have an off brand of silicone container, a great hack is to unscrew the top and put a piece of plastic on top, then screw the top back on over the plastic and you don’t have to worry about a leak!

If flawless makeup is important to you, then bringing your own mirror is a must and do I have the perfect mirror for you!  It is a 3-way mirror that can stand up or hang. My holy trinity for getting flawless makeup is to stack my 3-way mirror on top of my Yeti Rambler with my Diazul fan blowing on me keeping me cool.  The reason I like to set it on top of my Yeti is because it is a small mirror and setting it on top of my cup makes it the perfect height.

Semi-Permanent make-up options.

Lash extensions are nice for a trip because you can skip the mascara and the eyeliner.  Something to think about if you are doing a special trip like a destination wedding, vow renewal, or an anniversary.  The girl who does my lash extensions does synthetic ones and only charges $38, she does an amazing job and won’t allow me to do them unless it’s a once in a while thing because they can cause damage to your lash beds.  Extensions don’t have to cost an arm and a leg so shop around to find the best person at the best deal.

Microblading is something I’d like to do one day too, to cut down on bringing so many brow products with me.  I use a minimum of three products on my brows wouldn’t it be soooo nice to wake up with perfect brows every time with no need to touch them?

If you are bringing jewelry, you are going to need a case for that too.

You are probably starting to get that my entire luggage is made up of separate bags for each type of item and jewelry is no exception.  I don’t bring a ton of jewelry with me when I travel, but lets face it, jewelry really puts the polish on a good outfit.  The Lily and Drew Travel Jewelry Case is a complete system to organize your jewelry safely.

Putting earrings into a jewelry roll can become a problem, the posts can bend.  You can use an old Altoids or Altoids smalls box by putting in a piece of foam to keep it soft and your earrings will not get bent.  If you have sterling silver jewelry, you can put in a small piece of white chalk and it will keep your jewelry from tarnishing.  You can even slip the Altoids box into your jewelry roll to keep all your jewelry together.

Packing undergarments down to a science.

My favorite packing items.

This is a category where you don’t need to be afraid of over packing!  They don’t take up too much space so if you pack one and a half times as many as you need.  You can re wear clothes but not your underwear because that is just gross!  With an undergarment bag, you put your clean items on one side and laundry on the other.  A bra bag, that matches made by brag and the name totally fits because look how cute it is! Is perfect for packing your bras.  This one can fit so many and it won’t get your underwire all twisted.  

Packing shoes correctly is a must!

Because all of your outfits coordinate you won’t need as many pairs of shoes.  A dress shoe, workout shoes, and a cute pair of flip-flops cover your trip to the beach. The cutest pair of shoes are your own feet anyway so don’t waste space by bringing tons of shoes.

Shoes go everywhere and are really dirty.  You walk through public restrooms with them on after all!  Shoe bags are a great investment and I love the quality of my MIAMICA shoe bags, but you can also do something as simple as put your shoes into a shower cap to store your shoes in your bag. 

Pro Tip: When traveling wear your largest pair of shoes (the ones that take up the most space) so you don’t have to pack them.

You will need to have somewhere to carry your things when you are out and about.

A big purse is cute, but it’s not as ergonomic as having a fold able back pack.  It’s great to have a little portable back pack to take with you when you travel.  It can be so difficult to be out and have to carry a purse and a water bottle.  Purses get heavy so it’s really nice to have a backpack you throw everything into and wear on your back.  This way you can have freedom to move around and not be weighed down by stuff.

Electronics I can’t do without on the road.

My favorite electronics.

Besides my phone, laptop, and hard drive, a small portable speaker is anther one of my go to gadgets.   It’s so nice to listen to your favorite music, especially when the sound is good.  It’s also great to have a good speaker if you have noisy neighbors you can link it to a sound machine app on your phone.

I never travel by air without my RAV Power power bank.  I can get four full charges out of it at a minimum.  WiFi on board an aircraft really drains your phone’s battery and you can’t always depend on an airplane for an outlet. Some rows don’t have power, while others that do, cannot supply enough power for everyone.

I keep all of my plugs for my electronics in one place in my electronics case.  There is nothing worse than digging around for plugs and not finding them.  I like to put a piece of Velcro on each cable and I can keep all of my cords tangle free.  I use the Velcro thin wrap and buy it by the roll.  I use it not only for my electronics cables, but also for any cables in my home.

I never travel without my handy-dandy fabric extension cord.  I am always using it for something.  On the airplane, if you plug your laptop charger into the charging port it just falls on the ground.  If you plug-in an extension cord, you can charge my laptop without issue.  If you are in the airport or Starbucks and  don’t want to sit right next to an outlet, just plug-in an extension cord and you can sit where you want without struggling for power.

Loud airplane talkers and crying babies are why God gave us Bose Noise Cancelling Headsets.

Being in the air 150-200 hours each month trust me I know how important it is to cancel out sound sometimes.  If it’s my crying baby I won’t be wearing noise cancelling headsets, but when it’s not my baby?  I’m not doing the little one any good by listening.  By wearing these headphones it also makes sleep possible at home and in the air.

I’d like to mention, these are Bluetooth headphones so they do not plug into the airplane audio jacks.  I use them for personal device entertainment (which most airplanes now have anyway) or for my own downloaded entertainment.  The over the ear Bose headphones are not comfortable for me to sleep in, I often sleep in my headphones in the air, in a hotel, or at home.

Packing for a trip to the beach – swimming.

My favortie beachwear

If you are limited on space, one swim suit is plenty for a vacation.  A nice sarong uses hardly and space and it’s perfect to cover up with on the beach when you’ve had enough sun.  I like a hat that weighs almost nothing and takes up almost no space in my bag.  I also bring a rash guard to cover up when I’ve had enough sun.

Beach towels are huge and take up way too much space to pack.  If you are staying at a hotel on the beach they will provide you with beach towels and you have an endless supply of clean dry towels.

If you are camping or staying somewhere they don’t provide you with a towel your best bet is a fast drying microfiber towel.  They resist sand and dry in one-third the time of an ordinary towel and they take up very little space in your bag.  If you have the space, you can take a regular beach towel but if you don’t a microfiber towel will do quite nicely.

The most comfortable spot on the beach.

The most comfortable sot on the beach.

If you are driving to the beach, have I got a setup for you.  Tommy Bahama makes the best back pack chairs.  They have a pocket for you drink, one for your cell phone, one for whatever you want, and yet another that is a cooler bag.  Then, to make it even more perfect, they have straps to carry it on your back as a back pack.  These beach chairs can lie down flat and they even have a drying rack on the back to hang your wet suit or towels.  If you are doing a road trip, don’t leave home without them!

Tommy Bahama makes a great beach umbrella too. They screw into the sand, match the beach chairs and give you enough shade to be comfortable at the beach all day long.  They are also light weight, so they are not too much trouble to carry.  Believe me, if I can carry it while wearing a back pack chair on my back, anyone can.

If you have kids with you at the beach, we all know how much gear they can have.  Tommy Bahama has you covered here too.  With the Tommy Bahama All Terrain Beach Cart you can stack your chairs and load up the sand toys easy as can be.  Being a Hawaii girl, me and my kids have spent many hours at the beach with our Tommy Bahama gear.  It was amazing the amount of gear we trekked back and forth every day without any problems.

A portable water source is a must for the beach when you have kids.

When deciding what to pack for a trip to the beach, a collapsible bucket or even a water bottle can be brought and used to rinse off little feet.  You know what is a great hack for washing the sand off at the beach?  A solar shower.  You can fill it with water when you get there and when you leave, you have your own portable shower to get cleaned up. You may prefer the 3 gallon to the 5 gallon just because it is easier to carry around.  Depending on how many people need a shower you may want to buy more than one or a larger size.

If you are camping or at the beach and want to go as far as having your own outdoor shower, they actually make shower tents that house your solar shower!  These are great because you can take an outdoor shower, have a place to take off your wet sandy swimsuit outside and get rinsed off and no one will ever know the difference.  We like the shower tent to change out of wet suits outside.

I recommend using environmentally friendly products at all times but this is especially important when you are taking an outdoor shower.  

Special considerations when traveling by air.

Airplanes can be cold.  It’s best when airplanes are cold because it keeps getting air sick to a minimum.  Bringing along a sweater and a scarf that can double as a blanket is the best thing you can have when you are on an airplane.

Pack some non perishable snacks so you re not starving and don’t be afraid to buy a big bottle of water in the airport so that you can have it with you on the airplane.  With turbulent weather you don’t know how long it can take for the flight attendants to get out the drink cart.  I can’t tell you how often when it’s not safe to get up someone is ringing the call bell for a drink.    

Plastic silverware can be lifesaver when you are traveling.  Have you ever had something you wanted to eat, only to spoil it that you had nothing to eat it with?  This set has a spoon, knife, fork, and chopsticks in it’s own compact carrying case.  I carry mine with me everywhere and can’t tell you how many times I needed to use it.

Food can be brought onto an airplane and through security so you can either bring food from home or buy something in the airport.  The food on the airplane is limited and they may run out before the get to your row so do not depend on the food on the airplane.

If I ever leave on a trip without my Yeti Rambler I’m totally dehydrated.  If you like your drinks to be really cold or really hot Yeti products do the job at keeping your drinks hot or cold.  I added a handle to my 20 ounce Rambler and it has made carrying it so much easier.  I can hang it almost anywhere and it fits perfectly into the pocket of my bag.  The handle helps keep the weight of the tumbler more balanced.

How much or how little you bring when you pack for a trip to the beach is all up to you.  If you are traveling by car, you are somewhat limited on space, if you have an RV you can obviously bring a lot more.  Traveling by air you won’t have that much space either and you certainly don’t want to lugging around more than you can handle.  Take what you need to be comfortable and remember when going to the beach, leave nothing but footprints.

What is your favorite packing tip I’ve shared?  What are some of yours?