The ultimate Beach Packing List

Who doesn’t get excited about a beach holiday? With winter now firmly in the past and summer just on our doorstep, now is the time to start looking forward to all those summer holidays by the beach. I created this beach packing list to help you enjoy an amazing summer holiday without the stress or worry associated with packing. There are so many things to look forward to on a beach holiday, from the sensation of the sand and seawater on your toes to the delicious food, and of course all the incredible activities.

Whether you are staying close to home or hopping on a flight to the other side of the world for an extended holiday, you need to be prepared. Ranging from organising your accommodation to all the items you will need to pack, this list has got you covered.

As with all the packing lists that we put together, we try to be as thorough as possible. However, only you are aware of your personal requirements, so we invite you to always tweak the lists we provide.

Questions to ask before your trip

There are several things to consider before starting on your packing, so making a list is a handy way by which to begin organising yourself and what you will need to pack. Are you travelling by yourself, with friends or with your family? If you have children, you will have to think about the additional items that will need to be packed.

Where will you be staying? How long will you be on holiday for? Will the beach be right on your doorstep, or should you look into renting a car? Will you need to top up on any vaccinations before your holiday? Do you need to organise care for any pets you are leaving behind?

All these questions are important to consider. Along with creating a list of all the items you will need to pack, also consider adding all the things you need to do before leaving in order to ensure there are no problems whilst you are travelling.

Travel Essentials

Firstly, where are you going on holiday and how are you getting there? Whether you’re jetting off to an entirely new country or simply driving down to the coast for a few days, have you planned your travel?

If you are driving somewhere it is much easier to organise this, as all you have to do is arrange the duration and location of your holiday and simply put things in the car before you go.

If however, you need to fly, then hopefully you have your tickets ready or you are planning on organising those very soon! Check the timings of your flights so that you know what to expect in terms of travel time. If you are leaving early in the morning, you want to avoid the last minute packing rush and have everything ready well before you plan on sleeping the night before your journey.

Where are you staying during your beach holiday? Will the beach be right on your doorstep, or are you staying further in land or in a town? In the event that the beach isn’t as close as you would like to be, then you should look into renting a car.

Having a car is a great way of exploring certain areas that perhaps you wouldn’t go to otherwise. Undoubtedly having a car also gives you the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want as you don’t have to rely on any local public transport.

Once you know exactly where you are going, how you are getting there, where you are staying and whether you will be renting a vehicle, it is time to organise all the relevant documents.

  • Passport – make two copies of this, one to take with you and one to leave at home, just in case.
  • Flight tickets – most tickets are digital nowadays, so make sure your phone is fully charged before you travel. If you have hard copies, keep them safe along with your passport.
  • Details of accommodation – if you are staying in a hotel, print out the reservation confirmation. If you are renting a beach house, make sure you have the reservation confirmation, the address, and the hosts number at hand.
  • Car rental information – make sure you have a printed copy of your reservation.
  • Wallet
  • Money – cash in the currency of the country you are travelling to.
  • Cards – ensure your bank knows you are travelling.
  • Insurance documents – make sure you always have comprehensive travel insurance
  • Driving license and ID
  • House & car keys – it’s a good idea to put them in a safe place

Pre-travel Preparations

If you are travelling for an extended period of time, then there are certain things you will need to organise prior to your departure in order to ensure that there won’t be any issues back home to worry you.

  • Vaccines – does your holiday destination require you to top up on any vaccines? Research this well in advance of your holiday, as sometimes you need to get certain vaccines months in advance to travel.
  • Childcare – if you are travelling without your children, who is going to be looking after them? Is someone coming to stay with them at your house, or are they going to go to their grandparents’? Whatever the arrangements you have made, make sure your children have a copy of your phone number so that they can always contact you, and make sure they know where you will be staying.
  • Travel Insurance. – It’s always good to be covered if you travel to a foreign country. Travel Insurance is usually cheap but gives you peace of mind in case of an accident.
  • Appropriate pet care – depending on the kind of pet you have (if you have one), you either have to find someone who will come to your home to feed and look after it, or you will have to organise a little pet holiday for your loved creature. If you have a dog, are you going to put it in a kennel or is it going to go on a doggie holiday at your friend’s house? These are all things you need to consider prior to travelling.
  • Clean out the fridge – if you are leaving for a prolonged period of time, any fresh food you have will likely not keep. Use as many of the ingredients as you can prior to travelling, or freeze whatever can be frozen. Things that you are just going to throw away maybe offer to a friend, or someone else who might use them.
  • Plant care – do you have plants that will need watering whilst you’re away? If so, then you need to either give the pots to some friends to look after for a while, or you need to organise someone to come and water them for you whilst you are away.
  • Organising your home – when travelling for a longer period of time, you want to leave your home tidy for when you come back. How you do this and how you like your home to look is entirely up to you, but we always recommend doing a spot of light cleaning prior to a longer holiday.
  • Remember to take out any rubbish.
  • Automated email reply – if you want to truly disconnect during your beach holiday, remember to set up an automatic email reply so that anyone trying to reach you knows that you are unreachable. In this email include details of whom they can contact in case of emergency.
  • Bills and post – organise any bills you have to pay in advance, and if you are expecting any urgent post organise someone to check on it for you.

Packing for your children

The summer months mean that schools are on holiday, so what better way to spend some family time together than going to the beach? Depending on the age of your kids, you will have to bring a variety of items in order to ensure they are comfortable and that you are prepared for anything. Below a rather extensive list, so edit as is necessary for your situation.

  • Car seat – if you are renting a car at your destination and you need a car seat, be sure to have that organised in advance.
  • Lightweight pushchair
  • Baby sling, baby carrier
  • Blanket, scarf or shawl
  • Hard candy – to ease any ear popping on the aeroplane.
  • Bottled milk, feeding options
  • First aid – such as paracetamol, plasters, etc.
  • Changing bag – baby wipes, nappies, nappy sacks, changing mat, muslins
  • Travel Cot – or a baby travel bag which converts into a changing station
  • Dummies
  • Socks
  • Pyjamas
  • Underwear
  • Shirts, tops
  • Jumpers
  • Trousers
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Shorts
  • Swimsuits
  • Shoes – sandals, flip flops, trainers
  • Belts
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats
  • Beach towels – if you are staying in a hotel check whether they supply beach towels.
  • Suncream
  • Toys
  • Books
  • Drawing materials
  • Nappy rash cream
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Baby wash, shampoo and lotion
  • Insect repellent

Depending on your child’s age, making packing a team activity can be a great way to teach them the essential skill of packing effectively. Plus, it gives you some more of that much sought after family time.

Bags and luggage

Depending on the duration of your holiday you will need to pack your items in a variety of ways. For instance, if you are travelling for over a week then you will need to pack most of your items in a large wheeled suitcase.

If however, you are travelling for just a weekend then a weekend bag or a small cabin suitcase will be all that is necessary. In addition, you will need a list of other bags whilst you are on your holiday in order to make going to and from the beach a breeze.

Packing cubes can be used as an easy way to organise items in your luggage. The cubes make it easy to pack and access different items while keeping your luggage clutter-free and well organised.

  • Handbag(s) – both for every day, and something more formal in the event that you want to dress an outfit up a bit.
  • Beach bag
  • Changing bag
  • Washbag
  • Cooler or picnic bag
  • Medicine bag
  • Waterproof bag

Packing Checklist

Once you have done planning your holiday, your home and your children all packed and ready, it is time to focus on what you might need for your much-anticipated beach break. You will want to pack light and breezy wardrobe choices, as whilst you want to be comfortable, you also want to look good. Everyone enjoys feeling relaxed and bright in the summer, so opt for lighter colours and versatile styles that you can either dress up or dress down to suit the occasion.

Clothes & Shoes

  • Kaftans
  • Sarongs
  • Swimming suits
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • T-shirts
  • Blouses
  • Shorts
  • Shirts
  • Sundresses, skirts
  • Jeans, capris
  • A light jacket, windbreaker
  • Linen suit
  • Dinner outfits
  • Shawl
  • Pyjamas
  • Kimono
  • Sandals
  • Wedges
  • Moccasins
  • Espadrilles
  • Flip flops
  • Trainers
  • Water shoes – especially if the beaches you will be going to are rocky.


  • Jewellery
  • Sunglasses
  • Handbag(s)
  • Wrist-watch
  • Belts
  • Hat(s)
  • Bandana

Toiletries & Health

  • Soap, shampoo, conditioner – if you are staying in a hotel, they might provide these.
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Body lotion
  • Face cream
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume, cologne
  • Razor(s)
  • Hairbrush
  • Contact lenses
  • Glasses
  • Makeup
  • Makeup remover
  • Feminine products
  • Contraception
  • Nail clipper and file
  • First aid kit
  • Prescription medications – bring a copy of your prescription with you, as some countries have different laws regarding certain medications.
  • Medicines – paracetamol, Imodium, antihistamines, malaria tablets, etc.
  • Sun cream
  • After sun
  • Hair dryer
  • Hair bands and clips
  • Plastic bag for wet swimming suits
  • Insect repellent

Beach Essentials

Travel Gear & Entertainment

With everything packed and ready to go, and all your errands sorted in advance of your holiday, you are now ready to head off on your much-needed relaxation. The final thing to do before leaving is to quickly double check that your items and your house are in order.

Once you are certain you are not forgetting anything, set your burglar alarm, lock up your house and head off to your sunny retreat. Now is the time to fantasise about the sun warming your soul whilst a soft breeze gently interrupts the heat, caressing your skin. Think about the sound of waves crashing on the beach, the delightful book whose world you are going to plunge into, and the unadulterated relaxation that is now imminent in your life.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory Varga is a licensed travel agent and published travel writer. Her main expertise is writing about Japan, where she happily lives with her husband.
Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan and wants to share more about the local customs with the rest of the world.
While Cory has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries, Japan remains her favorite place to live and write about. Cory is multilingual.


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