How to Pack Light for a Beach Vacation

How to Pack Light for a Beach Vacation

Everyone loves a beach vacation, but not everyone loves the build-up to it. Namely trying to pack! How to pack for a beach vacation is one of the biggest questions many of us have, and the answer is...lightly. It’s a challenge for sure, but it’s not impossible with just a little preparation and planning. Check out our 6 tips on how to pack for your vacation and what we include on our beach vacation packing list!

Things to consider before making your packing list...

Before we go into the tips, there are a few things to think about. Ask yourself these questions before you start creating your packing list:
  1. Are washers and dryers available on-site?
  2. Are you traveling by plane or car?
  3. Do you have a tablet?

Know the answers to those? Great! Keep reading, and we’re going to go over why those things are essential.

You’ll pack less if you take a smaller suitcase.

Choose a smaller suitcase to ensure that you pack light, and only the most important beach items make it in. Consider bringing your tablet instead of paper books and downloading your favorite beach reads. Bonus, your tablet is great for streaming if the TV is being hogged by someone else. Also, don’t go overboard on packing shoes. It’s the beach, not Paris, and you’re probably good with a nice pair of shoes for dressing up and comfortable flip-flops for day-to-day wear.

Finally, think about making widely available purchases at the location. Every convenience store, grocery store and beachside stand likely sells sunscreen, so you don’t need to buy it at home.

Pack items with many uses

Like a Swiss army knife, a multi-use pair of shorts is invaluable. Or, a scarf or top, you get the idea! Pick clothing that can be versatile and worn for various reasons. For example, compression-lined swimming trunks are good not only for playing in the ocean but also for window shopping down a hot, busy street with lots of beach-themed goodies. Your wardrobe should consist of items that can be worn often and are comfortable in many different situations. Stick to neutral colors and fabrics, bring some small, select accessories to dress up for an evening out, or just look nice for a day on the boardwalk.

Ladies, a bold statement necklace can dress a tank top up and gentlemen, bring that nice, flashy watch with you for an upscale restaurant visit! There’s no need for a whole other outfit, just some strategically placed bling.

Mix and match your outfits

When selecting those versatile, neutral clothes, pick ones that go together! Even packing lightly, you can make several outfits out of just a few items of clothing. This is where those neutral colors come in handy again. White shorts or slacks and a sweater that can be worn alone or over another top during the evening can easily convert a casual beach outfit into a nicer evening dinner outfit. Plus, re-wearing outfits isn’t as big of a deal on a beach vacation — you typically only have the same outfit on for a few hours at a time.

When making your beach vacation packing list, it’s a good idea to consider the weather at the beach. If it’s typically hotter during the day but cool at night, plan for needing a cover-up in the evenings and pack accordingly.

Lay it out on the bed

Or couch, floor, anywhere! Layout the items you plan on bringing so you can look at all of them together at once. Even when picking things out of your closet, knowing that you’re packing light, inevitably you’ll still choose too much. Now is the time to make the hard decisions. Does your favorite sweater go with the rest of your beach wardrobe? Sadly, no one said packing light for the beach was easy! Remove or replace the extra items with something better suited for your beach vacation. You can also minimize the number of things you’re bringing if your lodgings provide washer and dryer access.

Another thing to consider when picking out the items that you don’t need and don’t fit in with the rest of your things is medicine. If you’re flying to the beach, this may not be an option due to TSA regulations, but consider using a pill sorter to reduce the need for multiple vitamins and prescription bottles if you’re going by car. Travel-size toiletries are also a bonus if you’re driving!

Only pack what you know you’ll wear

This is more of an extension of the tip above, but after you’ve finished mixing, matching and selecting your clothes, ask yourself this: Are you going to wear that? Many times when folks overpack, it’s because you might do this, or you might go there. But, by packing multi-functional clothing and being okay with not wearing that “perfect” item of clothing to that one place you might go, you’ll be able to reduce the number of things to pack for a beach vacation.

Not sure? Leave it at home

After you’ve matched everything up, picked out what you didn’t need and still have one or two items you can’t decide on, leave them at home. If you’re debating whether you need them as part of your beach vacation packing list, you probably don’t actually need them and won’t miss them. Even if you do end up regretting not bringing it, there’s a lot to do at the beach to take your mind off of it!

Women’s and Men’s Beach Vacation Packing List

Packing for the beach can be a big deal! We’ve created a packing list that works for both men and women of items that you can use as you decide how to pack light for your next beach trip:

  • Swimsuit, or a pair of swim trunks. If you choose a neutral color, you should be fine with just one pair.
  • Undergarments. This one is entirely up to you, but you should need fewer if a washer and dryer are available.
  • Workout clothes. If you’ve gotta work out on vacation, just bring one set.
  • Shorts, or slacks. One or two pairs should be enough. Remember, neutral colors mean that you can mix and match more. Ladies, you may want to include a fun skirt here too.
  • Tops. A few well-chosen tank tops should be fine; you don’t really need more than two or three.
  • Sweater or jacket. Because evenings can get chilly, pack a light sweater that works with your wardrobe.
  • Shoes. You should only need three pairs, max! A nice pair of shoes for going out, flip flops and if you’re going to work out, your gym shoes are all you need.
  • Jewelry and watches. Choose jewelry items that you can pair with outfits to either redress them up or be more casual.
  • A hairdryer. Verify that your accommodations will provide a hairdryer. If not, don’t forget to pack one if you typically use it.
  • Chargers! Don’t forget to pack a charging cord for each one of your devices, along with wall adapters.

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