Travel Tips: Packing for a beach vacation

Life Skills travels

Fantastically, Jon and I are taking our first beach vacation together next week, leaving tomorrow! I like to think I’m pretty great at packing, and this has been proven by the fact that I have taken many, many flights, both long-haul and short, domestic and international, and once even packed my entire life into a single suitcase so that I could live on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean for a full year. I’ve got some skillz, is what I’m saying.

Since we’re going on this beach holiday, and then I’ll be going to a music festival in Wales in mid-August, I thought I’d put together two posts for packing for just such occasions.

Today: packing a single carry on for a 7 day beach holiday!

Let’s start with clothes.


  • a single pair of decent jean shorts
  • 2-3 swimsuits
  • 2-3 sundresses, at least 1 of which is good for night time (as I like to call it, dancing time)
  • 1-2 maxi dresses
  • 1-2 skirts
  • 2 pairs of sandals-1 easy to slip on for the pool and wandering, 1 that’s slightly nicer for going out (I am really against bringing heels on a beach vacation. no. don’t do it. maybe cute wedges if you are really dedicated)
  • 3-4 tank tops/t-shirts
  • 1 gym outfit (sports bra, shorts, running shoes, tank) in case you rent bikes, decide to play tennis, go hiking….
  • light scarf-really good for the plane in particular
  • cardigan/light jacket-again, good for the plane, but also in case it gets chilly or rains where you are
  • undies-one pair for every day, let’s be serious, you won’t be doing laundry
  • Hat-the more ‘Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman’, the better. You know what I mean.


Makeup: multitasking is really important! But also, putting makeup on is a drag when it’s a million degrees out and you’re just leaving the pool to head out into the night for dinner and dancing. Bring a few great products and some fun lip colors, and you’ll be set.

  • Bb cream or tinted moisturizer. With SPF! Kiehl’s is my fave, and serves as a good primer as well.
  • Mascara-waterproof, for the love of God
  • Eyeliner-a soft pencil for smudging and a good liquid nib for a cat eye. Slim enough that two kinds won’t take up too much space!
  • Light concealer if you’re worried about it.
  • A multi-use palette: I love Urban Decay Basics for eyes, and this Tarte one (pictured) takes care of eyes and cheeks. Definite space saver!
  • 2 bright lip colors-I recommend the Revlon Lip Butters, or my new true love, the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipsticks.
  • A lip balm with SPF in it-the Ocean Potion SPF45 is the one I’ve got in my bag
  • A cream or liquid blush-Benefit Benetint, with Sunbeam for a highlighter are great, and a much better idea than trying to get powder to stick to your sweaty skin

If you don’t wear makeup much anyway, I’d say go simple with a bb cream, mascara, lipstick. Easy!



  • Face wash
  • Face moisturizer for day/night
  • Shower gel (a shower gel/shampoo combo like dr bronner’s is great if you aren’t fussy)
  • Shampoo/Conditioner (because you are that fussy, it’s okay)
  • Dry Shampoo, because washing your hair every day is really bad for it!
  • Body lotion-I love Body Shop body butters for traveling, the containers are perfect and unbreakable and they are ultra moisturizing
  • Sunscreen-because you’re trying not to burn
  • Aloe-cuz you gon’ get buuuuurnt
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Shaver, if you care about that sort of thing
  • Deodorant
  • Hair oil-this sounds weird, but it gets humid, and some serum will help you, no matter what kind of hair you have.
  • Salt spray for hair-please do NOT waste your time trying to straighten or curl it. It never sticks.
  • Tampons/period medication-seriously better to be on the safe side, unless you are 100% sure you WON’T start your period
  • Mini hairbrush or comb
  • Qtips
  • Cotton pads
  • Face wipes
  • Nail file

I am a fan of bringing all the samples and mini things that you have collected in your bathroom. So I also like to pack a baggie with any little masks/eye creams/oils, etc that I’ve been wanting to try out, and which may or may not take the place of packing a real version of the other stuff.


  • Beach towel
  • Books books books. Or a Kindle.
  • Phone charger and adapter if needed
  • Passport/ID
  • Socks-for the plane, or an over air conditioned hotel
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hair ties/bobby pins
  • Sunglasses
  • jewelry
  • Beach bag
  • Small clutch/wallet for going out at night (mine has a wristlet and is big enough to hold an id, some cash/cards, keys and a lipstick or two)

I know this may look like a lot, but I promise it isn’t! Especially if you decant your favourite toiletries into small travel versions, and multi-task when possible. One large duffel bag as your carry on, a handbag, and a one liter plastic bag of liquids later, and you won’t even have to wait for the luggage thingy to come around with your (overpacked) suitcase. Believe me, you can do it!


See you at the beach, dudes!

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