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Packing Light For Beach Vacation – Tips & Minimalist Packing List

Your love of minimalism can extend to your beach packing list. Nothing is worse than getting weighed down by items you don’t really need at the beach. At the same time, you don’t want to get caught without essentials that will keep you safe and comfortable. This guide to packing light for beach vacation covers all the items not to miss for fun in the sun.

Anett Victoria - Author of SeaSpiration

Written by Anett Victoria

When it comes to a beach vacation, Anett is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, a romantic seaside getaway, or a fun family trip to the ocean. As a world traveler with years of experience in exploring tropical countries and a water sports fan, she creates this inspiring site where she writes travel guides, reviews and recommends beach gear, and gives travel tips to make planning your trip quicker and easier! Are you curious about where She wanders now? Follow her adventures on IG too!

9 Tips for Packing Light for Beach Vacation

There are many ways to bring everything you need without getting weighed down by luggage. Here are smart ways to pack cute beach outfits, personal items, and more.

Choose Lightweight Clothing

Lightweight, wrinkle-free attire is the secret to looking effortlessly stylish on the beach without packing your whole closet. While many people picture flowing linen pants and shirts when imagining cool beach outfits, the truth is that both linen and cotton wrinkle pretty easily.

woman in elegant white light dress

Nylon, spandex, and acrylic are all great choices for the beach. Such fabrics are also quick drying; you can easily wash them so you can wear them not only once during your vacation.

Mix & Match Clothing

Here’s another tip for how to keep your suitcase light. Choose apparel that can be mixed up to create different outfits using just a few essential pieces. You can even leave room for accessories that allow you to take the same outfit from day to night.

Once you decide how many outfits you’ll need in order to wear something different every day of the vacation, start mixing pieces around to see what you can build with just five to six pieces.

young woman in stylish swimwear and shorts

While your swimwear doesn’t need to count as one of your clothing pieces, remind yourself that you’ll have extra room in your suitcase for something else if you can use your bathing suit as a base for one of your casual outfits.

Make a Packing List

While this tip seems overly simplistic, most people don’t take time to visualize what they need before filling up their suitcases. The golden rule of packing is that you need to spend time moving through every day of your vacation in your mind. As you picture what you’ll be wearing and doing on each day of the trip, jot down the items you’ll be using.

Plan Around Your Suitcase

Put your suitcase out on your bed before you begin packing. This creates a great visual guide to help you prune your list as you pack. You’ll save time because you won’t be stuck trying to close an overstuffed suitcase right before departure time.

Choose the Right Type of Suitcase

Many people simply use the same suitcase for every trip they take without actually asking if it’s the best fit. While a four-wheel carry-on works well in most situations, you should look at other options too.

woman with backpack walking on the beach

If you visit multiple spots during a vacation, a travel backpack with comfortable shoulder straps can provide an easy way to get around. If you’re looking for a lightweight, flexible option, a duffel bag can be better than a suitcase. Duffel bags are also inexpensive compared to suitcases.

Get a Separate Bag for Toiletries

Don’t try to shove toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, sunscreen, and other personal items into the crevices of your suitcase or main travel bag. The secret here is to pick out a toiletry bag with multiple compartments.

person holding toiletry bag

This allows you to designate one portion to actual toiletries, one to medicine and first-aid accessories, and one for make-up products. You’ll love being able to whip out a single bag when getting ready in the morning instead of hunting around your bag for various items.

Nylon is a great material for a toiletries bag because it’s so easy to wipe clean. Finally, consider buying sample-sized toiletries instead of bringing your full-sized products from home.

Be Smart About Footwear

Shoes can take up a considerable amount of space inside a suitcase or bag. What’s more, their inflexible shape can make packing around them hard.

The first tip is to wear your heaviest shoes during travel. This frees up lots of space in your bag.

woman on sandy beach wearing white beach sandals

If you don’t have a good pair of multi-use shoes already, consider investing in a pair before the trip. Waterproof sport sandals that are also stylish and can be worn at the beach, out to dinner, and during explorations. Buying a pair may help you to avoid the need to pack beach shoes, sneakers, and formal shoes.

Choose Your Tech Wisely

Do you really need to pack your laptop for the trip? If staying connected is essential while you’re away, consider optimizing a phone or tablet ahead of time to perform some of the functions that your laptop usually performs.

woman using laptop at the beach

Coordinate With Others

If you’re traveling with another person, compare your packing checklists to cut out any unnecessary duplicates. You may be able to share shampoo, sunscreen, chargers, and other essentials to free up room in both bags.

Minimalist Packing for Beach Vacation – Essentials Not to Forget

Are you ready to sit down to make a beach packing list full of beach vacation essentials? Here’s everything you need for a beach vacation:

  • Bathing Suits: While this may seem like it violates the rules of packing light, you should bring at least two bathing suits to ensure that you’re never stuck waiting for your suit to dry.
  • Workout Clothes: While multi-use clothing is king at the beach, you don’t want to get stuck in stinky, sweaty clothes. Pack designated workout clothing if you plan to run on the beach, do beach yoga, or use a hotel’s gym.
  • Warm Sweater or Hoodie: Bring a “cozy” item you can pull over your body when temperatures dip at night.
  • Lightweight Rain Jacket or Waterproof Windbreaker: Beach season is usually storm season in most parts of the world. Bring a sporty jacket that folds easily in case there’s a drizzle.
  • Sunglasses: Don’t forget a good pair of sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Hat: A wide-brim hat is essential for sun protection.
woman holding beach hat and shoes
  • Three to Five Shirts or Tank Tops: For a four-day to five-day trip, have a nice mix of sleeved and sleeveless shirts.
  • Two to Three Pairs of Shorts: Mix up solid colors and patterns.
  • Long Pants: You’ll appreciate long pants if the weather turns chilly! Pants are also great when hiking in areas with tall grass or overgrowth. Bonus points if you can find convertible pants with a tearaway feature that turns them into shorts.
  • Shoes: While you may be able to get away with only using the shoes you wear during travel, make sure you plan out your footwear based on the activities you’ll be doing while on vacation.
  • Pajamas: One pajama set should get you through the whole trip. Remember that you can always wash pajamas by hand to let them dry while you’re gone for the day.
  • Undergarments: The smaller size of undergarments means that you have the freedom to pack as many changes as you think you’ll need.
  • Socks: While it may be sandals weather, pack socks to prevent blisters if you’ll be hiking on your trip!
  • Dresses, Rompers, and More: Leave room for stylish pieces.
  • Sarong or Beach Cover: These great pieces actually save room in your suitcase by letting you comfortably stay in your bathing suit for most of the day instead of changing outfits.
girl going to the beach wearing sarong
  • Beach Towels: If you’re not staying at a resort that supplies towels, don’t forget to bring your own! Microfiber beach towels are much thinner and lighter than ordinary towels.
  • Personal Items: This includes your toothbrush, toothpaste, reef-safe sunscreen, deodorant, shaving materials, hygiene products, shampoo, moisturizer, face soap, and more.
  • Technology: Plan not to forget to pack digital accessories! In addition to any devices you’re bringing, pack along battery packs and chargers.
  • Waterproof Bag: Pick up a waterproof bag or “dry bag” for the beach that can store your phone, keys, wallet, and other irreplaceable items.

You may decide that buying toiletries and personal items after you arrive at your destination is the way to go. Just make sure to look up the proximity of stores to your hotel, campsite, or rental home before you make any final packing decisions.

Some Questions Before Packing For A Beach Vacation

How do you pack minimally for the beach?

The simplest trick for packing light for a beach vacation is to start with a smaller suitcase. Our minds tend to think that we need to fill up a suitcase just because the space is there. Using a trusted technique for minimalist packing for beach vacation, visualize what you’ll wear and use for each day of your trip to build a list of true essentials.

How many outfits do I need for a 7-day beach vacation?

Plan for at least one outfit a day. Keep in mind that you can mix & match items to get two to three uses out of each piece you pack. If you know that certain nights of the trip will involve dining out at nice restaurants, leave room in the suitcase for one to two “dressy” outfits.

How not to overpack for a beach vacation?

Multi-use items are great for saving space in your suitcase. Some tips for making the most out of every piece you pack are to choose sport sandals that are ideal for both beach and pavement, pick neutral colors for shirts and tops to mix and match easily, and use a beach sarong to turn your bathing suit into an all-afternoon outfit.

How do minimalists pack for vacation?

Minimalists are obsessed with getting as many uses out of a single item as possible. For clothes, they prioritize easy-to-wash, quick-drying “base” pieces that can be used multiple times during a trip. When flying to destinations, minimalists prioritize essentials that fit a carry-on without getting crushed. This can include wrinkle-free clothing, vinyl toiletry kits that fold easily, and flat sandals that do the job of both dress shoes and sneakers.

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