A Packing List For Beach Vacation
Our Unique Vacation Packing List
Updated June 2023
Welcome to Our Packing List
Packing for a beach vacation shouldn’t be hard, so we’ve put together a packing list to help, and included some of our favorite items as well. The Mexican Caribbean is an enchanting wonderland of relaxation and adventure. With endless miles of beaches, turquoise waters, jungles and more, one can easily have the trip of a lifetime. We hope you enjoy!
Cameras, power adapters and e-readers oh my! A little bit of tech can make your vacation simpler and more enjoyable.
Multi chargers reduce weight in your bag and free up limited hotel outlets. Be sure to get one with multiple ports for your various devices. One of our favorites is this multi-charger from industry leader Anker. It has all the ports you’ll need for your phones, tablets, and e-readers in one portable package. Ah, sweet, sweet simplicity.
Whether you’re going to be on a long daytrip to Chichen Itza or a long day at the beach, having extra power for your phone and USB devices is a must these days. This slim powerbank easily fits in your pocket, but there are a wide variety of portable chargers for you to choose from.
Tired of the same pool bar music playing over and over? Why not bring your own soundtrack with you. Bluetooth headphones have gone waterproof so don’t fret about getting tossed in the pool or getting caught out in a warm tropical rain. The Jabra Elite 7 Pro is the top rated model out there these days, but there are waterproof earbuds available at all price ranges.
Waterproof Pool/Beach Speaker
Going to the pool or going to the beach, why not bring your music along! Bluetooth speakers are great to listen to music in your hotel room and on your balcony. Waterproof versions offer the perfect versatility in the islands! Our favorite is the Wonderboom 2 which is best in class for portability to audio quality ratio. You can get a travel case for it as well.
Tablet or E-Reader
Tablets or E-readers are great for hanging by the pool and relaxing or taking your favorite book or tv show to the beach! We love Samsung tablets and Apple Ipads for weight and power. If you’re a reader, the waterproof kindle paperwhite is an excellent way to entertain yourself as you work on that tan. The battery in it lasts for weeks and the backlight is adjustable for sunshine.
There are tons of great options for cameras that can join you on your island adventures. While the GoPro Hero is the best action camera for video and has gazillions of available accessories to play with, many people find that it’s not ideal for taking still photos outside the water. The Olympus Tough cameras are hugely popular and take great pics in and out of the water, offering excellent versatility. Don’t feel like getting a camera? How about a waterproof housing for your smartphone.
Power cords, earbuds, headphone splitters, SD cards and all the rest. These electronic accessory organizer pouches are a travel godsend.
Things get lost or stolen on vacations. Such is the nature of the world. Why not protect the important stuff with Bluetooth trackers! Put one in your luggage, your purse, your beach bag or whatever. If it gets stolen or accidentally left behind, you can track your item with an app on your phone! Iphone users would want to get AirTags, while Samsung users can get Smarttags. Tile is a universal brand as well.
The sun at the beach can be hot, hot, hot! It’s important to protect your skin while also protecting the ecology of the reefs. We recommend UV shirts when possible and reef-safe sunblocks the rest of the time.
Reef Safe Sunblock
These days we have all realized how important it is to protect the ocean’s ecosystems and the natural waters of the earth. Using an eco-friendly, reef-safe sun lotion is a great way to do just that. This mineral sunscreen is the safest and most popular but there are many other choices available.
Sunscreen Lip Balm
You might not think about it, but lips can get sunburnt fast in the tropics and make your life miserable. Using tropical flavored, sun protecting lip balm will make your vacation a lot more enjoyable… and delicious. This selection from Sun Bum is hugely popular.
Protecting your head and face with a beach hat is both necessary and can be stylish. Men’s beach hats range from fisherman caps to fedoras to straw hats and everything in between. Women’s beach hats come in a variety of colors, brim widths and styles.
Womens UV Swimsuit
A great way to protect your skin, especially while snorkeling, kayaking or paddleboarding, is to get a UV-blocking swimsuit. They come in both short and long sleeve versions and as one piece, two piece or stand-alone swim shirts. This is a trendy and popular model and comes in a wide assortment of patterns and lengths so you can find one that fits your style.
A great way to protect your skin, especially while snorkeling, kayaking or paddleboarding, is to get a UV-blocking swim shirt. They come in both short and long sleeve versions, though long sleeves offer more protection. Some even come with hoods that can be handy on scorching days. This UV swim shirt has a comfortable relaxed fit that is great for humid weather. There are many UV swim shirt designs and colors to choose from.
Sunglasses are imperative when in tropical locales. Protecting your eyes from UV light is necessary and sunglasses can make great style statements as well.
Lightweight Beach Canopy
Planning on spending a lot of time at the beach away from sun umbrellas and palapas? Lightweight beach canopies are perfect for families and groups alike. They set up easily in 10-15 minutes (check out this setup video) and can weigh just 2-4 lbs depending on size. We like the wide variety of tropical patterns available for this 4 lb model from Neso that easily fits in your beach bag, but many brands are available.
Spending a day at the beach is why you go to the Mexican Caribbean! Looking to make your beach day the best possible? Here are some of our favorites to take along.
Sandproof Beach Blanket
Lightweight sandproof bach blankets are all the rage these days. Compact and under a pound, they’re easy to throw in a beach bag and take wherever you go. Most include 4 small stakes and have sewn-in corner pouches (to fill with sand) that keep the blanket in place, even in wind. Unlike putting towels directly on the beach, these blankets don’t absorb water and sand just rolls off. This is a very popular larger model, but there are numerous sizes and styles to choose from.
Heading to the beach for the day, or setting out on a boat trip to nearby islands? Keeping your stuff together in a beach bag is the way to go. Choose from stylish cloth bags, lightweight travel beach bags, tropical rattan beach bags or bring an ultralight packable backpack if that’s your style. Whatever you decide, beach bags will make your vacation so much more convenient.
If you’re heading somewhere with reefs or tropical fish, bringing your own snorkel set can be very convenient. Renting equipment can cost $10-$20 a day and isn’t always well maintained or hygienically cleaned. If you just want to keep it simple, this mask and snorkel set is hard to beat. Want to spend more time in the water? This great set comes in 6 colors and includes a semi-dry snorkel, vented fins and an adjustable mask. Some people prefer full face masks, but they can be a bit more cumbersome.
Lightweight Quickdry Beach Towels
Don’t feel like lugging your hotel towels to the beach and then drying off later with sandy and musty towels? Bringing compact microfiber beach towels is just what the vacation ordered. While not as fluffy as normal towels, these quickdry towels are super convenient to toss in a bag and take to the beach, on a boat tour, to a waterfall or on a snorkeling adventure. We love the Eccosphy towels that come in dozens of colors and patterns.
Swimsuit Wet Bag
Wet swimsuits are an annoyance in more ways than one. Mini “wet bags” are perfect to tuck your wet swimsuit into and toss in your luggage or beach bag. Its the beach vacation item you never realized you needed.
Water Bottle Safe
Heading to the pool and don’t know where to put your credit card and room key? Why not hide it in the base of your water bottle! Bindle bottles have a hidden compartment in their base with ample space for cards, keys and even earbuds. What’ll they think of next?!
Women's Clothing & Accessories
Leave your parkas and snow boots at home, we’re going to the Mexican Caribbean! Lightweight dresses, tank tops, flip flops and more. Dressing for the tropics isn’t just important, it’s fun!
When it comes to vacation dresses all you want is to be comfortable, cool and stylish. A dress that packs well and never looks wrinkled is also a bonus. Easy to dress up for a night out or simply throw on for a day at the beach we recommend this casual dress with more than 10 colors to choose from. But there are plenty of beachy dresses to explore in all styles, sizes and lengths.
Yes, we know a swimsuit choice is a very personal one, as it should be. With all the new styles, fits and colors to choose from these days, it can be a daunting task to find something stylish and flattering. We love this slimming one-piece, this string bikini and this swimsuit for fuller body types. So go ahead and stroll along the beach or step out to the pool area with confidence in one of these beauties, or choose a style that fits you best!
Going on a tropical vacation requires more than just a towel, you absolutely need a swimsuit cover-up so you can stroll to the resort pool or beach in style and comfort. You can choose a solid coverup like this favorite of ours, or a more airy style such as this one that comes in many amazing colors and patterns. With dozens of options available, coverups are perfect for all body types and oh so comfortable.
Tropical Tank Tops
A great tank top makes any woman feel sexy and carefree, which is exactly what everyone wants on vacation. With breathable fabric and a relaxed fit, this is one of our favorites, not only for vacations but for all those warm weather days at home too. But there are thousands of great tank tops to choose from!
Casual Beach Pants
A lightweight, airy pair of pants is essential for your holiday as even those tropical nights can cool down sometimes. Linen and thin cotton are comfortable and stylish. We adore these lovely pants and think they are great for a casual dinner or seaside drinks in the evening. There are many casual fit beach pants in great styles and plenty of colors to choose from. You can’t go wrong.
Some great pairs of shorts are a dream come true on a tropical vacation. The perfect pairs will be wrinkle resistant, easy to wash, come in a wide assortment of colors and of course, be comfortable. We recommend this loungy pair for style and comfort; they also make your legs look amazing. Beach shorts can come in linen, denim, khaki, print or other styles.
Men's Clothing & Accessories
Lightweight clothing is the name of the game in the tropics. Linen and tanktops, shorts and swimsuits. Dressing for the tropics isn’t just important, it’s fun!
Button Down Beach Shirts
Button down beach shirts are a godsend in the tropics as they’re breathable and easy to take on and off when sweaty or wet from swimming. Tropical print shirts are great for hanging at the beach or hitting the tiki bar. Linen shirts are an upscale choice for cocktails and seaside dining. For some designer looks, check out Kahala Hawaiian shirts.
Swimsuits are priority one when headed to the beach. Whether you like longer board shorts or trendy shorter styles, bringing several swimsuits along will give you outfit versatility. We suggest bringing a pair in a solid color (or simple design) and at least one fun patterned pair.
Casual Beach Pants
Linen and loose fitting light cotton pants are great for cooler evenings or upscale dining. These top rated linen pants come in both beige and white and every size imaginable. When looking for beach vacation pants, there are a wide selection of colors and styles available.
Leave your snow boots behind, it’s time for the tropics! Lightweight and comfortable footwear is key to a relaxing vacation. Being prepared for a variety of situations means having a few different options available.
Let’s be honest, you plan on spending a good majority of your time in sandals or flip flops. Having good ones is critical. Rainbow makes the best leather sandals period. They may feel a little snug for the first couple of days, but they will soon form to your feet and become an irreplaceable part of you. We also suggest bringing a lightweight colorful pair of flip flops for fashion statements.
Slip On Shoes
Casual beach shoes that slip on are great at the resort, at dinner or out on the town. In our opinion, the king of comfortable stylish vacation shoe makers is Hey Dude. Whether you want their slip on “lace ups” or their Wally loafers, all Hey Dudes are available in dozens of colors to fit your style. We love the lighter colors for that “island life” look.
Stepping on a sharp rock at a craggy beach or in a cenote can ruin your vacation. We highly recommend a pair of water shoes to protect your feet in certain places. These lightweight quick dry water shoes will keep your feet healthy and are available in 40 colors! There are loads of colors and styles of water shoes to choose from.
Plan on hitting the trails or heading to a waterfall? Many tropical locals have jungles and hills perfect for taking a walk in nature. Having a pair of shoes for going off the beaten path can make your day that much more fun. We adore Merrell Moabs for men and women as they’re lightweight and crazy comfortable. Hikers are must for adventure.
Luggage & Daypacks
Choosing your travel bags is a very personal thing, we get that. However, we definitely recommend having more than one option. A small roller or trolly style bag is perfect for a quick getaway. Something a bit more flexible for longer travel adventures becomes very useful very quickly. Of course, we always recommend having a day pack also so you have something convenient to throw your water bottle, snacks and quick-dry towel in for all those on location adventures.
A solid suitcase will get you from A to Beach easily. Wheels are a must these days and the more the better. 4 wheel rollers will change your travel life. This lightweight suitcase from Samsonite features a strong expandable exterior and well built zippers and spinner wheels. This ridiculously cool bag from Delsey comes in three amazing colors and sizes, and has all the bells and whistles. Leather accents, garment hanger, integrated locks, and more.
Carry On Bag
Bringing a carry on is perfect for those things you cant to keep handy or breakables you don’t trust in your checked bag. This top-rated carry on bag comes in 12 colors and is perfect for protecting souvenirs and tablets. Carry ons can be soft or hard, but make sure they have wheels for those long airport walks.
Plan on heading on some adventures? Having a daypack handy for hitting the trail is helpful in so many ways. Bags with integrated hydration packs are excellent in hot tropical heat. Available in 18 colors, this is an excellent hydration backpack that actually has enough room to put stuff in. Perfect for those city explorations, beach days, and hiking day trips.
We never go on a vacation without our packing cubes. They are compact, lightweight and keep everything neatly organized. Easily move clothes and accessories from your suitcase to hotel drawers while keeping everything neat and tidy. We highly recommend getting a set with multiple sizes.
This Post Has 11 Comments
This was a real life-saver. Really helped me save time, especially with the kids! Can’t imagine all the stuff we would have forgot…
Haha, glad to hear it Debbie. happy to help.
Thank you for adding the reef-safe sunscreen. Not many people know that not all sunscreen is safe for the environment. I appreciate this guide.
I read this guide before going on our trip. The waterproof camera was such a great idea. We spent most our time on the beach and my friends and I got some great pictures! Thank you!
This is a great list for packing for any beach vacation! We would have never thought to bring a snorkel, but we are so glad we did! Even when you are relaxing on the beach, there are so many small fish and shells to see in the water.
I really wish I knew about sandproof beach blankets before my last beach trip. I feel like I brought most of the sand back with us from all the sand stuck to our beach towels. I will be purchasing one of these for our next trip!
Water shoes are a must for some beaches and cenotes. This is a great packing list and I’m so glad that I came across this list before my last trip.
The water bottle safe was the best idea ever. Thank you for this great list.
My family and I bought a lightweight beach canopy before our last trip to Cozumel. This was such a great idea. We spent a lot of time at the beach, and it was nice to have a place to cool down. I would have never even thought of this without reading this list.
Awesome! Yeah they’re the best. Especially if you arent around beach clubs with palapas.
I had no idea that waterproof headphones were even a thing. Thankfully I was able to snag some before heading to our next beach trip next week. Thanks for all of these great ideas!