The ultimate beach holiday packing list 

A person planning a trip at a wooden table with a map of the world, passport and tickets.

Finally, it’s vacation time; some much-needed time to relax, clear your head, and enjoy the sun, sea, and sand! Now, to think about those essential things to take to the beach 

Don’t know what things to take to the beach? Planning is a great way to ensure you have what you need, and there’s no better way to plan than creating a checklist; holidays are no exception to this! 

We’ve put together a beach-y summer holiday packing list so that you can start chilling out right now! 

1. Sun protection for beach holidays

The summer heat can wreak havoc on your skin, and let’s be honest, sun burn is no fun when you’re on holiday. It’s important to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun, both to make the most of your holiday and for your health.1 When you’re getting everything together, here’s what you’ll need to protect yourself from sun and heat, so you can add them to your travel packing list: 

  • A cap/hat. Forgetting to bring headwear could put a downer on your holiday – no one wants sunstroke on their first day! Choose a style of hat that covers your face and your neckline. 
  • Sun cream. Even under a parasol, indirect sun rays are dangerous for sensitive skin. Remember to store your sun cream in an insulated/cool bag so that it stays effective. 
  • Beach umbrella. Some beach umbrellas/parasols are lined with anti-UV material to protect from the sun’s rays.  
  • Mist. Misting yourself will help to keep you cool in the salty sea air. It’s one of the hidden gems on our holiday packing list. 
  • T-shirts. They’re great for protecting your shoulders and back. Some T-shirts are even designed to be worn in the water like a swimsuit.  
  • Sunglasses. Make sure any sunglasses you wear have a quality UV filter. Dark glasses reduce glare, but they don’t necessarily protect against UV rays. Look for sunglasses that block 99-100% of both UVA and UVB sun rays2 and that carry the CE marking.3

2. Beach entertainment

Stay safe, stay healthy – but you’ve got to enjoy yourselves too! Here are some fun things to consider when packing for a beach holiday. 

  • Beach games. Badminton, bat and ball, frisbee, football, cricket/rounders gear, a bucket and spade for sandcastles – there’s no shortage of fun things to take to the beach. 
  • Books and puzzle books. Bring some page-turners or a book of crosswords or sudoku, plus don’t forget a pen. Although, if you’re travelling abroad, bear in mind the weight allowance when it comes to packing books. They’re heavy! 
  • Card games. Take some specially designed card games or make your own fun with a deck of cards. 
  • Small box or bag. Found some treasures on the beach? Decorate your container and collect some beachy memories during every trip. 

3. Beach comfort

The most important part of a beach holiday: relaxing! Here’s what you’ll need from our beach holiday list to make your beach day comfortable and more chilled out. 

  • Beach towels. A beach towel or a sarong will keep you sand-free. 
  • A change of clothes. In case your clothes get wet or if the weather gets colder.  
  • Beach shoes. The sand between your toes is lovely – until it isn’t. 
  • Elastic or clips. To tie back long hair on a windy day. 
  • Two plastic bags. One for wet swimming costumes, and one for rubbish. You should always leave the beach clear and clean – always take your rubbish home with you.4 

4. Beach swimwear

Sun, sand and… sea! That’s what a beach holiday is all about. Everyone knows that no seaside vacation is complete without a dip in the (sometimes very cold!) sea. If you want to take the plunge, there are a few main essentials you need to include on your beach holiday packing list:  

  • Swimwear. It might be awkward without it! 
  • Armbands and floats. They’re great for helping kids feel more confident and safer at the beach.  
  • Fins, masks, and snorkels. Perfect for a bit of light exploration.  
  • Wetsuits. For chillier swims or surfs! 

5. Beach snacks 

It’s all well and good getting out to relax at the beach, but what if you get peckish? Don’t forget to bring food and liquids to hydrate yourself for a day at the beach. Here’s what we recommend adding to your holiday list: 

  • Drinks. Bring plenty of water so that you can stay well-hydrated throughout the day.  
  • Snacks. Avoid chocolate or dairy if you don’t have a cool bag – no one likes messy, melted chocolate all over their hands when there’s sand about! Try fruits, cereal bars, and dry cookies instead. 

6. Beach safety 

When it comes to beach safety, it's important to be prepared. Here are some items to consider packing for your safety and peace of mind: 

  • Life jackets. If you're not a strong swimmer, or if you're planning on participating in water sports, a life jacket can be a lifesaver. 
  • Whistle. In an emergency, a whistle can be used to attract attention and call for help. 
  • First aid kit. Accidents can happen anywhere, so be sure to pack a first aid kit that includes antiseptic cream, plasters, and painkillers. 
  • Insect repellent. Mosquitoes and other biting insects can be a nuisance and potentially carry diseases, so it's best to be prepared. 

7. Beach technology 

In the age of technology, it's hard to imagine going anywhere without our gadgets. Here are some tech items to consider packing for a beach holiday: 

  • Waterproof phone case. If you plan on taking your phone to the beach – to take some fun snaps to make your friends jealous - consider investing in a waterproof phone case to protect it from water damage. 
  • Portable charger. Keep your devices charged up with a portable charger, so you never have to miss a moment of your beach vacation. 
  • Portable speaker. Take your tunes to the beach with a portable speaker. Just be sure to keep the volume low so as not to disturb others around you. 

8. Beach clean-up 

Lastly, it's important to do our part in keeping the beach clean and protecting the environment. Here are some things to take to the beach for a clean-up: 

  • Reusable bags. Instead of using plastic bags, bring reusable bags to collect trash and recyclables. You should always leave the beach clear and clean – always take your rubbish home with you.4 
  • Gloves. Protect your hands and keep them clean with a pair of gloves. 
  • Trash grabber. A trash grabber can be a helpful tool for picking up litter without having to bend down. 


Avoid wiping your hands on bath sheets or sarongs by adding some Plenty Flexisheet paper to the vacation checklist. At the end of the day, it’s all about hygiene!

The best way to organise your suitcase when packing for a beach holiday 

Now you have our ideas for things to take to the beach, you’ll need to know how to pack them efficiently in your suitcase. Here are a few tips and tricks for organising your suitcase when packing for a beach holiday: 

  • Seal your liquids properly. This includes any shampoo bottles or other liquids. The last thing you need when you arrive at your destination is a suitcase full of soaking clothes thanks to a leaking bottle. 
  • Roll your clothes. This is the most efficient way to pack your clothes to maximise the space in your suitcase.  
  • Consider using packing cubes. This is another great way to maximise the space in your suitcase and is also a fantastic option if you are sharing a suitcase with another family member. 
  • Use all the space available. This includes using ‘dead’ space such as inside your shoes. Roll up socks, underwear, and small tops to fit inside your shoes. This will have a bonus effect of keeping your shoes from being squished.  
  • Add a scent bag to keep it fresh. This is particularly key if you are travelling a long way. From scented drawer liners to homemade bags of potpourri, there are plenty of ways to stop your clothes ending up smelling nasty when you reach your destination. 

That’s everything sorted for your summer holiday packing list. It’ll make your holiday easier so that you can start relaxing even sooner! If you’ve found our holiday checklist handy, then check out our weekly groceries shopping list so you’re just as organised in your day-to-day as you are when you go on holidays. 


1 Sun screen and sun safety, NHS

2 Protective Eyewear

3 Personal Protective Equipment, CE Marking

4 How trash impacts the environment, Earth Day

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