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What To Pack for a Beach Vacation: 14 Essential Items

Don't leave the perfect beach day up to chance.

Jergens® Skincare Team

After months of bundling up in blankets and sweaters, it’s finally time to take off the beanies and let the wind comb through your hair. Unless you live along the coastline, chances are it’s been a while since you got some vitamin sea. Maybe you’d like to see the majestic Pacific Ocean in the American West or the tropical turquoise waters along the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re feeling a little rusty on your beach packing skills, here’s what to pack for a beach vacation.

Preparation for Your Beachy Getaway

If you are feeling like a fish out of water, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered! First consider the needs and preferences of all your travel companions and decide what location will bring the most happiness. Note that the location could determine what activities are available, the restrictions you might face and whether you leave as sun-kissed as you originally planned.

  • Mood: Start with the mood of the location. Do you need something family-friendly, somewhere romantic, a place that inspires adventure or a spot that leaves you thoughtful?
  • Cost: You can choose somewhere expensive and go for a short trip, but have the absolute time of your life. In contrast, you could choose somewhere inexpensive and have a much longer trip.
  • Distance: How far are you willing to drive or fly to get to the beach and back? The cost might also have an effect on the distance. Even if you drive, the cost of gas and car maintenance adds up.

14 Essential Things To Pack for the Beach

Not only will packing the right items save you time-consuming trips to the store, but it also means you won’t have to spend extra money buying necessities you’ve forgotten. There’s always a chance you might forget a thing or two, so start with a good checklist.

Beach Basics

If you bring nothing else to the beach, make room for these must-haves as you are packing! Call ahead to see if you can source some of these in the area if you plan to travel light. They could also make for functional souvenirs at home.

  1. Sunglasses: Most people wear sunglasses because they look cool or improve visibility while driving. Sunglasses also protect your eyes from UV light and keep bugs from making a bee-line for your eyeballs.
  2. Sunscreen: Sunscreen protects your skin from UV light. Ideally, you should aim for at least 20 SPF. You’ll need to cover all the skin that’s exposed, so plan accordingly. Note that some beach-goers prefer a different sunscreen for their face.
  3. Swimwear: Swimwear is designed to provide comfort while you enjoy the water. There are swimwear designs on the market to flatter every figure. Stores usually do not allow people to return swimwear, so choose wisely when buying.
  4. Towel: Beach towels are essential for laying on the sand, especially if you plan to sunbathe. For drying off, though, you could look into quick-dry camping towels from your local store. They also tend to repel sand better.
  5. Extra Clothes: When you’re visiting a location known for sun, salt, sand and water, you might find yourself changing clothes more often. Bringing at least one extra set of clothing can help ensure you always have a clean set.
  6. Water Bottle: Reducing one-use plastics can help preserve beaches for the long term, so bring your own refillable water bottle to the beach. The best types are insulated tumblers that will keep your coffee hot or your ice cool all day.

Skincare

When you take care of your skin at the beach, you leave looking sun-kissed and moisturized. As much as we love the thought of fresh lobster by the seaside, it’s not nearly as much fun to feel like a lobster after an intense day in the sun! Be sure to practice proper skincare in order to prevent burning, peeling, and dryness. In the long run, taking care of your skin can also help you avoid skin cancer. These items help reduce the risks.

  1. Tanning Lotion: Some people are blessed with naturally sun-kissed skin. For everyone else, sunless-tanning can make a big difference. Beachgoers believe that tanning ahead of a beach trip can provide sun protection, but be sure to use your sunscreen.
  2. Shampoo & Conditioner: Beach hair, don’t care? Not quite. Taking care of your hair is essential to promoting healthy skin, especially if you have bangs or wear your hair down. Invest in a good shampoo and conditioner that can wash away residue from salty seas and chlorinated pools.
  3. Body Wash: Chlorine and salt can also dry out the skin. If you experience sunburn, they can make your skin feel uncomfortable. A good body wash cleanses and moisturizes the skin, so choose one you love and trust.
  4. Moisturizer: Most people prefer hot showers over cold ones. Even with the best moisturizing body washes, it can strip the skin of oils. We recommend soothing aloe for your beach getaway. It locks in moisture for a full day.

Entertainment

It’s a fair argument that the beach itself is entertainment. You could probably watch the sunset and listen to the crash of waves for a lifetime. Even so, additional entertainment can add some diversity to how you pass the time.

  1. Sporting Equipment: You can usually rent water sports equipment in beach towns, but bringing your own can save you money. Some common options include kayaks, snorkeling goggles, fins and surfboards.
  2. Books: One of the best places to read a book is at the beach. If you primarily want to sunbathe, this is an excellent way to pass the time while lying in the sun for extended periods. You can also find good books in the area from local authors.
  3. Devices: Phone batteries die quickly when they become your only source of entertainment, so consider other devices. Maybe you could bring an e-reader to replace physical books. Audiobooks are also a great option for relaxation on the beach. For those beachgoers who are gamers, a handheld console is another device worth looking into. If your phone is a must-have for the entire beach trip, there are portable chargers and chargeable phone cases available now that can prolong your phone’s battery life.
  4. Headphones: Whether you’re listening to music, podcasts, or an audiobook, headphones or earbuds are the perfect companion to whichever device you choose to bring. Listen as loud as you’d like without worrying about your beach neighbors under the next umbrella. The beach can also be a loud place itself, so headphones can ensure you won’t miss a word of your riveting audiobook.

Post-Beach Skincare and Hair Care Tips

So, you’ve enjoyed a day at the beach. You probably got a good tanning session or a good body workout. Now, it’s time to take a quick shower and go to bed, right? Well, you could do that, but that could wreak havoc on your skin. Here are some tips for keeping your skin smooth and supple during and immediately after beach trips:

  • Rinse Long and Well: Whether you prefer to get a long soak in the bath or take a long shower, it’s important to rinse salt and chlorine from your hair and skin. Be sure to dip into your bag for the body wash, shampoo and conditioner that you brought with you.
  • Use a Deep Conditioner: Using a deep conditioner at the end of your trip can help minimize damage to your hair. Deep conditioner replenishes the oils to counteract the drying effect of chlorine and salt. Then, use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair.
  • Moisturize: The longer the shower or bath, the more important the need for moisturizing. Beach locations have natural smells that can be wonderful to welcome into your space, so try not to overpower those natural scents with strong fragrances.
  • Maintain Your Tan: Tanning moisturizers and sunless tanning products like water mousse or body bronzer can maintain and extend the tan you achieved at the beach. Bathing suit tan lines are the inevitable aftermath of a productive beach trip, so Jergens® can help you smooth those tan lines and stay ahead of the tanning game for your next trip to the ocean.
From moisturizers to sunless tanning, Jergens® skincare is prepared to help you take on your next beach trip with confidence. We are proud to be trusted by millions of buyers around the world and hope our products will accompany you on your dream beach vacation. Check out our full line of products to find out how we can help you maintain healthy, moisturized skin, all year round.

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