What to pack for beach holidays

If you’re heading off for some summer sun then it’s likely that you’ll need a good beach holiday packing list to tick off. Whether it’s travel documents or high-factor sun cream, taking everything you need is essential for a fabulous beach-based holiday.

The essentials

The first things to go on your beach holiday packing list should be your passport and European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Then add printouts of your flight tickets, holiday booking, hotel details, travel insurance and receipts for any extras you have booked such as excursions or a hire car. You should make sure that your passport has at least six months left before it expires and have enough local currency to get you through the first few days – or until you can get to a cashpoint. Check the visa requirements for your destination, allowing enough time to apply if they are needed.


Any beach holiday packing list is likely to have plenty of space for clothes, but think about what you’ll be doing in the daytime and the evening, and pack accordingly. If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing in the daytime, take a pair of shoes that are comfortable to walk in, as well as light, cotton clothes that will keep you cool and protect you from the sun. Ladies should pack a kaftan to throw on at the beach or pool, while for the evening, dresses take up less space in your suitcase than skirts and trousers. As well as shorts, men should pack trousers made from cotton for the evenings, since it's cooler than man-made material. Finally, consider the country you are visiting and whether you need to cover your legs or head in certain places, such as religious buildings.

For the beach or pool

When deciding what to take to the beach, top of the list should always be sun cream. If your beach holiday has just begun or the sun is particularly strong, go for a high factor sun cream and apply it every couple of hours – and again if you’ve been in the sea. Always take more sun cream than you think you’ll need.

As for swimwear, two different sets is ideal, as one can be drying while you wear the other, while a great pair of UV-blocking sunglasses and a large sun hat are vital. The trendiest hats for women this summer are almost a metre in diameter! But you don’t need to go that far – just take one that provides shade for your whole face and head.

Toiletries and medication

Your toiletries are likely to take up a lot of vital space and weight in your case, so think about which ones you have to take and how much you actually need. With big, bulky items such as shampoo and conditioner, pour what you need into smaller containers and consider buying a travel-sized can of deodorant and tube of toothpaste.

You should also pack a first aid kit, including plasters, painkillers, tweezers, indigestion tablets, antiseptic cream, cotton wool, bandage, antihistamines for insect bites, travel sickness tablets, plus a few safety pins and a pair of scissors. If you take regular medication, make sure you have more than enough for the length of your holiday, as well as a copy of your prescription and a letter from your GP explaining why you need to take it.

Personal entertainment

Unless you’re the type of holiday maker that simply enjoys listening to the sound of the sea all day, it’s likely you’ll need some form of personal entertainment. If you read plenty of books, download enough for your holiday onto an e-reader to save space and weight, while if music, movies or box sets are more your families thing, download them all before you leave as hotel Wi-Fi can be slow and expensive. Remember to pack all the chargers, plenty of electric socket adaptors, as well as a good pair of headphones – unless you want the entire hotel to know what you’re watching.

The two major components of the beach – water and sand – are great for a fun-filled day but not so great for your personal possessions, so keep the sand and sea water away from your phone by putting it in a zip-lock wash bag, along with any other gadgets you don’t want ruined.

For the kids

Of course, what you need to put on your kids’ beach holiday packing list depends on how old they are, but in general you need to pack everything we’ve mentioned, plus a few essential extras. For school-age children, those extras include a selection of their favourite snacks and something to throw or kick around on the beach. Frisbees are always a crowd pleaser and a football or volleyball will instantly make you the most popular family in your hotel.

For babies and toddlers, take at least two changes of clothes, plenty of nappies and Wet Wipes, plus all the food, milk, water, snacks, plus plenty of activity books and other forms of entertainment. At your destination you’ll need very high factor sun cream, a couple of hats, and if it’s really hot, a sun suit to keep them protected and sun tent to give them somewhere shady to rest on the beach.

And relax…

Being at the beach is all about relaxation and you should do all you can to ensure that you’re as comfortable as possible while soaking up the sun. It may not be practical to take an entire bed on holiday, but an inflatable lilo will give you all the comforts of home without the cost of a removals van. If you want to be really comfortable, add a blow-up pillow to your list.

For the best places to relax on the beach, take a look at Club Med’s range of all-inclusive beach resorts.

Club Med Sun - The best all-inclusive sun holiday experience

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