What to Pack | A Week at the Beach

Having talked about what to wear on the plane, I thought it made sense to continue the travel theme with a short series focusing on what to pack for different locations.

I’m kicking it off with one of the most common travel destinations at this time of year: the beach! So: what to pack for a week at the beach? Let’s find out…

what to pack for a week at the beach

What to pack for a week at the beach

Rather than focusing on a specific destination, I wanted to keep this post fairly general: there are beaches all over the world, after all, but while each one is different, the typical beach vacation tends to be pretty similar, regardless of where you spend it. I’m thinking here of the kind of holiday where the focus is firmly on relaxation: you’ll probably want to do a little bit of sightseeing or shopping, but most of your days will be filled with sun, sea, and maybe the odd cocktail or two.

So, what to pack for this schedule of nothing-much-at-all?


What to pack for a week at the beach: clothes

(At least) 2 sets of swimwear

I’m resisting the urge to add the word “d’oh” to that sentence: I mean, you’re going to the beach, OF COURSE you’ll need swimwear, right? If you’re planning to hit the beach/pool most days, I’d recommend taking a minimum of two swimsuits/bikinis, so you always have one to wear while the other is being washed. Because swimwear is pretty lightweight, and rolls up small, though, it doesn’t take up much of your luggage allowance, so if you’re going to be spending a LOT of time at the beach, you may want to pack more than two: and why on earth not?

A beach coverup

Essential for wearing to and from the beach or pool, and easy to throw on if you want to go and grab a quick snack at the beach bar.

A pair of shorts

Also good for pulling on over your swimsuit, or wearing for casual outings: choose a more tailored design if you want to go for a slightly smarter look.

Tanks n’ tees

If I’m going on vacation, I’ll usually pick up a selection of cheap t-shirts or tank tops from the likes of Primark or H&M. I don’t spend much money on these because I know they’ll almost always end up stained with sunscreen, or otherwise the worse for being exposed to sea and sand all holiday: going the cheap n’cheerful route also allows me to take a few of them, so I don’t have to worry too much about laundry while I’m away.

A couple of lightweight dresses or skirts

The kind of thing you can dress up or down, and which will see you through a day’s sightseeing or an evening at the bar. If you want a bit more versatility, swap the dresses for skirts, and then mix and match with the tops you’ve already packed.

An evening-appropriate dress

Just in case you decide to go somewhere a little fancier one night!

A lightweight sweater or jacket

Let’s face it, we all go to the beach hoping for sunshine, but evenings can get chilly, and if if you do get any colder-than-anticipated days, it’s important to be prepared.

White jeans or other lightweight trousers

Again, it’s always good to be prepared for colder weather, and a pair of jeans/capris/chinos etc will also come in handy for any activities you take part in for which dresses or shorts won’t be suitable. You never know!


What to pack for a week at the beach: footwear

Unless your beach holiday is going to involve a lot of sightseeing, you shouldn’t need too much in the way of footwear. I’d suggest:

A pair of flat sandals

Easy to wear, easy to walk in, and cute with dresses and shorts

A pair of wedges

For those days when you want to add a bit of height, but still keep it comfortable

A pair of flip flops

I know a lot of people hate flip flops with a passion, but I find they come in really handy, if only to wear in your hotel or around the pool. They have the advantage of being easy to slip on, as well as being hard-wearing and waterproof, do you don’t have to worry about ruining them. Oh, and you just might be glad of them if your feet start to hurt from the other pairs!


What to pack for a week at the beach: Accessories

A large tote bag

For carting all your stuff to and from the beach, or carrying your camera etc when you’re out sight-seeing. To save space in your suitcase, choose a tote that can double as your carry-on luggage.

A smaller shoulder bag

For evenings or days out, when you don’t want to carry that huge tote around, a smaller bag which holds the essentials will always come in handy.

Some pieces of jewellery

How much jewellery you take will depend on your personal style: I don’t wear much jewellery anyway, and you won’t need it at the beach, so for this type of vacation, I’d say a couple of pieces should  be enough.


I never leave home without them, but they’re particularly essential for a beach holiday!


If you only pack one thing from this list, let it be sunscreen: an absolute essential

A sun hat

Even if you do remember the sunscreen, it can be all too easy to forget about protecting your scalp, which can burn just as easily as the rest of you. A sun hat will stop you burning and provide some much-needed shade.

 Don’t forget…

Lingerie and nightwear

You’ll obviously need to pack these regardless of where you spend your vacation, so they’re hardly beach holiday specific, but in general I recommend taking as many undies as you can manage, just to cut down on the laundry!

And the rest…

I wanted this post to focus on what to pack for a week at the beach specifically, so I haven’t mentioned the things you’d need for ANY trip, i,e. toiletries, electronics, medication etc, but don’t forget to leave some space in your case for the non-clothing essentials, too!

What would you pack for a week at the beach?

Image: What to pack for a week at the beach

Top row: One-piece swimsuit, bikini, cover-up dress, white tank, green tank, tee, tote bag

Second row: floral dress, maxi dress, flat sandals, wedges, sunglasses, sunscreen, hat

Third row: strapless dress, white jeans, light sweater, small shoulder bag, necklace, bracelet, flip-flops



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