The BEST Minimalist Packing List For A Beach Vacation


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This post is all about the best minimalist packing list for a beach vacation.

Minimalist packing for beach vacation.


I just got back from a 3-night beach vacation to Cancun, Mexico, and do I have the best minimalist packing list for you!

While getting ready for the trip, I knew I wanted to pack light. 3 nights and 4 days is just enough time to accidentally pack too much (haha) and I really didn’t want to go down that route.

So, here’s what I brought with me on the trip. I didn’t have to buy anything that I forgot, and I never felt like I didn’t have enough or too much. I really feel like it was the perfect mix of things!

Being a minimalist traveler or a minimalist packer is the easiest way to travel, whether you’re taking a road trip or flying to a new country. Less stuff = less stress! So let’s get you packed for your beach vacation.


Minimalist packing tips

Before we dive in to what you need to bring, here are some minimalist packing tips.


1. Roll your clothes when you pack them in your suitcase. This way, you can fit more into your suitcase than you would by simply folding them as usual.


2. Plan out your outfits for each day in advance. When you do this, you can better ensure that you don’t bring extra clothes and that you only bring what you need.


3. Pack clothes that you love to wear and feel comfortable in. Now’s not the time to pack that dress or romper that you never wear but think you might wear on vacation. If you wouldn’t wear it regularly, or you don’t feel comfortable in it, you aren’t likely to wear it on vacation and it’ll just take up space in your suitcase!


4. If you’ll be staying somewhere with a washing machine, bring along some laundry detergent. You can bring less clothes with you if you plan on washing what you wear! This way, you can wear your clothes more than once.


5. Whatever you don’t bring that you really need, you can always buy. Of course it wouldn’t be ideal to have to buy something you need on vacation, but sometimes we get so caught up in being “scared” that we won’t have something we need that we end up packing way too much. 

You’ll be just fine with a few less things, and even if you really do forget to bring something that you need, you can always buy it (or even borrow it from a friend/family member if they’ll be on the trip, too!).


Minimalist Packing for Beach Vacation

Here are all the items that you need for your trip – but we’re keeping it minimalistic.


Essential items for a beach vacation

Here are the beach essentials you need to pack for your upcoming trip.


1. Carry-on luggage / Suitcase

First thing’s first: if you’ll be flying and you want to pack minimally, opt for a carry-on bag instead of going with a checked bag. If you’re driving to your beach destination, carry-on-sized luggage is still a great thing to aim for!

Not only is having carry-on luggage cheaper when flying, but it’s a lot less to carry around with you on your travels because it’s smaller. 

Plus, if you have carry-on luggage that you take on the plane with you, you won’t have to wait at baggage claim to retrieve your bag which will save you some precious vacation time.

My absolute favorite carry-on luggage I’ve ever owned is this suitcase by Samsonite.


purple samsonite suitcase.

Buy On Amazon


Not only does it come in multiple, beautiful colors, but my favorite feature of the suitcase is the lock. 

I love the lock feature because if I’m ever separated from my bag (say I’m too early to check in to my hotel so I leave it with the concierge, for example) knowing it is locked and that no one can get into it reduces my nerves lol.

You can also bring a personal item which is usually just a smaller bag. If you want, you can use your tote bag that you’ll bring for the beach (more on this later) as your personal item to save space!


2. Water bottle

A water bottle is key, especially if you plan to be walking, swimming, or getting a bunch of exercise during your beach vacation (I know there are some of you out there, lol).

But really, having a water bottle with you is good in general. It’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re out of your normal routine, so having a water bottle nearby is a great way to stay healthy on your trip.

My favorite water bottle is this Stanley Cup. I love the straw, how much water it can hold, and how cute it is. It also comes in multiple colors, so you can find one that fits your personality. If you don’t already have a water bottle that you love, this is a great option!


Stanley cup.

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3. Travel documents

Make sure you bring the proper travel documents with you, depending on if you are staying close or going out of the country.

You should always have your ID and a few debit or credit cards for money. In my opinion, it’s smart to bring both a debit card and a credit card. You may need to withdraw cash, and your debit card will come in handy if you need to do that.

Remember, though – if you’re going far, you might need to tell your banks that you are traveling. If they don’t have a heads up, and you try to use your card in a new place, your bank might flag that transaction for safety reasons and prevent you from using your card.


4. Beach bag

You’ll need a cute beach bag to bring all of your beach belongings along with you!

If you want to pack in a minimalist fashion, opt for a beach bag that is flexible and foldable. This way, it’s easy to pack and it will be light weight, too.

I love this one from Amazon:


Amazon beach tote bag.

Buy On Amazon


5. Toiletry case

This is the BEST toiletries case that I swear by!! I got it for a 17-day trip to Italy, and have used it for countless vacations since.

I have a black one, size medium, and it’s very spacious, convenient, and easy to pack. It will hold your makeup, medications, anything for your skin-care routine, and so much more.


Toiletry bag.

Buy On Amazon


6. Reef-safe sunscreen

Don’t forget to pack your favorite reef-safe sunscreen! Reef-safe sunscreen simply ensures that when you get in the ocean, the sunscreen that is on your body is safe for the ocean, too.

You don’t want to get burned by the sun and not be able to sleep or lay down comfortably the rest of your vacation, so, sunscreen is key.


7. Dresses

Dresses are perfect for a minimalist beach vacation because they are easy to wear, easy to pack, and super cute!

If you need an outfit to run errands in (maybe you have to go grocery shopping, or run to the coffee shop, or you want to take an early morning walk on the beach with your friends), this dress is a must-have.

Not only is it super comfortable, lightweight, and easy to pack, but it’s so cute, practical, and has built-in shorts and pockets, too!


Amazon dress with built in shorts.

Buy On Amazon


8. Tank Tops / Tops

While on your vacation, you will likely want some tank tops or regular tops that can be mixed and matched with various shorts or pants.

Whatever you do, make sure that the tops you bring are in neutral colors. This way, you’ll have multiple outfit options at all times.


9. Shorts / Jeans

A pair of shorts and a pair of pants or jeans are always a good idea, too. When you’re not at the beach is when these items will really come into play. 

You can wear your tops and shorts or jeans out to dinner on days where you don’t want to wear a dress! Having various tops and bottoms allows you to put together different outfits.

Again, stick with basic colors so you have various outfit options.


10. Workout outfit 

If you think you might be working out on your vacation, be sure to bring a sports bra, workout top, workout bottoms (like leggings) and your workout shoes.

If you don’t think you’ll workout on your vacation, you can always skip these items!


11. Bathing suit(s)

If you want to be very minimal, one bathing suit will suffice. Just be sure to hang it somewhere it will dry quickly so that you can use it the next day.

If you don’t want to worry about drying your bathing suits in time, bringing two is a great idea.


Picture of an orange bathing suit.

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12. Light rain jacket

Whenever you’re near the ocean, it’s always a good idea to bring a light rain jacket just in case the weather decides to take a turn.

To stay minimalistic, bring a light jacket that you’d feel comfortable wearing when you’re cold, too. This way, you don’t have to bring more than one jacket.


13. Sunglasses

In order to shield your eyes from the strong beach sun, make sure you pack your favorite pair of sunglasses!


Black and tortoise shell sunglasses from Amazon.

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14. Hat

Speaking of protecting yourself… you should also bring a hat for sun protection. If you don’t really like to wear hats, make sure you load up on face sunscreen.

Depending on where you live, the sun is probably a lot stronger wherever you’re going for vacation, so don’t underestimate it!

Be sure to bring along a hat that is easy to pack and fold.


15. Flip flops 

Of course, you’ll want flip flops that you can just slide on. It’s too much of a hassle to wear anything but flip flops to the beach, so do yourself a favor and pack at least one pair of flip flops!

I personally have the “Reef” brand flip flops and I love them. They’re super comfortable and they’ve lasted me forever. I live at the beach so it’s important that I have durable flip flops that I can wear all the time.



White "Reef" brand flipflops.

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16. Beach cover-up

Beach cover ups are great because you can wear the same one for your entire trip. These are essential if you are looking for something quick to throw on over your bathing suit.


17. Pair of sneakers

If you plan to be walking a lot when not at the beach (like, going on excursions or adventures, for example) it’s a good idea to bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes.

You could bring work out shoes if you wanted (and then wear these if you plan on working out) or you can buy a pair of white sneakers that are cute and practical.

If you don’t want to bring too many pairs of shoes (they take up a lot of space in a suitcase, after all) I recommend a pair of flip flops and a pair of white sneakers!

Here are the white sneakers that I use and have LOVED for all of my vacations!


Dr. Scholl's sneakers for vacation.

Buy On Amazon


18. Sleeping clothes

Bring whatever outfit you feel most comfortable sleeping in. Whether that’s a t-shirt and shorts or something else, you can keep these clothing items minimal.


Optional items

Here are a few other important things you might want to consider bringing.


1. Beach towel

This is optional because usually, if you are staying at a resort or even at some Airbnb’s and hotels, they will provide beach towels for you.

However, if you’ll be staying somewhere where towels are not provided, make sure you bring one! I love these big fluffy ones from Amazon 🙂


pretty pink beach towel from amazon.

Buy On Amazon


2. Travel Journal

What’s the best way to make sure you remember every detail of your trip? Writing about it in your travel journal, of course!

Check out this travel journal by my friend and travel blogger @raimeetravel.


Travel journal.


3. Book

If you love to read on the beach, make sure you bring your favorite book. I read this book while on the beach in St. Thomas recently, and absolutely lovedddddddd it!

It was a great, relaxing beach read that kept me super entertained.


When life gives you lululemons the book.

Buy On Amazon


4. Small first aid kit

Another good thing to bring on your beach trip is a small first-aid kit. You never know when it’ll come in handy, but band-aids, gauze, neosporin, etc. are always good to have on hand.

If you really want to go prepared, you can bring medicine (like Tums, ibuprofen, and Dramamine), too.


5. Packing cubes

If you want your suitcase to be super organized, you can buy packing cubes. These usually come in different sizes, and you can put certain things in the different cubes. 

For instance, you might put bathing suits in one packing cube, and your undergarments in another.


packing cubes for a beach vacation.

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What will you include in your minimalist beach packing list? Hope you have the best trip!


This post was all about the best minimalist packing list for a beach vacation.


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A few years after graduating college, Taylor made it her mission to become debt free. After paying off all $60k of debt, she began to blog about what she's really passionate about: personal development. Nowadays, Taylor blogs about the topics of Mindset, Money, Health, and Career for women. Read more about Taylor here.

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