The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing List

At My Mermaid Soul Travel I specialize in luxury resorts and custom travel itineraries in the Caribbean and watery destinations around the world. Many of the items below are available at my preferred hotels. When you book your vacation with me, I’m available to answer all your questions about what to pack for the beach, because a well-prepared traveler is a happy one.


Beach Bag – Most luxury hotels provide complimentary beach bags in the hotel rooms; however, I always bring my own. I prefer a mesh option, so the sand stays on the beach and is not carried into my hotel room and suitcase.

Cash – Only a few all-inclusive hotels have a full-stop ban on cash tipping. For all other hotels, it is nice to have some cash on hand to show your appreciation for anyone that goes above and beyond. I like to carry $10-$20 USD in singles for every day of my trip. A small gratuity is also standard practice for your aiport transfer driver or taxi.

Copies of your passports, credit cards (front and back), medical cards, prescriptions, and anything else that would be helpful if you lost the original. I always pack a copy of my passport in a separate bag from where my passport is packed.

Hats – Don’t forget to pack one for every member of the family. The tropical sun is brutal.

Outfits – A typical day at a beach resort can involve 2 to 3 wardrobe changes. Breakfast and lunchtime could be workout clothes or a swimsuit and coverup. Dinner is usually a sundress or skirt for the gals while guys wear slacks and collared shirts for finer establishments, or shorts and tees if venturing out to eat local.

Long Sleeve Shirt, Sweater, or Light Jacket -It’s a common misconception that the Caribbean, Mexico, and other tropical destinations are warm 24/7. The evenings can be quite cool – sea breeze on sun-kissed skin will make 75 degrees Fahrenheit feel much cooler.


Bug Spray – While all the best resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico, and beyond maintain a mosquito prevention regimen, you will likely find yourself looking for bug spray should you do an off-property excursion or spend an extended amount of time on the beach at dusk.

Disinfecting Wipes – these have two very different purposes for being in my travel bag – to wipe down surfaces on the airplane as soon as you board and before or after eating from beach stalls or food trucks.

Reef Safe Sunscreen – Sunscreen is one of the highest-priced items in resort gift shops, so pack your own. Please do our oceans a favor and make sure your selection is safe for coral reefs. I usually travel with 3-4 sunscreen items per trip.

First Aid Kit – a few band-aids, ointment, safety pins, and medicines for headaches and upset stomachs can make treating a small issue very simple.

Medical explanation Card – if someone in your party has an allery or other medical issues, it’s wise to bring some cards explaining it in the native language of your destination. This way, you are armed with something to show the waitstaff or hotel staff if there is a language-based communication concern.

Vitamin C – travel equals germ exposure friends. When you combine that with late nights and increased alcohol consumption, you could bring home more than just memories and souvenirs from your vacation. A box of single-serve vitamin C supplements accompanies me on every trip.

Clips – so many uses for these! Most hotel blackout drapes have a fatal flaw – they don’t quite meet up in the middle. Stick a clip on there and avoid that tiny sliver of light pulling you out of a deep morning sleep. A large enough clip can also keep your towel in place on your beach chair if it’s a windy day.

Jewelry Organizer – A travel jewelry case does the best job of keeping necklaces secure if you want to avoid arriving with a tangled mess.

Over Door Shoe Organizer – hang it on the bathroom door; it is perfect for storing all of the small kid stuff that you don’t want strewn around your room. It also creates more storage space for families traveling together with 3-4 people sharing the same bathroom.

Packing Cubes – total game changer! You can unpack in less than 5 minutes when everything is already organized. I pull these right out of my suitcase and into the drawer – done!

Reusable Ziploc Bags – every size, and lots of them. Great for keeping your phone, cards, and cash safe on the beach, and for sticking wet clothes or seashells in for your trip home.

Secure Card Wallet – if you plan to leave the hotel and explore the local markets of other populated areas, a secure card wallet is a good idea to protect your plastic from being scanned and duplicated without your knowledge.

Travel Steamer – some luxury hotels have started providing them. I find these work better than any hotel room iron so it is worth the space in my suitcase.

Waterproof Phone Case – a sand, water, and slimy kid hand-proof phone case is one of the best things I’ve recently thrown in my suitcase.

Waterproof Speaker – booked a private plunge pool suite? You might be wishing you had a little soft music as the background for what will surely be the most relaxing hotel room you’ve ever stayed in.

Nightlight – or two if you have a 2 bed/2 bath suite.

Snorkel Gear – I bring my own full face mask gear when I travel. I don’t like the standard snorkel masks and that other people are using them.

Binoculars – especially when you have an ocean view room, binoculars can help you spot dolphins and other marine creatures, boats, etc.

Charging Station – if you are traveling with multiple devices or with a family, you will want to be prepared with a quick way to keep everyone charged.

A well-prepared traveler is a happy one! Have a fabulous time!

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on

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