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Sunglasses and a tube of sunscreen on a beach.

There are few things more exciting than preparing for your dream beach holiday. However, no matter where you are heading – be it a luxurious Caribbean retreat or a postcard-perfect Indian Ocean destination – getting your packing right is crucial. Believe it or not, with so much to remember, this can be a lot trickier than you think!

Here at Away Holidays, to ensure you don’t forget anything essential, we’ve created our ultimate beach holiday packing list. So, if you are ready to hit the beach and all that’s left to do is pack your bags, check out our comprehensive guide below.

What to pack for a beach holiday

When packing for a luxury beach holiday, it’s important to find the right balance between being well-prepared and totally overpacking. For this reason, it helps to categorise the items you need to take with you. Here are our four essential areas to help you get started:

Sun protection essentials

Arguably the most important item you need to pack for a beach holiday is sunscreen. Protecting your skin from UV rays is no joke, and as such you should ideally pack a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to guard your skin. If you or your family members have particularly fair skin, a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher is recommended, and the same is suggested for young children.

It’s also a good idea to pack after-sun lotion. While you should try to limit the time you spend in direct sunlight to best protect your skin, accidents do happen. If you find you have had a little too much sun, after-sun lotion with aloe vera will help to soothe your skin. Remember to always pack enough sunscreen and after-sun lotion for the entire duration of your holiday, and to always opt for a reputable brand.  

Sunglasses and a sun hat are also sensible choices. These small, easy to pack items will help to protect your eyes, face and scalp from the sun’s intense rays, making for a more comfortable stay at the beach. For the fashionistas among you, these items may be viewed as must-have beach accessories.


A range of beachwear is also essential for these types of holidays. Your entire travelling party will need swimming costumes – be that trunks, boardshorts, one-piece swimsuits or bikinis. Depending on how many days you are away for, it pays to pack a few different options for each person going on the trip. This way they can alternate on a daily basis, letting worn costumes dry between dips in the water. As well as swimsuits, you may also want to pack beach t-shirts and/or cover-ups that can be worn on your way to and from the beach, as well as a pair of flip flops or sandals that can be easily slipped on and off.

Another item you can’t do without when heading to the sea is a beach towel. Unless you know these towels will be provided by your chosen accommodation, it’s important to pack one for each member of your travelling party. If you can afford the space, it can pay to actually double up and back two beach towels for each holidaymaker. This allows one for lying on and the other for drying yourself off after going in the water.

Finally, make sure you include a small beach bag in your luggage. An often overlooked item, a small tote or backpack can be a real life-saver when you’re on holiday. These simple items can be filled at the start of each day with all your beach gear, including sunscreen, towels, toys, snacks and reading materials.

Toys and entertainment

If you have kids, or if you’re just a kid at heart, you need to think about packing items that will keep you and your clan occupied and entertained on the beach all day. For children, this may include items like toys, beach balls, buckets and spades, bats and balls, and frisbees, for example. You may also want to pack smartphones and tablets for older kids.

When it comes to adults, items such as books, magazines and MP3 players that can help you relax on the sands are beach bag staples. For thrill-seekers, additional must-haves could include sports equipment like snorkelling gear or body/surf boards.

Snacks and hydration

Although not typically something you can prepare for until you reach your destination, you should be thinking about snacks and hydration each day prior to heading to the beach. With this in mind, packing reusable water bottles can be a good idea. On top of this, small, non-perishable snacks that you can take to the beach each day can also be packed before you jet off. When it comes to fresh food, drinks and other picnic supplies, these are better purchased when you arrive at your destination.

Other beach holiday considerations

So, there you have it – a readymade checklist to help you ensure you pack everything from sun protection must-haves and beachwear to entertainment and hydration essentials. However, when the packing is done, what else is there to think about before you travel to the airport? Well, aside from itineraries and online check-ins, insurance is something that should certainly cross your mind.

Do you need insurance for a beach holiday?

On the whole, travel insurance is not typically mandatory. While there are a number of destinations – such as Cuba, Jamaica, Qatar, and the Seychelles – that legally require you to take out travel insurance in order to enter the country, the majority of the time insurance is an optional extra. However, it is strongly recommended.

Travel insurance can provide valuable protection in the event of cancellations, lost luggage and medical emergencies. It’s particularly important when visiting remote or foreign beach destinations where language barriers and unfamiliar medical systems may pose challenges. Additionally, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, ensuring that you have taken out travel insurance that covers them can be crucial for peace of mind.

Ultimately, the decision to secure travel insurance for your beach holiday should be based on a careful evaluation of your destination – and its rules and regulations – combined with your own specific circumstances and needs.

Here at Away Holidays, we can not only organise your dream beach holiday, we can also help you purchase the best-suited travel insurance for you and your travelling party. To find out more, get in touch today.

Book with confidence!

Dependable, Reliable and Trusted name in Travel

Visit www.gov.uk/foriegn-travel-advice for latest destination travel advice from the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) including Covid19 travel advice, security and local laws, and passport and visa information.

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected.

If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. If you have booked a flight only where the ticket is not issued immediately, your flight will be protected under our ATOL. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to www.caa.co.uk/ATOLCertificate

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