You know how Lyn is a light-packing magician?? Turns out I am the exact opposite of her: I always check a bag. I always bring one too many pairs of shoes and 47 t-shirts. I always come home with 50% of my clothes unworn. But hey! I’m ok with it, and I still dream of a weekend getaway, someday, where I manage to pack everything I need in my purse (which is literally a gym bag and also the greatest carry on bag of all time. Damn you Lululemon for not making it anymore!!!!).
Once a year, my husband and I take a break from life and hit the beach. Usually we head to Mexico, but this year we are mixing it up and checking out the beaches of Costa Rica! Our goals for our beach vacations always prioritize relaxation- we don’t really go out to fancy dinners or go clubbing or anything, and we mostly stick to the resort, but we will do some off-site adventures. Over the years, I’ve come up with a few edits and additions to my packing to make sure my beach vacay is on point:
Now, obviously, this doesn’t include all of my clothes, carry on essentials, books, or hats, but these are the things I felt should be singled out. Let’s start from the top!
Too Many Shoes
Yep, I always bring too many shoes, but I have reasons! Clearly you need a good pair of flip flops to get around the pool, and I love love love my Havianas– these are many years old. Maybe 8? And they still look and feel great, unlike the many shitty pairs of Old Navy flip flops that have fallen apart on me after only a few wears. I also always bring my trusty slip on Vans (checkerboard is a neutral, I swear!), which are great for the airport, the beach, the gym (flat soles are best for lifting) and just hanging out around the resort at night. I also like to bring one pair of “tie-on” sneakers for excursions that involve a lot of walking, or just to give my feet something different. I mostly like these Nike Free RN Flyknits– they are super light, the body of the shoe is knit and stretchy so it’s basically like a sock on a sole, and they are really easy to snap on and off, but they are almost too smooshy? The sole is a little narrow? So sometimes I don’t love them, but overall they are pretty ok for my needs.
Every year I struggle with the internal debate to bring my water shoes, and I usually do pack them at the last minute, but I almost never wear them. #mermaid
…..whaaaaaaaaaat?? That’s right- swim pants! I love love love these leggings from Teeki– I think I have 5 pairs? Don’t worry friends- they have a few sales every year that I fully embrace. 😉 Anyway, these leggings- made from recycled plastic bottles- feel like you are wearing air- they are designed specifically for hot yoga and surfing, so they are feather-light and dry super fast, which also keeps you cool in hot, humid temps. I won’t wear them to the pool, but I love having them for a few reasons: excursions that may include some hiking and some getting wet, surfing or paddleboarding lessons (they saved me from getting burned in Puerto Rico last year!), or grabbing a workout (they are squat-proof and easy to wash in the sink/hang to dry). Plus, let’s be honest- sometimes you just need a break from your legs touching each other. Amirite??
Beach Hair Is The Best Hair
Why fight it?? I fully embrace my beach hair, which has become slightly wavier over the years. I’m into it! I don’t usually wash my hair more than usual on vacation, but it does get a daily rinsing to get the salt and chlorine and sweat out. I love keeping Bumble and Bumble Tonic Lotion in my beach bag to freshen up my scalp and detangle my hair after being in the water. A salt spray seems redundant, but I love this one from Verb to help bump up the texture my hair gets from the humidity and sea, and I usually swipe a little bit of my husband’s Control Paste to manage my bangs and flyaways for dinner. Plus it smells SO GOOD. MB thinks it’s creepy when I smell his hair. Is it….?
Yes, yes, this is obvious! But I am always surprised when other people tell me they either forget to pack it or pack too little. Since Pamela is the sunscreen police and MB and I refuse to age, we are super on board to sunscreen up. We like to bring way too much in our checked bag, because sun care products are crazy expensive if you have to buy them at the resort! Once I paid $20 for aloe. ALOE.
I really love this sunscreen from Sun Bum– look how cute the packaging is! And it smells like banana cream pie. It’s a little pricey, but it’s vegan, cruelty free, a favorite of surfers, and approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation. I love keeping their face stick in my beach bag for touch ups on my face and tattoos. I also really like this (much cheaper) Suncomfort Lotion by Banana Boat– it applies really nicely, absorbs well, and it’s kept me well protected. Plus, this formula somehow keeps sand from sticking to you. ???
Pro tip: APPLY SUNSCREEN BEFORE YOU GO OUTSIDE. I see sooooo many poor burned people at the pool who waited until they… got hot? I guess? Before putting on sunscreen. This is wrong. The sun can see you, especially when you’re closer to the equator than usual. (Exception: if you’re just running to breakfast and trying to get a few minutes of vitamin D, then planning to come back to the room to get ready for the pool. 😉 )
Nothing makes my skin happier than a little sun and a lot of humidity, so I tend to keep my makeup really light on vacation. During the day, I stick to my favorite BB Cream, some waterproof mascara (still loving this one!), and a lip balm with sunscreen in it. I’m really excited to test drive this new Rouge Lip Tint from the Sephora collection– it’s a water based lip stain that seems like a super pumped up version of the old Benetint. I’ve worn it a few times here in the north, and really like it so far- it goes on really easily, feels like nothing on your lips, and fades gradually to leave you with that popsicle-stained look. I think it will be prefect pool-side!
At night, I continue to keep it simple, but add a little cream blush, maybe a winged eye, and a little sparkle to my eyes. I think this new e.l.f. Aqua Beauty Molten Liquid Eyeshadow will be the perfect thing!
Randoms (Not Pictured)
A water bottle is a must- both for on the plane, at the pool, and in between umbrella drinks. I am really loving this wide-mouthed insulated bottle from Klean Kanteen– it keeps ice in ice form for hours! I got the cafe cap version, which is perfect to sip from without having to dick around with unscrewing a cap. It’s the little things, I know.
I also adore this weird piece of clothing that I bought on a whim and lovingly refer to as my “fashion sack”. It’s perfect for travel, looks cute with a cropped jacket or a belt, can be dressed up or down, and feels like you are being super fashionable while being completely comfortable and also ridiculous. I love it!
A hat! Sometimes I just have to give my face a break from wearing sunglasses. I have a few snapbacks that I love and usually bring one trucker-style with a mesh back (so my head doesn’t get hot). It is, oddly, a huge relief!
So there you have it- these are my non-negotiables for heading to the beach. What do you bring? Am I forgetting something vital? Where are you headed for spring break? Tell me in the comments!
As usual, this is all my own stuff that I bought with my own money, sometimes impulsively. Oh, but my adorable makeup bag (which is PERFECT) was a gift from Pamela.