What To Pack For A Beach Getaway: Carryon Packing Guide
When you’re looking for a quick getaway – somewhere warm with swaying palm trees comes to mind, right? The last thing you want to deal with after booking that cheap flight to Miami is missing luggage. You can avoid all of that stress by packing in a carry-on only! Here is our guide for what to bring to the beach in a carry-on only. This beach packing list will help you round up only the essentials for a beach getaway!
Both Ev & I have lived on the beach throughout our lives! Shelbs was born in Hawaii, and Ev lived in Maryland close to the beach for over a decade! When we say we know what to bring to the beach, and what not to bring, we really mean it.
This post will be broken up into two main groups: what to pack in your backpack and what to pack in your personal item. It makes flying easier if you separate your things out a little and keeps you from having to go digging while in flight.
After you’ve read our post – you’ll pack the most efficient beach getaway bag! Expect to spend more time on the beach and less time worrying about missing luggage.
A Few Airline Ground Rules
When packing things to take to the beach and going the economy route – the easiest way to book is to take one carry-on and one personal item. For me (Shelbs), my personal item is a tote, for Ev, it’s a smaller backpack he’ll wear on the front of his bigger pack or a laptop bag.
- Standard Carryon Size: 22x14x9 inches (56x36x23 cms)
- Personal Items: Must fit under the seat in front of you for almost all airlines.
- Liquids: All carry-on liquids must be in 3.4 oz containers (or smaller) and fit in one quart-sized clear bag.
You’ll need to check your individual airlines for what sizes to bring. Many airlines changed their policies during the pandemic and you don’t want to be caught off guard – and then have to check your bag.
Click your airline below to check their current size regulations for bags!
American | Spirit | Delta | Southwest | JetBlue | Allegiant | United | Virgin
P.S. make sure when packing for any vacation – you always label your bag in case you’re forced to
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Best Carryon Bags
When figuring out what to bring to the beach, don’t forget to get a great bag! Most likely you’ll want to keep a few items separate from your main pack for ease of access while you’re in flight. The things we keep in our backpacks are our clothes and gear, and larger electronics.
- Stylish Leather/Canvas Weekender Bag – Great unisex bag!
- Personalized Light Green Bag – Love that you can get your initial on it.
- Waterproof Pelican Duffel – Love this one if you’re packing a lot of camera gear!
- Lo & Sons Recycled Polyester Weekender – An eco-friendly option!
- Osprey Women’s Backpacking Pack – We have these and take them everywhere we go. (Men’s version here.)
Clothes To Pack For The Beach
If you’re planning on taking a relaxing weekend getaway, you really don’t need much. Even the boldest of us don’t need much for a more adventurous beach trip? Beyond trying to compete with the Instagram crowd posing in all of their pretty dresses.. (**Cough cough.. all the dresses I pack are wrinkle-proof!) – think about what you’ll really want to be doing at the beach.
Swimwear, cover-ups, and flip flops are pretty essential and everyone knows that! Here are your essentials and a few things you might not think about when considering what to bring to the beach:
For the ladies
- Bras: Something without an underwire will be preferable while flying.
- Simple Staple Jewelry
- 1 Adventure Outfit: Make sure you pack something to do a daytime excursion in!
- 2 Day Time Outfits: To be mixed and matched with whatever cover-up you chose
- 2 Evening Outfit: A couple of wrinkle-proof dresses would be my pick! (Just alternate them – no one is looking at you!)
- Tennis Shoes: For hiking, and travel days.
- Beach Shoes: Something comfortable to protect your feet when you’re walking on those hot sands.
- Modest Cover-Ups: Not every area of every beach allows tourists to bare-all. There are a number of beaches in Central and South America that do not allow their visitors to walk around in swimwear. Not to mention that many resorts require patrons to wear a shirt and semi modest cover-up while dining in their all-inclusive restaurants? This isn’t just for the girls either. Make sure you grab a shirt to cover up with!
- Smaller Purse – To carry your room card, phone, and lipstick to dinner!
- Swim Shoes: Wearing these while you snorkel or walk on rocky beaches is pretty essential!
- Sweater: You’ll want this for those cooler nights and your flight.
- Nightwear: Silk pajama sets area a lifesaver at the beach when it’s hot!!
Get our spring capsule closet must-haves here!! Some of it includes quality pieces that will take you from one trip to the next regardless of where you’re going.
For the men
As a guy, your beach trip packing list needs to include just enough to mix and match with your swim trunks and fancy stuff for date nights!!
- Sport Underwear: You may go hiking or on an ATV adventure – and if you’re not wearing swim trunks with built-in underwear – you’ll need these!!
- 1 Adventure Hiking Outfit: Moisture-wicking shirts and shorts that you’re comfortable moving in are great for tropical environments.
- 2 Nice Outfits: Just mix and match a couple of collared linen shirts with a couple of good pairs of shorts.
- 2 Day Time Shirts: For the guys, you’ll most likely be throwing these on over your swim trunks so we can’t imagine you’ll need more than two to mix and match with the other shorts you already brought for dinner.
- Casual Loafers: Many resorts do not allow flip-flops at the beach! Even if they are the nice leather kind, many resorts want a more upscale look. These Cole Haan loafers took Ev through Europe and all over!
- Water Shoes: To wear on excursions.
- Beach Shoes: Something leather that slides on and off!
- Light Jacket: Take on your flight!
Sustainably Made Swim Wear
Typically when we’re doing a beach trip we like to keep it simple by bringing only 2 suits. Wear one, let it dry and then repeat – because we need room in our backpacks! When you’re packing for a beach getaway, just remember that you’re going to relax! Your beach packing list doesn’t need to include more than two suits either because they’ll take up too much room!
Men’s’ Sustainably Made Swimwear Brands:
- Outerknown – Great for solid-colored shorts you can wear anytime.
- Fair Harbor – Reasonably priced and they use around 12 plastic bottles to make each pair!!
- Bonobos – Wide range of sizes, patterns, and lengths.
- Alo Yoga Swim Trunks – High-quality shorts from a totally eco-friendly company.
Women’s’ Sustainably Made Swimwear Brands:
- Patagonia: Many of their pieces are reversible!
- Reformation: All around eco-conscious and lovely pieces!
- Summersalt – Perfectly no-fuss one peices.
- Prana – In general, their adventure gear is high quality and ethically sourced. A+!
Make sure your beach packing list includes more than just clothes! You’ll need a few beach essentials as well to keep your tech safe, and your skin protected.
- Microfiber Towel – This is the towel we’ve taken on every trip for years. It never gets stinky, repels sand, and dries incredibly fast.
- Sharkbanz – There’s quite a bit of convincing evidence that these do repel sharks and stingrays! (If you’re going to an area with Great White Sharks, however – these do not work. The larger sharks aren’t affected by the magnets!) Include Sharkbanz on your beach packing list if you’re going snorkeling!
- Waterproof Phone Case – We never put our phones in Otterboxes or anything because the newer phones are all mostly water safe. At the beach, however – we have noticed scratches from the sand on our phone screens and sand getting into charging ports. These pouches are easy to slip your phone into while actually on the beach to prevent the scratches and changes of your chargers not working later.
- Drybag – For any day excursions – or to carry with you to the beach so that nothing gets wet!
- Hats – Always include a hat on your beach trip packing list! Not only does it protect your skin,, it also makes it easier to grab your drinks when you’re not squinting in the sun! We prefer the kind that rolls or folds up to make packing easier.
Tech For Traveling
When we pack for longer trips – we always store our non-essential tech in the full sie carryon, and then any entertainment tech in the totes we put beneath our seats.
- Laptop or Ipad- We typically only travel with one or the other on trips. Either way, you can read, watch movies etc. – but we probably won’t be doing much of that while laying on the beach!
- Go Pro, Chargers, and Selfie Stick
- Solar Charger: You’ll be on the beach all day – and it even comes with a built-in flashlight!
- Skyroam Portable Wifi: For music or whatever you need, you just need to buy data for the country you’re heading to. (Works in over 135 countries!)
- Camera + Lenses + Charger + Camera Clip – (Catch our full guide soon with all of our favorite camera gear!)
- Headphones – If you’re just wanting to watch your movie in peace or even listen to a podcast – you’re going to want these and your neighbors will thank you too on your flight!
- Travel Adapter – You don’t want to miss out on charging all of your devices!
Beach Trip Toiletries
Make sure you’re packing your toiletries in a clear bag! It makes it much easier should you need them to be pulled out of your bigger bag for security.
Per TSA regulations – all of your liquids need to be under 3 ounce! That includes perfumes, and everything you might need.
- Mineral Sunscreen
- Razor (You can carry these in your carry-on!)
- Heatless Hair Wrap – This wrap actually works to curl your hair overnight! You have to do very little to it and it looks gorgeous all day!
- Shampoo / Conditioner
- Roll-on perfume/ Travel Sized Cologne
Typically, along with your carry-on, you’re also allowed a personal item. You’re going to want a smaller tote to take items to entertain you and keep yourself comfortable!
- Longchamp Le Pliage Nylon Tote: I have this in black and take it with me everywhere and on every flight! It’s nylon so spillproof and travel proof – but looks nice enough to carry around!
What we typically pack for the beach in our ‘personal items’ are:
- Skincare + Makeup (Make sure you pack coconut oil for makeup remover, lip balm, and moisturizer as needed!)
- Reuseable Collapsible Water Bottle: Saves you money and saves the planet!
- Small Wallet
- Eyemask + Neck Pillow
- Eyedrops – Nobody wants red eyes after the flights!
- Compression Socks
- Hand Sanitizer
- Medicine: Digestive Health (especially if you’re headed out of the country), Motion Sickness Aids, & Allergy Medicine
- PMS products
- Hairbands and Headbands
General Travel Essentials
A few extra things that don’t require packing but do require planning ahead:
- Visas (Countries like Brazil require a Visa for Americans!)
- Travel Insurance – Have you read our guide to doing a self-guided ATV excursion in Aruba? This is a day you’d definitely want travel insurance! It’s not dangerous – but you just never know. It pays to be prepared.
- A Good Book – If you forget one you can always stop in somewhere and grab one? I( Shelbs) have always loved having something to read when waiting for a train etc. Get our guide to all of our favorite bookstores throughout the USA!
- Vaccination Records / Proof of ‘Negative Covid-19 Test’
- Travel Documents: You might need other documents like a ‘Proof of Itinerary’ etc on your trip. Make sure you know what the country you’re traveling in requires!
Who wants to run and buy flip-flops and swimsuits from the nearest shop before heading to the beach? The short answer is no one… because all-inclusive resorts and margaritas cannot enjoy themselves. So make sure to grab your full packing guide below so you don’t waste any time!
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Until next time friends,