In an effort to get away from the day-to-day grind, we find ourselves stressed out preparing to relax. The irony! I recently went away to Puerto Vallarta and as always, I thought I packed everything I needed but forgot a few things. Sometimes we just don’t take the time to make the right list – so I’m making it now! Here are the top 30 vacation essentials, based off my actual vacation-prep list and also a whole bunch of the things I missed last time. Hopefully this helps you with any pre-vacation stress!
1. Super fabulous swimsuits – obviously! We spend our entire vacation in our swimsuits, so I had one with me for each day. A combination of fashion suits with strappy details or cheeky cuts, plus some sportier options with fuller bum coverage and more support for surf days and playing in the ocean. It’s essential to have options with you for different vacation activities.
TIP: Pack ‘mix and match’ tops and bottoms so you can pair different styles together for a variety of looks throughout your vacation, while taking up minimal suitcase space.
2. I love to surf, so I needed a rashguard. I brought this Rip Curl cap sleeve rashguard. It has a really cute pattern and pairs well with simple black bottoms. Bonus – even if you don’t surf, these rashies offer great sun protection.
3. Workout gear. I’m obsessed with fitness and couldn’t let myself take a full week away from my routine. I packed two workout tops and two bottoms, along with my running shoes so I could mix up my workouts between the beach and the gym. Beach active swimsuits are also great for your vacation workouts. I love this tankini by Jag.
4. Beach towel. Even though there were towels at our condo, I always had my towel for day trips or to use as a blanket on public beaches. Love this Slippa Round Towel.
5. Bluetooth speaker. This is great for workouts, lounging by the pool, and the beach. Don’t forget to make some killer beach playlists before you leave home.
6. A good book. Whether it’s on the plane, by the pool or on the beach… gotta have it!
7. Phone charger!
8. Cover ups – plural! I brought three cover ups with me that paired well with all of my suits. Always think about your daily activities when selecting cover-ups. You may want something with a bit more coverage if you plan to get away from the resort for the day, then a lighter option for just relaxing poolside. One that I really loved was this Liv cover up. It provides coverage, but the mesh still lets my suit to shine through. The open back detail makes it fun and sexy too.
9. It’s so important to have a great pair of flip flops with you. A lot of us only wear flip flops in the summer so our feet aren’t used to them, and if you don’t have a great pair, you can get blisters or pressure points between your toes. My go-to’s are the Sanuk Yoga Bliss Sandal. I can walk for hours in them.
10. Evening sandals. If you’re like me, you bring way too many shoes on vacation! Strappy sandals that work with your evening outfits are crucial, but they definitely need to be comfortable. Any time you go out for the evening on vacation, you’ll walk everywhere.
11. Sunglasses. Like your swimsuits, have a fashion pair and a sportier pair with you for days when you’re active.
12. A beach hat is a must-have. If you’re like me and love to have a variety of swimsuits, a neutral hat that pairs well with everything is the way to go.
13. A beach bag to carry around all of this stuff! I’m in love with this Billabong straw tote bag. It can double as your travel carry-on as well.
14. Sunscreen. An essential. I love Sun Bum 50 SPF, since I need that extra protection.
15. Facial sunscreen. There’s nothing worse than a breakout on vacation, and some heavier body sunscreens can clog pores. The Sun Bum Face Stick is perfect for my sensitive skin.
16. Lip balm with SPF. This is an item I forgot, so by day three my lips were feeling a little burnt. Don’t forget to protect your lips!
17. Soothing aloe gel is SO key after spending a day in the sun.
18. Advil, in case of a margarita overdose!
19. Instant coconut water hydration. Staying hydrated on vacation is so important when we’re drinking and eating things that we likely don’t typically indulge in, so this is a great way to keep your body hydrated. Each morning I would have a Coco Hydro pack to replace all of those lost electrolytes.
20. Vitamin C packs. It happens to the best of us. We catch something on the plane, or struggle to sleep in the air conditioned rooms… vitamin C to the rescue. Take a few of these with you for days when you feel a bit under the weather.
21. Probiotics. As I mention above, you’re going to be consuming things you wouldn’t normally, so you want to make sure you’re still putting good bacteria in your body. Bring along a probiotic that won’t spoil if not refrigerated. It’s a lifesaver!
22. An insulated cup to keep your beverages cold. Whether you like keeping hydrated with water or something slushy with a tiny umbrella, an insulated cup will keep your drink cool in the hot sun.
23. A bikini bag is great to take with you if you head out on a day trip and pack an outfit to wear in the evening. You can simply throw that wet swimsuit into the bag and the rest of your dry stuff will be protected. I love this one by Amoena.
24. A waterproof case. This will keep things like your phone, cards, or money safe and dry during your water activities.
25. It’s important to bring shampoo and conditioner that will cleanse salt and chlorine from your hair. I love Sun Bum Shampoo and Conditioner because they also add back tons of moisture after days in the sea and sunshine.
26. Sea salt spray. Doesn’t this seem silly just coming out of the ocean? But this spray will protect your hair while giving it the extra body and waves.
27. A wide-toothed comb and leave in conditioner. I loved having this with me because the ocean water dries my hair out. In Mexico, I would apply the Sun Bum 3-in-1 Leave In Conditioner when I got out of the water and my hair was soft and smooth for the rest of the day.
28. Depending on where you’re headed, don’t forget about how the air can cool off at night. In Puerto Vallarta, I brought a pair of jeans and a sweater for the nights when the ocean breeze was cool.
29. Tissues. We often forget how the ocean water can ‘clear us out’. Great tip – bring some tissue in your beach bag to use after having some fun in the water.
30. A laundry bag. Instead of re-packing my dirty clothes back in my suitcase, I put them in a laundry bag and then into my suitcase. When I get home, I know exactly what needs to go in the wash!
I hope this list helps you ease some of the stress of packing for vacation. Travel safe and get ready to #feelgoodhalfnaked!
Swimco’s Marketing Director