How To // Pack for a Beach Vacation


I. Survived.


I'm back from Cabo San Lucas & good lord I love that city. Every time I go to Mexico I have more & more fun- Cabo is definitely a bit commercialized/gentrified/Americanized but I enjoy it nonetheless. 

Of everyone I travelled with, I would be the most likely candidate to overpack. In the alternate universe that was this vacation, I earned bragging rights because I brought only ONE SMALL suitcase, packing by far less than everyone else. Plan smart- here's what to bring for your next beach vacation.

Sunscreen // SPF. Any tourist city is going to jack up the price of sunscreen- in Cabo, the average price is $24 USD for a bottle. Being closer to the equator means without SPF you're guaranteed a burn, sun poisoning & a bad time. Be smart & get a spray tan before you leave & lather on SPF 50+ the whole time. Add to this face lotion & my fave chap stick with protection, too.

Floatation Devices // Swimming in the ocean is fun. Swimming in the ocean after 4 Pina Coladas is challenging. One of our favorite things to do was to float around on tubes, as it allows for maximum tanning potential & cocktail consumption. But these tubes/floaties can range anywhere from $15-$20 at a resort. Pick up this donut or this swan to pack & bring with.

Bikinis // Duh. One thing I would say not just for outfit planning for a trip for for a season is to pick a color scheme & stick with it. Mine always includes black & neutral sand colors so I can have pieces that last a few seasons & still look new... then I pick a new color each year. I recommend two solid bottoms that can be interchangeable with 4-5 interesting tops. (Solids down below make you look lean, patterns up top enhance the girls.) Matchy-matchy is not chic.

My choice for bottoms: black Victoria's Secret & pebble L Space.  My choice for tops: Celestial Fringe by LSpace, Wild & Free Halter by LSpace, Flutter Halter in Pistachio or Berry by LSpace, Polkadots by Victoria's Secret & Sex on a Stick by Victoria's Secret. Clearly I have two go-to sites for bikinis.

Chic Beach Cover Ups // I am NOT a fan of neon & I am NOT a fan of the junky stuff vendors sell on the beach. Please, no purchases under the influence of a Miami Vice. Rock a kimono over your bikini. There is nothing more forgiving, more comfortable or more cooling. I favor a silk kimono as opposed anything cotton. Here is one that is way out of my price range, another Anna Sui, super adorable from Asos & maybe my favorite one. Your kimonos will coordinate with your bikinis, naturally.

Beach Bag & Clutch // Find a beach bag before you go so you can use it as a carry on & will be beach ready as soon as you arrive. Plus, the bags for sale in the Mexican flea markets are not awesome. Use a clutch to keep your wallet, passport & lippy organized in your big bag & make sure it coordinates with your outfits.

One Pair of Heels // Shoes take up too much room when packing, so I allow myself just ONE pair of heels that will go with everything (neutrals, obvi.) You'll need to walk in them, dance in them, run from the policia in them & trash them. Wearing these suede laser cut heels to Squid Row was not my best move, chunks of shoe are now missing. These would have been a smarter choice. (Plus they're on sale right now! Just purchased. Oops!)

Hats & Sunnies // The one thing I over packed on was HATS. I brought five hats. Dumb. Two truckers for SUPing, two floppys for reading & this brillant Brixton, which as much as I love, was a pain to travel with. At least bring something floppy for sun protection. And yeah, there are plenty of places to find cheap sunnies in tourist towns, but bring a chic classic pair & one or two cheap pairs you wouldn't mind losing in the ocean.

Creature Comforts // I brought tea bags, Stevia, my Kindle pre-loaded with beach reads, Kind Bars, a neck pillow & an eye mask. Load up a good playlist (like mine, Into The Blue, on Spotify) and bring your Jambox for the hotel room. Next time I'll bring a better camera, maybe a GoPro on a stick, since those are the new hip things to have.

Don't bring your laptop, don't bring work, don't bring a bad attitude. 


Photos: Kimono, shoes, donut, swan, hat, sunnies, sunnies 2, sunnies 3, tote 1, tote 2.

Amber Nicolehow to, travel