Family Travel

International Beach Vacations Must Haves


I had to stop and think today when I realized that today is already March 05. Yes, let me say that again: we are already almost a week into the month of March. Now, I know that many people are stressing over the unending cold, the drawn out winter, the illnesses that just won’t seem to go away. Me? Nope, I’m stressing because we leave for Spring Break soon and I haven’t even thought about starting to pack! Surely, though, you’ve made a list of what you need to take, you ask? Nope, haven’t done that yet either.

For some, you just won’t get this. You are the night before/day of, throw things into the suitcase kind of traveler. And we love you for it. You can hop a plane to Germany for 6 days with nothing more than a carry-on. Kudos to you! Those are some awesome packing skills.

I, on the other hand, do not possess the “light” packer gene–nor have I ever. I like my stuff–and no, I won’t know what I will want to wear on the Thursday of our vacation. I tend to overpack, almost to the point of a fault–ALMOST! So, if you are looking for advice on how to pack lightly, you best keep moving on…you won’t find what you’re looking for here. However, if you want to know what you absolutely MUST have for an international beach vacation, then keep on reading!

  • Passport Books and Travel Documents–please, please, please have a passport BOOK when traveling overseas, you can’t use that little card. Oh, and be sure that your passport is valid 6 months past your return date. If you booked your trip with a travel agent, be sure he or she sent you all of your travel documents and know where they are at all times. If you didn’t book through an agent, be sure to print out all of the details of your trip (flight, hotel, transfers, etc.).
  • Parent Authorization Form-if you plan to travel out of the country with a child that is not yours, you MUST have a written letter of approval from that child’s parents. Grandparents, this goes for you too! It’s a simple form that a parent fills out and has notarized.
  • Extra sunscreen and hats–don’t buy one bottle of sunscreen and pack one hat. Pack a couple of both. Trust me, you won’t want to buy a $10 bottle of sunscreen or a $20 hat at the resort gift shop–and you won’t want to have to exchange currency for these little purchases.
  • Beach chair lock box–More than likely you will be taking your phone, camera, reading device, cash, etc. down to the beach with you. Don’t just throw it in a beach bag or under your towel–thems is easy pickens. Instead opt for a little box that can keep all of your stuff safe (pun totally intended) when you decide to take a walk or head into the water.
  • A good beach book–enough said!
  • Waterproof camera–not necessarily an underwater camera, but a camera that can stand to get wet or dropped in the water.
  • Swim shampoo–ladies, this is more for you, but be sure to take some type of shampoo to help you get the chlorine and sand out of your hair. I recommend Malibu. It works and its cheap! A great combination.
  • Beach chair clips–A great way to not only remember where your chair is, these nifty little clips do wonders of keeping your towel in place.
  • 3-4 swim suits, depending on length of stay–trust me, there is nothing worse than putting on a cold, wet swimsuit in a frigid, air-conditioned room. BRRR!
  • Pack coverups or shorts–depending on the country, it can be considered rude to be away from the beach/pool area without proper attire. So be sure to add some shorts and shirts or a dress-like coverup to your suitcase–even if you plan to be at the beach all day, everyday. And never get into a taxi, transfer or private car with a wet swimsuit on.

Now, I could go on and on about how you need at least 2 outfits per day (AT LEAST)–and shoes/purses to match; however, that is just my opinion. But, ladies, depending on the type of vacation you have planned, be sure to pack at least a couple of fun beach dresses for dinner. Guys, throw in some nice button down shirts and a few pairs of dress shorts. All-inclusive resorts will expect them for dinner. If you don’t plan to stay at an all-inclusive, better to err on the side of caution and dress up instead of down.

Did I forget anything that’s always on your list? Please tell me in the comments below–and do it soon too–so I can add them to my packing list!

I can almost feel my toes in the sand…


1 thought on “International Beach Vacations Must Haves”

  1. Great tips – especially the reminder about proper documentation and the parental consent letter! I’d add for parents to bring a copy of their child’s birth certificate as well, especially if last names are different. Have a fab trip!

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