What's in my beach bag
Summer is well and truly here so bring on the BBQs, long hazy nights under the stars, ice cream in abundance and those unforgettable “salty hair, don’t care” beach days!
Are you curious about what I pack in my bag for a day at the beach? I thought so, that’s why I wrote this blog post, lucky you!
Aside from ice cream and possibly lunch, I don’t see much need for money on the beach. Of course I don’t like being caught out so I carry a small amount of cash and a card. I NEVER leave these unattended though and if I do go for a swim where I’m leaving my bag on the beach, I will put it in my waterproof phone case along with my phone, which I have written about a little further down.
For photos, music, emergencies and googling when I’m trying to prove Michael wrong about something or another.
Waterproof phone case
I only bought this in early 2019 and honestly I don’t know why I didn’t get one earlier! Now I never have to worry about leaving my phone or bank card unattended on the beach again. Plus I can take photos under water, which is a novelty that, let’s face it, never wears off.
As lovely as kicking back on the beach is, I mostly love listening to music. Especially a playlist I have made especially for the destination such as my PFH Hawaiian mix tape playlist or PFH California road trip mix tape. As I might be leaving my bag unattended to frolic in the sea, I don’t bring my noise cancelling headphones, never mind the fact that it’s dangerous to be that unaware of your surroundings in public. So instead I bring the pair that came with my phone; they do the job and the chances of someone nicking something that has been inside my ears are pretty slim.
To make sure they don’t get tangled in my bag I wrap them in my This is Ground cord taco.
In all honestly in the last few years I have started to read more online than I do physical books. I will however put time aside for a very good one such as my dear friend @ouiwegirl’s book: Wanderful, the modern Bohemian’s guide to traveling in style.
If I get too hot with my hair down, or don’t fancy getting heaps of sand in it, I will tie it up.
What with all of that salt water and sun, my lips get pretty shrivelled on the beach, so I always have a lip salve on me. I particularly recommend popping one with SPF in your bag for extra protection.
Wearing makeup on the beach is pointless. I always sweat it off or it gets washed off in the sea, but if I’m going out somewhere when I come off the beach, I keep a few bits in my Flat Lay Co.
These bits are usually concealer, mascara, blush, highlighter (to enhance that beachy glow) and a brightly coloured lip product.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly come off the beach after a day of lounging in the sun smelling like a peach…
I recently switched to all natural deodorants and am currently using this one from Neal’s Yard.
Long gone are the days where I didn’t give a hoot about skin safety! I would NEVER go for a day out on the beach without wearing suncream and having it in my bag for multiple top ups. If I am going somewhere where the sun is particularly harsh I will bring SPF 50 and 30 with an additional facial suncream (it is less greasy) which is SPF 30. If there isn’t a high risk of burning I will bring SPF 30 and 15 with the facial suncream.
I swear by Hawaiian Tropic for the following reasons:
It is “reef safe” which means it doesn’t contain oxybenzone and octinoxate which are harmful to coral reefs. When worn on humans they convert harmful UV rays to safe heat on our skin, but when they wash off into the water, they have the complete opposite effect on corals. Instead, it strips them of the layer that protects them from bleaching under the sun.
It’s moisturising as well as protective, so it has a better chance of preventing your skin from drying out under the sun.
It smells so good! It will take you to a tropical paradise wherever you are.
It has a bronze shimmer to it which really enhances your summer glow.
I love a sunhat for three reasons:
It protects my head from the sun
It hides my face whenever I take a little nap
It covers up my messy beach hair
It depends on the type of beach day I’m having as to which hat I will bring. If I’m planning on being quite active I will bring a baseball cap but if it’s more of a posey day I will bring a straw hat.
Squinting in the sun is a look that serves no one, I like to see, plus I want to protect my eyes from harmful rays. I don’t like to bring my best pairs to the beach because I’m worried they will get scratched up by the sand.
If you’ve been a PFH reader for a while, you probably know by now that I swear by microfibre towels. They are the ultimate travel towel for the following reasons:
They are antibacterial, so they won’t smell
They are sand resistant, so you can lay out on them on the beach and not have to worry about sand sticking to you after a swim or getting in your bag when it’s time to go home
They adsorb moisture quickly, so you can spend less time drying and more time having fun
They dry quickly, so you don’t have to worry about folding up a damp towel to put back in your bag
They fold down to a compact size
I was recently gifted towels by Dock and Bay and I am obsessed! Not only do they have all of the amazing qualities I’ve listed above, but their towels come in fun and bright colours, plus they only use biodegradable packaging! I bought my partner a pair of swim shorts in 2018 from Dock and Bay because they are made from recycled plastic bottles and they are one of his favourite pairs. Plus all of their products in the Cabana collection are named after some of the hottest travel destinations, so how could I resist a Waikiki Coral hair wrap!
Their XL size is perfect for sharing if you want to save space and just bring one!
This little item is a big deal! I don’t know about you but when I come out of the sea, I don’t mind drying my body off in the sun, but I can’t stand how my hair drips all down my back and face. With my hair wrap from Dock and Bay (also gifted) I never have to worry about that! I can just twist my hair into the wrap and pin it up so not only is it out of my face and drip free but it also look super cute! It is made from the same microfibre as their towels so it dries hair so quickly, it is a brilliant product!
Hopefully I will be able to dry off in the sun, but just in case I don’t and my swimsuit is still wet when I’m planning on heading somewhere after my time on the beach, I will pop in into a dry bag so it doesn’t get anything else in my bag wet. It’s the environmentally friendly equivalent of putting your swimsuit in a plastic bag.
It is very important to stay hydrated under the sun. To prevent my water from heating up on a warm day, I use a thermal bottle such as S’well. My one is from the Sip by Swell collection, I love their colourful prints and I’ve been using them for 5 years now so you can trust that they do a very good job of keeping your drinks cold. Last summer I went to the hottest place on earth, Death Valley, and when all the fluids in my body evaporated, my water stayed as cold as it was when it went in.
Right up until the beginning of this year, I used to be so self conscious about eating on the beach. I didn’t want to sit up and have belly rolls whilst I ate my bread rolls, and I most definitely didn’t want to bloat in my swimsuit. It took me 27 years but eventually I came to terms with the fact that if anyone is judging me for how I look on the beach, it says more about that person than it does me.
Now I don’t care about eating on the beach, and thank goodness because after a morning of sunning myself and taking multiple dips in the sea, I get hungry!
What I bring depends on where I’m going. If I’m on the beach in the UK then I am most certainly getting fish and chips because let’s face it, chips always taste better sprinkled with sand and under the threat of losing it to seagulls.
So there you have it, everything I take in my bag for a lazy day on the beach. If you are interested in knowing what to pack for a more active day take a look at Packing guide - what to take on excursions, tours and day trips.
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