Summer Break: Smart Packing for Beach Trips

A recent getaway to Jamaica taught me a great deal about items that should be staples when traveling to the beach. Factors such as safety around water, hair damage, and boredom are all issues that could derail a trip if not taken into consideration when packing. For women of color, overlooking threats such as sun exposure may be a natural inclination. However, we are as susceptible to sun burns as Caucasians which is why knowing which items to pack could make or break your trip and your memories.


Comfortably enjoying a vacation at the beach requires packing more then just bikinis and flip-flops. Don't make the same mistakes I made: I erroneously assumed my dark skin would protect me from sunburn and was uncomfortable after getting my first sunburn. I packed plenty of shoes, yet forgot to bring layers to keep me warm during the cool island nights. A water-proof camera and my Kindle, however, were among my best packing decisions.  

Aundrea’s Tips for Packing for the Beach

  1. One can never have too much hair conditioner: I am still dealing with the fallout from failing to pack enough hair conditioner for my beach vacation. Chlorine, sea water, and even fresh water can have damaging effects on your hair, leaving it brittle and lackluster. Packing ample conditioner is the best way to guarantee manageable hair once your vacation is done.
  2. Bring along entertainment: The beach can be a relaxing place to take naps in the sun and frolic in the water. When that is done, then what? Bringing along frisbees, e-readers, or a radio can extend the fun of a beach trip and can also be a great way to meet new friends.
  3. Always bring a first-aid kit: While on my trip, I scraped my foot causing a minor cut. I was absolutely astounded at how long it took me to locate a bandaid. Point taken--when accidents happen, it is best to be prepared. Keep a first-aid kit handy while traveling. Travel size kits have made it even easier to prepare for the worst without taking up much space.
  4. Carry along a jacket: It sounds silly to pack a jacket for the beach, right? However, as I mentioned above, hot days can quickly turn into cool nights. To avoid a summer cold or walking around in damp clothes, bring warm (but light) layers.
  5. Pre-think souvenirs: Buying lots of gifts can quickly add bulk to your bag. Plan to leave a little space in your luggage to avoid managing too many heavy bags at once. For larger items, consider shipping them home for safe and hassle-free travel or leaving space in the car.


Long awaited beach trips can lead anywhere from local lakes to oceans the world over. Whether leaving for a day, weekend, or week, good vacations take planning. Spending time in advance to properly pack for the beach will spare you drama and maximize your fun in the sun.

Aundrea_Gregg-TheWiseLatinaClubAn education policy wonk at the Georgia Center of Opportunity, Aundrea Gregg holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Planning from the London School Of Economics and a Bachelor’s in Classical Civilizations and Political Science from Howard University. She also is a nail painting enthusiast and writer living in Atlanta, GA. Connect with Aundrea on Twitter or Google+.

What will you pack for your beach trip?