How To Pack For A Beach Vacation (When Youre Not A Beach Person)

This may surprise you, but even though we live in Southern California, I avoid going to the beach. Dont get me wrong, I love the ocean, and being near it. Id happily walk along the boardwalk all day. Or bike. Or hike along the bluffs. But lying in the sand, baking in the sun, spending the day covered in ocean salt and gritits just not for me.

Above: Hat | Sunglasses | Tee | Shirt
Swimsuit | Pants | Jeans | Sunscreen
Sandals | Sneakers

It doesnt help that skin cancer runs in my family, so I have to constantly re-apply sunscreen, and seek out any bit of shade I can find. I also hate most bathing suits, and find them hard to fit and really uncomfortable.

But, we will be going to Puerto Vallarta in early March to meet up with my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law who will be there with their boat. (You can read about prior vacations to meet up with them HERE and HERE.)

In addition to seeing them, Im actually looking forward to this beach vacation!

Travel Wardrobe Planning: A Week At The Beach

For one thing, I know well get to do some sailing, which I love. For another, I know there will be lots of shady palapas on the beach close by, where I can hang out with a book and a cold cerveza. The weather should still be pleasant: warm but not sweltering. AndIve found a bathing suit I can tolerate. (So I bought two colors.) Plus options here and here.

So aside from a bathing suit and a pareo, what to bring?

Im often asked about packing for a warm weather destination or cruise, and its not possible to come up with a single wardrobe that will cover all possibilities. Take into account your activities, the level of formality, and your own personal style preferences. A few guidelines to help:

  • Start with the shoes! Be sure you have comfortable options for your activities in warm weather.
  • In general, I usually pack two tops for every bottom.
  • Plan that you may need to launder or at least rinse out your clothing more often than when traveling during cooler seasons.
  • If you get chilly in air-conditioned interiors, be sure to bring a lightweight sweater, jacket, or wrap.
  • Dont forget a hat and sunglasses!

Our trip to Puerto Vallarta will be mostly very casual. We may go into town for dinner once or twice, but put-together casual should cover it. Though I havent yet chosen all of the specific pieces, heres my general packing plan:



  • a pair of relaxed, lightweight white jeans*. I like these. (Sizes 24-37).
  • a pair of linen trousers (these are similar to the pair I purchased in France last summer)
  • a pair of slouchy tencel pants in navy (these can dress up or down)



My number one suggestion for any warm weather travel is to include linen pieces. Its really the most comfortable fabric in the heat. Last summer during the canicule in Paris, I was so happy to have easy-fitting linen pieces.

Other Options

Im not much of a dress/skirt wearer, but I know many of you are, especially in the heat. Ive included a few options in the widget below. Another style you may want to consider is a lightweight jumpsuit. Many styles can be dressed up or down.

*While white isnt in my color palette, I havent yet found a pair of cream or ivory jeans that work for me. This is one of those wear what you have until you find what you want situations.

Keep an eye out for more warm weather styles as the Spring/Summer collections start to roll in this month.

Do you have any travel planned for a warm destination?

Warm Weather Travel Style