Late in the evening on a Thursday night in February, I snapped. We were smack in the middle of the coldest winter of my life, and I was up late editing a Scandal recap that just didn't want to fall into place. After some cursory searching, I picked a well-rated hotel and a random week in May and bought myself a six-day solo vacation on the beach in Turks & Caicos. After almost exactly three months, that random week has arrived, and I'm packing my bags as we speak.
I've never been to the beach by myself before; there's always been someone to split resources with, someone whose sunscreen you can borrow if yours runs out or who has an extra tank top if you forget yours. Because there's no such safety net this time around, I've spent a lot of time trying to logically think through what I need, what I'm bringing and what I need to buy. I feel like I've prepared well, and because we're on the cusp of widespread vacation season, I thought it might be helpful to share my packing list with you.
(Psst. The most important thing you can do is bring lots of SPF in a variety of different forms. For an extensive list of ideas on how to do that, we made another handy-dandy list.)
Ancient Greek Ikaria Rubber Sandals
$106 via mytheresa.com
I've worn enough Havaianas in my life that I think I'm ready to upgrade to something a little more fun. (Not to mention, something I can actually wear somewhere other than the beach but that won't be ruined by water.)
ASOS Lace Insert Smock Beach Dress
$45 via ASOS
I wear black in everyday life, I wear black on the beach, I wear black everywhere. I will probably wear black to my own wedding.
Birkenstock Arizona Sandals
$100 via Anthropologie
You should always take at least two pairs of shoes on vacation, and ideally, they should have substantially different contact points with your feet; if one pair rubs you raw, you can switch to the other while you heal up.
Clare V Jacques Crossbody Bag
$129 via Anthropologie
For a vacation that requires a lot of outdoor time, go for a bag that's lightweight and made out of natural fibers. The last thing you want to lug around post-beach is a heavy leather bag that got a little wet.
Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe
$23 via Saks
Even if you tan instead of burn (lucky), you're going to want to have a post-sun product with plenty of aloe in it to soothe your skin.
Ett:twa Munin Sunglasses
$118 via Anthropologie
The beach is a great time for big, movie-star sunglasses because they protect the ultra-delicate skin around your eyes that you might miss with your sunblock.
Gucci Wide-Brimmed Straw Hat
$373 via MATCHESFASHION.COM
I have burned the part in my hair enough times to know that a headcovering is not optional.
Hampton Sun SPF 70
$32 via Sephora
This sunscreen might say it's for kids, but it's my absolute favorite. I've never gotten burned while using it (although I have gotten a little tan), and it shimmers on your skin really beautifully. I even spray a little in my hands and rub in on my face.
L:A Bruket Salt Scrub
$34 via Anthropologie
Getting sunscreen, aloe, chlorine and sea water off your skin at the end of the day can feel like a gargantuan task; the best way to do it is with a little help from a scrub full of moisturizing oils.
Ojon Rare Blend Hair Oil
$35 via Macy's
The beach is hard on hair--all you do is sun, salt, chlorine, wash, repeat. Bring a hair oil to re-deposit the moisture in your hair before bed so that you don't have to go to the salon when you get home.
Rag and Bone Cotton Shorts
$243 via mytheresa.com
I have to have a pair of shorts handy when it's hot out, lest my inner thighs get chafed and turn on me.
Shiseido Sun Protection Lip Treatment SPF 35
$22 via Saks
My lips are always one of the first things that I can feel burning when I'm in the sun, but who wants to but regular sunscreen on their mouth?
Sisley Sunleya Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50
$300 via Saks
If you're a skincare snob, this is the product you want to be taking to the beach.
Straw Studios Flower Crochet Tote
$88 via Macy's
All kinds of stuff spills inside of beach bags; I'd rather buy something economical and spend my extra dollars on fancy sunscreen. After all, you only get one set of skin.
Zimmermann Porcelain Chevron Swimsuit
$416 via MATCHESFASHION.COM
This bathing suit will give me weird tan lines, but it's cool enough that I don't care. (Also, if you're buying a suit with mesh inserts, make sure you get spray sunscreen for easy reapplication.)
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