It’s been a few weeks since our family vacation to Mexico and I can’t wait to share my guide for what to pack on your next summer vacation. These items were essential with making my time off comfortable and effortless. And although some of us have fall on the brain, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy beach and pool days.
Summer vacation can be spent anywhere, but in my case, it was a beach destination so I will share items that were great in a beach setting. We went to Puerto Vallarta and stayed at the Garza Blanca Resort. This place was amazing! Our room was as big as a large one-bedroom apartment and was comfortable for our family of four.
It was a bit out of our usual price range, but when you work hard you deserve to splurge a little. Besides, we’re trying to make some great memories with our family so it was all very much worth it!
What to Pack for Summer Vacation
Every day was spend either at the beach or the pool. The pool was more ideal as there was a section that made it easier for the girls to stand and eased my nerves — something about open ocean just makes me uneasy.
Beach & Pool Style
One item that I’m so glad I packed was a cover up. Cover ups just make it so easy to walk to and from the pool and you don’t have to mess with a top and bottoms — just throw on a cover up and you are good (and modest) to go. I picked mine up from H&M for less than $30 and I loved that it matched my swimsuit. I also had another cover up that I purchased off Amazon and I’ve also worn it over my street clothes because it’s just so transitional.
As far as swimsuits, I did bring a few. I had two that I also purchased off Amazon that are high-waisted and had adorable pom poms adorning the front of the suit. I did purchase this one-piece right before we left on our trip because I’ve been a little self-conscience about my tummy and I wanted to get a suit that would let me just enjoy my time there with the fam instead of worrying about it.
Also, for the girls, I purchased a couple of swimsuits that had long sleeves to help protect their delicate skin. We purchased them to use the first few days and also brought their one-pieces as back up but they loved their long-sleeved suit — especially Olivia. Luckily, the suits’ material has SPF 50 for added protection.
You can always make more money but you cannot make more time. Spend it wisely.
Another item to pack in your suitcase are sandals. No one wants to waste time lacing up sneakers — sandals are the way to go. Luckily, I’ve rounded up 5 summer sandals trends that you can check out here. I think I packed about 6 pairs to keep my options open Not only are they easy to put on but they don’t take up much room in your luggage.
Next must-have would be a wide-brimmed hat. The hat helps protect your skin from the sun and also the top of you head. But just because you wear a hat does not mean you are 100% protected from the sun. UV rays can bounce off objects (pool, tabletops, drink glasses) and eventually find your un-protected skin. Additionally, if you forgo the hat, make sure you’re putting sunscreen on any exposed scalp. I had put two pigtails on Olivia and she got a sunburn on the middle part on her scalp.
Exposing your skin to the sun not only increases your risk for skin cancer but it also promotes pre-mature aging — I’ve had to learn the hard way. Being so fair, I would subject myself to direct sunlight in my early twenties because I wanted to get a summer glow. Also, it would dry out my oily-skin and I thought that was the answer to drying out my acne.
Little did I know that it would only make things worse. Although it does dry out your skin temporarily, it also sends your oil-producing glands into overdrive to compensate, leaving you prone to breakouts and clogged pores further down the line. To make matters worse, the sun damage I did 10 years ago are finally showing on my face. So please….I beg you… take care of your skin if you are in your teens or early twenties, otherwise you’ll have to face the repercussions when you get older.
Another accessory that helps protect you from the sun are sunglasses. A good pair of sunglasses – those with UV protection- will safeguard against damaging sun rays and also save your delicate eye area from fine lines and wrinkles. I get that lines around the eyes are inevitable as we age, but we all want to gracefully, right?
Go-to Beauty Finds
As for my face, I grew to love this tinted sunscreen by Supergoop. It was not love at first try, but after a little trial and error, it eventually became my go-to for beach and pool days. The product goes on velvety smooth and really keeps you matte, unlike most sunscreens that leave my skin shiny and slick.
It also has sheer coverage which wasn’t enough to cover up my dark spots, but did minimize them. And truthfully, I was there to enjoy my time with my girls and husband that I really didn’t care if the spots and scars came out to play. My main concern was sun protection and with SPF 40, it was ideal for me.
As for my hair, I knew that I wouldn’t be spending a ton of time straightening it because we would be at the pool or beach everyday so I was after the surfer girl beach waves. I have tried Bumble & Bumble’s salt spray and did not like how tacky and unmanageable it left my hair. I purchased OUAI’s wave spray a few months back and it gave me the same results.
Then, right before our trip, I bought Pacifica’s Salty Wave Beach Hair Balm. This stuff is legit! I would run some product through my clean, wet hair and my hair would dry into piecy waves. My hair already has a bit of a natural wave so it just enhanced them. The best part was that they were manageable and not tacky at all.
I also paired it with Not Your Mother’s 10-in-1 hair protector. This paired well with my Pacifica balm and also protected my hair from sun damage. The product claims it:
- Adds Body
- Adds Shine
- Controls Frizz
- Repairs Dry Hair
- Heat Protection
- Mends Split Ends
- Seals Cuticle
As for makeup, I mainly used my Supergoop tinted sunscreen but also added my Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer to enhance my faux-tan. Before vacation, I had put on my #1 self tanner from St. Tropez. I love how easy it is to apply the mousse and you are able to see the color go on so you’re not left with spots on your body. I’ve tried lotions that start to develop the color hours after application and I would always end up with areas that I missed.
This mousse let’s me see where the color is applied and gets darker as the day goes on. The color is a beautiful bronze shade, not orangy, and the smell is tolerable. I also had a sample size of St. Tropez’s Tinted Everyday Lotion. This was great for the latter part of my trip as the self-tanner started to fade from so many days in the water.
It left my skin with a hint of color and shimmer and was great for adding a bit of glow.
For my lips, I kept it very subtle with Tarte’s Sugar Rush Lip Oil in Dragonfruit. This applies more like a lip gloss but leaves my lips with a hint of color and shine. Perfect for fuss-free days laying out by the pool.
I definitely feel like I over packed for this trip because there was a ton of makeup that was never used. I think that for any beach destinations, less is more. Unless you like to deal with runny mascara and patchy foundation spots.
I’m so glad we got away before Olivia starts school and we all get busy with the hustle and bustle of our fall schedules. I would definitely urge you to take a family vacation somewhere, even a staycation at a local resort. The memories made are priceless and you will NEVER regret spending the money to make memories. I came across a saying and I think it rings so true: You can always make more money but you cannot make more time. Spend it wisely.