As I sit here daydreaming about my upcoming beach getaway, I find that making a mental checklist is far easier than actually writing down what is needed. Knowing what to pick takes more work than one might expect, despite the multiple trips made over the years.

I love a good beach holiday, and even though I live in a tropical country like Malaysia, I just can’t seem to get enough of the sun. But every time I travel to a seaside destination, I always miss something, which inspired this ultimate packing list. So, through my own trial and error, I’ve finally perfected the mother of all lists, which hopefully will be of use to you, the next time you’re off on a beach vacation.

1. Best one-piece: Align Swim

No beach packing list is complete without the ultimate swimwear that supersedes them all, a classy one-piece. Despite what you may think, a stylish, functional, and everlasting one-piece swimsuit is not easy to come by. So when I discovered Align Swim, I was ecstatic.

The silhouettes are neat, the colourways are easy to match, and the brand is big on sustainability; what’s not to love? Their Core Collection, particularly the Phoebe One-Piece, is a classic one-piece that will stand the test of time, but if you’re looking for something with more character, the Sofia One-Piece will do the trick.

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2. Best water bottle: Hydroflask

Ask anyone who knows me well, and they’ll tell you of my obsession with water bottles. I have far too many, which gives me the (self-granted) right to recommend you the best of them all: Hydroflask. With various capacities to choose from and colourways to pair with any personality, they’re the perfect bottles to take on the go.

It’s essential to always stay hydrated, especially when you’re under the scorching sun enjoying the sands, so a Hydroflask is a non-negotiable beach vacay item. Besides water bottles, the brand also offers kitchenware and leakproof insulated containers for taking food with you.

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3. Best aloe vera gel: Fruit of the Earth

There are no ifs and buts about it –– climate change is a real thing, and with that comes harsher, more harmful UV rays actively hitting our skin. So, despite being diligent with sunscreen, the chances of being sunburnt are still there. Fruit of the Earth’s Aloe Vera Gel is a must-have on any beach packing list.

Made of sustainably-grown and hand-harvested aloe vera leaves, this gel will help cool sunburnt or irritated skin. You can even use it as a moisturiser for dry skin, and its non-sticky formula makes it easy to use and reapply.

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4. Best book: Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci

What is a beach vacation without a good book in hand? Stanley Tucci’s Taste: My Life Through Food is the kind of book that’s always in season, and the perfect light read about family, culture, and food. Since the stories he takes you through in this food memoir often involve a particular dish, you’ll find recipes in the book too. And all told through classic Stanley Tucci humour. Even if you’re not a fan of his, this book is still recommended for a holiday read.

5. Best hat: Lululemon On My Level Bucket Hat

Take protection to the next level with Lululemon’s On My Level Bucket Hat. Water-repellent and with eyelets for ventilation, this hat will keep you safe from heat all day long as you enjoy some time in the sun.

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6. Best blanket: Ikea’s Ömsesidig picnic blanket

Make your time at the beach as comfortable and enjoyable as possible without having to worry about pesky sandy bits getting everywhere. Big enough to fit both food and humans, this packing-friendly picnic blanket from IKEA has a waterproof backing, which makes it a perfect beach holiday accessory.

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7. Best scent: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa 62 Perfume Mist

What’s just as good as being on holiday? Smelling like one! Sol de Janeiro’s product line-up is all about smelling good and feeling good, and I, for one, cannot get enough of their Brazilian Crush Cheirosa 62 Perfume Mist. This one is a definite must-have in your beach bag. With irresistible notes of pistachio, almond, and vanilla to name a few, you’ll smell like the beach holiday you’re on.

While you’re at it, why not check out their Brazilian Kiss Cupuaçu Lip Butter? That’s sure to keep your lips smooth and moisturised. You can also apply it on your dry cuticles and elbows!

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8. Best beach bag: Roxy tote bag

What is the use of having all these items without having a tote to carry them all with you? I love a beach tote, and while there are many available, I quite favour Roxy’s fuss-free designs. Lightweight and easy to pack in the suitcase, it’s certainly an item not to be forgotten. Store and carry your beach essentials in these spacious totes; you’re all good for some fun in the sun!

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9. Best reef-friendly sunscreen: Salt & Stone Tinted Sunscreen Stick SPF 50

It’s a no-brainer that a beach vacation will require bottles of sunscreen, and while I highly recommend all of Salt & Stone‘s sunscreen range, one that sticks (pun intended) out the most for me is the Tinted Sunscreen Stick SPF 50. Compact and lightweight on the skin, its water-resistant formula makes it easy to be a staple. Besides gliding on your skin smoothly and leaving no residue, this natural sunscreen is also completely reef-safe. What’s not to love?

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10. Best rash vest: Rip Curl’s Brazilian Soul rash vest

With cute tropical designs and sun protection of UPF50+, Rip Curl’s Brazilian Soul rash vest is a great addition to your beach destination packing list. Whether you’re getting on the surfboard or not, a rash vest is great to have as it gives your skin an added layer of protection. Thanks to the Extra Life Microfibre Lycra, you can expect long-lasting comfort and no sagging. If you’re not a fan of prints, they have other solid-coloured options.

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