Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Travel Beauty: What to Pack for...the Beach!

Reading week's coming up, so I figure there'll be a flurry of you student people headed for various vacation spots just to get away from the slushy filth that has become our fair city.  Of course you'll bring along books in the vain effort to "study" on the beach or the chairlifts or whatever, but what else are you bringing?

Beach vacations are rather popular for this time, so I figure I'll start with that!  Again, here are my rules for packing:
  1. I hate checking luggage, so if I don't have to I won't.
  2. I hate bringing unnecessary crap.
  3. I better use everything, or I'll kick myself after the trip.
  4. Don't forget anything, or I'll kick myself during the trip.
This will be based off my most recent beach vacation, where my roommate promised me she'd bring shampoo and a brush, and she didn't.  The hotel room offered really crappy soap that didn't wash out with the hard water that came out of the shower, so my only option was to soak it in the ocean and hope that it looked "beachy" and not disgusting.  Based on photos, it did not work.

So here's my basic packing list - things will be different depending on where you go, if you have any fancy events to go to, how good you want to look, etc. but this should cover about a week of beach time.

Beach Vacation Apparel

    • Swimwear - I like to bring at least two bikinis, so I can wash one, and if it doesn't dry the next day, I have something to fall back on.  I don't particularly care about mismatched tops and bottoms, but I do try to bring two somewhat coordinating suits.  My roommate grabbed 3 tops and about a dozen mismatched bottoms which she started wearing as underwear because she forgot to bring any.  So there's that too.
    • Cover ups - While I'm completely comfortable walking around the resort in my bikini, I'm not sure everyone else is similarly appreciative of the human form.  Bring a sarong, or one of those beach shirts.  Shorts also work, and I think they are my favourite option so I bring two.  I end up using my sarong as a scarf, but I've never subscribed to this whole sarong-as-dress thing. They are often see through, so...just don't.  Unless it's opaque.
    • Evening wear - One mistake I made was highly underestimating how casual the resort would be.  I imagined there would be a dress code for dinner every night, but turns out people were quite comfortable in their bermuda shorts.  I brought five dresses and just looked really overdressed the entire time.  If I could do it again, I would bring one or two day dresses and then a skirt and some tops, which can also act as beach cover ups.
    • Extras:  I highly, highly recommend wearing jeans and something warm (i.e. long-sleeved) on the plane. Last time I went to Cuba, it rained/was bitterly cold for the first two days, and I shivered under my hotel room blankets in shorts.  Bad idea.
    • Bottom Line:  2 bikinis, one sarong, 2 day dresses, 1 short, two tops, one skirt and wear something warm on the plane.

Beach Vacation Make Up
Make Up: I can't imagine anybody really wanting to wear make up on the beach, but it's fun to dress up for dinner, so here's my recommendation
      • Waterproof mascara
      • One eyeliner - I bring a black waterproof liquid liner.  Pencil and cream liners smudge too much.
      • If you must bring eyeshadow, find a quad you can bring, but limit yourself to no more than two products.  Just do yourself that favour.  You'll feel better about yourself.
      • One cheek colour - I prefer cream blush or cheekstains because I find powder slides off/clumps on my sweaty self
      • A lip colour - again, lipstick may be a little heavy for a beachy vacation.  I would go with a gloss or a very moisturizing lipstick.
      • SPF lip balm
      • Tinted moisturizer - a foundation will melt off.  Be warned!
      • SPF - for face AND body.  Regardless of the SPF you need to reapply every hour or so!
      • Secret weapon:  to even out my tan lines, I bring a little oil (coconut, argan, whatever) and rub it anywhere I'm paler.  Not that you should tan or anything.  You know, because it's bad for you and all that.  Ahem.
      • All of the above things either have applicators or can be applied with fingers - bonus!  But I do keep an army of cotton swabs with me just in case.
    Hair Care
      • I do not bring heated appliances with me.  Why?  Because if you do need hot tools every day, your efforts will likely be thwarted by the insane humidity anyway.  If you must, I'd bring a flat iron that can straighten and curl.
      • Leave-in conditioner:  Preferably one with SPF (or you could just wear a hat).  It'll also protect your hair from any harsh climate damage.
      • Shampoo and conditioner.  See above.  Unless you know that your hotel/resort is supplied by a brand you love.
    That should fit into a 22 in. carry on with plenty of room to spare.  If it doesn't, you're obviously packing incorrectly. 

    PS: Don't forget your beach entertainment!

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