Beach Vacation Packing List for Women - une femme d'un certain âge

A Beach Vacation Travel Wardrobe

A 12-piece beach vacation packing list for women. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

My Beach Vacation Packing List…

Even though I’ve previously declared myself “Not A Beach Person,” I have to admit I am SO ready for this vacation. 🏖 Lounging under a shady palapa with a cold beer 🍺sounds really good right about now.

While I usually don’t maintain a separate wardrobe for travel, in this case I did purchase a few items as my day-to-day wardrobe isn’t particularly beach-appropriate. Per the latest forecast, the weather will be warm but not too hot: highs in the mid-80’s, lows in the 60’s F. According to my BIL who’s already there with the boat, the humidity levels are still in the comfortable range.

Travel Wardrobe For A Week In Puerto Vallarta

My beach vacation packing list for Mexico. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

We will probably be spending most of our days by the pool, at the beach, or on a boat. I’m not anticipating any venues that will require anything more formal than “neat casual” attire.

By sticking to my Spring color palette, I managed to put together a colorful beach vacation wardrobe that’s still cohesive. Almost everything goes with everything else, and can be worn in multiple combinations.

As usual, I’m not counting shoes, accessories, outerwear or “underpinnings” in my 12 items. At the very last minute I’ll double-check the forecast, and swap out an item if necessary or add a Wild Card piece.


Because I always start with the shoes…

  • Slip-on sneakers. I’ll wear these for travel days, and perhaps if we have any excursions in town that require a lot of walking. (I found this style runs ½ size large, suggest sizing down.) Here’s a similar style that’s more budget-friendly.
  • Wedge sandals. I wore this style all over Paris the last two summers (including on cobblestones) and found them both comfortable and stable. I figure these can be my “out to dinner” footwear.
  • Beach sandals. I’m not a fan of flip-flops, and find these “sport” sandals just as beach-friendly, but more comfortable and easier to walk in.



Swimsuits & Dress


Beach vacation packing list: accessories. Details at une femme d'un certain age.
  • The hat is a few years old, and has SPF 50 protection. Here’s a similar style. And a more budget-friendly option (lots of colors available).
  • Jewelry: necklace | necklace | bracelet (similar) | bracelet (similar). I’ve kept it pretty minimal for this trip. I probably will only wear one or two pieces in the evenings.
  • A mineral-based sunscreen. This one has no ingredients that will damage coral reefs.
  • For most days, if I need a bag at all, I think my lightweight Le Pliage bag will be perfect. (Similar)
  • But just in case we have any walking excursions, I’ll want a lightweight crossbody bag that holds everything I need.
  • The light cotton scarf in top photo was gifted from Josephine, and is large enough to wear as a wrap or pareo. She has an online shop with lovely scarves she finds at the marchés in the South of France. Go HERE to see what she has in stock. If you’re interested in the scarf I have, it can be special-ordered, just email her at
Blue leopard print scarf from Chic at Any Age shop. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

If your palette is cooler, this lightweight blue scarf with leopard print is a fun option. Also large enough to wear as a wrap.

I think I’m ready to go; next stop: Puerto Vallarta! 🌴🍹

What do you always include in your beach vacation packing list?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Adele
    March 6, 2020 / 4:08 am

    I’m a big fan of the Lands End tank suits. We’re currently on a beach vacation and I brought an old, old one in a batik print, a
    Long with a matching 3/4 ruched sleeve swim/upf top, and a black, Grecian style tank suit. Super comfortable for swimming and beach walks. Enjoy,,,

    • Jaye Coker
      March 6, 2020 / 6:31 am

      Lands End is always my choice too. My sisters and I have been wearing them for years.

  2. RoseAG
    March 6, 2020 / 4:13 am

    It looks pretty good to me for a relaxing vacation. You don’t have any sports-related equipment – sun shirts, a band to to hold your sunglasses on, a baseball cap or hat that the wind won’t lift off – so I assume you aren’t planning on any beach sports like paddleboarding or biking. I might add a pair of house slippers so you have a scuff to slip on inside that doesn’t ever get wet/sandy.

  3. Susan
    March 6, 2020 / 4:20 am

    I really like the new ‘colourful’ you – the colours are very flattering to your complexion and hair colour and overall think you look younger. Your selection of clothing for your beach holiday reflects your ‘new look’ and looks great, but I (for me) would substitute the long trousers for shorts and a couple of loose linen or cotton casual dresses, chucking in a pair of thongs (flip flops) for the pool area. As for a bathing suit, it is more burkini than bikini these days.

  4. March 6, 2020 / 5:10 am

    You are good at this. I always pack far too much and can never size down to items that work together. Perfect holiday packing. Your shoes and bags aren’t the cheapest but I bet they make up for that in comfort and duration. That soft pink crossbody bag is really handy. I “need” one in dark blue.

  5. Ann in Missouri
    March 6, 2020 / 5:28 am

    “More burkini than bikini …” LOL!

    But seriously … even though I’m not a spring, since you committed to your Red Leopard season/style evaluation I’m learning so much from you about how I can put more of my own colors (summer) in my wardrobe. I no longer consider a piece (whether new or thrift-shopped) that isn’t in my summer colors.

    I’ve also realized that it wasn’t so much my seasonal colors that stymied me in the past as my style (classic). Apparently, it’s wild and crazy patterns that alert my classic spidey senses. 😉 Those of us who drive in the classic lane seem to feel safest in solids. We tolerate well only “quiet,” small, repetitive patterns, e.g., stripes, checks, dots, etc. At least, that’s my understanding thus far of the style I feel most comfy in.

    Still, only solids and an occasional stripe or a few small polka dots can make for a pretty boring wardrobe. Consequently, I’ve ventured into the World of Patterns by choosing scarves and, especially, shawls with much bigger patterns than I’d ever wear next to my skin. Somehow, patterned “accessory pieces” manage to satisfy my inner boho, but don’t over-excite my spidey senses. 🙂

  6. Marta Suarez
    March 6, 2020 / 5:42 am

    Ate deje un comentario en The sequinista. Saludos.

  7. Jannie
    March 6, 2020 / 6:07 am

    Love all the colors you have chosen. I always take lip sunscreen, slippers, yoga pants and casual long sleeve SPF 50 top and shorts. Have a wonderful time!! Just returned from a month in Florida…I’m a beach person!!

  8. March 6, 2020 / 7:06 am

    Your wardrobe looks perfect and your vacation sounds divine! It’s such a joy to see all of the wonderful colors you are now incorporating into your wardrobe.

  9. Jen
    March 6, 2020 / 7:17 am

    I loved this post. We went to Mexico a couple of weeks ago and my wardrobe was similar. Once there I wore the same pair of shorts ( Bermuda length) every day.
    My longer pants just didn’t feel right.
    Evenings for dinner the long pants were great.
    We live in a cold winter place so I loved my Sandals every day on the street and in the sand.
    Your scarf is a wonderful idea. Next year I will include one too.

    • Susan Blakey
      March 6, 2020 / 7:58 am

      Hi kb, perhaps someone else can answer, as I’ve never traveled with the silk pants. I do find the stretch crepe to be surprisingly comfortable in the heat (I wore them when we visited Thailand, where it was 90F with high humidity and was comfortable).

      • kb
        March 6, 2020 / 8:05 am

        Thank you, Susan. The stretch crepe is more “wearable” to me, but it seems like the silk pair could be a quick-dry, and wrinkles *might* steam out if hung near a hot shower….and, they have pockets! I very much appreciate the feedback, and am hopeful that others will comment.

        • DeeDee
          March 6, 2020 / 8:37 am

          I have found that the EF stretch crepe pants are too warm for daytime wear in the warmer climates. Maybe wear them on the flights and in the evening at an air conditioned restaurant. But we all have different temperature/humidity tolerances. On a trip to Hawaii I took dresses (like the EF System long tank dress worn with a wrap or light cardigan) and Bermuda shorts for daytime wear. I also think linen is much more comfortable during the summer here in Kansas. I haven’t tried the silk pants because I tend to stain them too quickly!

        • Susiekrochets
          March 6, 2020 / 9:36 am

          HI KB. I find the stretch crepe pants easy to wash in a sink when necessary and they do dry overnight (but maybe not in a humid climate, then it might take longer). I can’t compare to the silk ones as I have not tried those. I love traveling with the EF crepe pants and have worn in warm temps, although not in hot, overly humid climates. I would think that they would work well in France in July. Have a great trip!

          • kb
            March 6, 2020 / 11:00 am

            Thank you, Deedee and Susiedrochets and Jan! The EF silk pant is also washable….hence, my conundrum, and I’m looking at the navy. (Of course, if budget allowed, I’d purchase both ;-). I’m very appreciative of these quick replies, and thank you for the good trip wishes!

    • Jan Whichard
      March 6, 2020 / 9:36 am

      I have long and crop EF stretch crepe pants as well as the silk pants in several colors. I am not a huge fan of the crepe feel and they do bag a bit. I feel as if the crepe pants look “old lady” and kind of cheap but every time I put them on they surprise me by looking crisp and classy! In the heat they are ok but wouldn’t be my first choice during the day. I have some Columbia Bermuda shorts in a quick dry silky feeling but not clingy fabric and they are wonderful.
      The silk is a no go for me when I travel because they really are not washable silk and they wrinkle easily and stay wrinkled. However, if you want to iron, the fabric is delicious and cool.
      I’m off to Romania and Hungary in July where it can get into the mid 80s and 90s so I really appreciate looking at Susan’s travel list. I will be gone for a month and because of what I have learned here, my suitcase will be a carry on size!
      Susan…bravo that you can still wear a bathing suit and tank tops….!!! You will look like a million bucks with these clothing choices. Have a great time!

    • RachelinOz
      March 6, 2020 / 1:11 pm

      Hi KB. I’ve travelled in Asia with the EF crepe pants and love them for city sightseeing/evening. They wash and wear well. I also have the silk but these are not travel pants for me – too fiddly to wash and steam on the go.

      • kb
        March 6, 2020 / 3:37 pm

        Thank you, Rachel. I’ve decided — stretch crepe it is (not stretch silk). Thanks to Susan and everyone on the forum…what a terrific resource!

  10. noblepower
    March 6, 2020 / 7:58 am

    Have a great time in PV – we were there in late January and it was lovely! I’m not a beach person either, but found that the longer pants I’d brought only saw the light of day on my travel days to and from. While I was there it was Bermuda shorts and skirts or dresses for me.
    I am really enjoying seeing how you are using your Spring palette to advantage in this travel wardrobe. I’m really learning so much from this new direction you’ve taken!

  11. Nancy
    March 6, 2020 / 8:03 am

    I love these colors!!! I do you have a lovely time.
    But I can’t see any of your links, only get ?

    • Susan Blakey
      March 6, 2020 / 8:06 am

      Hi Nancy, there may be some sort of ad blocker set up on your browser. Those will sometimes prevent product links from working. The links do work for me.

  12. Mary Alice
    March 6, 2020 / 9:05 am

    Can I just add a caveat about Le Pliage bags? A friend walking down the street had hers slashed and her wallet stolen. They are cute and convenient for travel but not secure.

  13. shira
    March 6, 2020 / 10:01 am

    Lovely capsule. Have you tried the red J Crew shirt? I’m wondering how the length of the shirt works for you- it looks very long.

    • Susan Blakey
      March 6, 2020 / 10:36 am

      Hi shira, it’s just-below-the-knee length on me.

  14. Blyma Wolpin
    March 6, 2020 / 10:04 am

    These colors are gorgeous and clearly suit you. And your capacity to make everything work together is both impressive and inspirational. As one of the commenters above noted, I, too, no longer even LOOK at clothing that’s not in my color palette, no matter how much of a ‘bargain’ it is. I have found, when in Mexico, that I don’t like to wear anything that has much of a waistband at all. My sisters and nieces and I all have a collection of what we call ‘beach ball gowns’ – basically, long, loose, flowey dresses with necklines that are appropriate for each of us (and that we mostly buy at the very end of the season at Nordstrom rack for an amazing discount.) They’re perfect over a bathing suit to get to the beach, for walking on the beach as sun protection, and they are absolutely appropriate in almost any restaurant. For going to town they work, especially with a large cotton scarf/shawl. That or a pair of loose linen pants with a drawstring waist. But that’s just me – I don’t want to be thinking about any clothes that are too fitted when I’m lounging on the beach or swimming or anticipating my cold beer! Have a wonderful time – those colors are a lovely bit of brightness on this grey Oregon day.

  15. Rondi
    March 6, 2020 / 11:35 am

    I agree with several of the comments about loose flowy clothing. Although your BIL said the humidity is not bad yet there is still humidity. Temperature is not the culprit, humidity is. I call it “closeness”. The air feels close. For me, I would substitute a pair of loose fitting Bermuda shorts and a loose skirt for a couple pairs of the pants. In the same colors as the pants so everything still coordinates. But you will most likely live in the bathing suits and cover ups. Your days sound absolutely delightful. I love those LE tank swimsuits! The colors of this travel wardrobe are so pretty. Excellent wardrobe. Your shoe selection is perfect. I hope you have a fun and relaxing time!

  16. GG
    March 6, 2020 / 11:37 am

    Your transition to colors is an inspiration, a journey I am slowly taking for myself based on your positive experiences. You look so much happier and younger since you made the switch and I’m beginning to walk that way, too. Your beach wardrobe is so bright and cheery, I think you’re going to have a ton of fun on your trip and think you may just well be on your way to becoming a beach person! The Land’s End pieces are brilliant, I have always wanted a matching beach coverup & now I will!

  17. Elaine
    March 6, 2020 / 12:21 pm

    I love the happy colors of your beach wardrobe. I am in my seventies and we take beach vacations every year. Like yours, my skin is fair, and I don’t like frying in the hot sun of the gorgeous places that we visit. For the past 20 years I have been using a light weight black travel umbrella (Shed Rain) to shade my upper body. It is better than a hat that usually only covers the top part of your face. I have noticed that other folks are starting to use them for shade too in Mexico. I always bring a hat as well. For swimming or playing in the sand with grandkids, the LE high SPF shirts with their long sleeves and jewel necks are great. When traveling in the tropics or anywhere in hot seasons, I always bring a small container of mosquito repellant. We enjoy dining outdoors when it is warm and those pesky little guys can show up anywhere, even the elegant restaurants of Florence or Venice.
    You look wonderful in your new colors. Have a lovely restful and fun trip. Mexico can be so joyful!

  18. Julie
    March 6, 2020 / 9:20 pm

    No silk or washing clothes on vaca for me! One necklace, bracelet, watch, and my normal rings for left & right hand. White skirt with tees and Ralph Lauren pink stripe oxford (in case of evening chill) with comfy new Sperry shoes. Beach wear is a stretch spandex loose skirt with attached just over the knee leggings for coverage, a spandex tank for swimming and a sunblock tee over it for walking to beach. My Lake Girl hat matches everything and I like to protect my forehead & scalp from the sun. I can use my Coach wallet as a crossbody so no extra purse or bag needed. Enjoy!

  19. Marta Suarez
    March 7, 2020 / 4:44 am

    Hi Susan, you know I love your blog. But I am a medical doctor and I must ask you don’t encourage shopping, neither on line, because many products come from China. People must stay at home about the coronavirus. Best wishes, Marta.

  20. March 7, 2020 / 11:50 am

    I love how everything goes together! I am also not a beach person. Heat and humidity just make me feel miserable and sluggish. I don’t wear shorts or dresses, other than maxis, as nobody wants to see my very pale blotchy legs, especially me. We were just in Hawaii and I took 2 pairs of JJill capris leggings to wear under LEnd dresses and tunics. Worked great! I felt covered, comfortable and cool, hardly even noticed I was wearing leggings. I hope they never go out of style! Also, I stay away from most polyester for summer and look for cotton, linen or viscose as these fabrics breathe and are much cooler.

  21. Susan W H
    March 8, 2020 / 2:17 pm

    Susan, a question about Eileen Fisher crepe pants. I bought a pair from Macy’s on sale which arrived a few days ago. I can’t believe these are the same crepe pants you have raved about. The texture is unpleasant–almost scratchy and cheap feeling. They also smell horribly of Febreze. I wanted to give them a chance so I washed them–at least I got the wrinkles out! The color ran–I did wash them alone in cold water by hand. And the smell has improved a bit. Do you think Macy’s got a cheaper version to put on sale?!!Pants

    • Susan Blakey
      March 8, 2020 / 9:29 pm

      Hi Susan, that’s not been my experience. The fabric does have some texture, but I don’t find it scratchy. I’ve never had an issue with the color running, or any kind of smell. I’m sorry that was your experience.

      • Susan W H
        March 9, 2020 / 8:29 pm

        Thanks Susan. I wonder if this was a special run just made for a Macy’s promotion. I’ve owned several EF tops and they have been great.

  22. Lagatta de Montréal
    March 8, 2020 / 3:37 pm

    I’m also utterly NOT a beach person. If I travel to Mexico it will be to improve my Spanish and investigate culture, from Indigenous to ultramodern. And of course, it is utterly fine if posters here are “beach people”!

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