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Must Have Beach Vacation Items for Women Over 40: Packing Tips and Beach Necessities

Must Have Beach Vacation Items for Women Over 40: Packing Tips and Beach Necessities

One of the beauties of life after 40 is increasingly caring less about what the world thinks we should be! With that can come a level of gleeful independence we could only dream about in our 20s or 30s. 

For our reunion after 6 years apart, one of my BFFS; Emelita, and I planned a totally indulgent weekend beach getaway while I was working in Bali this summer. While relaxing at our hotel high up on a cliff, looking over spectacular views of Uluwatu we got to thinking and talking; what’s the difference between what we would pack now versus 10 or even 20 years ago.  

Now in our 40s and almost 50s, we find that setting the intention to travel in comfort and of course stylishly (Eme always travels with her own pillow because a night’s sleep is high on her list of priorities!) can help to prioritize packing, and can help you refine the exact essentials you need to make the most of your beach adventure. 

So what’s changed? For one thing; we have less time for “stuff”. Life is too short and beautiful to be weighed down with things we don’t need. For us both, now it’s more about how we feel about how we look, than what we believe other people are thinking about us.


isy b with a friend enjoying the beach

Comfort is key!

  • Our shoe needs have changed; we don’t really travel with heels anymore. You might find one pair of neutral wedge heels or block heel sandals in our luggage; otherwise, it’s flats all the way.
  • We pack more things that don’t need ironing.
  • We’re packing pieces that can mix and match and do double duty.

Here is the low down on our beach vacation must-haves as free-wheeling, gallivanting women over 40 and almost 50! We’re wiser, more adventurous, and more self-assured. So ladies please go right ahead and rock your beach style, embrace your confidence, and create beautiful memories whether traveling solo, as a pair, or with a group.

What to Bring on a Beach Vacation

Sophisticated Swimwear

Celebrate your fabulous self with your choice of stylish and bold swimwear. Forget about trying to blend in. One of the things I hear the most from friends who’ve passed that 40th vintage (can I just caveat here that age really is just a number!) is their worry over an almost eerie feeling of becoming more invisible as they age. My advice? Stay visible by not becoming invisible to yourself. Appreciate yourself for those curves or lack thereof, those lines, those stretch marks as badges of honor of a life well-lived. You’ve made it this far. Surely that’s worth celebrating? 

So what if you’d rather not bare it all in a bikini? There are so many flattering and elegant shapes of one-piece swimsuits to choose from that will offer comfort and support where you want it. Look for unique patterns and prints in colors that speak to you, visually slimming design details like side panels, a neckline that shows off a beautiful bust and collar bones, or even a belt to cinch in your waist. And remember, there is nothing more sexy and sophisticated than a woman who feels comfortable in her own skin whatever she chooses to wear.


The Chic Cover-Up

Here is where you can really up the ante and elevate your look with a sophisticated cover-up, kaftan, beach kimono, or sarong! Flowing fabrics in bright colours will always be show-stopping whatever your age. Don’t believe me? Try one of our cover-ups and see how many compliments you get! These versatile pieces provide a touch of extra glamour with that confidence-boosting coverage. 

Want even more of that feeling of “Excuse me; don’t I just look fabulous in this outfit?!” then try matching your swimwear and cover-up. Yes, go matchy-matchy. You’ll be amazed at how put together it makes you feel. And for the more practical-minded among us, let’s not forget about the countless other occasions when your luxurious coverup can do double duty - wear it as a layering piece for all your other vacation adventures, whether going sightseeing, for an after-dark stroll on the beach, for dinner or cocktails or as the perfect complement to your outfit for a romantic date night. 


The Bold Beach Bag

For instant glamour, carry your beach essentials in a statement-making beach bag. Look for one that is big enough and with compartments to keep your beach day necessities well-organized. Even better is a bag that folds into your luggage or that can be carried as hand luggage. It’s all about multitasking. Speaking of which…


A Great Multi-Tasking Accessory Bag or Pouch

Can be used for so much, you won’t believe it. I used mine for my electronic accessories, carrying my beach beauty products, a fun clutch for the evenings, and as an extra compartment in my beach bag to stop sand from getting on my Kindle and my ever-present notebook journal. Selfies alone just don’t cut it when it comes to capturing your feelings, thoughts, reflections, and the insights that invariably come up when you take a little time for yourself on vacation.


SPF Rashguard

These days, there’s only so much sun I want to expose my skin to. For additional sun protection or water activities, opt for a stylish rashguard that shields your skin from harmful rays even when you forget to religiously apply that sunscreen every hour!

Packing Tips for a Beach Vacation

  • Curate yourself: A well-thought-out collection of mix-and-match separates will allow for endless combinations and effortless style. Throw in a couple of dresses that can be dressed up for the evening or dressed down for lounging or exploring or hooray, brunch!. Need some brunch outfit inspiration? Check out our guide to what to wear to brunch
  • Embrace Breathable Fabrics: Prioritize lightweight fabrics like cotton, linen, or viscose for your beach attire. These materials keep you cool and comfortable and they are easy to launder on vacation, meaning you can pack less because you can wash, rinse and repeat.
  • Wrinkle-Free Techniques: Roll your clothes instead of folding them to prevent creases and save space in your suitcase.
  • Organize with Packing Cubes: Simplify your packing process by using packing cubes to categorize and compress everything. When you arrive, save time by just transferring each packing cube into a drawer.

A little note on self-care before your Beach Vacation

Taking time to give yourself a little care and attention before your vacation will not only ensure you look your best but it also allows you to start winding down and switching your headspace to start your vacation from a place of calm and happy anticipation.

  • Nourish from Within: Prioritize a healthy and balanced diet to fuel your body with essential nutrients. Embrace whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and hydration to nurture your body and enhance your natural radiance. And don’t forget to drink a ton of water to flush! 
  • Some friends will even do a quick detox before they travel to minimize the toxic load of vacation indulgences.
  • If you have to work, we get it, life happens. Set up your out-of-office message, but schedule a fixed time in your day e.g. half an hour of looking at emails before switching off. Be disciplined about this and create realistic boundaries for yourself. This time is for you! 

Looking and Feeling Fabulous at the Beach; Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do Embrace Beauty as an ageless concept: So you’re no longer what you were, you’re something new and altogether different and just as magical. 
  • Empowered by experience: The wisdom and confidence that comes with being a woman over 40 is priceless. Pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone is liberating. Want a little inspiration from the Isy B. community? Read the magic that happens when you step out of your comfort zone.
  • Sun-Smart Beauty: Prioritize sun protection. Invest in a high-quality broad-spectrum sunscreen, a chic extra wide-brimmed hat, protective sunglasses, and an SPF rashguard. Your skin will thank you for it.
  • Enhance Your Natural Relaxed Glow: Embrace a minimalistic approach to makeup, on vacation, natural beauty is always best and frankly the easiest to manage. You don’t need much more than a lightweight foundation or tinted moisturizer, a touch of mascara, and a little slick of lip color. 
  • Replenish and Hydrate: Pamper your skin after sun exposure with a hydrating body lotion. Products enriched with nourishing ingredients such as aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, coconut oil, vitamin E, cucumber extract, and argan oil replenish moisture after a day out in the sun.


isy b adara beach kimono


Ladies welcome to what could be some of the best times of your life. Adventure is calling. How will you choose to answer the call? We say you can’t go wrong by planning a treat for yourself of a truly magical beach vacation getaway!

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BONUS: Get a free Isy B. Beach Vacation Style Guide & printable packing checklist to look fabulous on the beach.