After my recent vacation, I realized I was pretty unprepared when it came to packing for the beach. 

I've taken several trips to the beach, and no matter what, I'm never fully prepared. I end up bringing a suitcase full of stuff that will never leave my suitcase.

I think that's pretty typical, honestly. Most people over-pack for vacations. For example, you typically average a pair of underwear a day, but on vacation you pack 10 times the amount of underwear in case you pee your pants every day or something. I'm guilty of it.

Well, maybe it's my age, but after my recent trip to Miami, I realized I've got to cut down on how much I pack. It'll make it easier on myself in the long run. However, there were a couple staples in my suitcase that I was super glad I packed. I decided to share them with you, because you'll thank me later.

1. A cover-up
I guess this is mainly for the ladies, but I can't stress it enough - get a swimsuit cover up. It's so easy to throw on before heading to the beach/pool, and cuts down on an extra outfit you'd have to pack for that day. Plus, you can throw it on when you're lounging around the condo.

2. A denim jacket
I brought my denim jacket along for this trip and I was so glad I did. A denim jacket goes with everything! It's awesome to have for late-night beach walks that might be a little chilly. Or, if you're like me and took a spring break beach trip, it's good to wear around town when the temps are still hovering in the 70s.

3. Sun dresses
I packed four sundresses for my vacation and it made getting ready so much easier. I originally packed them because I'm pregnant and there isn't a whole lot that fits me right now, but I can always depend on my sun dresses. Each one of them looked super cute with my denim jacket, too.

4. Cheap sunglasses
I went to Flutter in Newburgh before I left because they had just gotten a new line of sunnies in. All of them were SO cute and super affordable. I snagged two pair before my trip and I was so glad I did. I have a couple pair of expensive frames that I don't like throwing in my beach bag, so that anxiety was alleviated. If I got them scratched up or lost them (I didn't), it wasn't a huge deal...and they're super cute.

5. A portable phone charger
I've had one for several years and it always comes in handy. I typically use it when I'm on the plane or at airports, but I realized it's the perfect beach necessity. Sure, you're supposed to be relaxing and soaking up the sun, but you want to capture memories while you're at it. Having a back up phone charger meant I didn't have to worry about my phone dying while I was taking all the cute belly-on-the-beach pictures.

6. A hat
It doesn't matter if it's a baseball cap or a sun hat, invest in something that covers your head! It makes your "beach look" appear much more put-together, and protects your head/face against the sun. I was so glad I had when I was sitting at the pool. Usually the sun is so high that sunglasses don't do much, so a hat helps a lot.

7. Cute sandals
If you're not into heels, like me, you'll want to pack a cute/dressy pair of sandals. These came in handy multiple times throughout my trip. Make sure they're comfortable too, since you'll be doing a lot of walking. I wore them to malls and dinner with my sundresses. They're cuter than normal flip flops, but still comfortable enough to wear around for an evening.

As long as you have these staples in your vacation bag, you should be well prepared. I also recommend bringing the other basics, like shirts and stuff, but these are the often looked-over items. Keep this list in mind come time to pack for your next beach getaway!