If you are planning a trip to Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) this year for your vacation, then you definitely want to make sure you pack all of the stuff you need. Luckily, I just got back from my long-overdue Myrtle Beach vacation just a few days ago, and I still have my packing list that I thought I’d share. (PS, you can read my full Myrtle Beach Review)
I was blessed with a husband who is a skilled planner, which means planning and making lists is his expertise. This list is pretty comprehensive, and you are welcome to print it out and use for your personal use. While this list may not cover everything a person may want to bring, it served us quite well.
Myrtle Beach Vacation Packing Checklist
House Preparation Checklist:
- Don’t Tell Anyone You’re Going on Vacation! Seriously, many foolish people tell everyone at work, brag to friends and family, post it on Twitter and Facebook, and then they are surprised to find out they’ve been robbed when they return home. Don’t let anyone know you are going on vacation!! This is the first rule of safety for your home. Only tell someone if it is a VERY trustworthy individual, or if you are going to have a house sitter. You can brag all you want after you’ve returned safely.
- Arm Your House Alarm Before You Leave–If you happen to have an alarm system (such as ADT), them make sure to fully arm it before you leave. This will help deter a break-in.
- Check all doors and windows to make sure they are locked. This is again just good safety practice and a bit of common sense.
- Set your thermostat to an acceptable temperature. You can maybe set it for a little more hotter or cooler than you’d usually have it to save money.
- Make sure there’s plenty of food/water for pets, or arrange for a caretaker. There are some great devices you can buy that will ration out food or water as it is depleted, so your pets have a steady supply of it. Or, you can arrange to take them with you or leave them with a trusted friend.
- Take out all trash in your home. You’ll definitely want to empty the trash or else it could be a stinking mess or have a fruit fly infestation when you return. So it is a great idea to empty all waste from your home.
- Mow lawn–Try to mow your lawn just a day or so before you leave so that it won’t look too bad. If you are going to be gone more than 7-8 days, you may want to arrange for a lawn mowing service. By the way, thieves often spot a vacation by looking at thick grass, overflowing mail, and your Facebook.
- Hold Your Mail–I probably wouldn’t do this unless you are going to be gone more than a week, or if you just get crazy amounts of mail. You can fill out a form and the post office can hold it for a while.
- Turn Off Your Answering Machine–Don’t have an answering machine on, and if you do, for goodness sakes don’t leave a message saying, “Hey, we’re at the beach right now.” Again, you can never be too cautious against theft (especially in this economy).
- Check all lights—Make sure to check all lights in the house to ensure that they are all turned off to save electricity. The only exception is if you leave 1 light on, or leave on an automated timer to make it appear as if someone is home.
- Unplug all major electrical items–You’ll want to unplug any major electrical items, such as your computer, television, toaster, etc. This way, they won’t get damaged during a thunderstorm or power surge. Plus, it may help save a bit of electricity.
- Park Your Spare Car Outside–If you have a spare car, it may make sense to leave it outside so as to give the appearance someone is home. Of course, you always risk the car being weathered, or being stolen (if you normally keep it in a garage). So you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons on this one for your location.
- Hide any valuables–If you have any valuables, credit cards, jewelry, etc. that you plan on leaving home, make sure to hide them in a good location.
Car or Automobile Checklist:
- Get an Oil Change/Tune-up before the trip–It’s always a great idea to go ahead and get an oil change, tuneup, and to check all fluids before your trip. Who wants to be broken down on the way there because they forgot to add oil?
- Fill Up the Gas–By topping up the tank beforehand, you’ll be ready to go when it comes time to leave.
- Check Tire Pressure and Tread–Tires can pop over long trips if they don’t have adequate pressure, or if they are very worn on the tread. It’s a great idea to inspect this, or have a local shop check this for you. If they tires are in bad shape, replace them.
- Clean/Wash car–If the vehicle is cleaned and vacuumed on the inside and out, it will probably make for a much more enjoyable trip for everyone.
- Pack Music or Cd’s–Since you may be on the road for hours at a time, it will make the trip much more enjoyable if you pack your favorite Cd’s or MP3 songs.
- Pack Tools or Emergency Kit–Having a set of basic tools like ratchet, wrench, jumper cables, spare tire, etc. can help in the event of a break down. Sometimes only a minor repair can be made to get you back on the road.
- Bring Extra Oil, Anti-freeze–It’s a great idea to pack a quart or two of oil, and a container of anti-freeze before the trip in case you get low on these fluids. This is especially important if you have an older car, which is known to use a lot of oil. You should check these fluids before you leave, at a rest stop in-between the trip, and once you make it to your hotel. Fill them up as needed. NOTE: Do not check anti-freeze while engine is hot, it can bubble over and burn you.
- Pack Car Chargers–Pack any car chargers for your cell phones, mp3 players, GPS units, and any other device you may own that is powered by your car.
- Driving Directions–Even if you use a GPS, it can be helpful to go to mapquest.com and print out the driving directions from your house to the hotel. Even though you can trace your trip backwards using the same directions, I’ve found it’s helpful to also print a separate set from the hotel back home (sometimes there are minor changes on the way back that can be confusing).
- Cellphone–While this will be repeated on this list, it is important to stress the need for a cell phone (it can be prepaid) for this trip. If you breakdown in the middle of nowhere, you’ll be happy you brought one.
Bath, Health, and Skin Products Checklist:
- Lotion for skin (the salt water and sun can be harsh)
- Sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater recommended)
- Sun tanning lotion (for those who want to tan, not recommended for age spots/skin cancer risks)
- Shampoo/Conditioner (salt water will wreak havoc on your hair)
- Q-tips (water in your ears)
- First aid kit (or some peroxide, band-aids)
- Razor/shaving cream
- Washcloths/Towels/Beach towels (washcloths and towels are usually provided by your hotel, but you can pack your own if you want)
- Soap (hotels usually stock this, but it isn’t the best quality in most cases)
- Medications/Supplements/Vitamins–if you require any of these, make sure to pack enough for the trip. It’s a good idea to pack some pain medication (such as Tylenol), maybe some digestive supplements (gas-x, probiotics,), as well as any other medications you require.
- Aloe Vera Gel (just in case you get a sunburn)
- Feminine Products (ie, tampons/pads, etc.)
- Any face wash, cleanser, acne, waxes, or creams you may use
Clothing Packing List
- Underwear/Bra (1 for each day, plus 2-3 extra just in case)
- Shorts, Capris, or Pants (enough for each day)
- Swim Suit, bathing suit covers (if you don’t have one, they do sell them there)
- Socks (enough for each day, plus a couple extra)
- Shoes/sandals/dress shoes
- Beach hat, or cap for sun protection
- Sunglasses (don’t forget these!)
- Pajamas or sleepwear
- Jacket (depending on when you go, it can get breezy at night)
- Wallet/Cash/Credit Cards–make sure to keep them in a secure place. Remove unnecessary items such as social security card, excess credit cards you don’t plan to use before you leave)
- NURSING SCRUBS (just kidding, you’ll want to forget about those for a while!!!)
- Granola Bars
- Fruit Snacks
- Sandwiches (bread, meat, condiments)
- Other snacks
- Drinks (bottled water, fruit drinks, sodas)
- Pots/pans (if your hotel has a small kitchen)
- Small grill (if you want to cookout on your balcony)
- Can opener?
- Tupperware (for food storage during the trip or after you’ve prepared a meal)
- Blender (if you plan on eating any smoothies or mixed drinks)
Miscellaneous Accessories, Gadgets, and Beachwear
- Cooler (for keeping drinks/snacks cool for the trip and beach)
- Ice for cooler
- GPS–A good GPS system can make driving around town so much easier. You can always use maps or mapquest.com as well. You can buy a good GPS for less than $100.
- Digital Camera/Batteries/Charger/Memory Card/USB cable/Carrying Case
- Video Camera/Batteries/Charger/Video Tapes (or memory card)/USB
- Goggles/swimming gear/
- Sand Castle gear (shovel, bucket, spray bottle)
- Ear Plugs
- Floats (note: you can only use boogie boards or canvas-covered floats in the ocean, but you can use others in pools)
- Beach chair(s)
- Radio or MP3 (for beach)
- Fanny Pack (these are great to snap around your waist and hold things like cameras, wallets, etc. when shopping)
- Lunch Box (if you don’t feel like lugging the cooler, a large lunch box will suffice nicely for a couple of drinks and snacks)
- Cell Phone/Charger
- Laptop/Charger (if you want to surf the web from the hotel)
- Bible/Reading material
- Hotel Check-in Identification (such as your reservation receipt, photo identification, etc)
- Pet Supplies (should you choose to bring a pet, you will want a pet taxi, leash, pet food, etc)
- Frisbee/Football/Kite/games/playing cards–these are great for throwing them on the beach or playing in the water
- Bicycle or scooter–for those who like this sorta thing.
- Metal Detector–Many people like to bring a metal detector and comb the beach. While I didn’t do this, it looks fun. My husband did find a really nice pair of sunglasses randomly floating in the water though!
Packing List for Beach Vacation: Conclusion
Whew-that’s a pretty exhaustive checklist, and it worked great for us. We stayed 3 nights at Myrtle Beach. It is always possible that you may want to add a couple of personal items to the list, but this worked nicely for us.
The important thing is that you do take some time to plan and consider what you may need, so you won’t have to waste time or money buying it there. Also, this will reduce your changes of something bad happening (car breaking down, house theft, etc.). Also, it can be helpful to bring this along with you, so you can check that you’ve re-packed everything you took along.
Lastly, you will also want to read our tips on how to save money at Myrtle Beach, as every penny counts!
I hope you’ve found this useful, and have a happy vacation! Also, make sure to read about my hotel review of Sandy Beach Resort.