Travel Guide: How Much Sunscreen To Pack

When planning for a trip, whether it's a tropical holiday or a winter getaway, packing the right essentials is crucial. One item that often gets overlooked but is essential for maintaining healthy skin is sunscreen. Protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays is vital, no matter where your travels take you.

In this travel guide, we will discuss how to determine the right amount of sunscreen to pack for your trip, considering factors such as destination, duration, and climate.

Understanding Sunscreen SPF

Before diving into the details of how much sunscreen you should pack, it's important to understand the concept of Sun Protection Factor (SPF).

SPF is a measure of how effectively a sunscreen protects your skin from UVB rays, which are responsible for causing sunburn. The higher the SPF number, the greater the level of protection offered.

For example, an SPF of 30 means your skin will take 30 times longer to burn than if it were unprotected.

Determining the Duration of Your Trip

The first step in estimating how much sunscreen to pack is considering the duration of your trip. A weekend getaway will require less sunscreen than a month-long adventure. Take into account the number of days you'll be exposed to the sun and plan accordingly.

Estimating Sunscreen Usage

On average, it is recommended to apply one 30ml of sunscreen to cover the exposed areas of an adult body. This amount is equivalent to filling a shot glass. However, individual needs may vary depending on factors such as body size, activity level, and sun sensitivity. It's better to have more sunscreen than not enough, so consider packing extra if you anticipate increased sun exposure.

Determining How Much Sunscreen to Pack for Two Weeks

When planning for a two-week trip, it's important to ensure you have an adequate amount of sunscreen to protect your skin throughout your entire holiday. To estimate how much sunscreen you'll need, consider the following factors:

  1. Duration: Two weeks equates to 14 days. Each day, you'll need to apply sunscreen to cover the exposed areas of your body.

  2. Usage per Application: On average, it's recommended to apply 30ml of sunscreen to cover the exposed areas of an adult body. This amount is equivalent to filling a shot glass.

Taking these factors into account, a general guideline for estimating how much sunscreen to pack for a two-week trip is as follows:

14 days x 30 ml per day = 420 ml

So, for a two-week trip, it is advisable to pack approximately 420ml of sunscreen. This estimation allows for the recommended daily application and provides a sufficient amount to account for variations in usage, such as reapplication after swimming or excessive sweating.

Remember, this estimation may vary depending on factors such as your body size, activity level, and sun sensitivity. If you anticipate increased sun exposure or have specific needs, it's always a good idea to pack some extra sunscreen to ensure you don't run out during your trip.

Factors Influencing Sunscreen Consumption

Several factors can affect how much sunscreen you'll need during your trip. The intensity of the sun's rays, the time spent outdoors, and the activities you engage in all play a role.

If you plan to spend a significant amount of time swimming or participating in water sports, remember that water can wash away sunscreen, necessitating more frequent reapplication.

Packing for Different Climates

The climate of your destination also influences the amount of sunscreen you should pack. In tropical locations with high sun exposure, such as beach destinations, it's crucial to pack ample sunscreen. The combination of strong sun and water reflection can increase the risk of sunburn. In moderate climates, where the sun may not be as intense, you can adjust the amount accordingly. However, always prioritise skin protection, even in milder climates.

Sunscreen Recommendations for Tropical Destinations

For tropical destinations, it is advisable to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF, preferably 50 or higher. Look for water-resistant options that can withstand sweat and water exposure. Applying sunscreen generously and frequently is key to effective sun protection.

Sunscreen Recommendations for Moderate Climates

In moderate climates, a sunscreen with an SPF of 30-50 should suffice. Consider using a moisturiser with built-in SPF for daily use. Don't forget to apply sunscreen to exposed areas like your face, neck, and hands, as these are often the most vulnerable to sun damage.

Sunscreen Recommendations for Cold Climates

Even in cold climates, where the sun may not feel as intense, protecting your skin is essential. Snow can reflect UV rays, increasing exposure. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Additionally, protect other exposed areas like your lips and ears with appropriate SPF lip balm and headwear.

Tips for Efficient Sunscreen Packing

To maximise space and minimise the risk of leaks, opt for travel-sized sunscreen bottles or tubes. These are typically available in 100ml containers, compliant with airline regulations for carry-on luggage. If you're traveling with a larger group or for an extended period, consider purchasing sunscreen at your destination to reduce baggage weight.

Importance of Reapplication

Remember, sunscreen effectiveness diminishes over time. Reapplication is crucial, especially after sweating, swimming, or towelling off. Follow the instructions on the sunscreen bottle regarding reapplication frequency. Don't forget to apply sunscreen at least 15-30 minutes before sun exposure to allow it to absorb into the skin.

Recommended Sunscreen Brands

When it comes to choosing a sunscreen brand, there are numerous options available on the market. Here are our choices of brands known for their quality sun protection products.

Riemann P20

Riemann P20 sunscreens are renowned for their exceptional durability, water resistance, and the ability to provide a high-level of broad-spectrum protection against both UVB and UVA rays.

riemann p20

Nivea Sun

Nivea Sunscreen offers reliable protection for your skin, safeguarding against UVA and UVB rays, effectively preventing sunburns. The sunscreen's water-resistant formula ensures long-lasting protection.

nivea sun

Sun Protection Beyond Sunscreen

While sunscreen is essential, it's not the only line of defence against the sun's rays. Wearing protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts, can provide additional protection. Seek shade during peak sun hours and avoid prolonged exposure when possible.

When it comes to sun protection, it's better to be safe than sorry. Packing the right amount of sunscreen for your trip is crucial to safeguard your skin from harmful UV rays. Consider factors like destination, duration, climate, and activities when estimating how much sunscreen you'll need. Remember to apply sunscreen generously, reapply frequently, and complement your protection with sun-safe practices and attire. Prioritise your skin's health, and enjoy your travels while staying sun-smart.


Can I use the same sunscreen for my face and body?
While it's possible to use the same sunscreen for both, using a facial sunscreen designed for the delicate skin on your face is often recommended for optimal protection.

Should I apply sunscreen even on cloudy days?
Yes, clouds don't fully block UV rays. Apply sunscreen on cloudy days as well to protect your skin from potential sun damage.

How often should I reapply sunscreen?
It's generally recommended to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if you're swimming or sweating.

Can I still get a tan while wearing sunscreen?
Sunscreen reduces the risk of sunburn but doesn't completely prevent tanning. However, it helps protect your skin from excessive UV exposure and potential long-term damage.

Is a higher SPF always better?
While a higher SPF provides greater protection, the difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50 is marginal. The most important factor is applying sunscreen generously and frequently.