A tote bag is important for vacation. It's one of the most useful pieces you can bring. Tote bags can double as a purse, a diaper bag, a beach bag, a shopping bag, or a carry-on piece of luggage. You'll use it to carry books, water, lotion, hotel keys, a sun hat, and maybe even a snack. So make sure you have a good one.
You might consider a tote bag in a whimsical, bold print. It makes a great accessory, so why not make it a fun one? Also, your tote bag should be water-resistant (no leather or suede) with a waterproof lining. If you're going to the beach, your bag is going to end up with sand, sunblock, and who knows what else inside it. Make sure it's easy to clean. Get a tote with at least one small zippered compartment where you can store your wallet and phone safely.
And don't forget to get one with long handles. You want to be able to sling that tote bag over your shoulder and get on with your day.