Days at the beach are supposed to be perfect. You playing in the sand with your loved ones or just sunbathing, participating in water sports and taking in the beauty and peace. This is how it should be: smooth and awesome.
However, days like these do not just happen. They need a little planning and preparation in advance.
You cannot afford to forget essentials like drinking water and sunscreen or a few extras for your comfort.
This is your ultimate guide to having the best beach vacation ever—complete with a checklist.
As soon as you pick a destination, you need to start considering accommodation. Thankfully, the internet has made this easier. Nonetheless, you should still take care of this early enough—especially if your vacation is during a holiday season. If you wait too long, all good hotels may be booked.
Here are the factors to consider.
This is a no-brainer. You have set apart a specific amount of money for the vacation and you have to allocate it accordingly.
So, how much are you willing to pay for a hotel room or beach house? The good thing about vacation homes or hotel rooms is that you can find one in every price range. Note that just because a place is expensive, does not mean it is great. Read reviews of previous guests and see what their experience was like—they have no reason to lie.
b. Number of People Going
Are you traveling solo? Is it a family trip? Are you going with your friends? If the whole family is coming you will need a place that is family friendly. Look out for features that will make the trip more fun for kids. Also be aware of things that may not be appropriate for children.
This factor will also dictate the size/number of rooms that you need. For many people, an entire beach house may be perfect—if you have the money.
c. Your Priorities
What are the must-haves for your ideal place? Some people want a pool, cleaning services or just basic stuff like towels. If you do not plan on cooking and you want to rent a place that does not offer meals, you may want to find one that is near restaurants. Delivery services and movies are also important to some people.
These are just common examples. Sit down and think of what is really important. Make a list then begin the hunt for accommodation with those things in mind.
d. Proximity to the Beach
Well, it is a beach vacation. It would be awesome if you could just walk to the beach. However, a house or hotel room this close to the beach will cost more.
If your budget is tight, there is an alternative. You can find a place that is not so close, is within your budget and offers some sort of transport.
e. Type of Accommodation
You can choose to get a hotel room, whole beach house or a condominium. This is usually determined by the number of people going, your budget and personal preference. Another thing is privacy. Maybe you want to enjoy some quiet time away from the crowds. Another person may prefer a place where they can interact with other travelers.
What you will be doing on your vacation determines where you will stay, what you will carry and the stuff you have to buy. Planning them in advance will ensure a smooth vacation free of chaos. Assuming you will be in a strange country/state/town, it is better to wake up knowing where you are going and what you are going to do.
Here are a few suggestions for activities.
This is a given. Unless you don’t like to swim, you should use this vacation to enjoy the water as much as possible. Not only is it fun and calming, but swimming is also one of the best physical exercises. You could start your day with a swim or go for one in the evening. Watch the sun rise or set. Besides, these are the best times to take bomb photos—the sun hits you just right.
2. Beach Games
A beach vacation does not have to be about lying around. That will get old fast, especially if you are going for a few days. Exciting games ensure that you stay active and make amazing memories.
Play volleyball, hula hoop or Frisbee. The latter is perfect for the whole family and even has variations so you can play for hours.
3. Family or Friends Picnic
Sharing a meal brings people together. For one vacation day, share a wholesome meal with those who matter the most. Tell stories, make terrible dad jokes and just enjoy each other’s company. These are the memories that will matter later on in life. It does not even have to be an expensive meal.
Before bringing food and drinks to a beach, be sure to know the rules first.
Listen (or read), you have to try out standup paddleboarding. If you are lucky enough to get rental boards, make use of the opportunity. It is a great sport for everyone and if you get a big enough SUP board for all of you, the better. If not, each person can have their own.
Don’t worry about never having done it before in your life. Vacations are all about adventure. This is something that you can do on shallow water. As long as you know how to swim, you will be fine. Better still, get an experienced local to teach you.
5. Play with Sand
This is probably obvious if kids are involved. They would love that. Make their day and curve time just to do this.
Build sculptures and castles from sand. Encourage your kids to be creative. When you are done, take a walk together and later swim before going back to the house or hotel.
This is a popular activity for many. It is ideal for all ages and many beaches allow it. You will most likely find gear for rent somewhere close to the beach or where you are staying. It would be wise to invite a local who knows about fishing if you don’t trust your skills.
Why not? Bonfires are cool and awesome. For someone traveling solo, this may not work unless you make friends there.
Confirm whether or not fires are allowed then build one. Play games that you would normally play after dinner, sing together, watch the sky and do whatever else your family loves. This would be a good time to bond with your loved ones and learn more about them. And don’t forget to dance under the stars.
The Ultimate Packing List
Packing for any kind of trip is usually tricky—more so if you have small children who cannot pack for themselves. On one hand, you do not want bulky luggage but on the other hand, you want to carry everything you may need, and then some. The best way to go about this is to start with the necessary stuff and go from there.
- Clothes: don’t get carried away here. You won’t need that many clothes for a beach vacation. Pack a few dresses, shorts, casual pants, casual shirts, underwear, pajamas and maybe a jacket and socks incase it gets cold. If you plan to squeeze in a formal dinner somewhere, bring appropriate clothes for that too.
- Trunks/swimwear: you will spend most of your time at the beach and that means being in the water a lot. Carry two or three. Also remember to bring a cover-up (for the women). You may need it.
- Accessories: these include sunglasses, hats, a purse, a belt, safety pins and maybe jewelry.
- Shoes: the types of shoes you bring depend on your taste and preference. Make sure there are water shoes, flip-flops and leisure shoes somewhere in there.
This one is going to be a long list. It may not be exhaustive for some but hopefully, it will help you remember other (special) things that you should pack. You can also decide to buy toiletries when you get to your destination. Unless you are going to another country and you don’t know how much they will cost or if some of them are available (that is, your favorite brands).
- Hair products (shampoo, conditioner, gel)
- Body wash/soap
- Feminine care products
- Tooth paste, toothbrush and dental floss
- Nail clippers
- Shaving cream
- Face wipes
- Moisturizer and cleanser
- Sunscreen and SPF lip balm
- Insect repellent
- Aloe Vera (in case someone gets sunburn)
- Hair brush/comb
- Eye care (contact solution, eye drops)
- Vitamins and painkillers
- Medicine (for anyone on medication)
c. Beach Packing List
In this section, it is up to you to decide what you will carry, what you will buy when you get there, what you will rent and what you don’t need.
- Beach toys
- Beach towels
- Plastic beach bag (for wet clothes)
- Snorkel kit
- Floating devices
- Water bottle
- Bottle opener
- Waterproof case for phones and other valuables
- Beach shelter/beach umbrella
- Beach chairs
- Portable speaker
- Cords, chargers, adapters
- Power bank
e. Personal Items
- Insurance cards
- Driver’s license
- Debit and credit cards
Before You Go
Don’t get too excited and forget that you are leaving your home for a while. Make sure everything is in order so that when you come back, you don’t walk into a nightmare.
- Unplug all your electric appliances
- Leave your pet in someone’s care
- Lock your doors and windows and activate your security system
Planning a vacation can take a toll on you. It is hectic and there is so much to remember and do. One small mistake can make everyone miserable. Nobody wants that.
Decide your destination in advance. Once you have confirmed the dates, start making accommodation plans. Don’t wait for the last minute.
Next, have a list of activities to do on the vacation. Let everyone contribute because this is their vacation too. With a destination and list of things to do, packing will be much easier. Remember to pack for the weather.
Lastly, stay positive and have a blast.