The feeling of a gentle wind blowing through your hair, the sun shining on your skin and the warm sand between your toes is a visual we all imagine when we hit the beach. Time near the water just fills the soul.
Whether you’re the type who likes to swim with the rays or prefers to bake on the sand, there are some crucial things you need to remember before getting off the plane. There’s no denying that these days going to the beach requires preplanning.
And the preparations don’t stop once you get to your destination. In addition to finding the perfect spot in the sand, know where the lifeguards and bathrooms are, too.
Here are some other tips and tricks for getting the most of your beach day.
For the frequent beachgoer, consider buying a sand-free blanket. Gecko Active has a unique blanket that has a mesh weave design allowing the sand to fall through. I love that they contain corner pockets where you can add sand to weigh down the blanket and prevent it from annoyingly blowing in the wind.
Stay shaded by bringing your own umbrella with an accompanying anchor. We recommend the latter having spikes, as it will penetrate deep into the sand to keep your beach umbrella stable. Beachstore.com has a great selection.
On the surface, this might seem obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many travelers forget to pack this crucial item in their day bag. Sunscreen should be your best friend at the beach. Choose 15 to 50 SPFs that contain a broad spectrum and zinc oxide. Sunscreens with zinc start protecting you as soon as you put them on.
Avoid sunscreens with retinyl palmitate, an ingredient derived from vitamin A. Retinyl palmitate is not a UV filter, and while the FDA has yet to declare a ruling on it, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group says that it can accelerate the growth of skin tumors.
Be sure to reapply every two hours. If you are using a spray sunscreen version, apply until you achieve a nice even sheen all over your body.
Bring Ziploc bags. These are very useful for storing your electronics and valuables and protecting them from the sand and water. Another handy use for them is to fill a few with sand to use as weights on your towels and blankets.
Of course, when it comes to hiding your valuables, you’ll want to have less-obvious places in mind like, say, a potato chip bag. Leave your expensive jewelry at home or stash your pieces in your hotel safe to avoid loss or theft.
Did you know saltwater damages and dull your lenses and frames? Protect your eyes with UV sunglasses and keep them smudge-free clean with Travel Lite Lens & Screen Cleaning Wipes.
Shield your hair, face and neck from damaging rays with a broad-brimmed sun hat or cap.
Bring a portable first aid kit, too. Johnson and Johnson has an all-purpose kit that provides all the essential items you’ll need to help deal with cuts, minor burns, fever and more.
Should you or a loved one still get burned, treat the area with aloe vera gel. The anti-inflammatory and healing qualities from it will offer relief, especially to peeling skin. Keep the gel chilled — it feels even more soothing when cold.
Keep yourself cool by bringing a hydrating spray bottle. Evian Natural Mineral Water Spray is good one.
Another tip: Turn your sandals and shoes face down in the sand to prevent them from getting scorching hot from the sun.
Don’t forget to give yourself a mini-exfoliation by simply rubbing your feet through the wet sand. Afterward, wipe off sand with talcum powder or try a soft brush (a small dustpan brush works wonders).
Donna Wong is the owner of allureplus travel, a premier travel provider and destination specialist. Her dedicated and trusted team offers travel services worldwide for individuals and groups.