PhotoOn a recent cruise to the Caribbean, it was quickly apparent how woefully unprepared we were for a beach holiday. Knowing the cruise line would have a tote bag in our cabin, we left our roomy, lightweight beach bag at home, an item we sorely missed the entire trip. My fancy beach cover-up was totally inadequate, and my hat blew off and landed in the sea. By the time I caught it, it had ridden the waves and was full of sand.   

It’s no fun feeling unprepared every day of your vacation, so here’s what I’ll take on my next beach holiday.

Large tote bag Choose one that is lightweight, roomy, and packable. It’s great if it has pockets, but if it doesn’t, bring lightweight zippered bags to organize your belongings.

Towels Do a search for packable beach towels and you’ll find high absorption and fast drying towels at stores and websites that provide recreation supplies. Look for ones that are durable and machine washable; some are even non-stick with sand.

Sunscreen Sunscreen is sold at most beach locations, but pack your own so you’ll be sure to get the brand and SPF you like. Make sure to bring enough unopened bottles and double pack in secure plastic bags so they don’t leak.

Beach clothing Choose inexpensive, comfortable beach attire as it will get a beating.  Add something lightweight and long sleeve to wear on the beach and a top you can wear into the water for added protection.

Hats After losing my hat, I realized how important it is to bring two packable hats. Don’t spend a lot of money on a beach hat as they’re easily stained. Look for ones with a strap to keep it on your head and don’t worry if you look dorky – a sunburned face is dorkier.

Beach shoes There is a wide variety of water-friendly beach shoes that are available for many purposes. Wear a comfortable, easy to clean pair to the beach and have something to protect your feet while on the sand.

Beach towel clips I thought these were silly until I saw many beachgoers with tight towels to sit on while mine kept slipping. You can get an inexpensive pack of eight or twelve in bright colors or splurge and get a pair of flamingos, Dory and Nemo, parrots, or cute flip flops.

Waterproof device to protect valuables Nothing will ruin a vacation faster than losing your valuables. First, only bring essentials to the beach, such as your phone, a credit card, ID, and some cash. Decide how you would like to store your valuables. There are waterproof devices to fit around your neck and others that attach to your waist. Conduct a search for “waterproof protection for valuables” to see your options.

Water You don’t know what kind of facilities will be available, and fresh water is essential. Bring at least one bottle for every beachgoer.

Hand sanitizer Travel packs of hand sanitizer sheets will help you feel clean and refreshed. Beach goers should also throw in a travel pack of tissues.

These are just the basics. Add other items that will help you feel comfortable while enjoying a sun-soaked day.

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