For many, a beach vacation is the perfect escape from our busy and stressful lives. The beach may be a tropical paradise with perfect white sand and pristine, warm water, or it may be a rugged strip of coastline with a powerful surf. Regardless of which type of experience the traveler favors, the experience will be exponentially more enjoyable with a touch of planning and the inclusion of a few key items. We human beings are a delicate bunch, and we need to bring proper supplies to feel our best and to protect ourselves from elements that are often harsh and unpredictable.
The goal of this article is to highlight essential items that every beach traveler should pack. Excess baggage may weigh the traveler down and lead to an experience that’s less than optimal, but most of the supplies provided in this list are small and are easily packed into a beach bag or backpack.
Top Ten Essential Items for a Day at the Beach
- A beach bag or backpack that is the sufficient size to hold all items
- A weighted beach blanket that will not be easily picked up by the wind
- A water-resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 30
- Extra clothes and towels
- A large beach umbrella
- A waterproof phone case and wallet
- A small soft-sided cooler
- Water and/or hydrating beverages such as Gatorade
- Slip-on water shoes
- A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
The Top Ten Explained
With the exceptions of the umbrella and the possibly the blanket, each item is small and may be carried easily. Most of the listed items are intended to protect the traveler from the elements. Though beach vacations should be pleasant experiences, the combination of sun, wind, and exertion can be taxing to a human body. The sunscreen, umbrella, hat, and sunglasses protect the traveler from the often-intense sun. Water shoes protect the feet from any sharp rocks or objects on the beach or in the water. Extra clothes should be available in case of unexpected changes in the weather conditions. Many experienced beach travelers even bring along an extra swimsuit.
Hand in hand with protection from the elements, hydration should be a top priority for any beach traveler. On average, a man should drink 13 glasses of water over a 24-hour period, and a woman should drink nine. Heightened exertion and exposure to intense sun increase these figures significantly. A soft-sided cooler can keep beverages cool; they’re more refreshing, but cool beverages can also reduce core body temperature in case a member of the group is overheating. Many of us enjoy a cold beer on a hot day, but the focus should be on hydrating beverages that replenish the body’s fluid levels- water and sports drinks such as Gatorade are good choices.
The weighted beach blanket and the waterproof case may not be essential items for the traveler’s physical well-being, but they provide comfort and peace of mind. Some travelers may prefer to rest directly on the sand, but a beach blanket can provide a soft and clean base camp. A waterproof case can keep the traveler’s phone, cash, payment and ID cards close at hand. Good cases often have a clear side for taking photos and a secure wrist strap.
The reality of a beach vacation can match the pristine image we have in our mind, but it does take a bit of planning and preparation. A good traveler need not weigh himself down with dozens of items. Self-education and common sense allow travelers to make the most of their time in paradise.