Summer is right around the corner and the beach is back at the top of the list for vacation destinations. But don’t go to the beach unprepared. Here are 14 travel essentials you should never forget when going for a beach vacation.

#1 Sunscreen

Although the sun is a good source of vitamin D, too much sun can be harmful to your skin. Overexposure to the sun can cause sunburn and premature skin aging. So, when going on a beach trip, make sure you keep your skin protected from the sun. Sunscreen with SPF 30 block about 97% of the UVB and would be enough for most skin types when under the sun. Higher SPF (SPF 50) is recommended for children. A good sunscreen should be free of chemical UV filters and other substances that are harmful for your skin or marine life. Below are my recommendations for sunscreen products.

#2 Sand-Proof Beach Mat

Lying down on fine sand is one of the best feelings in the world. But getting sand over your skin, bag, and other things, not so much. A sand-proof beach mat will make you more feel comfortable when sunbathing. The perfect beach mat should be waterproof and yet portable. The mats below are practical and versatile: for a day at the beach, a picnic in the park and much more.

#3 Beach Towel

This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised by the number of people who don’t bring their own beach towels when they’re heading to the beach! A beach towel is different from the towels that you use at home (bath towels). Beach towels are usually longer and wider than a bath towel. They are often thinner (you’ll sweat less) and come with summery prints.

#4 Polarized Sunglasses

Do you know that long-term exposure to the sun not only is harmful to the skin but also to your eyes? Long-term exposure to even small amounts of UV to your eyes can increase the risk of eye cataracts, macular degeneration, and tissue elevations. Over time, most of these issues create discomfort and reduced eyesight. An easy way to lower the risk is by wearing polarized sunglasses. In contrast to conventional sunglasses, polarized sunglasses will protect your eyes from UV rays and minimize the risk of damage.

#5 Beach Chair

Not everyone comes to the beach to swim. Some, if not most people, go to the beach just to relax on the shore, sunbathe or read a book. A good beach chair is so much more comfortable compared to lying in the sand for hours. A good beach chair will be foldable and lightweight, making it easy to carry from your car to your relaxing zone on the beach.

#6 Soft-Sided Coolers

Cold drinks are always a good idea on a beach day. Instead of overpaying for cooled water or soft-drinks at the beach, better bring your own refreshments. Soft-sided coolers are perfect for beach trips because they’re easier to carry than rotomolded ones. They’ll come in very handy not only for beach days, but also when traveling by car, picnics and much more.

#7 Beach Umbrella or Beach Tent

Despite having the protection of sunscreen, it won’t be able to block 100% of UV rays. Furthermore, you might find the sun getting too hot, but wouldn’t want to end your day at the beach just yet. Having a beach umbrella or beach tent is a great solution to get some shade, protecting you from direct sun light exposure. For the best beach experience, look for umbrellas with a weighted base or those that have sand anchors. This prevents them from getting blown off by winds too easily.

#8 A Good Book

If you’re a book lover, the relaxing sound of the waves hitting the fine sand couple with a good book will surely make your day so much better. Personally, I enjoy books that teach me something or motivate me. Below you’ll find a selection of books that I’ve read and that I can recommend you. Whatever your preferred genre is, bringing along a book on a beach day will surely provide you with entertainment (especially when you’re there alone).

#9 Tank Top

You wouldn’t want to ruin your clothes with sunscreen, salt water and sand. I always wear a tank top or lose t-shirt when heading to the beach. Not only do they look more summery, they also provide more comfort compared to tight shirts or blouses that you’d wear in daily life.

#10 Beach Wagons

Portable beach wagons will come in handy. Especially when you’re staying on the beach for quite some time with lots of luggage.

#11 Refillable Water Bottle

Staying under the heat of the sun can cause dehydration. Prefer water over canned soft drinks? Then it’s best to bring along your own water bottle. My tip: use a vacuum insulated water bottle to keep your water cool for hours.

#12 Speaker

Want to play some music to keep your family and friends entertained at the beach? Make sure to bring a speaker with at least an IPX5 rating to ensure that splashes and raindrops won’t be a problem. Of course, you can also use your new speaker on a relaxing campfire, at home, or wherever you like.

#13 Power Bank

Though sockets are relatively easy to find in nearby restaurants, cafés and hotel lounges, none of them exist on the shores of the beach. To make sure you don’t run out of battery, having a power bank ready can come in handy, especially in remote areas. Here are some lightweight yet powerful power banks that you can get your hands on.

#14 Beach Bag

Last but not least, you’re gonna need something to pack all these things. Although you could use a regular bag, bringing a sand-proof tote bag has some advantages. Firstly, some of them are water-resistant and sand-proof. That’s not only more comfortable on the day itself, but also avoids having sand in your handbag or backpack long after your beach day. Secondly, beach bags are much easier to clean. Most of them can be washed in the washing machine because they aren’t sturdy like most backpacks and duffel bags. You’d want a beach bag that’s easy to wash, to get rid off sand, mud and salt water from the beach.

There’s a lot of things that you can add, but these are the essentials that you have to keep in mind when going for a beach trip.

About Kitty & Yogesh

Hoi! We’re Kitty and Yogesh, expats in the Netherlands. HollandDreams is a blog dedicated to traveling and living in the Netherlands. Together with our beagle dog Pépa, we travel across the country to explore exciting destinations and gather useful tips for travelers and expats.

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