Here's our 'Must Have' List to take some pain out of your next adventure.
It's often the little extras that make all the difference in turning a good holiday, into a great one. It's easy to pack the essentials but adding a few of these items to your list will make for a much more enjoyable holiday.
Which Towels to travel with?
Before we get started on some of the really cool ideas, let's just spend a minute talking towels.
I know you know about towels, as there's not much to them and they're not really a secret when it comes to holidays... but how much do you really know?
How to pick a great towel for the beach & travel
When you think of nice towels, it's usually ones made of Egyptian and Turkish cotton, or Bamboo towels that jump to mind. Personally, I love bamboo towels. But for vacations, these towels are best kept at home in the bathroom or linen press.
When looking for a good travel towel, it's hard to go past microfiber when you're looking for a good travel towel. Did you know that microfiber is 3 times more absorbent than cotton, faster drying, and any sand will shake straight off it? Ok, you may need to brush your hand briefly across the towel to get ALL the sand off, but you get the idea.
Best of all, a microfiber towels are super soft and take up far less room when folded than your standard bathroom towel. This is a real bonus when packing a suitcase or carrying a tote to the beach.
The only down side to microfiber is, they're not fluffy. Soft yes, fluffy no.
If you need a little more convincing, then have a look our post on the Best Beach Towels. This is a whole page dedicated to the finding best and most popular beach towels available online.
Clips - Towel, Sarong and Deck Chair Pegs
Now that we have the towels sorted, take a look at these super cute towel clips. There is some real junk when it comes to clips, but Boca Clips by O2Cool are fun and the quality is reasonable for the price.
There's a range of clips to secure your towel to the back of your chair or sun lounge, as well as sarong clips. These come in a pack of 2, in a variety of fun designs.
Throw a set or two of these into your luggage, and you can kiss goodbye to the days of towels sliding down the back of the chair each time you lean forward to take another sip of that refreshing cocktail.
Towel clips take being organized to a whole new level!
How to beat the glare this summer
Foldable cotton wide-brimmed hats for everyone!
Wide brimmed hats aren't just for kids. Don't forget to pack a good wide brimmed hat for yourself along with your favorite pair of Polaroid sunglasses.
A foldable hat will slip easily into your bag without taking up too much room. Keep to cotton fabrics if possible as polyesters will make you sweat in hot climates (this rule also applies to your clothes).
Handy Tip: If you have a soft linen hat and are in a VERY hot place, give it a quick dip in water before putting it on your head - this will go a long way to helping keep you cooler for longer.
Control your sun exposure
We all hope to return from from our vacation feeling relaxed but for some of us, the reality of sunburn and dehydration can put a real dampener on a holiday. Dehydration caused by too much sun exposure or lack of water will cause headaches, and make you feel tired. It will also dry out your skin.
If you plan on spending a lot of time in or near the water swimming, snorkeling or fishing, then a rash guard is the go. There are some great looking rash guards available for the entire family. These come as either long sleeved or short sleeved.
Sunburn Gel Treatment
Sunblock or sunscreen is probably already on your holiday shopping list but don't forget to add some After Sun treatment.
It's better to have this on hand before you need it, rather than trying to find some at 8 o'clock at night when sunburn tends to rear its painful head.
Aloe Vera gel is soothing and will take some of the sting away, and there's great Cooling Gels available too.
Lip balm is another one to add to your list. There's Lip Balm that comes with SPF 30 for extra protection for your lips from the sun as well as wind.
Chapstick (or lipstick) Holder
Tubes of lip balm are small and can easily become lost in back packs or tote bags. A Chap Stick holder will make sure you never lose your chap stick or lip balm.
These handy little holders clip to a key ring so you won't be digging to the bottom of a bag each time you want to reapply your lip balm.
They come in 4-packs or 6-packs for around $10 which make them very good value.
Beach shade comes in a variety of styles
If you're heading off on a camping holiday then a beach shade or beach umbrella may be just the thing to provide that bit of much needed relief from the sun.
The umbrella pictured below is called a Sport-Brella. It measures 8 feet across (2.4 meters) giving plenty of room for more than one to sit under.
The difference between this and a standard beach umbrella is that this has side flaps. These fold down giving some extra protection from the sun earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon when it's not directly overhead.
It also shields you from rain and wind gusts. The Sport-Brella has top vents and side zippered windows for cooling cross-ventilation so you don't get too hot when sitting underneath.
Just like any big umbrella, it can get swept up in strong gusts. Although they come with ground stakes included, it's better to weigh it down with bags or an ice cooler for extra stability.
How to keep your cool & stay really comfortable
Keep everyone hydrated
If you planning to spend a lot of time in the sun, then keeping yourself sufficiently hydrated is a priority that's often overlooked.
One of the biggest things we can do to make a difference in how much we enjoy each and every day of a holiday, is to drink lots of water. Yes, I know this sounds really boring - especially to children who are the quickest to dehydrate in the sun or heat.
My kids have different colored water flasks (this helps cut down on the arguing) which they fill each morning before heading out. It doesn't matter now if it's to school or while on holidays. Both kids are sun lovers and have come to realize the hard way how much better they feel when they listen to mom, and keep their water consumption up!
Ice & gel packs for your beach coolers
Did you know there are tote bags that are a combination bag and cooler? This is super handy if you're heading to the beach and don't need a full sized cooler. Keeping those drinks and snacks cold is going to take a good cooler, and lots of ice. Reusable ice and gel packs are the most inexpensive way of keeping stuff cold during the day.
If you're traveling on a plane and have luggage weight restrictions, CoolerShock is the way to go. These are shipped dry, and you fill with water once you get to your destination. Depending on which type you buy, you either zip it closed and seal it permanently with an iron, or screw the cap on.
CoolerShock packs turns to gel in 15 minutes and last around 24 hours. Add room temperature drinks to your cooler and you'll be drinking them at near freezing temperatures a few hours later.
Floats, Coasters and & Key Holders
One of the best waterproof camera accessories would have to be a float. These come in bright colors with a lanyard to attach to your camera, or as a handle with camera mounts for GoPro type cameras. Floats will keep your equipment close to the surface and stop it sinking to the bottom of the ocean if accidentally dropped. Although these are especially handing for kids gear, accidents can happen to anyone...
Drink Coasters perfect for the Beach
If you're traveling to a humid climate, you'll find a lot of condensation appearing on drinks. These little Turtle Back Coasters are perfect for resting your drinks in on uneven surfaces. No more annoying sand clinging to the bottom of your drink! These are also handing for holding keys, phones, and snacks. They come as a 4-pack set in a range of colors.
Shatterproof wine and beverage glasses
Many resort pools don't allow glass near their swimming areas. That's why packing a set of these lightweight glasses is an ideal way to enjoy a cool drink anywhere.
The ones pictured are shatterproof stemless glasses made from a high-quality BPA-free food grade silicone. They come as a set of 4 and are guaranteed to never chip, melt, break or crack. Perfect for a stress free drink by the pool or beach.
Keep-safes disguised as everyday items
If you want to keep a little bit of cash and your keys safe on the beach, there's some really cool keep-safes designed to look like every day items such as hair or lint brushes, books, hairspray, shaving cream and even Pringles!
It depends on what items you want to keep safe as to which one will best suit you. You could always work with a combination of these.
The book safes look good and will fit larger items like phones and credit cards, but you still need to look after (and not lose) the key. Make sure you check the dimensions of the book safes as these are probably smaller than you'd expect. I would not recommend these for passports - passports should be kept in the hotel safe where ever possible.
Ultra Handy Umbrella Hook
Umbrella hooks are just plain handy! It's another way of being super organized and knowing where your items are, rather than fumbling through bags or backpacks.
It doesn't matter if you're using your own umbrella or the one that came with the view. This attaches to most standard umbrellas and will happily hold sunglasses, bags, towels, keys, headphones, etc. keeping your things up and off the ground.
It also takes up very little room in your bag, and is inexpensive.
RFID Protected Wallets for Men and Women
Guess what happened to me today. I checked my bank account balance before heading out for the weekend groceries only to discover 2 unidentified transactions made at 2.43 am totaling over $270.
First thing I did was contact my partner to see if he decided to surprise me with some tickets to a Guns & Roses concert (yes, that's what one of the transactions was for). He claimed innocence, and had no knowledge of the transactions that were made on his debit card that's linked to our Joint Bank Account. I didn't panic as I knew these were fraudulent and the money would be re-reimbursed back into the account, but being a Friday, it meant that nothing much was going to happen over the weekend and we were going to be short of funds for a few days.
It turns out these types of fraudulent transactions are incredibly common. The bank took it completely in their stride. They said that travelers through an airport are seen as easy targets by scammers. As we're all wary of people standing too close to us, it most likely happened when riding on an escalator, or standing in a queue, as close proximity to others is pretty much unavoidable in these places.
The Bank also said was that scammers also wait for a Friday before they process their transactions. This is because many people don't check their accounts immediately and when they do discover fraudulent transactions, it tends to already be the weekend when not much can be done.
The link in the button below will take you to an Amazon Search page listing a variety of men's wallets and women's purses. These are such a personal thing but the Search Listing page has a nice variety of products. I'm sure if you're thinking about getting a RFID protected wallet, you will find something you like among the listings.
There you have it. This is not your average everyday holiday shopping list, but hopefully the items on it will really make an impact and improve your holiday. Let me know if you have used an item that's great or have any ideas or tips that are worth sharing.