Postcards

Best beach
vacation hacks

How to prepare for sunny swimsuit wearing getaway. Getting ready for a beach vacation is more than finding the perfect tankini swimsuit. Dreaming of sand between your toes and the sound of waves crashing onshore, the pages of that novel you’ve wanted to read all year flapping in the wind…prep time can be pretty distracting. As anyone who’s ever actually visited a beach can tell you, achieving that peace of mind is hard work—particularly if you have the family in tow. Fortunately, these beach hacks will go a long way in turning your beach trip from a potential fiasco to a sandy success story.

Sunglasses and camera

Bring a carry-on and pack smart.

The first step on the road to success is reducing your luggage to a single carry-on that won’t cost you checking fees or be lost by the airlines. This may seem daunting, considering how many outfits a normal vacation requires, but remember, this is a beach vacation. Your needs are simpler: swimsuits, coverups, maybe a nice dress, and two pairs of sandals. So how do you do it?

Beach towels

One word: roll. Start by rolling up your beach towel as tightly as you can (if you happen to be bringing water shoes, wrap them inside) and place it at the bottom of your bag. Next, start on bathing suits and swimsuit separates, rolling each together and placing them around the side of the towel. After this first layer is complete, you can start rolling up other, non-beach items like cotton chinos and linen shirts for the next layer. Layer up until you’ve just reached the zipper.

Recognize that no shoe goes everywhere.

The line that a shoe can go anywhere sounds snappy, but doesn’t translate over to real life. Instead, recognize that you have two distinct footwear needs— something for sand and surf, and something for going out to dinner later — and consider one shoe for each category. That way you won’t find yourself packing one shoe that’s either too nice to be potentially damaged by sand or water, or too casual to compliment a skirt or dress.

For the first category, keep things simple and functional. Bring along a pair of breathable, slip-resistant water shoes made in a style like a ballet flat, a boat shoe or even a Mary Jane. These water shoes that draw on classic styles for their inspiration are more versatile, which frees you up to pack a less-practical but oh-so-exciting heel for your going-out shoe.

Sunscreen

Avoid a massive sunburn.

Yes, everyone from your mother to television PSA’s have already told you to apply sunblock, but sometimes that’s not enough. Instead of hiding the day away under an umbrella and a wide-brimmed hat, embrace swimwear that pulls double-duty as sun protection.

For instance, a sun protecting swimdress coverup keeps you sun smart until the sun sets. Made from swimsuit fabric, it can be worn as a cover-up, or a sleek day to evening dress.

Trade one of your cotton t-shirts you’re packing for a UPF 50 swim tee if you really want to feel secure under the sun. We love swim tees because they provide maximum coverage to your arms and torso, come with all day sun protection that won’t wash off, and unlike a traditional cotton swimsuit cover-up, can go right from beach chair to waves. And unlike traditional sunscreen, this protection won’t wash off. Super easy to apply, too.

Water bottles

But if a sunburn strikes...

Don’t let it ruin your vacation. Hit the beach, but this time be sure to wear a swim tee or a cover-up to keep your sunburn from becoming more serve. And ask the locals for their favorite sun sting options.

Be smart about cash.

Because not everyone in the world (aka, the guy pulling the ice cream cart) accepts cards, you’ll want to bring some good old-fashioned paper bills with you. But you also want to keep those George Washingtons from taking a swim or getting lost in the dunes.

It should be no surprise that we’re big fans of tote bags, but when it comes to beach cash-storage they really shine. Keep the bulk of the bag for beach towels and snacks, but designate one of its pockets for cash and cash only.

Postcards

Stay hydrated.

This one’s simple. Remember that tote bag you’re storing your spare bills in? Make sure that you don’t take it to the beach without tossing in at least one water bottle for each person in your group.

Follow these rules and your expedition to the beach might—finally—feel like a vacation.