The destination has been chosen and your 'holiday chill' Spotify playlist is downloaded. For the next couple of days or weeks, there's nothing but sun, surf and sand – and maybe a few cocktails – on your horizon.
Whether it's a weekend break at the Gold Coast or far-flung tropical island escape, often the biggest dilemma for beachgoers is what to pack. Don't hit the sandy shores empty-handed or overloaded with belongings; these beach break essentials will ensure plenty of fun in the sun.
It all starts with the bag. Keep it simple with a tote you can just throw over your shoulder, preferably one with a zip.
After all, no one likes coming home with a bagful of sand or shaking grains from their things for weeks to come. If you haven't left your valuables in the car, throw in a few zip-lock bags to keep your electronics dry and sand-free, too.
What To Wear
Naturally, you're going to need comfortable swimwear.
The Meter Maids of Surfers Paradise have the gold bikinis covered so you can leave those at home. Along with a towel, pack a loose cover-up and shorts you can throw on over your swimmers for when you leave the beach.
As for footwear, don't bother with shoes with laces or complicated, buckled sandals; a pair of flip-flops is all you'll need. And a hat and sunnies will keep the glare out of your eyes.
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A high-SPF, water-resistant sunscreen is one of the best investments you can make. Even on the cloudiest day, you're at risk of exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays.
Slather on sunscreen generously, reapplying every couple of hours and especially after swimming. Consider a beach umbrella or tent if you're especially prone to sunburn. Not only is it painful, you don't want to go home looking like a lobster.
Wait, the crystal-clear water, rolling waves and salty sea breezes aren't enough? Keep yourself occupied out of the water with that book you've been dying to read or a few trashy magazines. An iPod with your favourite tunes will also add to your state of Zen.
You could, though, always use the day to disconnect from technology and simply enjoy the sound of the seagulls and crashing waves. Sports equipment like a cricket bat and tennis ball or footy won't go astray either.
All that laying around can be exhausting! Pack a few snacks to keep hunger at bay; nibbles like apples and muesli bars are easy to carry and don't necessarily need an esky to keep fresh.
Water also goes without saying. Keep a big bottle on hand to stay hydrated.