Every time you close your eyes, you imagine the moment you sink your toes into the sand as the surf washes over your feet. You've been counting down the days until you arrive in paradise. Your bags are packed. You've double-checked your list of essentials. You're ready to go.
Or are you?
Maybe this isn't your first beach vacation. You know what you need. I'm not here to list off things like bathing suits and flip-flops. But, there are a few tips and tricks I've picked up while living in Maui that you might not have considered.
I'm mainly looking at dudes here. On average, men are less likely to wear lip balm than women. In fact, one of the local dermatologists here in Maui recently informed us one of the biggest issues she deals with in the island is lip cancer presenting in men. Dudes may be great about lathering on the SPF 50 everywhere else, but the lips get missed frequently. Grab some lip balm that provides some level of SPF and toss it in the suitcase.
No matter how long you stand under one of the numerous rinse stations available at the beach, that sand will stick. It's honey badger sand. It don't give a...well, I'm sure you saw the video. Baby wipes will make quick work of the tiny, persistent grains of torture that will otherwise end up everywhere. You didn't gain ten pounds on vacation - half of that is sand still stuck to your body.
It's hard to let your mind go and enjoy the surf when you've got one eye on your valuables back at the beach at all times. Snatch and grabs happen in even the happiest of places. The chances of your credit cards, room key, ID, or cell phone going missing is higher if they're just laying about in your bag while you're cooling off in the ocean. So don't make it easy. There are a variety of options available on the interwebs that will add an extra layer of prevention for an unfortunate vacation mishap.
This one won't take up much space in your suitcase, but will help keep your wallet nice and fat on vacation. Not only will it save you the money it would cost to buy one when you arrive, but it will save you even more coin by allowing you to avoid hitting a restaurant for every meal. Or the in-between meals. Or the beverage breaks. Point is, food and drink are more expensive at your destination. Taking a trip to the grocery store and stocking your cooler will keep those restaurant tabs to a minimum. Pro tip - not an inch to spare in your suitcase for this on? Use it as your carry-on item!
Plastic Resealable Storage Bags
Think Ziploc and the like. Not only are these handy for taking snacks to the beach or on a hike, but they can protect your belongings. Do as the locals do and give your cell phone a little extra weather protection before you set out for that sunset walk on the beach. If you get caught in a sudden downpour or drop your belongings in the sand, you'll thank me for this one. Consider tossing in some gallon size bags as well. These are great for repacking those now sand-filled shoes at the end of your stay. Honey badger sand, remember? Added bonus, you can fill them with ice during your stay to keep your beverages cool at the beach in that collapsible cooler.
For destinations that offer adventure in addition the chilling on the beach, socks are key. If you're headed to Maui, these are especially important if you plan on taking advantage of the opportunity to hike in amazing places like Iao Valley or Haleakalā National Park. This addition isn't just for the hiking enthusiast though. Even a day lounging at the beach can wear on your tootsies. A big glob of lotion and a fresh pair of socks can do wonders for rejuvenating the feet at the end of the day.
Yes, you're going to the tropics. Yes, the temperature is pretty consistent. Yes, it can get chilly here. Especially if you're coming for a lengthy stay, you will most likely acclimate on some level to the temperature. What may now feel very warm can suddenly seem very chilly after you do. While living in the Midwest, we kept our house temperature between 65*F - 69*F. Balmy, I know. After only a week in Maui, I was shivering in 72*F temperatures. Toss in a long sleeve shirt and at least one pair of pants, pajama or otherwise. You'll be thankful you did.
I don't know why this doesn't make the packing list for many people, but it's frequently sought by tourists. Pro tip - this is going to be an expensive purchase, as is sunscreen. Bring lots of both. In fact, bring something to treat insect bites as well because chances are one of these super-charged island biting beasts will find that one millimeter of skin missed. Not that the island is a constant swarm of insects. It's not. But who wants to lay in bed on vacation a miserable, itchy mess? No one. Pack it. Pack all of it. When you think you've packed more than enough, grab another.
Alright, beach pros, what's your advice? Do you have a must-pack item when you're heading out for sand and surf that isn't listed here?