Packing for a Beach Vacation

Congratulations! You finally finished your last deadline at work and now your long awaited vacation has arrived at last! You’ve been planning the ultimate beach getaway for the past three months, researching into the best beach to go, best resort to stay at and the best activities to do. Between reading travel tips on Lonely Planet, Frommers and of course, other travel blogs, you feel like you’re completely ready for your trip and are ready to soak up some rays.

Then the night before as you’re packing, you realized that you probably should have looked up some packing tips for a beach vacation. Sure it sounds easy, all you need is a towel and swimsuit right?

Well, not exactly. If only it was as easy as that! Your clothes are thrown out everywhere in your room because you can’t decide what to bring. Shoes? Forget about it! All these what if I need this? thoughts race through your mind.

To make your beach getaway as memorable as possible with the least amount of mishaps, there’s some essentials you need to bring besides your sunglasses.

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Tips for packing for a beach vacation

1. Choose your luggage wisely

First you need to pick the correct luggage. This will set the foundation for the rest of the things you bring and prevent you from overpacking. If your trip is only a few days and is domestic, a carry on will suffice so you don’t need to pay for a check in.

The key to picking the right case is find a lightweight luggage. No matter how long your trip is whether it is for 2 weeks or a weekend, it’ll be easier for you to carry your luggage if it is lighter.

Find a carry one that is of high quality, there’s nothing more frustrating than to be rolling your luggage in the airport just to have the handle fly off (yes that has happened to me before!).  So invest your money in a high quality carry on that will last you a long time. Look for one that’s light, has sufficient pockets and if you can, try rolling it to see how it feels.

Need help finding a suitcase? Check Luggage Direct. They have quality reviews and a ton of products for you to browse.

2. Bring clothes that can be dressed up or down

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Even though you’ll probably be spending most of your time laying on a towel, you’ll also want to experience the nightlife of where you are. To minimize your packing list, bring clothes that can be dressed up or down.

Women, bring sundresses that you can wear during the day for a cover up and then bring some matching accessories to dress it up at night. Pick sandals that can suitable for going out and for lounging by the pool during the day.

Towels take up a ton of room so what’s the solution? A sarong. For women, a sarong is a lifesaver and a must have for a beach vacation. You can use it as a towel, a cover up, a dress or a skirt. It’s a cute multi-functional piece that you have to have in your suitcase!

3. Bring sun protection accessories

For your beach vacation, you obviously chose somewhere warm and sunny, probably close to the equator. Although the sun’s rays are good for your body to bring you Vitamin D and those hormones that make you feel happy, be aware that it is also harmful to your body if you have too much.

Go ahead and sunbathe but make sure you bring sunscreen for your face and body (at least SPF 30 if you are sensitive or burn easily), chapstick with SPF, sunglasses with UV protection, after sun aloe vera gel (will work miracles if you get burned) and if you plan on going surfing, get a rash guard with SPF in it.

Remember that you can’t bring more than 3.4 ounces of liquids which include sunscreen and the gel.

4. Bring more than one bathing suit

Yes I’m advocating packing MORE! If you’re planning on going to the beach or in the water everyday, it’ll be helpful to bring at least two bathing suits so you will also have one dry and ready to wear. Trust me, when you’re hitting the waves everyday you want to have  a suit that’s nice and fresh.

5. Leave a little room 

One of the best things about a beach vacation is that you can pack light. Shorts and tank tops don’t take up too much room compared to sweatshirts and jackets so you can leave a little bit room in your luggage for souvenirs. You’ll probably hit gift shops or souvenir stores that you might find the perfect gifts to bring back home and luckily your suitcase still has some room.

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Remember less is more! You’ll find that traveling light feels so good and you’ll realize that you didn’t need all that extra stuff.

 

 

 

 

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How to Figure Out a Travel Budget

Most people take vacations using their paid time off from work and aren’t usually taking vacations once every three months. For the smart savvy traveler, you are able to make a budget so you don’t end up spending much more on a vacation than you could have. It takes a great deal of work and research but there are a few tricks and tips to help you plan a budget according to the type of vacation you want. Of course there’s nothing wrong with splurging now and then but let’s face it, not many people can afford to spend $4,000 a night at the Four Seasons!

Tips to Figure Out Your Travel Budget

1. Research your destination. 

Are you traveling internationally? Research and read about the country you’re going to and what people say in terms of prices. Many countries in Asia or Central/Latin America are considerably cheaper than North America including food, hotels and tours. Try not to get caught in the tourist trap as prices will be higher no matter where you are. Read forums and other travel blogs to see their price breakdowns and get a good idea of how much you’ll need in terms of spending money.

2. Decide what kind of lodging you want

Hostels are most definitely the cheapest type of lodging but you might not want to be sharing a room with 6 other strangers. Look for local hotels and inns and avoid the all inclusive big resorts if you want to be looking for budget accommodation. You might have to give up a little bit of luxury but if you’re going to be out and about all day, all you really need is a nice bed to sleep and perhaps a pool.

3. How much is your airline ticket?

Where you go might depend largely on how much your airplane ticket will cost to get there. Flying to Asia is guaranteed over $1000 from the United States but it could balance out since it is cheap to travel in Asian countries. Sign up for fare alerts to be notified of low airline prices and start looking early. If you set a clear cut amount for how much you want to spend on your total trip, see how much you have leftover after the airplane ticket. This will help you decide the rest.

4. What kind of activities do you want to do?

Tours are generally more expensive whether it is a guided tour, food tour, or just activity tours. If you’re going sightseeing, look up some very high rated guide books and go on a walking tour by yourself. Many cities offer free walking tours which you can look for at Free City Tour website. If you want to do some activity tours, pick a few you really want to do, compare prices and if necessary, narrow it down.

5. Solo or group travel?

Are you traveling alone? Or with somebody? This will also greatly influence how much you spend on your trip. If you go with someone luckily you can split costs like taxis and hotels but depending on who you are traveling with, you might have to compromise some of your own things as well. Try to find someone who has similar interests and a similar budget as you so you won’t have to spend more if you are traveling with someone who only stays in luxury places.

Have any more tips for budget travel? Share them in the comments below!

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Basic Phrases to Learn in Another Language Before You Go

Even though English is widely spoken, it is still highly recommended to learn a few phrases in the language of the country you are visiting. It greatly increases rapport with the locals, it’s faster than looking for someone who speaks English and is a good gateway in getting to know the culture a bit more. Nobody is expecting anyone to become fluent in every language but even knowing just a few basic phrases and words can go a long way. Now you can use Google Translate which even says it outloud for you, you can still go the old fashioned way and bring a dictionary or there are several guidebooks that contain useful words and phrases to know. There are several pertinent ones that not only gives you some extra brownie points with the locals but will come in super handy in certain situations.

Important Words and Phrases to Learn

  • Do you speak English? This will go a long way! It saves time and you can get help a lot faster
  • Please and thank you Just these couple words can establish a good rapport and can define you from those who don’t
  • Hello goodbye Also important even though they are the most basic words. You’ll be able to greet anybody without giving yourself away as a total ignorant tourist
  • My name is Good to know when talking to locals or meeting someone who doesn’t know English very well. Breaks the ice very quickly
  • Excuse me Always good to know when you need to squeeze by a crowd but don’t want to be yelling “excuse me!”
  • I don’t understand If the blank stares don’t work, this will help communicate that you don’t know the language and you don’t understand what’s going on
  • Bathroom You could learn “where is the bathroom” but most people will understand if you say bathroom in a question tone
  • 1-10 Handy to know if you’re taking a taxi or shopping
  • How much? Along with knowing numbers, it’s good to know how to ask how much something costs
  • Help! Important to know in case of emergency
  • I’m allergic to If you have very serious allergies, this is one to know. Also learn what the words are for what you’re allergic to!
  • Where is the Helpful to find directions which then hopefully the person responding will be able to point them out. Or useful when taking a taxi you can ask them and say yes.

Write the words down on a cheat sheet and have it with you at all times traveling. You can’t expect that you’ll always be in a situation or place where someone speaks English and knowing even just the basic words can be of a great help. If you can have data on your phone, Google Translate is the next best tool. If not, a guidebook will work and they usually have pages of helpful words and more complex sentences. Body language goes a long way but in many cases it’s just not enough. Take it upon yourself to be prepared and learn some new words!

 What other words or phrases do you recommend to learn? Share them in the comments below!

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Planning the Euro Trip

Probably, there is no funnier way to travel than just to pop out a road trip with your friends. The abruptness is always a bonus, although not if you’re willing to launch a cross-country journey around Europe. Travelling around the Old World, which is in sober fact a set of different people and cultures united by common history, might require a thoroughly carried out plan. To make it easier, think over forthcoming journey bit by bit.

Where to go to?

feature pictureObviously, people often visit the places they have dreamt of quite long time. Though, such an option might not work if a group of buddies head off together – you must admit that people rarely pursue the same dreams or have the same preferences, and the one on where to travel to is not an exception. By the way, it is also better to make some agreements on possible conflict situations right away, as even the closest friendship might experience the toughest times, especially when travelers are closed up in one hotel room or, more exemplary, in a car.

However, let’s get back to travel destination choice. In Europe, the variety of lands can truly knock out one’s imagination; North Europe that is Scandinavian peninsula, Denmark, partially Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, reflect the idea of woody and contrasting marine landscapes, old-fashioned architecture in the cities, taverns and pubs; the same might be told about Germany yet one should add mighty castles in the sightseeing list; France has probably everything one can await from genuine travel – beaches on the south, wineries and exquisite restaurants, magnificence of Paris, Marseilles, Nice and other big cities, etc.; South Europe can boast of top places to shop in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece alongside charming sandy beach lines of the Meds. Admittedly, where to go in Europe is an intricate question, even if you plan to visit several countries.

Documents

If the choice is made, then the Embassy to attain visa is defined. Besides, you should look into if Schengen Visa is needed, as not all the states in Europe keep visa regime.  Besides if entering the country from neighboring lands, make sure that car documents, including driving license, green card, registration certificate, are ok.  Europeans put some of the following requirements for the vehicle: the presence of warning triangle, towing rope, spare extra wheel and main wheels with tread not less than 4 mm deep, car’s homeland sign that is placed on the rear window, a set of spare bulbs for headlights and lamps. Also include a first aid kit separately and fire extinguisher that must be purchased no earlier than six months before the trip. Kit should be composed of 18 items – the so-called eurokit.

Road fees

Either you’ve entered European borders by land or by air, thus rented a vehicle, you should be aware that most of autobahns are paid. Thereby, it is recommended to turn to national web-sites where fees are distinguished; the same goes for road traffic regulations, as each country keeps own speed limits and further peculiarities of driving (for instance, www.autobahn-online.de)

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Booking hotels, hostels and other accommodation

Surely, popular apps and web-portals might be at hand, for instance, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Venere.com, which also provide comments from customers and their pros and cons. By the way, pay attention to exchange rates; regardless of euro currency priority in many countries, rates might slightly differ.

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