Unless you are going to a high-end resort, a day at the beach can easily be ruined by the lack of comfort and amenities. There are many accessories out there to help, but it can be hard to know which ones to buy and pack, especially if you are traveling to the beach by plane and are limited by what can fit in a suitcase.
Don’t worry though, we have you covered! We tested the below items on our trip to Hawaii earlier this year. Each item is budget conscious, fits in a suitcase, and most importantly, is reusable for future trips, saving you lots of money in the long run. We think this beach gear was definitely worth bringing 5,000 miles away from home.
1. A “parachute” blanket to keep you and your stuff sand-free
Going to the beach is awesome, but having sand all over you that then follows you home is very frustrating. Let’s face it, that small beach towel you usually lay on doesn’t cut it. That’s why a “parachute” blanket is a must. These blankets are huge (this one measures 9’ x 7’), and can comfortable protect two people and their belongings from the sand. Best of all, these blankets are made of super thin parachute material and therefore fold up into a tiny pouch. Buy it here.
2. A huge beach bag with lots of compartments
There is no need to struggle to carry all your essentials from your car to the beach and look like a mule doing so. All you need is one huge beach bag that can fit it all. The one we recommend has enough pockets to keep your belongings organized, including water/sand-proof zipped compartments to keep your valuables extra safe. Buy it here.
3. A beach umbrella that fits in your suitcase
Another issue at the beach is the lack of shade. You could try to find a place to purchase or rent a beach umbrella once you get to your destination. However, the better alternative is to buy a travel beach umbrella that you can reuse on every trip. This one comes in a convenient travel case and is specifically made to fit in most suitcases since it only measures 27” once collapsed. Based on our experience, this umbrella withstands strong gusts of wind. Bonus: as we learned during our “Escape on the Garden Island”, this umbrella is also very convenient in case it starts raining at the beach. Buy it here.
4. An anchor for your beach umbrella
You will not regret this one. If you are going to travel with a beach umbrella, you will want to make sure to spend a couple extra bucks on an umbrella anchor. This item will allow for a quick and easy setup and ensure your umbrella stays put, even in the windiest conditions. This one comes with a travel pouch and has collapsible handles; perfect for stashing it in your suitcase. Buy it here.
5. A portable cooler bag
Another must-have item for those hot days at the beach is a cooler. This cooler is perfect for traveling as it folds flat, barely taking any space in your suitcase. With a built-in bottle opener, just fill it with ice at your hotel in the morning, and you’ll be able to enjoy ice cold drinks all day long. Thanks to it’s ample room, you can even pack a fresh picnic. Buy it here.
6. A full-face snorkel mask
Snorkeling sounds fun until you put that old leaky mask on. It gets worse when seawater comes rushing down your tuba and into your mouth. These full-face snorkel masks solve all of these problems. They are much more comfortable and allow you to breathe out of both your nose and mouth. They also offer increased visibility thanks to their 180 degree panoramic view. Last but not least, the special air valve prevents any water from entering the tuba. Buy it here.
This one doesn’t need too much explaining: no matter how old you are, you have to admit that swimming in the sea with a floatie is so much more fun than without one. The form factor of an inflatable pool noodle makes it extra portable when deflated, and most importantly, easy to inflate without a pump. A flotation device is especially useful when you’re snorkeling as it will allow you to focus on the fish instead of wasting energy fighting against waves to stay afloat. Buy it here.
8. Waterproof pouch and a screen protector for your phone
In this day and age where our phone is our camera, you’ll want to have yours handy while at the beach. However, sand and water are your smartphone’s number one enemy, so spending a couple bucks on a waterproof case and screen protector is a smart move. A waterproof pouch will allow you to take photos while swimming, or even snorkeling! Similarly, having a screen protector will avoid your phone from getting scratched if ever it falls into the sand – it only take a few grains of sand! Buy it here.