Here are a few things we've learned that make our beach trips more fun, safer and extra memorable.
For advice on what to pack for a beach vacation go to this page.
Keep reading for tips on shopping for summer clothes in the winter, protecting delicate electronics from humidity, a few first aid tips, staying safe in the first place and a secret way to pay nothing for your beach accommodations.
Shopping for summer beach clothes and accessories can be a challenge if you wait 'til winter. Take advantage of end-of-summer sales for sandals, swimwear, hats, sunglasses and clothes if you know you'll be traveling.
Electronics such as digital cameras don't like humid environments very much.
Save the silica gel packets from vitamin and medication bottles (the little things you're not supposed to eat) and tuck them in the camera case. Keep the camera in the case or plastic bag with the gel paks when you're not using it.
Pack a disposable waterproof camera to take along on beach days.
Frosted, colorful beach glass is beautiful and can be found along the seashore in almost every country.
Display it in little glass bottles along with other tiny shoreside treasures for a beautiful memento of your trip.
It also looks lovely in a shallow dish and it's porous surface holds scent for a few days if you spray or drop your favourite fragrance onto it.
If you're the creative type, beautiful jewelry, mosaics and window hangings can be made with sea glass.
Seriously, here's an alternative that just might change the way you travel - in a very good way. Swap homes with someone who lives where you want
to visit. Although not for everyone this is the answer to inexpensive travel for tens of thousands of adventurous souls.
I know this because , as can see here, that's how many people have signed up to trade their homes.
A little knowledge can save your life...and it starts with a simple rule - don't fight the current.
This type of current is a little hard to spot from the shore but there are a few tells.
Because the current is running rapidly from the shore out to sea there are usually NO waves breaking on shore where the rip exists. That results in a smoother look which sometimes gives it the appearance of being the best place to enter the water (It's NOT). At times you'll notice weeds, foam or debris being swept seaward. Also the seas are usually more than 2 feet high and waves on either side of the rip are evident.
Common sense beach safety tips for a happy healthy beach vacation.
Common places for sunburn are, feet and wherever your hair parts (particularly if you get those braids or cornrows). Under your nose and chin can burn when water reflects the sun in these areas. Any skin that has been unexposed for months needs protection from the tropical sun.
Cool burns with cool water. Stick to water soluble (non greasy) gels or lotions if you want to apply anything to superficial burns. Pack aloe gel or Noxema to soothe burns.
Jellyfish stings - Some can be soothed by applying vinegar, carry a small spray bottle of white vinegar in your beach bag if the jellyfish are out. Thin lycra suits or pantyhose protect against contact with jellyfish in the first place.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms you may offer an antihistamine (like Benadryl) to relieve itching - Tylenol or Ibuprofen for pain or you may need to seek medical attention. If breathing problems arise, swelling of the face and airways or heart rhythm becomes irregular call an ambulance.
Carefully shaving the area after applying shaving cream or a paste made from baking soda and water, helps to prevent the activation of more toxins.
Avoid painful stingray stings by shuffling your feet on the sand bottom when going into and out of the water. Stingrays whip their tails around, often stinging feet and lower legs when they're stepped on. Shuffling scares them away before you can step on them. Treat stingray stings by repeatedly soaking the part in water as hot as the patient can stand and offering up to 600mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol).
A simple flag system communicates the condition of the waves and currents or the presence of dangerous sea life on most public swimming beaches.
Pay attention to the warnings, they're there for your safety.
If there's a lifeguard station there will be a chart posted that explains what each flag means.
Here's a run down.
Watch this video to learn more about flags and what they mean.
Pack sunscreen. Some of you will go to the tanning salon for a few sessions before going on a beach vacation and others will use the instant tanning potions. What ever you decide, take it slow in the sun for the first few days.
The instant tan potions do NOT protect you from sunburn. Your skin may look tanned... but it isn't.