The perfect beach vacation is something we must admit to knowing more than a little about. As owners of a beach gear company and avid surfers, we have clocked up literally dozens of beach vacations in the past decade. The best trips have varied by location – with 10,000+ kilometres of pristine coastline here in Australia, it’s hard to choose a ‘bad’ location – and they’ve varied in the friends and family who’ve joined us, and the time of year we chose to travel. One factor which never varies, however, is the organisation which goes in beforehand to make everything run smoothly, and the essentials we pack to ensure NOTHING gets in the way of our beachside fun.
So, how do you organise the perfect beach vacation, without going overboard and turning it into a scheduled military operation? Here are our top three tips to get you on your way to wiggling your toes in the sand very soon, without the stress!
Choose Your Accommodation Realistically
We all love the idea of being as close to the water as possible, and many of us are romantic about the concept of camping. However, if you’ve never camped, lack the essential equipment or are an anxious traveller (or a very light sleeper!) camping right on the shore might not be the best idea for you. If hotels are out of the budget, or feel a little boring to you, we encourage you to consider glamping!
Many brilliant coastal campsites now boast these permanent, attractive-looking tents which vary in levels of luxury but all share one excellent quality; you don’t need to pack, put up, dismantle or clean a tent or any camping equipment! Of course, cabins in beautiful beachside van parks are also a great no-fuss alternative, giving you access to the brilliant facilities many van parks offer (from mini golf to jumping castles, BBQ’s and waterslides) without the hard work of camping.
Our other tip in regard to accommodation is to investigate carefully whether your own night-time plans are appropriate for the location you’re looking to stay. Hotels have sound-proofed rooms but often lack common areas to party. Many campgrounds have a rule about no loud noise from 10pm, and some Air BnB’s forbid any kind of parties or visitors. It’s important to consider this if you’re planning to celebrate a birthday or similar when you’re away, and to choose a location which is suitable.
Pack for All Weather
Of course, we hope your beach vacation features unbroken blue skies and warm (but not too hot!) weather, with zero chance of rain. And if you holiday in Australia from October to March, your chances are great this will be the case. But even on those perfect warm beach holidays, you need to be adequately prepared.
Day after day on the beach is brutal for your skin, especially for children and those who are very fair. We always travel with a beach tent from our own collection at OZoola Beachlife, which is light, fast to set up and allows air flow so your patch of shade doesn’t feel like a sauna.
Other ‘must packs’ include good, thick beach towels, WAY more sun cream than think you’ll need (we go through a 500ml bottle in a week for two of us) and an oversized bag to tote everything to the beach in. There are many glamourous options out there, but we still love the big, blue waterproof bags which can be bought for $1 from everyone’s favourite homeware chain, IKEA!
Finally, it is possible that a solid week of rain will spoil your plans on your beach holiday. That’s why we always pack a lightweight waterproof jacket and sneakers for a coastal walk if the rain isn’t too heavy… and plenty of boardgames!
Get Off the Beaten Path
As mentioned, beaches abound in Australia, and we’re not the only country who can claim this. Our best beach vacations have been spent not on the famous beaches, but on the little-known spots which you will often have all to yourself.
When booking your holiday, avoid any beach you’ve heard of from friends and family, and take a deep-dive into blogs and travel websites to discover those rare gems which are off the beaten path. Check out our own blog for tips, and look for regions which have several beaches as well as a few other ‘dry land’ activities to ensure any wet days aren’t too dull.
With these handy tips, a little planning and the right weather, we’re sure your next beach holiday will be a beautiful and relaxing time spent in nature.
Blog by the OZoola Beachlife team, Bondi Beach, Australia.