13 Beach Bag Essentials for Every Traveler

Each of these beach bag essentials will help make sure you have a great day relaxing by the pool or in the sand.

Whether you're heading out on a summer vacation or a mid-winter break, if you're spending the day in the sun, you'll want to consider popping these items in your beach bag.

beach bag essentials

But first, you'll need to choose the perfect bag to carry your essentials. There are so many great styles, from canvas or waterproof totes to wicker baskets and backpacks. These are a few of my favorite styles.

1. Sun Hat

Fedoras and floppy wide-brimmed hats are a great way to keep your head cool and prevent heat stroke. They're also imperative to keep colored hair from fading or prominent parts from getting burned. If you're sportier, visors and ball caps are also great options.

                  

         

2. Cover Up

It's always a good idea to have something to slip over your swimsuit in case you want to go to a restaurant or to keep the sun off your shoulders. There are so many great styles of covers ups to choose from. Jersey dresses, rompers, and tunics are always comfortable and provide full coverage, while sarongs and kimonos leave a little more room to breathe if you will. And each type of cover up comes in a variety of fabrics and colors.

3. Sunscreen

It doesn't matter how fair or dark your skin is, sunscreen tops the list of beach bag essentials. You simply have to protect yourself from the sun's harmful UV rays. If you're super fair-skinned and have freckles like me, Neutrogena makes 100+ SPF sunscreen that is non-greasy and absorbs quickly. If you've got tattoos, Tattoo Goo makes a specially formulated sunscreen that will help stop them from fading in the sun. The best part is that it comes in a chapstick-sized package that you can easily take with you everywhere. Sunlight is a tattoo's worst enemy—keep 'em covered.

4. Soothing Gel

So you fell asleep in the sun...for a few hours...and your sunscreen wore off. Don't be ashamed, we've all been there before. You may look like a lobster but you don't need to feel like you're boiling in a pot of hot water. Soothe your burning skin with aloe vera gel. The cool sensation does wonders to calm a painful burn.

                        

5. Sunglasses

Your skin isn't the only thing you need to protect from the sun. Be sure to pack your favorite pair of sunnies to keep them safe from UV rays (and also to help prevent crow's-feet from squinting). You can't go wrong with a class pair of Ray-Bans, but I just love having a little fun with my shades.

6. Beach Towel

If you're spending the day at the beach, you need a big, cozy towel that can double as a blanket. Boho Mandala beach throws are all the rage. The circular shape is both fun and stylish. Turkish towels are also extremely popular. They're super absorbent, fast-drying, and can double as a sarong in a pinch.

   

7. Sandals

I know, I know, you want to feel the sand between your toes. Don't we all? But you still need to have a pair of shoes you can slip on if you plan to pop into the local burger joint. Birkenstocks are a great option if you want something a little trendy or that has some solid arch support (I like mine with a little glitz so I can dress them up at night). And of course, there's always the comfortable, versatile, and affordable flip flop. Havaianas are a great brand with lots of style selection.

8. Swimsuit

Even if you don't plan to take a dip in the water, it's customary to wear a swimsuit for a day at the beach or poolside. There are so many great styles that it's hard to choose just one. From classic one pieces to itty bitty bikinis, you can keep it modest or flaunt your best features. Tankinis, retro remixes, and sexy silhouettes ensure there is something that will work with your personal style.

9. Books

It's always good to have something to read while lazing around. An eReader, like Kindle, is an ideal option, especially if you get tired of any one book too easily. You can store a ton of different types of books all in one device, giving you lots of great choices. And if you just want to stare at pictures and skim short stories, you can even subscribe to magazines on your eReader. I've got a Kindle Paperwhite. I love its anti-glare features, the fact that it lasts for hours and hours, and that it's super lightweight for travel. If you're like me and you enjoy the feel of a book, add a cover to your eReader.

10. Music

There's nothing like kicking back with some good tunes. Rather than waste space on your phone or use up your precious battery power, why not kick it old school with an MP4 player? Call me old school, but I still love my iPod shuffle best. Simply clip it to your swimsuit strap and enjoy. It's super lightweight so you'll barely even notice it.

     

11. Wallet

You need a place to stash your cash, and it's not likely you've got pockets in your swimsuit. A waterproof wallet you can wear around your wrist or neck is a great option. Alternatively, a secret pocket scarf is the perfect way to add a splash of fashion to your beach attire, and no one will suspect you've got precious cargo hidden inside.

      

12. Snacks

Let's face it. Lying around doing nothing all day makes us hungry. It's a fact of life. So snacks are one of the top beach bag essentials. And don't forget to pack some bottled water to keep you hydrated throughout the day. Dasani is my personal favorite.

13. Toys

A day at the beach simply wouldn't be complete without a beach ball, floaty, or other fun toys. C'mon, you know you want to be the girl lounging around on the unicorn.

What are your beach bag essentials? Leave a comment to share them.

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7 Practical Travel Gadgets Everyone Needs

These travel gadgets should be in everyone's carry-on bag.

They're not high-tech or outrageous. They're just practical tools that come in handy on almost every cruise or vacation. Check out these seven must-have travel gadgets.

Portable USB Charger

travel gadgets

How many times have you found yourself staring at the most incredible site but you couldn't snap a photo because your phone or camera needed charging? You can charge your battery lightning quick and on the fly with a portable USB charger. These days, they're pretty small so you can slip one in your pocket or clip one to your day bag. Never leave home without one of these awesome gadgets.

Selfie Stick

travel gadgets

It's time to face facts...sometimes your arms simply aren't long enough to get a great picture of yourself and whatever temple, mountain, statue, or other attraction happens to be behind you. As silly as they look, selfie sticks are amazing, especially if you're traveling solo.

Plug Adapter

travel gadgets

Before you leave home, make sure all of your appliances and electronics are fitted with the appropriate plug for the country where you're traveling. And if you're not sure, be sure to take along a portable adaptor plug converter. If you're traveling to several different parts of the world on one trip, it's handy to have an adaptor that has all different styles of plugs in one converter. There's nothing worse than getting to your hotel or cruise ship and finding out you have no way to plug in your computer or curling iron.

Power Bar

travel gadgets

Somehow it seems like there are never enough places to plug in all your electronics when you're staying in a hotel room or on a cruise ship. Take a small power bar with you wherever you go, and you'll never run into that problem again.

Headphones

Don't get caught on a plane without headphones. These days, there are no guarantees they'll give you a pair for free. Get a pair that folds up wee and fits in your pocket. You won't regret it.

eReader

travel gadgets

So you like the feel of a real book and the smell of the pages—trust me, I get it. I've been in the publishing industry for years...but if you're an avid reader and away from home for a week or more, one book simply won't cut it. And who wants to carry around a bevy of books? An eReader is a must. You can store thousands of books, and most are backlit so you can read in dim light situations. If you still want that real book feel, get yourself a custom cover.

GoPro

travel gadgets

Want to get cool pics or live-action shots? Try traveling with a GoPro. The images and videos you'll take will have a 3D feel and ultra vibrant colors. There's nothing quite like it.

Have other ideas about the best travel gadgets to take on vacation? Leave us a comment, and let us know.

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Five Misconceptions Tourists Make When Traveling Abroad

Collaborative Guest Post


When you travel abroad, it’s easier than you think to make the wrong assumptions.

 

Whether that’s about the people you encounter, the attractions you visit or general mistakes about traveling, misconceptions can hamper your experience somewhat.

To ensure you don’t make the same mistakes as many others, check out our list of common misconceptions tourists make:

Five Misconceptions Tourists Make When Traveling Abroad

Everyone will speak English

In popular tourist destinations, it’s likely you’ll be able to talk to everyone in English. But head further away from the hubs, and you’d be wrong to assume locals will always understand you.

It’s good to learn a few key phrases in the local language to use in these instances. It’s also a great way of showing you’re willing to immerse yourself more than the average tourist.

No-one will try and rip you off

Unfortunately, tourists can be a target for petty criminals. Assuming everyone is your friend won’t end well. Common tricks used to fool tourists abroad include paying for demonstrations, slow counting cash, fake police, and phony charity petitions. For more scams you could fall victim to, check out Rick Steves for the warning signs.

Misunderstanding the country they’re visiting

Not knowing London’s Big Ben refers to the actual clock inside, not the entire clock tower, or assuming everyone in Paris wears a beret – there are a lot of ways a tourist can misunderstand the place they’re visiting (here are some of the most common misconceptions according to The Odyssey Online).

Five Misconceptions Tourists Make When Traveling Abroad

It’s dangerous to head off the beaten track

There’s a temptation to stick to the well-traveled routes of many tourists. Whether it’s a fear over safety or a general lack of knowledge, it leads people to seeing the same sights and attractions. Instead, you should be brave and venture off into the unknown somewhat. It’s how you’ll have the best experiences as a tourist abroad, rather than the same memories as everyone else.

They’ll be covered by insurance if they leave items behind

You get on the plane and realize you’ve left your camera behind. You left it with the hotel concierge for safekeeping, but forgot to head back and pick it up before you left for the airport. Think your insurance will cover you? Think again.

Insurance typically won’t reimburse you for belongings you’ve left behind – no matter how valuable they are to you. Insurance covers you for things like luggage delay, car crime, bag theft, water damage, and pick pocketing, according to TINZ.

What mistakes have you made as a tourist? Share your misconceptions with us.

Five Misconceptions Tourists Make When Traveling Abroad

3 Tips for Traveling with Allergies

Traveling with allergies can be a challenge to say the least.

 

If you’re like me, you never know when your allergies are going to flare up. Sure, some triggers are easy to avoid or identify. Coconut makes me sick, for example. And my throat swells closed around cigarette smoke. But then there are the times when I wake up looking like someone has punched me in the face: two black eyes and a puffy nose. Those are the days when I simply don’t know what hit me.

As much as I’d like to leave them at home, I know I’ll be traveling with allergies. To make the best of what could be a bad situation, try these three travel hacks.

1. Diffuse Your Problems

traveling with allergies

Did you know essential oils can help relieve the effects of allergies? They’re not going to save your life if your in anaphylaxis, but they will give you some respite from a bout with pollen.

Pack a travel-sized nebulizer or diffuser to use in your room. Lavender is fantastic for allergies, while peppermint helps with headaches. Try burning essential oils while you sleep, and you’ll likely wake up feeling more refreshed than usual. Worst case scenario, your room will smell fantastic.

Other options for essential oils include roll-ons that fit easily into your purse or cosmetics bag. Rub a little on your wrists or temples to help reduce allergy symptoms. You can often even find essential oil combinations that are specially formulated to provide relief for allergy sufferers.

2. Reduce the Swelling

traveling with allergies

For days when you wake up looking like a raccoon, you need a little something special to take down the swelling. Invest in a puffy eye pen. Whether or not it gets rid of the swelling, the cool chill always feels good against the eyes.

Another great option is to make a pot of chamomile tea. It’s great for eliminating swelling. If your chest is tight, drink a cup to help loosen things up. Or you can use the tea to reduce hives and other itchy splotches. Once, I was bitten by a mosquito on my eyelid. My eye swelled closed, and not even Benadryl helped. I dipped a facecloth in a cup of chamomile tea and held it over my eye for a few minutes. Days of pain and inflammation were gone in an instant.

3. Carry an Allergy Kit

traveling with allergies

The last thing you want to think about when heading on vacation is how to handle allergies. For me, this often translates to forgetting things like allergy meds. One way to combat this is to always have an allergy kit ready to toss in your bag. Get a little cosmetics bag, and fill it with allergy essentials, like:

  • Antihistamines (I prefer Benadryl since it’s fast-acting and non-drowsy)
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Epipen
  • Ventolin inhaler
  • Tissue and hand sanitizer

I like to pretend all of the world’s woes will go the way of the dinosaurs once I step foot on a plane. In a perfect world, this would mean I’d spend everyday allergy free, but that’s simply not the case. What other tips do you have for traveling with allergies? Add your two cents to the conversation in the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.

 

Little Luxuries You Can Travel With

It’s no secret that I love the finer things in life. So I’ve found a way to take a few little luxuries with me wherever I go.

 

Are there things you wish you could bring on vacation, but they just don’t seem practical? If you look hard enough you just might find some travel-friendly alternatives. Here are a few little luxuries I take along on all of my travels. And the great news is that each one can comfortably fit inside a carry-on.

Travel Diffuser/Humidifier

Do you get headaches often? Or maybe you have a lot of allergies. Either one of these could be a recipe for disaster when you’re traveling. I’ve found burning essential oils in a diffuser/humidifier helps reduce the symptoms. During the day, try a few drops of lemongrass to clear the air or lavender to provide a little allergy relief. Peppermint overnight while you sleep will help alleviate headache pain so you feel refreshed when you wake up.

Little Luxuries Diffuser

Collapsible Pour-Over Coffeemaker

You know how when you’re in Europe and you ask for a coffee but you get something that only vaguely resembles one? Well, you can avoid caffeine withdrawal by simply packing a collapsible coffeemaker. Just pop the coffeemaker overtop of a mug and away you go. It’s a great way to satisfy your coffee cravings while on the road.

Little Luxuries Coffee

Travel Yoga Mat

Yoga is great for the mind, body, and soul. And it’s the perfect way to keep fit when you travel since it doesn’t require a lot of gear. In fact, most hotel or cruise ship gyms provide exercise mats you can use for your yoga practice. But for yogis with a regular practice, you probably think of your mat as a sacred space. Using the same mat as someone else simply isn’t appealing. Why not pack a lightweight or foldable yoga mat made specifically for travel? Or take along a yoga mat towel to cover up the shared mats at the gym. It can also double as an airplane blanket.  Little Luxuries Mat

Travel Atomizer

Do you have a signature scent you like to douse on in the morning? You’ve shelled out the big bucks for the good stuff, so the last thing you want to do is shell out more money for the roll on. But packing the full-size bottle can be a pain. It’s either too large to carry-on, or it could break in your checked bag. Luckily, there is a fabulous alternative. You can fill a mini atomizer with perfume from your standard-sized bottle. Pop it in your purse, and you’re good to go.

Little Luxuries Perfume

These little luxuries make every vacation feel just a bit more amazing. What are your nonessential travel essentials? Use the #wanderlustwayfarer on Instagram to share pictures of the little luxuries you can’t live without while you travel.

Travel Essentials: Four Things You Should Take on Every Trip

No one wants to be bogged down with stuff they simply don’t need. But these travel essentials should be in everyone’s carry-on.

 

It’s easy to remember to pack the basics: sewing kit, camera, nail clippers, and sunscreen, for example. But there are a few items I consider must-haves that aren’t in everyone’s bags.  

Krazy Glue

No matter where I go, I always carry Krazy Glue. Some people swear by duct tape or other adhesives, but they simply can’t compete with my fave. Krazy Glue can be used to fix a broken nail, repair a suitcase, seal a shoe sole, sew a ripped seam, stitch a small cut, or affix a loose button snap. It’s super small and weighs next to nothing, so there’s no reason not to take a tube of Krazy Glue with you. It’s truly multipurpose.

Wet Wipes

If you’re traveling carry-on only, it’s likely you won’t be allowed to take the travel-sized Lysol aerosols they sell at the supermarket through security. Wet wipes are your next best bet. While hand sanitizer is great for keeping your fingers germ-free, I prefer to carry a small pack of wet wipes. They’re ideal for cleaning up messes of all kinds. Spending the night sleeping on an airplane seat? Give it a quick cleaning before resting your head. They’re also handy for getting sand out from between your toes after a day at the beach.

Umbrella

Whether or not you’re expecting rain, it’s always a good idea to have an umbrella. Nowadays, you can buy a sturdy, lightweight umbrella that can fit in a small purse for a reasonable price. You’ll barely notice it’s there. If you’re caught in a slushy snowstorm without proper winter wear, you can use your umbrella to stay dry. Or you may find yourself melting under the hot sun at an outdoor concert in the Caribbean. You can pop your umbrella overhead to ward off the sun’s rays.

Tide to Go

You never know when you might slop your meal down the front of your shirt or sit on something yucky. A Tide to Go stain remover pen can be a true lifesaver. Just last week, I pulled a freshly dry cleaned white blouse from my suitcase to find a big, yellow splotch of something nasty smack in the center. I pulled out my trusty Tide to Go pen, and in an instant the stain was gone.

Are there other items you simply refuse to leave home without? Head over to the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group to join the conversation by telling us about your travel essentials!