Best Item You Brought on Your Beach Vacation

Old Mar 8th, 2012, 05:46 PM
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Best Item You Brought on Your Beach Vacation

So we are heading to Antigua in the next few weeks and I've been reading reviews from many travel sites. I'm seeing some great tips on what to bring that I probably wouldn't have thought of - like an insulated cup to keep your swim-up bar drinks cool, a portable beach umbrella so you don't have to beat the crowds for a shady spot on the beach at 6am and your own beach towel in case the resort runs out.. What's the best item you ever brought that helped make your beach vacation fun, stress-less or comfortable?

Thanks
Nyra
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 03:22 AM
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Don't know where you are staying but in 25+ years of traveling around the Caribbean (and other arts of the world) I've never stayed at a resort that has "run out of beach towels" - in the fact the opposite has been true there have been times when we've been offered more towels than we could possibly use.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 03:26 AM
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Sorry, forgot to answer your specific question, when I travel I pack as little as possible. My motto is, if it doesn't fit in one 21" roll-a-board and my one personal size bag I don't need it. Follow the old adage "take less "stuff, bring more money".
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 04:11 AM
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I, too believe a stress free, comfortable vacation is easier to achieve by bringing more money/cash rather than excess luggage if possible.

I travel light with carry on only but I have taken a swim noodle with me a few times. I have been allowed to carry it on in addition to my rollerboard case but was prepared to ditch it if it was an issue.
I use it to float around in the pool and offer it to a family with young kids when I leave for home and it has been gratefully received.

Here are some alternative solutions to your problems...
I would find a palm tree for shade or bring a big hat (easier to pack/carry than an umbrella).
Drink your swim up drinks before the ice melts or ask the bar tender for an extra cup of ice if you prefer to dilute your cocktails like I do.

I have stayed in resorts where they've run out of towels a few times and was told it was due to excess demand or laundry issues (come back in 4 hours!??!). The solution? Use the room towels instead.
FYI I remember this happened at the Bal Harbour Marriott in Florida which I think has changed hands since we stayed there 6 years ago and in St. Maarten at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort 3 years ago.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 05:16 AM
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We also bring our own beach towels. We use them for off property excursions as the hotel towels are usually small and thin. They are also good for wrapping up those souvenir liquor bottles we buy that must be packed in our luggage for the flight home.

I have never found a portable beach umbrella that could be easily packed. Can you give me a link? The beach isn't so much an issue with shade, but I always have problems finding enough shade around the pool.

I always brings a power strip. Most hotels give one outlet and I need multiple. I also check if they provide clock radios with alarm. Many don't.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 07:02 AM
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I never pack towels. They take up way too much room in the suitcase. If I find I need one, I just buy a souvenier beach towel upon arrival.

I pack in a canvas beach tote for my carry-on for the plane, the I have it to use as a beach bag upon arrival. Sunglasses, straw hat, sunscreen, extra bathing suits, sarong/pareos, flip flops, paperback novel... are the "beach necessities" I take.

I never bother with things like an insulated cup or a beach umbrella. I just make do with what I find once I'm there. Never been a hardship so far (lol).
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 08:34 AM
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Well, I actually do bring an insulated travel mug with me and for me it's my single most important travel item. Here's the one I use:

http://www.amazon.com/Thermos-Nissan...314367&sr=8-14

I use it for tea in the morning and since I'm not a big drinker I usually use it on the beach filled with either iced tea or ice water. The insulating properties of the mug are quite good. This one probably isn't the kind of insulated cup you want for tropical drinks though.

We never pack towels.

Shade can be a problem for me (skin cancer). It's often easier to find umbrellas or palapas on the beach rather than at the pool. That works out well for us as we prefer the beach. I have a lot of sun protective clothing and cover-ups I take and use. Those cover-ups are also musts for me.

I keep an extension cord in my suitcase and we've used it many times.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 11:55 AM
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Insulated mug is a must. I pack clothes inside it so it doesn't take up much room. On our recent trip to Jamaica, my daughter and daughter-in-law were amazed at how much they appreciated that tip from dear old Mom. When it is 90 degrees out, the two 8 ounce flimsy plastic cups at the pool bar don't last very long, even with ice and water. I rarely drank anything but ice water, but I was so glad to have my mug.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 11:58 AM
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Forgot to add, DD and DIL found their 32 ounce insulated mug with handle at a Raceway convenience store for $3.99. For that price, they actually left it at the resort rather than carry it home.
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 04:47 AM
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Thank you all for these great tips! I'm on my way to the store now!

BTW, the beach umbrella can be found at www.portabrella.com
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 04:51 AM
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Thought I'd also share what others on other sites suggested:

votive candle & matches in case room is musty
plastic grocery bag
pillowcase
pepto, tums, immodium
batteries
duct tape - can't tell you how many people suggested this!
1 roll tp
peanut butter
kids' lipsticks to give away
swim raft
melatonin
door stop (i was surprised at this one but someone who prefers first-floor rooms suggested it I think as a safety thing)
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 05:09 AM
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One thing I always bring is less than I brought before!

Pack light...you'll be glad you did.

when going to more developed islands...antigua being one of those...if you forgot anything you probably can find it in a grocery store or shop somewhere. Buy it there and bring it home as a souvenir. You'll help the island economy and have a nice souvenir.

peace, greenie
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 07:36 AM
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Sorry but I disagree with lots of things on that list. If you start taking everything you "might need" you won't be packing light anymore.

I don't need batteries (take nothing that uses them), I have never stayed anywhere that didn't give you toilet paper (and I have stayed some pretty cheap places), don't use melatonin or peanut butter, etc. etc.
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 09:04 AM
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A lot of those suggested items are for families with kids or just personal preferences.

My digital camera takes regular batteries. I used to have a camera with the rechargable battery pack and after using foriegn plugs it kept ruining them, so made sure next time I bought a camera it was one with just regular batteries.

When we went to Alaska last September I brought 16 batteries in a package and still didn't have enough. Ended up buying a pack of 6 for twice what I would have paid for at home.

Just like people who bring laptops, cell phones, I Pads and I pods. I have no use for those things on my vacation and they are left at home.
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 10:15 AM
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Best item I brought on my beach vacation ... sunglasses. Even swim suit is not necessary at some beaches

But seriously, just go with the flow. You really don't need all that much at the beach. No beach towel? Why bother? The sun will dry you anyway, if not, get back in the water again or walk into the resort wet, you will find out how fast they will find you dry clean towels.

Something to keep the drinks cool? Mine doesn't last long enough for that to happen. Order it when you need it, and drink it while it is still fresh. Burp!

The only thing I can agree with all the post so far is pack light and bring money. It is amazing how a little tipping could do.
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 11:56 AM
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Agree with KVR about many things on your list being personal preferences.

Really this is about how much you prefer
1) to bring stuff with you
2) doing without stuff
3) buying stuff there.

It often boils down to finances as #3 costs $$$ while #2 costs nothing

I imagine nearly everyone tends to be a combination of 1,2 & 3.

I do have one of those portable umbrellas. I sometimes take it on road trips to the local beaches in the summer but I would never take it on a plane.
It certainly fits in a carry on suitcase BUT there would be little room left for other essentials.

So Nyra, if you're a newbie to packing for a beach vacation I suggest you pack sooner rather than later and spend a few days whittling down your clothes/stuff if it's too much to carry.

Bring what YOU need. Decide what YOU can do without. Buy what YOU want there.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 03:08 PM
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Besides what other people have written, I bring a sheet for when I go exploring to a beach without amenities I also bring miniture speakers for my iPod
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 06:06 PM
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Forgot to add that I, too, bring plastic grocery bags. We use them for dirty clothes. Sometimes the hotel will have those in the closet, sometimes not. I also bring a few zip lock baggies of various sizes.
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 07:07 PM
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4) stuff you get for free once you're there!
I always go grocery shopping, so end up with plenty of local plastic bags to use for packing on the way home.

Now that you mention it, I have actually taken a pillowcase a few times, but only when I'm staying at a very budget hotel where I know the sheets aren't all that great.
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