It’s the traditional holiday image: miles of purest-white sand, snaking off among loosely-grouped palm trees, surrounded by tranquil blue ocean. Maybe your image involves having a drink in hand, a decent book, perhaps some good company; it’s a stereotype for a reason. Wherever you’re going for your holiday, here are some tips to help you make the most of your beach experience.

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Picking your beach

The most important things to consider can often be the simplest, but also the most disastrous should you forget them. Your first port of call should be local sources of knowledge like hotel staff or guidebooks in order to pick the beach location which works best for you. Many destinations (like the ones On the Beach offer) will have a selection of local beaches, each with their own charms. Do you enjoy the crunchy, tactile feeling of a pebble shore, or the soft luxury of a sandy coastline? Are you looking for a large spot with plenty of other people, or a secluded bay? It’s important to check what local travel options exist so that you don’t get stranded, as well as what facilities are at the location (you’re not going to have that drink in hand without a bar nearby). Picking the perfect location is often the most important step of making the most of your beach experience.

Things to bring

Getting to the beach and realizing that you’re missing some essential item can be catastrophic, at worst ruining the day or at best resulting in being overcharged at a shop on-site. Remember to bring clean towels so you can dry off after swims, sunglasses to beat the glare and reading material for chilled sunbathing. Sunscreen is a must to avoid being burned and your wallet (or ideally waterproof storage of some kind) might come in handy! A local map or guidebook can lead to adventures exploring the area, and a radio can add some atmosphere to the day (so long as it’s not loud enough to annoy people nearby!).

Watch out for…

There can be a host of problems which can plague holiday-goers during seaside forays. The obvious ones are often the simplest ones to deal with: bring enough sun-cream and take regular breaks in the shade to avoid sunburn, and stop sunbathing if you think you’ve caught the sun. Hydrate often to avoid sun-stroke, and check out local guidebooks for advice on jellyfish or poisonous corals which could irritate the skin and put a damper on your day. Remember that some beaches will charge for sun-beds and make sure your belongings are close to hand, with no valuables on show.

Things to try

Beach holidays can be a great chance to try something new; many locations will offer water sports like windsurfing or jet-skiing, and a relaxed boat trip can be a great highlight to a day. Many locations have wildlife tours or sightseeing cruises, but make sure to check if these need to be booked in advance. Check sites like On the Beach for details on local activities where you’re going.