Once you get taken over by that holiday spirit, it’s easy to throw caution to the wind – which may mean spending out on treats that take you way over your budget or worrying less about rules for the kids than you would usually.
Letting go like this can be great for your mind and help your family to bond, but it’s important to still make sure you’re being savvy with your money and safety.
We’ve pulled together some of our favourite tips in both categories, to help you and your family relax and unwind without any problems.
Take your beach gear with you
If you wait until you arrive at the beach to buy things like wetsuits, buckets & spades and swimming costumes for the kids then you can expect to pay well over the odds. You’ll also have to make do with the limited choice that’s available in the local shop.
Taking swimwear with you is particularly important, because it means you can choose something that will help to keep your kids safe and comfortable while they’re playing. A lot of good quality modern swimwear includes UV protection which will provide much needed protection from the hot sun.
Bring plenty of food and water
One of the biggest hidden dangers on the beach is heatstroke: it’s very easy to spend longer in the sun that you meant too, and if you’re not drinking enough water then it can quickly become overwhelming. To avoid nasty symptoms like nausea, headaches and vomiting make sure you take some bottles of water with you and remind the rest of your family to stay hydrated too.
There will probably be people selling food and water on the beach but, again, the prices will rise in line with the convenience. We recommend packing a picnic with plenty of fruit and other snacks that will keep energy levels up. Use a cool-bag to keep your picnic fresh and remember that some foods can spoil quickly when they’re not kept cool.
Make sure you’ve planned ahead
Having a strong plan can help you avoid impulse purchases. Aside from having your lunch packed, planning some activities (and taking all the necessary equipment if it involves beach games) is a great way to avoid overspending on pricey amusements. Here are a couple of free or cheap activities to consider:
- Hunting for crabs in the rockpools. Clamber over rocks and help your kids look for different creatures. We recommend packing beach shoes if you want to spend time on the rocks, as this will help protect your family’s feet without ruining your regular shoes in the water.
- Make beach art. Collect up some interesting rocks and seaweed and challenge your family to make the most interesting or creative piece of art.
- Fly a kite. If you’re going to a beach with plenty of clear space, then you can have a lot of showing someone (or learning) how to fly a kite. If you’re looking for a family craft activity, you could even consider finding time to make the kite yourselves before you head out. Instructions here.
Doing research can also help you have a safer trip. You can check the times for the tide, check whether the beach has lifeguards, and find out if there’s any dangerous wildlife to be aware of.
Avoid taking your valuables
People are always looking for different ways to hide valuables on the beach, but if it’s really important to you that you don’t lose something then the best thing to do is leave it behind. We recommend avoiding wearing expensive jewellery or watches, carrying more cash than you need, or leaving items like mobile phones unattended in the sand.
Make sure you have travel insurance if going abroad
If something does go wrong whilst you’re away and you need medical care, it can be very expensive to get the treatment that you need. Travel insurance may add a little to the overall cost of your trip, but with medical bills often in the £1000s, the costs of ignoring it could potentially be devastating for your finances.
Always wear sunscreen
We’ve saved the most obvious tip for last, but it’s worth repeating: make sure that your whole family has plenty of mid-high factor sunscreen to avoid getting burned. It’s important to reapply sunblock after periodically throughout the day, and particularly after going into the water. You can also use after sun or moisturiser after you leave the beach to help avoid burning.