Amazing family vacations

7 Ways to Boost Your Fun Time in the Sunshine

Want to ramp up the fun levels on your next beach break with the kids? Make room for these little beauties in your luggage
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Want to ramp up the fun levels on your next beach break with the kids? Make sure to add these must haves to your packing list

Lazy days sipping mojitos at a beach bar, getting your bronze on while the kids scamper about in the water, effortlessly making new friends and generally being angelic.
That’s the beach break fantasy, anyway. In reality family vacays by the sea often involve a lot more temper tantrums, sandy sangria and unfortunate encounters with jelly fish than most people’s holiday photos would have us believe. But even a less-than-perfect beach break is worth its weight in gold, and while we can’t guarantee everything will be smooth sailing if you shell out for this little lot (yes, shell pun intended #sorrynotsorry), they’re certain to you an upgrade on the fun levels for both you and the kids. You won’t need megabucks for these, and they’re bound to give you a helping hand in making those dreams of fun in the sun come true.

Collapsible beach pail. Packing for the beach can be almost as time consuming as packing for the vacation itself. And packing it all up again is next level frustration: how is it that everything seems to expand and multiply as well as becoming soggy and coated in sand? This space-and-sanity-saving version of the old faithful beach bucket and spade ($14) folds up into a flat disk, so you won’t need to argue about who has to cart it around all day. 

Sandproof towel ((from $9.99)Pretty ironic that the thing that makes the beach so irresistable is the very same thing that makes it irritating as all hell. Yes, as much as we love sand when we’re laying down on it, we don’t want to be bringing half the beach home scattering grains of the stuff all over the place every time we try to pull something out of our bag. Sandproof towels like this one (link) are the unsung superheroes of the beach, being quick drying, compact, and this one even comes with loops for holding it in place (grab a tentpeg or improvise with sticks) to stop it making a bid for freedom.

AeroPress Coffee Maker  Every caffeine addict knows that the most heavenly of vacation destinations can rapidly transform into hell on earth if you wake up on your first day to discover you have no way of making coffee. And sachets of instant coffee are also sent straight from the depths of Hades. Savvy caffeine fiends need to plan in advance: if take you’re on the move and don’t have time or space for your usual brewing paraphernalia, this neat and super-speedy press makes a damn fine cup of coffee. Ideal for those that need their caffeine fix NOW, it brews up a superior cup of the dark stuff in 30 seconds..Thanks to the microfilter it’s not bitter in the least, there isn’t the graininess that you sometimes get with a French press. So you get a good cup of coffee, and the kids get the benefit of a parent that isn’t about to collapse with fatigue or turn demonic from caffeine withdrawal

Stainless Steel Straw Plastic straws may have been popular with the beach party crowd once, but given what we know about ocean pollution today, rocking up with a bag full of disposable plastic tubes is tantamount to waving them in the face of a passing puffa fish and shouting  ‘I don’t give a crap about you or your ocean habitat!’. 

But being ocean friendly doesn’t mean curbing your cocktail-sipping fun, or the kids’ juice-slugging joy. Reusable stainless steel straws like this telescopic one (from $19.99, , which comes in a very presentable aluminium case and has tooth-protecting silicone tip,is perfect for beach drinking without the ocean-angering plastic crap. For family fun, this pack of 4 smaller stainless steel cocktail straws ($9.99 for four, with cleaning brush) come in silver, gold or copper hues.

Kid-pleasing bath bombs While grownups might get excited about free bathroom amenities, they’re hardly a source of joy for kids. Pack some fun bath bombs like these sparkle-tastic ones that come complete with surprise toys, and make the post-beach cleanup operation more fun for all concerned. Jazzy temporary tattoos can be fun to play around with too, and those with smaller children can sneak in a bit of safety with cartoon tats that include parental contact number, which can ease those anxiety dreams about offspring going astray on the beach.      

Neat drink holders What’s worse than sand in your sangria? Spilt sangria. Luckily you can now safely anchor your cup with beach drink holders such as these stackable sand coasters (from $9.99), whose spiked stakes easily stick firm into wet or dry sand. The four-piece set is nice and compact, and there’s even a built-in bottle opener (bring your own corkscrew if wine’s your tipple, though). The holders double as snug, and-free places to keep your phone and other treasured possessions: snacks, for example. Because sandy beach snacks are almost as traumatising as no beach snacks at all.  

Dry bag for your phoneat less than $7 a pop, this ultra-waterproof dry phone bag from JOTO may be the best investment you can make for your family beach break – so you might as well grab one for every family member that has a cell phone. You can take photos and videos underwater, and while it’s perfect for kayaking, snorkeling, swimming and any number of other watery activities, it also keeps out sand, dirt and snow, so you can use it on your winter snowboarding break too. 

Other beach packing tips:

Bring with you few old socks (all the lost pairs will be perfect). Fill them up with sand and use them to hold your beach blanket to the ground. Bring a container or a bucket and fill it with water. Now, whenever you or your kids would want to have a snack, or just to reapply the sunscreen- they can quickly wash their hands from the sand and go ahead with the watermelon slice..

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