Planning The Ultimate Beach Vacation

By Ashley Paskill on July 31, 2019

Going to the beach is a highlight of the summer for many. From cooling off in the ocean to relaxing in the sand and other fun activities, the beach is a go-to getaway for students looking for some relaxation. However, if you do not plan properly, things can go downhill, especially if you are venturing to the beach without your parents guiding your every move. With planning and good decisions, you can make your vacation the best yet and not one that you will regret.

Image: Toa Heftiba via

Know what to pack

Packing is a tedious but necessary thing for going on vacation. Figuring out what you need can seem daunting, and this depends on who you are and what needs you have.

Pack any medications you take. Your medications are prescribed for a reason, and you do not want any medical conditions messing with your fun vacation. Take your medicines as prescribed and make room in your schedule to take them when you need to.

Plan your packing based on possible weather circumstances. If you know the evenings are chilly where you are going, make sure to pack a jacket or sweatshirt. Bring a rain jacket or poncho in case it rains. Pack your swimsuit and sunblock for the days you are on the beach.

Do not bring 10 outfits unless you are planning on staying that long. See if the place you are staying at has washers and dryers for doing laundry. There may even be laundromats nearby that you can use. If so, you can bring two or three outfits and wash them as needed. Otherwise, you will need to bring several outfits.

Get off work

This may seem obvious, but you will need to make sure you are able to get off work if you have a job. Whether you simply have to request off or arrange for someone to cover your shifts, you will need to do what you need to do to make sure you are off. Do not rely on calling out every day as that makes you look unprofessional. If you have vacation time, you can use it or you can choose to not be paid for your time off. Make sure you request off or ask for a substitute well in advance so that you are not scrambling last minute to make your plans happen.

Know your budget

As a college student, you are likely on a tight budget. This will likely impact where you eat, the place you stay, and what you do. Unless your parents are helping, you may not be able to afford the most top-notch hotel accommodations, but this may not be important if you are going to be enjoying the beach. If you have a low budget, you may need to cook in instead of eating out every night. Make sure you have some spending money in case you forget to bring something or if you want to buy souvenirs.

If you are traveling with other people, especially friends, make sure each person knows how much the trip is estimated to cost. You do not want anyone to feel awkward for not having enough money. Make sure everyone pays their fair share for the hotel, snacks, food, and other expenses that come with the trip. It is unfair to have one or two people pay for everything.

Figure out a place to stay

If you are planning on going to the beach for more than a day, you will need to find a place to stay. Hotels and rented apartments are common beach accommodations, but if you know someone who has a house at the beach, you may be able to stay there at a reduced cost. If you opt to stay at a hotel, make sure you have cash to tip the housekeeping staff. Even if you are not expected to pay to stay in a friend or family member’s place, make it a point to do something nice out of gratitude.

Plan, but leave room for spontaneity

Even if you have been to a certain beach before, you may want to do something different. Do your research and make a list of things you want to do. Have everyone else you are traveling with do the same and compare lists. See if there are things that overlap on everyone’s list. Make sure you do something on everyone’s list, even if it is something that is not agreed on by everyone.

The weather can be unpredictable, so make sure you have alternatives for rainy days. You can all bring a favorite board game and have snacks and pizza on a rainy day. If there is a movie theater, you can see a movie you have wanted to see.  Check to see if there are things to do that are special and indoors.

Allow for spontaneous moments. You might see a place to eat or thing to do that you did not see online. People live in the beach towns others vacation at, so they have things they do. For example, in Ocean City, NJ’s community center, there is a great museum that talks about the history of the town and how it came to be. Hidden gems like that are priceless, so if you stumble upon one, take the time to explore it,

Beach vacations are so much fun, but planning and making sure the details are ironed out are important to the success of the trip. Make sure you are safe and stay healthy so no one ends up in the hospital on the trip.

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