Vacation time is something I look forward to all year. For the most part, the vacations that I enjoyed most were those spent at the beach. The thrill of traveling can be awesome, but sometimes the running around can be more work than pleasure. The ingredients of a great beach vacation usually equate to equal parts white sand and equal parts doing as little as possible. In my opinion, there is nothing more relaxing than laying on the beach and enjoying all that comes along with it.
Over the course of my life, I’ve learned that what makes a trip great is not to overdo things. Packing can be a chore, but there are always a few essentials I know to bring with me when I’m going to be on a beach for any extended period.
1. Do-Anything Dive Watch
On a beach vacation, I’m going to need a watch that can handle anything. One day I may be snorkeling in the ocean, while the next I’m hiking along a stretch of waterside trails. Whatever I have planned, I always prefer to bring a steel bracelet dive watch. They’re durable, waterproof and they dry quickly when I’m wet or sweaty. This trusty dive watch will be with me until the day I die. While it’s not always appropriate for dressier occasions, you can choose to switch out the strap or bring a second dress style watch. I prefer the latter. The less to do, the better the vacation. Just remember, when you’re back home from vacation, be sure to clean your watch of any harsh left over salt and sweat. Running it under cool fresh water and using a soft brush should suffice.
2. Tote Bag
When I’m home, I carry way too much in my “work” bag daily. On vacation, I try and stick to the things I really need. Unfortunately, I’m what you call a “I’m going to need this” type of person. One of the simple things I’ve grown accustomed to bringing with me is a reliable tote bag. I hate carrying things in my pockets. Oftentimes I carry a camera with me, but I don’t enjoy having it hang around my neck. The same goes with my phone, wallet and passport; it all goes in the tote. A tote bag is also great when I find interesting trinkets or pieces of art that I want to bring home. It’s a great way to carry things that you otherwise wouldn’t want to haul around in a touristy, plastic bag.
I can say that with 100 percent certainty that I’m not a fan of sandals or flip-flops. The look and the feel don’t do much for my personal style. When I’m choosing vacation footwear, I find that I turn to a pair of simple espadrilles. The casual shoe, made of canvas with a rope sole, pairs seamlessly with whatever I’m wearing. Whether I’m walking on the beach in a bathing suit or dressed up and headed to grab drinks before dinner, espadrilles are just a more sophisticated option when it comes to vacation footwear. They don’t require much space in your luggage and won’t break the bank if you need to buy them before your trip. Plus, no one really wants to see your hairy, pale feet anyway!
4. Straw Fedora/Panama Hat
Even if you’re not a hat guy, a beach vacation is the perfect excuse to pack a straw fedora/panama hat. When spending all my time out on an open beach, I’ve learned a thing or two on how to stay cool. A hat is one of those great accessories that serves a purpose, but also looks fantastic with just a simple polo and linen trousers. You should always bring some sort of protection for your head, even if you’re only going to spend a few hours in the sun. The key to packing your fedora safely when you travel is either one of two ways. One way is to wear it on the flight to and from your destination. If you don’t want to wear it, here’s how to make sure to keep its shaped inside your bag: Flip the hat upside down and stuff it with all the socks, underwear or any cotton t-shirts that you’re bringing. When full, place it with the crown side up. Pack your clothes around the hat and place your delicate garments on top of it. When you arrive in paradise and unpack, remove all the garments from the hat, which will still be in perfect shape!
5. A Great Book
There’s always something about the sounds of the waves, the warm air and bright sunlight that makes reading a great book that much better. In the age of digital readers, there’s nothing better than being away from your cell phone full of emails. Bringing a book on a beach vacation is crucial for me to find maximum relaxation. Reading is one of those lost arts that people today don’t do enough of. Whatever the topic of the book, bringing a book with me on vacation is a commitment to truly taking a step back from whatever is going on in my life and enlightening my mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished entire 250 page books over the course of 2-3 days. Reading on vacation is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body.
6. Travel Cigar Case & Cigars
While I’m still very much a novice to the complexities of the cigar world, I’ve found enjoyment in them as I’ve gotten older and find that smoking a cigar occasionally can be very relaxing. Bringing along my trusty travel case and a few of my favorite sticks, smoking a cigar has indeed become a ritual on all of my beach vacations, usually reserved for after our day is done. My wife securely tucks herself under the covers after a long beach day and I, with her permission of course, slip over to the beach-side bar, order a cocktail and start a smoke watching the waves in the moonlight. It’s some of the most thought-provoking and peaceful time on every beach vacation. My cigars of choice are Montecristo No. 2 and Romeo y Julieta (Veronas Court). The Montecristo No. 2 is a true classic, mild cigar that never lets me down. The Romeo y Julieta is a mild, creamy smoke that is a bit smaller when I want to end the night sooner. I like bringing them also because they come in tubes. These are great when I want to sneak another cigar with me but don’t have the room in my case. If you want to learn more about cigars be sure to check out the He Spoke Style cigar section.
Photography by Victoria Saperstein