School’s out and it is summer time once again. Your idea of the perfect vacation is soaking your toes in the tropical sea water while your kids play happily in the sand. But we all know that going to the beach with small children or traveling with babies and toddlers, in general, can be overwhelming. You think about the things that you need to pack for your trip. You stress out when your kids wander off and God forbid dive into the sea without your supervision. Maybe you obsess about all the terrible things that might happen that you just give up going and just stay at home and let your kids play with their gadgets. Nothing wrong with that, but…
My husband and I have managed to bring our two children, both under the age of four, at least five times in their lifetime. Paolo and I have “saltwater in our veins”. We both grew up swimming and diving and snorkeling in tropical waters. We want our kids to grow up loving the sand, salt, and sun. And so we bring Samuel and Dante to the beach whenever we can.
If you are thinking of going on a beach trip with your little kids, read my travel and safety tips.
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1. Day Trip or Overnight Stay?
The first thing you need to consider when going on a beach trip is if you are going home the same day or if you will book a hotel for a longer stay.
Last year, we took a day trip from Siena to Grosseto, Italy. The bus ride was a couple of hours long. The ride was not so bad, my only concern was the zigzag roads made my baby a bit dizzy. (We did not have an Italian driving license so we had no choice but to take public transportation.) It was a fun trip overall. My toddler enjoyed playing in the sand and walking by the shore with his papa. I had some quiet time with my eleven-month-old baby as we sat on the warm sand and listened to the splashing waves. Before sunset, we took the two-hour-long bus ride home.
If the beach is far from your home base then it makes more sense to stay for more than a day. Save up for an extra nice hotel for your family. I do not recommend getting an Airbnb when you have very small children. In March 2019, our family went to the Philippines. We flew from Manila to Bohol Island and stayed there for three days and two nights. If you are going to book a hotel for your family, I suggest that you look for one with kid-friendly amenities. When you have very small children, you understand that is so much easier and comfortable to stay in one place.
Bohol Beach Club is a very good family-friendly resort because it has clean and spacious rooms, swimming pools for children, an in-house restaurant, and its very own private beach. On our third day, we even went on a very safe Dolphin Watching Tour. It was a unique and incredible experience. We spent most of our time at this resort because we wanted to relax and have fun.
2. Set the stage for learning.
Set the stage by getting your kids excited to go to the beach, especially when it’s their first time. Before going on our first beach trip in Italy, we read books about the beach to our kids. We talked about sea-related words, and we watched videos about the ocean and sea animals. I recommend Ocean Buddies, a board book that comes with sea animal toys. You can also ask them questions such as “Where are we going tomorrow?” and “What will you see at the beach?” By the time we got to the beach, my toddler was more than ready to “see the dolphins” and “play with the octopus”. Of course, he just used his imagination when we got to the public beach.
3. Prepare one beach bag for everybody.
As parents of two very active little boys, we have learned that it is best to keep all our stuff in one backpack when going on a day trip. We experienced losing stuff before because we could not manage to carry so many things at the same time. I love my husband’s Kelty Redwing backpack because we can put so many things in it. It also has an ergonomic design so it is quite easy to carry.
Here is what’s inside our backpack:
- rash guard
- a beach mat
- a change of clothes
- small towels
- water bottles
- diapers and wipes
- breastfeeding cover
- camera tripod
- reusable bags for wet clothes
- sand toys
Do you know what we forgot to bring? A beach umbrella. That was a big mistake. We did not realize that in Europe, people bring their own umbrella to the beach. We were so used to the coconut trees and the nipa huts in Philippine beaches that we did not realize the importance of bringing your own beach umbrella.
4. Download the Instasize App.
If you are an Instagram mom like me, it is important to capture those precious moments for our feed and Instastories! I use the premium version of a photo editing app called Instasize. I really love their filters, especially L1, L2, and L3 because they really make your photos stand out! You can also add text to photos and videos! Most of all, they have a pretty fun collection of text styles, borders, and wallpapers that are not available on Instagram. Check out this link to read about Instasize’s amazing features! Follow me on Instagram: @thebellissimamma!
Now, read about how you can hire a local photographer for your travel photos!
5. Soak in the sun and have lots of fun!
Enjoy this day with the family and forget about work. Use your phone only for taking photos and videos. Savor this moment with nature and listen to the sounds of the sea. Let your kids play with the sand and the water. They will surely remember this fun day with their parents. Moms and dads can have fun too! Do what makes you happy. (I definitely enjoyed my aperol spritz!)
Have you brought your children to the beach? Do you have any tips to share for parents? Share your thoughts in the comments section!