Beach Vacation Essentials

So you’re going on a tropical vacation. Hooray! Soon your daily stressors will be washed away by the warm, sandy tide. But first, what do you pack? How do you deal with long plane flights with small children?

Never fear! I’m here with the answers! (Well, most of the answers. Okay, some. A few?)

We just returned from a glorious vacation to the Westin Maui, and it was perfect in every way. In fact, I think my body is on the mainland, but my brain is still in Hawaii. What I love most about beach vacations is that you don’t need to pack a lot for yourself. In fact, I only truly needed 6 essentials while vacationing in Maui.

A beach tote, 2 bathing suits, sunblock, a few maxi dresses, a crushable sun hat, and flip flops. Seriously, mamas. Don’t feel compelled to over pack – you can get through day and evening with these items. (I also brought a pair of gold sandals to wear in the evening.)

And what about the long plane flight with your kiddos? Well, that one takes a little more planning, but is completely doable. (Hint: invest in an iPad.) Here are some of my tips, as well as a look at our first day in Maui.

  • Last-minute iPad syncing 1 of 17
    Last-minute iPad syncing
    The secret to successful air travel with kids? A well-stocked iPad and iPhone. (Even if you end up syncing everything last-minute on the way to the airport. Oops.) I let my children each pick one movie for the flight, and always have tons of fun apps for them to enjoy. I sync everything to both my iPhone and my iPad, so the kids don't fight over one object.
  • Self portraits 2 of 17
    Self portraits
    When the kids tire of apps and such, let them take photos with your mobile phone. This is #13 in a series of 1,345,000 self portraits that my daughter snapped on the plane. My son loves recording his own voice on my phone too - great time waster.
  • The hip cramp nap 3 of 17
    The hip cramp nap
    If you're lucky, your child will finally doze off after hours of fighting sleep. You will then be completely immobilized for fear of waking your child, which will lead to all sorts of limbs falling asleep and/or hip cramps.
  • Aloha, Maui! 4 of 17
    Aloha, Maui!
    A welcome sight from the airplane.
  • Tell me how you really feel. 5 of 17
    Tell me how you really feel.
    6-hour flights seem like an eternity, don't they?
  • The Westin Maui 6 of 17
    The Westin Maui
    Once we arrived at the hotel, our moods instantly lifted. The resort was gorgeous!
  • Hello, view! 7 of 17
    Hello, view!
    The view from the Westin Maui Beach Tower. photo courtesy: Westin
  • Westin Maui Lobby 8 of 17
    Westin Maui Lobby
    photo courtesy: Westin
  • Koi ponds 9 of 17
    Koi ponds
    The kids loved watching the koi and resident flamingos from the lobby.
  • Luxury Suite 10 of 17
    Luxury Suite
    photo courtesy: Westin
  • Guest Room 11 of 17
    Guest Room
    photo courtesy: Westin
  • A lovely surprise 12 of 17
    A lovely surprise
    We arrived to a fun array of Hawaiian treats in our room. The whale sugar cookies were a hit!
  • View from our suite 13 of 17
    View from our suite
    The Westin put us up in an executive suite with tons of room for our family. The view was amazing.
  • Destination: the beach! 14 of 17
    Destination: the beach!
    After our little snack, we set out for the beach.
  • Ahhhhhhhh…. 15 of 17
    (Don't worry, I coated my pasty skin with SPF 50!)
  • Sandcastles 16 of 17
    This one was enamored with the beach. (I'm still finding sand days later...)
  • Ocean play 17 of 17
    Ocean play
    Hawaii's water temperature is a bit warmer than Southern California's. My son was in heaven.

A big thanks to Westin Hotels & Resorts for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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