By Helen Talbot (@helenhula).
The flights are booked, you’ve sorted out your accommodation and everything is set for your upcoming surf trip. Now all that’s left to organize is what to pack! Some of you may be well-prepared and start packing your suitcases a week before, while others will leave it all until the last minute. Whatever your suitcase-packing style, a packing list can be extremely useful and helps make sure you don’t forget anything.
This list is specifically aimed at travelers going on a surf trip, but excludes actual surf equipment like boards, fins, wax and wetsuits because it is assumed that you either won’t forget those necessary items or that you are going to rent those materials when you are at your destination. These things, though, are almost as important to pay attention and keep this list to hand when you get your bags ready!
1. Bikini/swimsuit/swimming shorts
Whether you prefer a Brazilian-style fio dental (literally translates to dental floss) paired with an itsy-bitsy bikini top or an all-in-one, or whether speedo trunks or Bermuda shorts are your thing, you’re going to need to bring some kind of swimwear. Traveling to somewhere with warm waters? You’ll be surfing without a wetsuit so make sure that whatever kind of swimming gear you have will stay put even in the roughest of waves!
2. Sunscreen and after-sun
A good-quality sunscreen is essential when you go surfing; your skin is even more exposed to the sun’s rays when you are out on the water, so protect yourself! The best option would be to buy an eco-friendly sports sunscreen that is waterproof and has at least SPF 30. Hopefully it won’t happen, but if you do get burned, you’ll want to have a soothing after-sun to apply onto your sore skin so don’t forget to pack that too. Remember If you’re traveling light with only carry-on luggage the maximum amount a bottle of liquid can contain is 100ml.
3. Comfy, loose clothing
You’re going to be spending most of your time at the beach so your clothes need to be appropriate for this purpose. Know that feeling when you have just had a shower, haven’t dried yourself off completely and then try to put on a pair of skinny jeans? Annoying, right? That’s why loose clothing is the best; after your surf sessions you’ll be able to get changed without ending up swearing out loud while almost falling over because you can’t get your trousers over your knees. If you have one, a changing poncho is a great item to pack too.
4. Flip flops
For pretty much the same reasons as mentioned above, flip flops are the best kind of footwear to bring to the beach. They are so easy to put on and, what’s more, will fit in your day bag without a problem.
5. Water bottle
Reducing our consumption of plastic is something a lot of us are trying to do right now. But on holiday it can be difficult because we tend to buy a lot of bottled water. Avoid this by bringing your own refillable water bottle that you can fill with water from the tap (provided that it is safe to do so) or with water from an extra-large bottle of mineral water. Staying hydrated is really important, so remember to bring this item with you in your suitcase.
Of course you’ll be surfing, sightseeing and socializing most of the time, but there may come a day when all you want to do is chill with a good book. My personal tip: take a book that is related to the place you are visiting and get to know the destination better. You might even fancy trying out your language skills, in which case you should bring a guide- or phrase book along with you. Who knows, maybe you’ll even impress the locals this way.
You’ll be making some amazing memories on your surf trip, ones that you’ll keep in your heart and cherish for a long time. But sometimes we want more than just mental images; we want to have a visual record of the adventures we had and people we met. These days, of course, almost nobody leaves home without their smartphones. This means that you always have the option to take photos whenever you like. However, as many of you may have sadly already found out, not all smartphones are waterproof. So how are you going to take pictures of your surf sessions? Investing in a GoPro could be the answer. You could have a surf buddy take photos of you, or even mount the GoPro onto your own surfboard. This way you’ll have proof of all those amazing waves you surfed!
There are two kinds of ear plugs that could be of great use on your surf holiday. The first are especially for surfers, designed to prevent a condition called surfer’s ear (where excess bone growth occurs in the inner ear as a result of repeat exposure to cold water and wind). The second are just standard noise-blocking ear plugs; handy if you want to take a nap on public transport or stop having to listen to your roommate’s snoring.
9. Travel towel
You’re going to be in the water a lot so you’ll need something to dry off with. Instead of a normal towel, consider taking a microfiber one that is extra lightweight and quick-drying. As well as absorbing water from your skin, a towel doubles up as something to lie on when on the beach. Perfect for when you’re sunbathing and reading that good book you brought along.
10. Beach bag
Finally, a bag to put all of these items in is needed. Make sure you take a nice, big beach bag so that you have enough space for your sunscreen, water bottle, snacks, towel, book, camera etc. One with closing pockets would be ideal so as to protect sensitive gear from sand, which, as you probably already know, has the tendency to get everywhere!
A last note: This non-exhaustive list is a general one so it is a good idea to consider the country and region you are travelling to as well because this may have an impact on what you need to bring along. If you’re going to the tropics, you’ll want to bring a good quality insect-repellent, for example. If you’re headed to colder climes, don’t forget to bring enough layers to dress in. And, last but not least, don’t forget all of the usual travel essentials like your passport, insurance papers, tickets, travel adaptors and chargers, money and credit card, first aid kit and personal hygiene items. Now that you’re all packed and ready to go, all that remains is to have a lot of fun. See you at Gota d ’Água.