Planning a beach holiday is actually more difficult to get right that it sounds. We are major beach lovers and consider ourselves beach experts. Unfortunately some of our expertise has been as the result of screwups!
Here’s what we consider the most important tips:
We LOVE Hawaii, but especially in Spring and Summer. Although the temperatures are pretty similar year round, there are still differences between summer and winter. The biggest difference is in how rough the water is. The waves are bigger October-March which is great if you’re a surfer but not so good if you’re after a relaxing beach holiday with calm water. The average daytime temperature is about 84F in the Summer and 78F in the Winter so when one is thinking about what to wear in Hawaii in July vs January the difference is only an extra light layer at night during Winter.
Always check – is the place known for being overrun with mozzies? We’re not keen on Central America for this reason. Oahu in Hawaii, is virtually mozzie free. When we stay there we leave our “lanai” door open 24/7 and I’ve never had a single insect bite. A friend who lives on the Big Island said the bugs over there are much worse. At certain times of the year the Perhentian Islands have sea lice which sting and which I react badly too. An “atopic” friend of mine went later in the season and had no problem.
Tip: If you’re in a high rise stay in a room on a high floor for minimum bugs.
Your accommodation being bug proofed in terms of good bug screens and lack of giant cracks is important to enjoying your holiday.
3. Real pics of the beach
Make sure you check out candid photos of the beach not the tourist brochure photos. In this day and age, everyone knows how to photoshop pictures to LOOK amazing. Flickr is useful for this but more and more “ordinary” travelers are doctoring up their photos with filters, so always look out for the worst photo you see and not the best.
Shop around for your deals rather than going with the first thing you land on. There can be huge differences. We saved a lot of money by finding a vacation rental in Hawaii once we’d arrived and got a last minute special. Packages can also help you save money. Keep an eye on social media for daily deals and other specials.
5. Travel companions
If planning a trip with friends, be sure you want to travel with them. Consider things like how boozy they are. If traveling with family, you don’t want to travel with people who don’t like the sun (yeah who can believe this, but I’ve got family members who like cloudy weather), or people who complain endlessly about sand getting everywhere.
6. Air con
Make sure you get air con if you think you might need it, or have the option of switching to an air con room if you find that you do. The ideal scenario if you’re not sure is to wait until after you’re there before committing to accommodation but this won’t always be an option in the high season.
Some beach destinations have really lousy food, and food is supposed to be a highlight of any holiday.
Research where to go for great food before you leave. Bigger destinations with more cosmopolitan food options might suit you better than tiny places with limited options.
In places like the Perhentian islands in Malaysia (which has amazing beaches we have been to twice) there are some horrible restaurants and some decent ones. This info is very clear from reading around online and our personal experience backs it up. It definitely pays to do research on where to eat, rather than rely on trial and error.