Before you go on a vacation where your family will be spending time at the beach, first go to a $1 store and buy several blow up "air-rafts" and some water float toys like "noodles" and also some styrofoam or blow-up water ring "intertubes" and "boogie-boards".
If you'll be at a sand-beach make sure you buy some buckets and shovels for the kids and if your kids like to make sand castles, you can also buy a set of 3 plastic bowls with a plastic pasta strainer and several plastic cups.
Thanks for your posting. You mentioned alot of items that most people tend to forget when they go on vacation. I also bring water bottles (usually we get them as promotionals) so that we don't have to buy bottled water.
It's also good to take an ice chest with sandwich foods and snacks. It will save time without stops and also a lot of money. Gas station food and drinks are very expensive. You can fix the food along the way and only stop every 3-4 hours to use the restroom.
These are great ideas. For items that are smaller, like the inflatibles that collapse, I do just this. But for larger items like the buckets, usually we wait until we get closer to the beach and we stop at a discount store for this buy.
If we are staying at a condo or a beach house, most of the time we leave these items behind for the next family to enjoy. We did this the last time we went to Gulf Shores. The buckets and shovels didn't cost that much and I knew the kids wouldn't use them back at home. So it saved space in the car and kept some of the sand from coming home with us.
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