Freckles in April: 5 Things Worth Hauling to the Beach if You Have Kids

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

5 Things Worth Hauling to the Beach if You Have Kids

Image from Graphic Stock

I am a super light packer (in the past I have referred to myself as a "packing ninja" and I stand by that). I do not want to haul anything on a trip with me that is not completely and totally necessary. I HATE dragging heavy, overloaded bags around so you know if I bothered to bring something on a trip with me then it was worth the suitcase space.

Here are 5 things that were absolutely worth hauling around for 9 days through 4 airplanes, two hotels, and a friend's basement:

1. Puddle Jumper

Stinky is a solid swimmer at this point but Baby 2 is still learning. He CAN swim but outside of swimming lessons he tends to forget the things he's learned and I was worried how he'd do when faced with waves or the not-so-lazy river at Aquaventure at Atlantis. I scored this Puddle Jumper flotation device (they're Coast Guard approved, btw, so your kiddos can wear them while boating and whatnot) at Costco for cheap and told him that I wanted him to practice his swimming as much as possible but if he got tired or if there was water I didn't think he could handle, we'd put on his floaties. It was a great arrangement and these gave him the courage to do some of the slides and other attractions he (and I) probably would have been too nervous about otherwise.

Right before going through the rapids

2. Blue Lizard Baby Sunscreen

I have a very conflicted relationship with sunscreen. On the one hand, we are a super fair family with a long history of skin cancer so obviously we should be dipped in sunscreen every hour on the hour. On the other hand, chemicals.

A couple readers told me about Blue Lizard and I have been so ridiculously happy with it. It's free of a lot of the scary junk in other sunscreens and it's safe for sensitive skin. I bought the face one for me and the baby one for the kids.

The baby bottle turns pink in UV light (the face one turns blue) which is something that I was kind of like, "....why?" but then I'd take the bottle out of my bag and it would IMMEDIATELY turn pink and I felt like it gave me a sense of urgency for putting sunscreen on the baby. It was a really effective reminder that I needed to put sunscreen on her NOW instead of in 20 minutes after I've unpacked everything and gotten settled.

Best of all, my super crazy fair little baby did not get even the tiniest bit pink. I am a fan for life.

I contacted Blue Lizard and let them know how much I LOVE their product and that I would be writing about it and they very generously offered a coupon code for Freckles in April readers! Use the code P20FIA for 20% off orders over $35 (expires 8/31/15).

3. Joto Universal Waterproof Case Bag

The last time we went to the Bahamas in 2008 we lugged along our Canon Rebel and a couple lenses. There was NO WAY I was doing that this time! My phone is my camera and that's all I wanted to bring with me. The only problem was that I really needed some kind of water- and sand-proof case so I wasn't constantly worrying about ruining my newish iPhone 6.

I found this Joto bag on Amazon a few weeks ago. The reviews were promising so I snagged one. It performed perfectly and everyone else commented that they wished they had one. I took my phone in the ocean, on water slides, into pools. Zero leakage and I got a lot of awesome pictures.

4. Reusable Swim Diaper

Disposable swim diapers are so. freaking. expensive. If you swim a lot (we do) then it's worth it to just buy a reusable diaper or two.

5. KidCo PeaPod

The Caboose still takes 3ish naps a day but also really struggles to fall asleep anywhere but her bed. I started putting her down for occasional naps in this PeaPod tent the month before we left so she was comfortable falling asleep in it while we were traveling. It folds up pretty small and fits in the outer pocket of my suitcase.

Expanded, it fit in the hotel closet so she could have a nice, dark place to sleep with a bit of a sound buffer.

We stayed in the condos at Harborside, which was awesome except for it's not particularly close to the waterpark or the beach so going back to the room for naps 3 times a day wasn't really feasible. I took the PeaPod with us and she was able to sleep wherever we were playing. It's got great airflow and she was totally comfortable in the shade. SO much easier than a pack-n-play!

Do you have any tried-and-true must haves for kids on vacation? What makes your life easier when traveling?


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  1. Our peapod has been to multiple continents and I'm am basically its biggest fan.

  2. Isn't that peapod glorious? We toted that sucker to Hawaii and it was a lifesaver!

  3. How old is your baby girl? We go to the lake often, and I've considered getting a peapod, but the recommended age is over a year old, I think. My baby is 4 months old. Did you ever use yours when your baby was that young?


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