Top 5 Must-Pack Beach Items

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You've been planning for months, looking forward to a fabulous beach vacation. You've planned your itinerary, booked a great hotel and you're ready to relax on the warm sand of Myrtle Beach. Don't let a few easily overlooked items put a damper on your trip — look over this checklist of items that can be easy to overlook, but can make the difference between a great vacation and the best vacation.

Top 5 must-bring beach vacation items:

1. Phone charger
Sure, we're all attached to our smartphones. We couldn't live without them. We'd never forget something as critical as the charger on vacation. But you'd be surprised how often it happens. If you are driving to your destination, be sure to bring your car charger along. You'll be glad to be free of worrying about losing battery life during your travels, especially if you're using any apps on the road.

But don't forget the wall outlet charger, either. Plug your phone in each night in your hotel room for beach days spent knowing you'll be able to stay in touch with the world.

(Tip: Just as a phone charger is easy to forget to bring, it's easy to accidentally leave behind. Be sure to pack it in your bag for your return trip.)

2. Books
Whether you're an old-fashioned paper reader or a fan of electronic books, don't forget to bring a few beach reads with you. We always recommend bringing at least one more book than you think you will get through on your Myrtle Beach vacation — it's surprising how fast a book goes when you're ensconced in blissful relaxation on the beach.

(Tip: Paperback books take up less space than hardcovers. Also, check your local library — electronic books are often available to download to your Kindle, iPad or other device for free.)

3. Sun hat
Sure, sunscreen will protect you from sunburn, and sunglasses will shield your eyes. But a good sun hat will provide even more protection, plus the comfort of a pocket of shade that stays with you wherever you go.

(Tip: Look for a hat that can handle some crumpling in your suitcase and still maintain its shape. Vented hats such as straw will help keep you cooler.)

4. Beach towel
Extra large beach towels are available at most big-box or housewares stores. These towels are much larger than your standard towel and will let you have a little more space and comfort on the beach.

(Tip: Roll your towel, don't fold it, before you put it in your beach bag. It will take up less room that way.)

5. Beach bag
You'll need a good way to tote all of your beach items down to the sand, after all. Look for a bag that is spacious, with a wide opening, but is not overly bulky or heavy. Internal pockets help hold small items, such as your phone, keys, etc.

(Tip: A beach bag with a zipper closure will help keep sand out of your bag.)

(posted 5/20/14)