Kiwis just love the beach. Surf, sand, sunbathing – what’s not to like? Especially with all the top quality beaches we have around the country.

But we also love to head to the beach overseas, visiting our Aussie neighbours, or trekking further abroad to places like Thailand. So whether you’re planning on a beach holiday here or over there, we’ve put together some things to keep in mind for a stress and drama-free holiday.

  • Understand the risks of unfamiliar beaches: The ocean is an amazing but dangerous place, and every beach has a distinct profile that includes things to watch out for. While here in New Zealand we have some crazy big waves and strong rips that often catch tourists out, overseas your dangers could be around shark warnings, or cutting your foot on coral – which can easily become infected and land you in hospital. It’s a smart idea to do your research when visiting overseas beaches.
  • Don’t underestimate the sun: There’s a high UV rating in New Zealand and Australia, which means it’s easy to come away with a sunburn after as little as 15 minutes in the sun! Keeping covered and applying plenty of sunblock is essential. Don’t forget those sneaky bits like the tops of your ears, lips, neck and yes – bald spots too.
  • Know what beach activities are covered by insurance. It pays to know just what exactly your insurance covers in a beach or ocean environment. For example, many insurance policies will have you covered for snorkeling, but won’t cover you if something goes wrong while you’re diving with air tanks unless you have an internationally-recognised diving qualification.
  • Swim between the flags at patrolled beaches: Red and yellow flags are a familiar sight at New Zealand beaches – they’re put in an area designated as safe to swim, and where a lifeguard’s attention will be focused. You’ll find similar flags at overseas beaches such as the popular Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. No flags? The beach could be unsafe to swim at. If in doubt, stay out.
  • Keep mozzies and sandflys out: Do you know what’s not a silly idea at all? Mosquito nets to hang above your bed during the summer months, especially when you’re staying near water or out in the open. You can find these at camping stores or other multi-product stores.
  • Had your shots? If you’re travelling to more exotic beach locales like Thailand, you should see your doctor about which vaccinations you’ll need before you go. A Hepatitis A vaccination, for instance, is recommended for all travellers.
  • Post-beach itch? Salt water can be an irritation to sensitive skin, so have a rinse off when you’re done at the beach for the day. Many beaches have an outdoor shower installed, perfect for washing off the salt, and for removing the sand from your feet before getting in the car.
  • Save the booze until you’re back at base: When the sun’s shining and you’re relaxing on the beach, it’s tempting to have a few cold brews. If you do, stay out of the water and don’t drive – even if you’re staying just up the road. There are always lots of kids running around at this time of year, so it’s best to be safe.

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