Summer is fast approaching (approach FASTER) and I’ve been browsing the (online) shops wishing I was going away. My first summer season, I knew NOTHING. After a week of being in Turkey I realised most of my wardrobe was useless and there was a million and one things I needed. So here’s my list of those little things that I think are vital during your months abroad. You may have already thought of all of them, but hey, I was stupid enough in my first summer to forget every single one.
1. Board shorts
This one goes without saying. Before working abroad I didn’t even know board shorts was a thing for girls. Shorts over my bikini? No thanks. I went out with a pair of running shorts thinking I’d be just fine. However I also didn’t know chafe was a thing… You will no doubt meet chafe at some point during your summer if you have any contact with the water, but with a decent pair of boardies the pain will be minimal. All ‘surf and ski’ shops will sell them – Quiksilver, Hurley, Oakley, Billabong, O’Neill etc. You can go straight to the source, or Surfdome often has great discounts and great brands. Thank me later for that one.
2. Good quality sunglasses
You’re probably thinking “sunglasses… summer… duh, thanks”. Ok an obvious one, but do make sure you splash out a little more on them. I went out my first year with a pair of £2.50 H&M sunnies. Yes I looked great, however they had no UV protection and as soon as I jumped into the water the cool reflective lenses chipped right off.
Protecting your eyes is just as important as protecting your skin – you wouldn’t go outside in 40 degree sun without even a little suncream would you? So be nice to your eyes and get some good quality sunglasses. Of course get those beaut H&M ones too, you can never have too many pairs…
Bare with me on this one. Have you ever tried those little bottles of concentrated squash? That are like £5 a bottle and look terrible value for money? They are a godsend. I first met these last summer, there was a full blown obsession amongst our resort. In the sort of weather we lived in, you should be drinking probably 4 litres of water a day. So 2 of those huge bottles, and water gets a little boring, so these handy little bottles make it soooo much easier to drink all the water you need and make it actually enjoyable while still hydrating yourself and not being all that unhealthy. Last summer they also worked fantastically as a bargaining chip – everyone wanted them and would give ANYTHING if you had some spares.
4. A waterproof watch
I made the mistake of not taking a good waterproof watch, I took my nice leather, Rotary watch which was splash proof, but soon the leather was ruined and the strap broke. As I work with kids, timings are really important so parents know exactly where to find you and their bundles of joy at all times of the day. At the same time you can’t be checking your phone all the time, especially not in the water. A good waterproof watch can be bought for under £20, I have a Casio digital watch (and they’re colourful!) which is on to it’s third season now. Value for money!
5. A GOOD phone case or a crap phone
I don’t care if you pride yourself on never smashing your screen or losing your phone; if you’re going on a season, you will smash it, lose it, drop it in the pool, take it in the sea or somehow destroy it. It’s a certainty. I smashed my iPhone 5 screen last summer. Twice. Yep, I went home for a holiday, got it fixed, came back out and smashed it the next week. I wasn’t even drunk or doing moronic things – I balanced my phone on a bar of soap on the sink while I showered. OK very moronic in a different sense. I know people that ran into the sea forgetting their phones were in the pockets (2 people in one go actually), people who got thrown unwillingly into the sea with their phones, one person actually dropped their phone off a boat into the sea. What I’m trying to say is get a crappy phone and a cheap sim card – it’ll save you money on your phone bill and save you having to fish out £80 for a new screen or worst case a new phone. Some people last year had these magic cases which you could drop in the sea and they’d survive. We tested them. Pretty good!
Print some photos and stick them on your wall. Make your room homely. No matter how much you say you won’t miss your annoying brother, you’ll have days you do. And having photos makes such a difference. Plus makes you look super popular. Unless they’re all of you mum and dog. You can get about 50 free photos with pretty much every online photo company when you first sign up. I like Photobox.
7. Good hair and skin products
More of a girly one, sorry. But living abroad does all sorts of things to my normal regime. I have dyed hair, so in the sun it goes rather a lot like straw and breaks off. Not a good look. Combined with the salty water and chlorine, even the healthiest hair will struggle after 7 months. The same with your skin, a decent moisturisers/after sun is VITAL. Unless you want to look like a snake. That goes for you too boys!
8. BUG SPRAY
You will get eaten alive. Take bug spray. And if you don’t, give it to the poor sod who, like me, is being feasted on by every bug in the Mediterranean.
9. Warm clothes
You might be looking at me like I have 2 heads at this point. But if you’re doing a full season abroad, it will be cold in May, October and November. Sometimes it actually rains! Getting out of the pool, without the sun to warm you up, can really turn your lips blue! Take a hoodie or 2 and maybe even a lightweight waterproof coat.
10. Nice Clothes!
Sure, most of the time us seasonaires are slobs and live in boardies and flip flops, but every now and then you’ll find a reason to get dressed up, and you don’t want to go hunting through everyone else’s wardrobes for every single birthday!
So there you go. For me, you can’t go wrong without the above list. It’s always good to get stuff like this before you go, because you never know – like me you might end up in the middle of nowhere, with no shops, and the world’s largest tomato farm (it’s happened before).