This winter, I jetted off to Dubai to celebrate my friends 30th birthday. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip as we had lots planned while we were there but I did get a couple of days to chill out around the pool at the Habtoor Grand Hotel.
I’m a bit of a seasoned pro when it comes to packing my pool bag these days but its out of a need to be organised rather than a want to carry everything but the kitchen sink.
Today I thought I’d share with you my top 10 items to take with you to the pool on your next holiday!
1. Beach Bag
Well it might seem like a bit of an obvious one but you’re going to be needing a beach bag. My recommendation would be a tote as they’re multipurpose and can be used for shopping and days out while you’re away as well as when you’re at the pool/beach. Generally they’re really roomy and quite unstructured on the inside so you can throw all of your essentials inside without feeling like you’re playing a game of Tetris. Opt for a neutral shade that’ll match go with all of your beachwear and cover ups, then you’re not feeling the need to take more than one with you!
I bought this white laser cut one from River Island in May, just before I went on holiday to Turkey. I love the gold detailing on it; white and gold is the ultimate luxe looking summer combo for me. What I like about this bag is that it is really roomy, the straps are long so it fits comfortable over my shoulder and there’s a separate zip up bag inside that you can use to keep your valuables in. It detaches so if you’re leaving your things next to your sun lounger when you pop to the restaurant for lunch, that’s fine because you can take the smaller bag inside with you. The bag also has pull in sides which is great for changing the shape of the bag if I take it out shopping with me.
Taking a tote bag away with you as a beach bag is also great for if you overstuff your suitcase with souvenirs as you can use the tote as a large hand luggage bag and transfer some of your things into it to reduce the weight in the suitcase (as I’m sure you can tell, I hate paying excess baggage charges!).
I couldn’t be without my sunglasses when I’m around the pool. Aside from protecting my eyes, I don’t like the idea of squinting and encouraging wrinkles to form on my face prematurely! I took two pairs with me on this trip, a Fiorelli pair and the Polaroid sunnies that I reviewed in this post. They’re both oversized, chic and great at hiding a late night.
3. Mobile Phone
Listing a mobile phone here actually goes against my wishes as I actually love to go on holiday and not have the bloody thing anywhere near me. In fact, I’m going away again soon and I’m not even taking it with me at all; it’ll remain on my bedside table until I return home!
However for this trip, I did need my iPhone as I had to do a little bit of work while I was away. December is a pretty bad time for me to go on holiday as work is so busy but I couldn’t miss celebrating my friends birthday.
If you don’t mind not having a tech free vacation, then an iphone is a great item to keep in your pool bag. I have lots of apps on mine so was able to enjoy some time listening to music on iTunes and to my latest book on Audible, My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry. I’ve been subscribed to them since the summer and I am hooked but I’ll save more on that for another post.
I bought my Kindle YEARS ago now and purposely got the bottom of the range style one, not that £49 is cheap but it is a lot cheaper than the other Kindles that are out there. I chose it because I didn’t want one with the ability to watch movies or play games on it as I knew that if I had those options on the Kindle then I’d select those rather than reading.
I read so much more and so much faster with my Kindle. I save the names of books that I fancy reading into a book wishlist on my phone and then before I travel, I look over it and load up my Kindle with a selection of books from my list before I go. I also check Amazon regularly to see if any of the books that are on my wishlist appear in their sale as they often have some fantastic titles for only 99p.
My fourth pool essential would have to be my camera. I love taking photos and documenting my trip to look back on in years to come and for my blog of course. I have a Canon S120 that I bought a couple of years ago and it is ideal for taking snaps on the go.
6. Zippy coin purse
Don’t let money and cards float around in your bag. Get yourself a zippy coin purse like mine from Rebecca Minkoff and you’ll be able to keep all of your notes, change and cards in one place. This is the Betty Pouch and it comes in lots of different styles; I think they change them every season. There’s a key ring inside too so you can keep your keys securely fastened on it and zipped inside so you’ll not be fishing about in your bag trying to find them!
Staying hydrated is important regardless of where you are but even more so if you’re lying out, baking in the sun. Make sure you’re carrying a big bottle with you and sip it regularly.
8. Hair Clip
If you’re anything like me, then you’ll hate having your hair down when you’re sunbathing, swimming in the pool or enjoying lunch in the sun at the pool bar. Get it up and out of your way using one of the big jaw clips that you can pick up really cheaply in most shops that sell hair products.
9. Travel Pillow
Many hotels will supply beach towels but not many supply a pillow to rest your head on. If, like me, you require a pillow to support your head and neck when you’re relaxing on a lounger, then I’d highly suggest picking up a Go Travel Pillow Duo. They’re available online but I got mine in the airport, as did my husband on a previous trip. Whats great about this travel pillow is that it is filled with little beans and it is convertible. You can have it as a traditional travel pillow, horseshoe shape which is ideal for on the place and you can also unzip it, shake it around and zip it up again and it converts into a rectangular shaped pillow.
Both variations are very comfortable but the rectangular shape is ideal for taking down to the pool with you. Pop it under your towel at the top of your sun lounger and you’ll have a comfy pillow to rest your head and neck on.
10. Wipe Clean Zip Up Bag
My final pool bag essential is a zip up bag that you can fill with your SPF products. Often tanning oils and creams can leak which can ruin other things that are in your bag so to keep everything separate, store your suntan lotions in a separate, zip up bag (preferably one thats waterproof or at the least, wipe clean).
I have this pink one from Accessorize which I was given as a gift from Nair, my favourite hair removal cream brand, ages ago and I’ve used it ever since. I think it was actually supposed to be a clutch bag but it serves this purpose really well. I keep all of my lotions and potions zipped inside and take this bag out with me around the pool; that way, everything is one place, I’m not hunting around in the bottom of my bag for a bottle and I’m not getting my main bag dirty with oily hands.
Of course its whats inside this bag that really matters as protecting your skin with SPF is so important to ensure that you don’t burn. Find out which sun protection products I took with me to Dubai in this post all about how to protect your skin on a winter holiday. I’ll be writing lots more travel related beauty posts this year as holidays and exploring other countries are some of my favourite things to do in life!
What are your pool bag essentials? Let me know in the comments!