Top Ten Must Haves for Spring Break

This week we’re going on a road trip to Florida again! You may remember that we did this a couple years back and it was a tremendous experience. Well, this year, in our continuing attempt to gift experiences over things, we’re going on a cruise the boys were gifted for Christmas! While Stacy and I have been on cruises before, and had a great time (although I cringe now at my overbearing judginess), the boys had to get their first passports to go. We’re extremely excited to take them on a crazy adventure and know they’ll have a great time.

That said, we’re preparing for a long haul and a big round trip on a boat for a week! Thirty hours in the car again? Oh no! As much as we have been talking about the cruise, somehow Spring Break has snuck up on us. And we’re assuming we can’t be the only ones! While we’re running around with the last-minute scramble to get ready, we wanted to share the things we could not live without as we plan! ​

Top Ten Items for Our Spring Break Trip!

1 – Sun Protection

Sun protection with a fair-skinned family in the Caribbean is extremely important! I learned this lesson during a school trip at age 17 when I received a second degree sunburn on the bridge of my nose. Unfortunately, sunscreen ingredients are often problematic, as the Environmental Working Group so thoroughly outlines. Chemical sunscreen has been linked to cancer – that’s right, the stuff that’s supposed to protect you can cause cancer! Lab studies indicate that some chemical UV filters may mimic hormones or cause skin allergies. Chemical sunscreens use a combination of two to six of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. ​The most worrisome is oxybenzone, added to nearly 70 percent of the non-mineral sunscreens in EWG’s 2016 sunscreen database.

Alternatively, the safer solution is mineral sunscreens which exclusively use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.  That’s why we’re bringing the full line of Beautycounter safe sun products, the only brand our boys will not fight us to wear (the face stick smells like candy!). We’ve got the Protect All Over Sunscreen, the Protect Stick Sunscreen for the face, and the Protect Stick Sunscreen for the body. We’re going to be safe from sunburns and the harmful, damaging UV rays!

Other ideas for sun protection include:

  • Wear Clothes: shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays, reducing risk by 27%. We got everyone UV Sun Shirts.
  • Plan Around the Sun: go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky.
  • Find Shade – or Make It: Picnic under a tree or take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade, reducing the risk of multiple burns by 30%.
  • Don’t Get Burned: Red, sore, blistered skin means you’ve gotten far too much sun.
  • Sunglasses are Essential: not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation.
  • Check UV Index: The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun exposure.

2 – Beautycounter One Step Cleansing Wipes

When you travel, you’re exposed to more dirt, grime, germs and general ick than usual. It’s even more important to make sure you’re washing often. We know how hard it is to get out of routine and if you’re going through TSA at the airport, you also have to consider allowable liquids and may not even have your beloved items with you. Which is why we’re so glad that Beautycounter came out with their new face cleansing and makeup remover wipes in time for our trip!

Perfect for travel, these wipes clean you up by washing away dirt, oil and toxins in one step – no need to rinse! I plan to always keep these in my bag as a first-aid tool too, since my rough and tumble boys often fall down or have a need for a clean-up. I love that these are entirely biodegradable (even the packaging), so we won’t have to worry about damaging the environment.

3 – Games

We love board games a lot, so we were happy to find this cool game all about traveling across the country when Santa brought it as part of the boys’ Christmas gifts along with cruise tickets! The boys are excited to play it in the back seat and in our room. We’re also bringing Magic Maze, a new favorite of mine, Codenames Marvel, Coup, Bears vs Babies (made by Exploding Kittens) and two new ones just for the trip: You’ve Got Crabs (made by the Oatmeal) and Goat Lords – all will work well in the car.

4 – Audiobooks


Now I love audiobooks; the rest of the family really does not. I have an Audible subscription; the kids say audiobooks give them headaches in the car. So the adults will be bringing headphones and listening by myself. I’ve got Norse Mythology (read by Neil Gaiman himself as Loki!), Artemis (new book by The Martian’s Any Weir!), and The Passage (epic post-apocalyptic vampire novel!) ready to go! Stacy plans to have Andrew Lincoln read her Quidditch through the Ages.

5 – Books

Everyone is bringing their own books for the trip, each fitting their own interests!

6 – Walkie Talkies

One thing we learned on our last cruise was that Walkie Talkies are a MUST if you have people in your party you want to keep in contact with. The ship is so big, there’s no way you’ll be able to find each other otherwise. So we’re buying these to bring and talk to our people when we need to! We’ll be able to repurpose them for camping trips, letting the kids go off safely on their own neighborhood excursions and so much more!

7 – Road Snacks

We’re going to be in the car for a long time, and on the ship for much longer.  Not to mention the day-trip excursions off the boat, likely impossible to find safe foods for us; we definitely need our own snacks. However, since we won’t have a fridge in our room, only quick and simple items are being packed:

8 – Hidden Belt Wallet

It may seem a little paranoid, but I’ve used a belt wallet for all my international travel since I was a teenager. The last thing I want to happen is to have my passport stolen while walking around a strange place! Plus, this one has RFID protection so that would-be thieves can’t read your chip cards and copy them while you’re trying to have a great vacation!

9 – Power Bank for iPhone battery charging

With all our devices, a big “brick” as we call it – or power bank is necessary to charge our iPads, phones, apple watches, etc. Battery power will be at a premium! To remedy that issue, we’re bringing our power banks so that we can hook up and charge on the go! Nothing is more irritating than running out of juice on a trip, but that won’t be an issue with this!

10 – Campark Action Camera (a cheap GoPro)

We’re going to be snorkeling, visiting stingrays and swimming with dolphins. And our phones simply don’t like the water! We’ve decided the best thing to do is bring a waterproof camera! We’re going with the Campark Action Camera, a GoPro style device that we’ll be able to take EVERYWHERE! We chose this one because it’s 1/4 of the price of competitors. It has all the features we wanted: 4k video footage, wide angle lens, WiFi remote control (control it from your iPhone), and waterproof up to 30 meters with recharging batteries and mounting accessory kits.

Have a great break!

What ever you’re doing this Spring Break – or not (a staycation also sounds awesome) – we hope you have a wonderful time. May you love the ones you’re with and find the best of every situation! It’s a painful reminder for us that we aren’t traveling with Matt’s brother this time, but we are grateful to have each other and will make the most of every moment! ♥

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