I have been going to the beach my whole life and go through withdrawals if I spend more than two months without the sand in between my toes. During the hundreds of hours I have spent relaxing by the sea, I have acquired some helpful tips to brighten anyone’s day at the beach.

1. Seagulls are not your friend

Seagulls are vicious sandwich stealing monsters. While beach newbies think it’s funny to feed them, a professional beach goer knows that feeding the beasts just creates a swarm of hungry birds that never leave. After they are fed, watch out, because you may be their next target when they drop off an unwelcome gift.

2. Reapply sunscreen every couple hours

Sunscreen may be sticky and a hassle, but its better to lather it on than face the wrath of the sun. Between swimming in the ocean and sweating in the sun, the sunscreen washes off, and if you don’t reapply you will become as red as the lobster you ate for dinner last night.

3. Bathing suits with straps are necessary for swimming

There is nothing better than swimming in the ocean, but an avid beach-goer knows that the waves are much stronger than they know. Strapless bathing suits are cute but don’t think about splashing around in one, because the second a wave hits you’ll be searching for your top underwater. A strap can be the difference between a PG and PG-13 rated beach trip.

4. Bathing suits with crazy straps are cute… the tan lines they give you not so much

Bathing suits with fancy straps on the back are all the rage right now, but what’s cute one day is not the next. The tan lines you’ll get from the straps can make anything you wear that exposes your back look strange tomorrow.

5. You will find sand in the most unexpected places

A couple weeks after your beach trip you will still be finding pesky grains of sand everywhere. You will find it in clothes you didn’t even bring to the beach. Two weeks after being at the beach I can still find sand in my ear.

6. Set an alarm if you are napping

Nothing tops a nice nap on the beach, but if you aren’t careful, your nap will turn into a roast. The sun doesn’t rest even though you do so make sure you slap some sunscreen on and cover up before napping and maybe set an alarm to tell you when it’s time to flip over.

7. Always have a good book

The beach is the best place to get some reading in. The sounds of the ocean serve as soothing background noise while you turn the pages of your book. Reading is the perfect activity to pass the time as you soak up those sun rays.

8. Put your phone in a plastic bag

Nowadays no one goes anywhere without their phone. However, the beach can be a dangerous place for technology. Between the tiny grains of sand and the water in the ocean, the hazards are endless. To protect your phone (which is basically your life) put it in a plastic bag. You can still use your touch screen through the plastic and it will keep your phone safe.

Everyone loves a day at the beach. Just make sure you plan ahead and do it the right way!