Insider Surf Travel Hacks from the Amigas Community

Travel can be overwhelming, especially when you add a 50 pound surfboard bag to the equation. There’s nothing quite like hauling your board bag through the airport; the experience is full of navigating long check-in lines, praying you don’t get stung with oversize luggage fees, and eventually wishing you brought an extra shirt, especially when you realize you sweated through the one you’re wearing. That being said, we all know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel after periods of long travel: an epic surf trip awaits! Here are some trips to lighten your load, literally, on your next voyage.

#1 don’t overpack your surfboard bag

This may be a controversial tip, but its efficacy has been thoroughly tested by several members of our team. Instead of weighing down your surfboard with clothes, bathing suits, and other items that you think will protect your boards from travel dings, opt for an extra carry-on or checked piece of luggage. While you may cringe at the thought of paying more baggage fees on top of an already pricey plane ticket, we highly recommend you disperse your belongings into several bags.

According to our founder Holly Beck, who has a lifetime of surf travel behind her, lightening your board bag load allows for easier handling (both for you and airline workers, who are in charge of delivering your bag safely to your destination). This hopefully means a lower risk of board dings, while also ensuring that you have an emergency supply of clothes and toiletries if your board bag or any other luggage doesn’t show. If you’re still worried about your boards (seemingly unprotected in the bag), try using recycled pieces of cardboard to provide more buffer.

surf with amigas retreats packing tips

#2 Prioritize sun protection, snacks and waterproof items

We all know the sun can be both our friend and enemy in the lineup. While I love nothing more than catching fresh rays on my buns or back, a lifetime of sun on unprotected skin is not so sustainable. We highly encourage covering up (especially during peak sun hours) with rash guards, leggings, a goofy hat, and of course a good zinc or sunscreen.

Bring snacks because, one, who doesn’t love having their favorite treats to look forward to after a big session? Two, your destination may not have the same food options as your home country, and especially in transit or upon landing, you’ll be wanting to keep your belly happy. It may sound excessive to some, but our yoga instructor Reesie swears by bringing tupperwares of pasta on her trips. Don’t slack on the snacks!

Finally, prioritize waterproof items. We highly recommend waterproof backpacks as versatile beach and travel bags. Our retreat locations especially have a tendency to be near the equator, where mold loves to grow on damp items that are left in the dark, forgotten corners of your room. Save yourself a ruined item and protect it instead with a waterproof covering.

surf with amigas retreats what to bring travel

#3 double down on health products

Being sick or injured in a foreign country, especially one without reliable healthcare systems, can be extremely anxiety-inducing. Be sure to pack all the essential health products unique to you, and then some. We highly recommend bringing preventative products like multivitamins, charcoal pills for belly protection, probiotics, electrolytes, and antihistamines, to name a few (you never know when hives may mysteriously strike).  Of course, at all SWA Retreats we have access to great first aid kits, but it’s never a bad idea to have your own stash of preventative products that may be difficult to find in rural areas.

#4 pack spares of essential items

Pack in twos, especially when it comes to surf items! Not only is it easy to lose items while on the road, but surf belongings have a particular risk of breakage and if you’re traveling to a rural zone you might not be able to replace these items easily. Be sure to bring extra fins, an extra leash, an extra plate and screw, and a little ding repair kit too!