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The calming sound of steady waves. The refreshing feeling of the ocean breeze. The warm sun reflecting off of the clear blue water. Sitting on the white, sandy beaches of Seven Mile Beach is one of my favorite things to do when I'm on the island—it's so relaxing!

But because I spend most of my time working around the clock, it can be somewhat difficult to switch off. Even when I'm in vacation mode, it's hard for me to stop on a dime because I'm used to going 90 miles per hour.

So, as relaxing as the beach is, I need something to help occupy my mind while I'm taking in the sights and sounds of the Caribbean. Last time I visited Christopher Columbus Condos, I brought along several book options and learned a few things about beach reading that I wanted to share for your next trip to the island.

1. Bring Sunglasses

This may seem obvious, but when you settle into your favorite spot on the beach, spread out your belongings, and open up your book, you'll soon realize that you need some shades.

Even if you're under a cool, shady cabana, the sun will find a way into your eyes—the ocean is known for reflecting that glistening sunshine. After I broke my only pair of sunglasses, my beach reading experience was all but over.

If you're in need of a new pair of sunglasses, I found a good selection at Cost U Less, which is only a few minutes down Esterley Tibbets Highway from the condos. I bought two pairs to be safe and raced back to the beach.

2. Apply Sunscreen, Then Read

If you're under a cabana, the sun may not be an issue, but if you plan on reading on the beach for more than 20 minutes, be sure to apply sunscreen BEFORE you settle in.

There's nothing worse than getting sunscreen all over your book—except maybe a severe sunburn.

3. Bring More Than One Book

When I'm at home, I tend to read for 20-30 minutes a few times per week, so it takes me a long time to finish a book. This is not the case when you’re beach reading!

I flew through my first book and didn't have a backup.

My wife, on the other hand, brought three books along and read over 1,000 pages. Unlike me, she knew what she was doing. But if you do find yourself in need of a good book, the next two tips have you covered.

4. Visit a Local Bookstore

If you came to the island without a book or cruised right through the only book you had on hand, you could always visit a local bookstore. My favorite was the Book Loft at the local Humane Society.

Not only will you find a great selection of used books for your beach reading adventure, but you’ll also be supporting precious animals in need on the island. Buy some great books AND support cute animals? Yes, please!

5. Try Audiobooks Instead

Remember how I raced through my book and didn't have anything left to read? Well, one of my vacation buddies told me to try an Audiobook instead.

My first reaction was, "But I won't be able to hear the ocean."

His response was awesome, "Yeah, but you'll be able to see it instead."

While you're reading your book, you can only see your pages, and you can see those at home, right? You came to an island for the breathtaking views and audiobooks allow you to take it all in while you listen to an excellent book.

Best of all, if you have a problem concentrating on your book when other people are around you, an audiobook will cover up those sounds as well.

Even better than that, if you've never used Audible, you can get a free trial here and download two free audiobooks. If you have a local library, download Overdrive and check out ebooks and audiobooks for free before you leave for vacation.

6. Bring Earbuds or Earplugs

If you're an early riser and get out to the beach early, you're going to find peace and quiet. You'll be able to relax while you listen to the gentle waves and chirping birds.

But as the day moves on, more people will make their way out onto the sand.

Some people can tune out the chit chat of other beach goers, but I'm not one of those people. Luckily I had earbuds, Spotify, and WiFi access courtesy of Christopher Columbus Condos.

7. Waterproof Everything

Whether it's a hardback book, e-reader, or a smartphone, it's always a good idea to waterproof everything that you can.

You never know when you might drop your book or spill your favorite cocktail, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can make DIY book covers or buy waterproof cases for your phone or e-reader on Amazon.

Soak It In and Enjoy!

So, there you have it—a few lessons I learned the hard way. If you're planning to do some serious beach reading on your next trip, following these tips is going to make an amazing experience even better.

Did I miss any tips you've picked up in your travels? Drop them in the comments below. I'd love to hear them.

Enjoy!

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One of the things I love most about vacationing on Grand Cayman is that I get to intentionally leave the stresses of life far behind me, even if it’s only for a week or so. It’s an opportunity to decompress, let go, and fully detach from my daily routine back home. I certainly do my fair share of snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and other fun activities on the island, but what I really look forward to are the soothing sounds of the rhythmic ocean tide on 7 mile beach, or a breath-taking West Bay sunset from a condo at Christopher Columbus Condos. I have discovered that it’s the simple experiences like these that are healing for the mind, body, and soul.

In addition to feeding my senses with the natural beauty of the island, I also make a point during each visit to treat myself to a full body massage at one of the many excellent spa options that GC has to offer. There are many that suggest there is scientific evidence for the healing benefits of massage therapy. I’m not sure if that is true, but I can tell you anecdotally that it definitely works for me.

Up until my recent visit to Grand Cayman, I would typically choose a “deep tissue” treatment over the traditional “Swedish” style massage. However on our last trip to Cayman, I was introduced to my first authentic “Thai massage” at Touch of Thai Day Spa and Salon.

Thai massage, or “Thai yoga massage” is a very ancient form of therapy that was originally practiced over 2,500 years ago. Unlike many other treatments, Thai massage requires you to be fully dressed (in very loose clothing that resemble pajamas) and uses no oils. Instead the practitioner uses intense acupressure, assisted yoga poses, and deep stretching to release the body’s tension and achieve maximum relaxation.

At first (and in full disclosure), I found the acupressure to be a bit excruciating, as the practitioner used her elbows, knees and thumbs to pinpoint specific areas of my body. I began to question my judgement and wonder what I had gotten myself into. But as she started combining the acupressure with coordinated stretching positions, my muscles seemed to more fully cooperate, the pain progressively subsided, and I could literally feel the tension leaving my body. For the next 45 minutes, I was able to get into a deep and relaxed state that can only be achieved with a well orchestrated massage. Upon completion, I was offered some fresh herbal tea and allowed to sit and reflect comfortably in a quiet room until I was ready to leave. Overall, I felt a tremendous sense of well-being and clarity, and my body felt fully rejuvenated.

Although this was my first Thai massage, I knew at that moment that it would not be my last. It certainly was not the experience I was anticipating, but the end result was better than any imagined. What I typically tell others is “If you can make it past the first 10 minutes, you are guaranteed one of the greatest relaxation experiences of your life.”

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