Whether you’re lucky enough to be heading for hotter, foreign climes this summer or you’re staying at home and braving the hit-and-miss weather of Britain’s seaside resorts, it’s definitely time to start thinking about getting yourself ready for the beach. Of course, nobody wants to worry too much about how they look on holiday – the most important thing is to relax and have a good time. But just by following these few simple tips, you can make sure you feel great whether you’re out in the surf, sunbathing or hitting the bars.

Before you go 

If you’re really committed to getting the perfect bikini body before you go away, we recommend a crash course of exercise over any fad diets. A regular program of exercises chosen to target any problem areas can have noticeable effects in as little as two weeks – so as long as you plan ahead a little there’s plenty of time to get rid of those love handles and tummy rolls. Look online to find simple exercises you can do around the home, or visit your local gym for tips on getting in shape. If running’s more your style, sites like Start Fitness can help you get all the gear you need. Of course, fitness isn’t the only body-prep you’ll need to do to feel confident on the beach. Make sure you schedule a wax session to remove any unwanted hair, and consider getting a spray tan to cover any pasty limbs.

The perfect swimwear 

Putting together your beach wardrobe? For most of us, it’s the time when our bodies are most on show, and this can understandably make us nervous – so choosing a comfortable and flattering swimsuit is key. This season, there are more bikini styles then ever available, and you don’t have to be super-skinny to pull them off. While tiny triangle two-pieces are best left to the thin and toned, vintage-style high-waisted bikinis are great for girls with fuller curves. Not confident enough to show your stomach? One-piece swimsuits have come a long way since their role as the bikini’s frumpier cousin – now there are loads of styles that will help you look glamorous and feel great. For a little sex appeal, choose a swimsuit with cut-out back or front details, or go cute and cover up in a suit with a built-in skirt. Patterns are in this season too, and can help cover up a multitude of sins.

Beach accessories 

Once you’ve chosen the perfect swimwear, it’s time to think about what else to add to your beach outfit. A good cover-up such as a kaftan or a sarong is a beach essential – they’ll help shield you from the sun’s harmful rays and make it easy for you to go from beach to bar in one simple step. You’ll also want to choose a reliable pair of sandals too – flip flops are ideal for slipping on and off as you head from sand to sea, while chunkier sandals like Birkenstocks or Crocs are ideal for those who like to do a little more exploring. To top it all off, a great pair of sunglasses is a beach essential. Don’t give in to the temptation of cheap knock-offs – fake sunglasses are unlikely to provide the UV protection you need for your eyes. Instead, visit sites like Red Hot Sunglasses for great deals on a wide range of gorgeous designer sunglasses. For a classically glamorous look their wraparound shades are ideal, while their ‘cat eye’ and Wayfarer style glasses are both on-trend this season. Need prescription shades? Most retailers will adapt their designer frames to suit your individual requirements, so there’s no need to be squinting in the sun.

While you’re away

Once you’re relaxing on the beach with a cocktail in hand, it’s easy to let all your best laid plans slide out the window. But there are a few important things you need to remember to ensure you stay looking and feeling your best. Most importantly, wear sunscreen! You’ll need to keep reapplying it regularly and after you swim, but it’s worth the effort – nothing ruins a holiday more than bright red, sore skin on the first day! If you’re worried you’ll forget, try an all day sunscreen and make sure you bring plenty of After Sun or aloe vera just in case. Depending on where you’re travelling, it might also be an idea to take bug repellent and bite cream too, to avoid getting covered in angry-looking welts. Finally, the most important thing is to relax and have fun – nothing makes you look better than a smile and a tan!