When we go on holiday, whether it’s a short city break, a week in the countryside or a long-haul adventure, we all have different ideas about what makes the perfect escape. This can also be said for what makes the perfect beach, from kite surfing winds and beach party madness or idyllic desert islands to kiss-me-quick hats and sticks of rock (hmm… maybe not!).

I was delighted to recently have been asked to submit my favourite photograph of a beach, to an invite-only competition being run by On the Beach. I’ve been to many beautiful beaches around the world but what makes a beach really ‘beachin’ to me?

I love crystal clear warm water and fine white sand, preferably with a palm tree or two offering a little shade.  I’d certainly enjoy a few hours in such a paradise relaxing in the sunshine but would that picture of an idyllic beach be really memorable? Possibly not.

I’ll never forget the day, however, that I was walking along the sand of Sanyang beach in The Gambia, having grown a little restless from relaxing under a palm tree. I could see in the distance the brightly painted fishing boats of the local fishermen and, with camera in hand, thought I might get some interesting shots.

Sanyang Beach - best beaches

Before I knew it, not only was I getting some great photos, but I found myself deep in conversation with the local ladies about what types of fish their husbands caught, how they prepared the fish, smoked the fish, even how to cook the fish. I’ve no idea how long I was there chatting, laughing and snapping away with my camera but it was an afternoon I’ll never forget.

So while the water at Sanyang beach may not be crystal clear and the sand is not fine white-powder sand, this is without doubt my favourite beach shot!


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Travel Planning Resources

Travel clothes for women

Check out my guide to all my favourite travel clothes for women.

Book your hotel

Agoda is my preferred hotel search engine. I also use Airbnb ($31 discount) for booking rooms/apartments.

Rent a car

Discover Car Hire is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local and international rental companies.

Book an experience

When I’m travelling solo, especially to a new city, I use Viator and Get Your Guide to book tours and excursions, in particular, food walking tours or to visit somewhere tricky to get to by public transport.

Protect yourself and your trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! Protect yourself from possible injury, theft, and many other unexpected mishaps while abroad. World Nomads provides travel insurance to travellers from over 140 countries. For UK residence, Alianz Assistance offers insurance for backpackers, as well as annual multi-trip cover and single-trip cover starting from £3.36.  

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