Why enclose yourself in a tomb-like tanning bed when you can get the same effect (actually, a better one) merely by stepping outside? While you can tan anywhere outdoors, head to a secluded spot so you can get a little naked (or at least remove your top) to avoid funky tan lines. Ideally, this will be someplace in the wild, where you can enjoy a heaping dose of nature while you laze -- much more relaxing than a chaise in your backyard.
To safely tan outside, experts say you should first exfoliate your skin to remove dead cells, even out your skin tone and remove dirt and oils that can clog pores. Next, lather on sunscreen. (Yes, you can still get a tan with sunscreen.) Put an initial layer on 15 to 30 minutes before you head outside, then apply a second layer within 30 minutes of sun exposure.
Instead of an all-day tan-athon, aim for about one hour of sunning per day over a longer period – your tan will last longer if you do. Also, wear shades and a hat, and allow a day off between long exposures so your skin can repair itself [source: Borelli].