So you’ve bought a ticket, packed your bags, hopped on a plane, arrived at your accommodation. Now you’re ready to hit the beach. Optimal sunbathing spot is selected, towel is down. That water looks mighty inviting. But what the hell do you do with your stuff when you want to go for a swim? What’s the best way to keep your valuables safe?
People ask me this all the time as I frequently travel solo and love lazing on the beach/swimming in the sea so I’m going to share a quick overview of the options.
But this problem isn’t restricted to those flying solo – what if you’re in a group and you want to swim together?
It goes without saying that you should leave the important stuff (passport, etc.) locked up in a safe or locker in your accommodation wherever possible.
The lo-fi, high-risk options:
- If there are other people on the beach, you could ask a reliable-looking person to keep watch on your things and hope that your judgement doesn’t backfire. For extra peace of mind first secure the zippers on your bag with a padlock. Although this does then scream “I have valuables inside”.
- Cunningly disguise your valuables by hiding them inside an emptied-out packet, bottle, or can. Pringles and sunscreen bottles seem to be popular options. I’ve even heard of people using diapers! Clean, hopefully.
- Chat up the nearest barman/maid and ask them to keep an eye on it.
- Wrap your stuff in something sand-proof and bury underneath your towel. Sew a hidden pocket into your towel, or buy one that comes with one sewn in. Personally, I can’t stand sandy things and think it looks a bit suss burying stuff so this one’s not for me.
The sensible, low-risk options:
- I always forget to check this – but if you’re at an organised beach or club there may be lockers available.
- If you’re just taking your phone and cash to the beach, consider getting a waterproof case. They’re cheap and you can (to an extent) use the touchscreen with the phone inside the bag, meaning you can use them to take underwater photos too. Be sure to attach it to you securely in case a big wave surprises you. This basic one from MoKo comes with an armband and a neck strap. Check the latest price on Amazon.
- If you have lots of electronics then a Pacsafe portable safe bag is the best option for you. Suitable for cameras, tablets, and laptops, it comes in a few different sizes and is lined with a stainless steel wire mesh, foam-padded, padlocked, and water-resistant. As long as you have something secure to lock it to, then it should deter all but the most determined of thieves. It’s not cheap but you can use it away from the beach to secure your stuff too. Check the latest price on Amazon.
- The most versatile solution is a dry bag. Twirl these nifty waterproof bags and secure at the top and – voila – you have an airtight bag you can then take into the water with you. These are more secure than they seem (they’re loved by watersports enthusiasts), and you won’t have to keep your eye on the shoreline, instead paddle out with your valuables floating alongside you. All you have to worry about is someone pinching your spot. As a bonus, you can use on shore as a pillow or when dry as packing cubes. I do love a multi-use item. Models with backpack-style straps are also available. Sea to Summit are the brand best regarded by hardcore outdoorsy types. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Happy swimming, folks!
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