These clever locking beach bags, portable safes, and other security devices are the best way to avoid theft at the beach this Labor Day weekend and beyond.
It’s a cruel summer, indeed. Barcelona’s Guàrdia Urbana municipal police force told CNN that it has had to issue 174 emergency clothing kits to beachgoers this summer after a spate of thefts at Barcelona’s city beaches. These “support packs” contain a T-shirt, flip-flops, pants, and a metrocard so victims of beach theft can make their way back to their hotels in more than just a bathing suit. As tourism numbers surge in Barcelona, so has the city’s crime rate, the Spanish daily newspaper El País reports.
But beach theft can happen anywhere. The best way to make sure your belongings are safe while you swim is to leave as much as possible back in your hotel room and to make sure someone stays with your valuables at all times once you’re beachside. But sometimes that’s not realistic, especially if you’re traveling solo or not staying close to the water.
Before you head to the coast this Labor Day weekend—or on any beach getaway later this winter—consider packing one of these locking beach bags, clever water bottle safes, or lock boxes to give yourself peace of mind and thwart would-be thieves.
If you’re only bringing your cell phone and hotel key card to the beach, consider stringing this waterproof pouch around your neck while you take a dip. With more than 20,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this cell phone carrier is not only waterproof but also touch-friendly, so you can snap pics while you’re in the ocean, too.Buy Now: $7, amazon.com
Bringing more than a cell phone with you? The medium-sized SealLine e-case attached to a wristcoil will fit car keys, some cash, and a credit card, too, AFAR assistant editor Sara Button says. She also confirms that it seals all the way and can be submerged for half an hour. Buy Now: $24, amazon.com
Fans of TV show Shark Tank might recognize its featured AquaVault FlexSafe, a portable safe that can be easily locked with a three-digit combination to a beach lounge chair or umbrella while you go swimming. (But make sure they are heavy-duty enough that thieves can’t walk off with the chair or umbrella with the safe attached.) Made with water- and slash-resistant fabric, this packable lightweight bag is roomy enough to fit your phone, wallet, passport, camera, and keys.Buy Now: $70, amazon.com
One of AFAR’s favorite water bottles for travel, the Bindle Bottle has a small compartment built into its bottom to subtly stash things you don’t want sitting out on your beach blanket. AFAR associate editor Maggie Fuller says it’s not the ultimate answer since it doesn’t lock to anything, but it can be a helpful cash- and key-stash in a pinch. Buy Now: $39, amazon.com
In addition to thwarting theft, the CoolBag locking beach bag also comes with a built-in insulated cooler compartment in the bottom for keeping snacks and drinks cool throughout the day. Any valuables you put in the upper section can be kept safe with a combination lock-protected zipper, and the entire bag can be secured to any stationary object with its detachable cable straps. Other useful features include convertible backpack straps and a zippered pocket that helps secure the bag to luggage handles when using it as a carry-on.Buy Now: $130, amazon.com
With a three-digit combination lock, this AquaVault travel safe can be secured to most beach furniture. It can fit small valuables, including your wallet, phone, keys, and jewelry, and at 1.4 pounds, its hard plastic case won’t weigh down your luggage either.Buy Now: $60, bedbathandbeyond.com
Sporting a similar design to the AquaVault safe, this SAFEGO lock box offers more flexibility for where you can secure it, thanks to a 17-inch steel cable. The portable lock box also has both combination and key access and can fit everything from your cell phone to your camera inside of it.Buy Now: $45, amazon.com
This water-resistant and slash-proof Pacsafe beach bag is large enough to fit your clothes and shoes, along with your valuables, for a worry-free day on the beach. The locking zippers at the top of the bag will deter pickpockets and can be secured with a small padlock to keep them out completely while you go swimming. Keep in mind that while the straps can’t be cut through, you’ll need to pair it with a retractable cable lock to attach it to a stationary object.Buy Now: $142, rei.com
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