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What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

Dallas, TX
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What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

In light of the recent post regarding a couple whose belongings/ rental car were stolen from the beach, I think it would be helpful to hear some tips and “know how” from some seasoned Hawaii travelers.

What do you take to the beach and what do you do with it while you are swimming/snorkeling?

What do you suggest a visitor do with these common things one would have on them when stopping for a visit to the beach?

- I.D

- Money

- Camera

Tucson, Arizona
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for Tucson
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1. Re: What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

We don't bring anything of value with us to the beach or leave it in the car. I have a small wallet that contains my driver's license. credit card and cash and I put that and my car keys in a Dry Pak Belt Pak. Then I just keep that around my waist even when snorkeling. That company also makes a similar waterproof case for a camera/cellphone.


Destination Expert
for Maui
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2. Re: What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

I have an OtterBox...plastic waterproof box that clips on. Can get in different sizes. Bring only what you absolutely need. I bring ID, $, 1 credit card, 1 phone and car key that goes in our box. Camera that goes to beach is waterproof also.

Similar things are Pelican boxes and there are also waterproof pouches.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

Normally one of us would swim and one would sit. But we did buy an aquapac to hold items if we both went in the water at the same time.

Kauai, Hawaii
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4. Re: What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

Excellent question by the OP.

Generally there is no reason to take our ID. and money or credit cards to the beach.

Just yesterday while walking along Kalapaki Beach, I passed a beach towel, with a large beach bag.

Sun Glasses laying out on the unkempt towel, along with cover ups. On the towel was a good sized white, and wide open beach bag . The the contents of the bag were totally visible. One of those contents was the woman's purse , plus a camera, and who knows what else.

There were no other beach goers near this area which was about mid point along Kalapaki Beach, and just a few inches above where the waves were washing up on the sand. Any more powerful wave, and all that gets washed away. But it was perfect to lose to a thief.

Looking around for the owner, I saw the solo woman . She was standing out in the calm water looking out toward the ocean with no clue what so ever. All of her possessions could have been easily gone in about two to three seconds.

Good on the OP, for asking. Here is what we do.

1. We do not bring a whole lot of anything to the beach. What we do see on a standard basis is visitors hauling in tons, and tons . Actually enough of whatever to stay on their beach spot for a few days.

2. drivers lic, insurance card, condo key card, credit or debit ( not both ), I put into a business card case and hide it in the trunk of the car. Nothing, and I mean nothing is left visible inside the car. As visitors, we did not rent jeeps or convertables that are prime pickens for easy entry.

3. I bring a waterproof baggie with one or two bills of cash if there is a tiki bar at that beach for a coldie. The baggie is secure in the velcro pocket of my board shorts. Erica brings a towel. She does not need any thing else.

If I do not intend on spending any money at the beach ..the...$ 20 to $ 100.00 is in that biz card case, secreted in the trunk. I secure that small biz card case in the trunk at the condo without fanfare before we leave.

4. Camera.....well leaving a camera on the beach when you walk off to swim or snorkel is not a good plan.

You can always bring the camera, get some pictures, and take it back and lock it in the trunk. Again not waving it around and making a big deal of it. Otherwise, if a person must have the camera all day long at the beach, have someone watch it.

5. We just bring beach mats, and towels, and if going snorkeling our snorkel gear in a dedicated dive bag.

When in the water, our snorkel gear is being worn. If the beach is not a good snorkel site we do not bring the snorkel bag.

6. Car key and sunglasses: Upon arriving, we get situated, and I palm the car key into my beater athletic shoes. Going into the water, we do not wear sunglasses, I slip them also into one of my red dirt and worn out athletic shoes. No human in their right mind would get close to these things.

7. More on I.D." They also have waterproof pouches that hang around your neck, or fit into the board short pocket. Not sure that if I was body surfing I would wear anyt hing around my neck that can perhaps come free and gone into the water. But, I like the idea of one that I could keep in the strong velcro or zipper pocket of my board shorts.

8. That is how we work it. We just do not bring a whole lot to the beach. Never have and I was raised on the beaches of southern california beginning in 1956. None of us ever brought anything that we did not need.

Our beach gear, was one towel, and a football. Used the same method of car keys and sunglasses in the athletic shoe. That is a lot of years at the beach, and never had anything stolen.

Another thing that we did as visitors here. We would park our beach mats lets say at Lawai Beach, near other visitors. Generally, they are not going bag off with anything. If we are going into the water, we might smile and ask them if they are going to be around soaking up the rays for a while. If so, we tell them we are going snorkeling and be back shortly. I do not ask them to stand guard. But, they have now seen us, and know whose beach mat and towels are laying next to them.

These keep it simple procedures are easy, and do not invite evil doers to make off with anything.

Thanks to the OP, for calling attention to this subject, as we want all of your visits to be perfect fun, and not interupted by an unfortunate situation. And, as posted before. I have witnessed the very upset visitors, giving a police report to the KPD.......

Their beach bag was stolen when they were swimming. Everyone in their group has lost their wallets, ID's, credit cards, keys to the car and house back on the mainland, cash, camera, sunglasses, every thing is gone. They are now a few thousand miles from home, standing on the sand with a beach towel as their only possession.

Not a good feeling.


Edited: 11 April 2013, 16:59
Davenport, Iowa
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5. Re: What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

"I slip them also into one of my red dirt and worn out athletic shoes. No human in their right mind would get close to these things"

:D Thank you for the good laugh - my husband always says the same thing about my one pair of shoes that I wear everywhere!! Now I have the perfect reason to bring them along on our trip!

Kaua'i, HI
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for Kauai, Poipu, Lihue
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6. Re: What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

Aloha from Kaua'i!

If you are referencing the Ohio couple who left "their bags and rental car keys" on the beach while they went for a walk at Papaʻa Beach - basically avoid doing what they did - that is pretty much a "don't do this" story - would you leave your valuables out in sight while you took a stroll - anywhere?

And now these folks are saying they are "afraid to go anywhere" here.

I find it hard to believe after just reading this in the paper......this is not Disneyland and even in Disneyland you wouldn't do this without getting your stuff stolen.

Just a point by point "what not to do" in my opinion.

Malama Pono,


Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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7. Re: What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

I also keep it simple . . . I keep drivers license in car with a few $$ for shave ice. Usually the only thing of value I have is the car rental keys, which I keep in my shorts pocket, shoved at bottom of bag. None of my stuff looks worth taking. Usually a beat up back pack with lunch, water bottles and then I have snorkel gear. Usually we aren't isolated or on isolated beach - so we are near others - and while those folks are strangers, there is usually a mutual watching of stuff . . . if you know what I mean. I have been doing this for years, in Hawaii and Mexico for years and haven't had stuff taken. If I was more worried, I would keep car keys on me - but basically, I choose to bring stuff not worth stealing. I have traveled with friends and their more expensive cameras - if that is the case, then someone is actively watching. While it is paradise, most thieves are opportunists - so be wise, and don't give them the opportunity! :)

Santa Rosa...
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8. Re: What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

If there's only 2 of you then don't resort to taking turns in the water. Always be with another person in the water.

Take only what you need. It's unnecessary to take an entire wallet. Driver's license and a little spending cash. Use an aquapac or an otter box as described in an earlier post. You can trust these. All you need is your driver's license, a little cash and the car keys. These will all fit into both of these products.

On the camera.... don't bring it. Come back another time just for picture taking alone. Or, pick up an underwater camera with the wristband. Obviously it's safe in the water. You can also take land shots with it. They're not the best of cameras though. Again, make it a seperate photo tour. This is how I always did it when I brought a camera.

Edited: 11 April 2013, 18:14
San Francisco...
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9. Re: What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

If you love your camera don't bring it to the beach--sand is not its friend. (or if you do, be very careful. A point and shoot can be put in a ziplock, taken out for shots and then put back without ever touching anything that might have sand, like a beach towel). BTW we saw someone with a special plastic covering for their iPhone--you could still use it but it was sealed and safe.

Northern California...
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10. Re: What To Do With Belongings At The Beach

I usually hit the beach solo. The only things I leave on the sand are items that I don't really care if they get stolen - cheap rubber slippers, old beach towel, cheap (under $5) pair of sunglasses rolled up in the towel. If they get taken, I figure someone must have needed it more then me. I use a small aqua pac (that can fit in the velcro pocket of my boardshorts) to store a $20, my driver's license, a debit card, and my car key. The car insurance, condo key, AAA card all get hidden in the vehicle before I even get to the beach.

If I plan on boogie boarding/SUP I don't bring a camera with me - only if I'm snorkeling. I save the better digital camera for "dry" days that don't involve going in the ocean.

My only complaint is that I wish the car rental agencies would stop using car keys with the electronics built in and/or the key rings where you cannot detatch the electronic key fob. You never had to worry about the old-school keys getting wet.