By Kirsti Scott
There are some things everyone should do when checking into a hotel to make sure their stay is safe and comfortable. But when beachcombers check in, we have a whole different list of things we look for.
Location, location, location: It’s great to be close to sightseeing spots, restaurants, shops, and more. But if you’re a beachcomber, being close to a great beach is priceless. Select lodging that is central to all the beachcombing spots you’re interested in checking out. If the beach is a short walk from your hotel, you can get out early before anyone else is up. Make sure the location allows you to take shells, beach glass, fossils, rocks, driftwood, or whatever you collect. Check with the hotel staff to see if they have any recommendations on beachcombing spots. Some beaches are impossible to access unless you are staying in a house in the community so you might want to consider a home rental.
Amenities: While some guests check out the view from the room, how big the TV screen is, and how many people can fit on the couch, beachcombers are seeing how big the sink is for cleaning finds and if the bathtub can be tightly plugged to soak things overnight. Bonus if the ice bucket has a plastic liner bag to store finds, there are plenty of towels to dry things off, and a balcony or deck where things can dry in the sun.
Toiletries: Who doesn’t love those tiny bottles of shampoo and shower gel? Well, beachcombers sure love them for washing beach finds after the day is done. Always a score if the hotel is eco-friendly and has dispensers instead of small bottles for unlimited bubbles!
Coffee Maker: Not only is it great to be able to get coffee before restaurants and cafés are open, the disposable cups with tops are great for storing your finds when you’re done caffeinating yourself. Bring your used cup along to the beach to protect and bring back delicate—or smelly—items you find on the beach.
Decor: Beachcombers aren’t looking for the trendiest interior design and premium finishes, but wipeable surfaces, floors that are easy to sweep clean, and lots of horizontal surfaces to sort and admire their finds. Thick carpet is just another place to lose that special tiny treasure after the day’s hunt.
Shop: If breakfast and room service start too late for early-bird beachcombers, a 24-hour snack shop in the hotel lobby where you can grab some energy bars and drinks before breakfast service has started and head out early for the hunt is a huge plus. Don’t forget to pick up some sunscreen and re-use your shopping bag for picking up trash on the beach. If you’re in a rental home, make sure you stock the kitchen with grab-and-go snacks and other beach essentials so you can head out any time.
Closets and dressers: You might not be worried about hanging up your suit and cocktail dress in the closet, but as a beachcomber you need to make sure there’s somewhere to put your stash of beach finds while you’re out. Make sure everything is clean and dry before you store it!
Tipping: Though you may not have behaved like a rock star and trashed the room completely, you may have done some damage and brought in some extra sand during your stay. Housekeeping staff changes every day so make a point to leave a small tip every day for whoever has the job of cleaning up after you. Check online to see what standard tipping rates are where you are staying.
Checking out: Look under the beds, on the balcony, in the sink, in the safe (!), and all the drawers before you check out. You don’t want to leave behind that once-in-a-lifetime find that the housekeeper throws away in the trash!
Don’t forget to pack:
- Mesh bag or colander for rinsing
- Liquid soap or dishwashing liquid
- Bleach pods or powdered bleach
- Zip bags for sorting and packing
- Terry or tea towel for drying
- Bucket for soaking
- Extra suitcase or bag to haul home your treasures
Bon voyage, beachcombers!
This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine September/October 2021 issue.