THE BEACH BAG
“The bigger the bag, the more clobber can be transported to the beach”
The beach bag is one of those items that get jettisoned in the last moments spent packing for summer holidays. When the choice has to be made between squeezing in another pair of shoes or this useful but often bulky bag, the shoes inevitably win. Which is a mistake. You can make do with flipflops and one pair of heels but you can’t cart your towel and sunscreen to the beach in your leather handbag or trundle them down in a trolley suitcase.
The solution is to check in your suitcase and comandeer your beach bag as carry-on luggage. (It can also double up as a shopping tote providing the design isn’t too garish.) This will mean that not only can you up your luggage quota – and pack that extra pair of shoes – but you will have a handy means of transporting a whole load of clobber to the beach or pool.
The bigger the bag, the more clobber can be transported, of course, which is not always a good thing and may be regretted if the walk to the beach is lengthy or steep. But a day spent by the sea necessitates many, many things: a book, a magazine, a towel, bikini, suncream, hat, water, snacks, Kindle, frisbee... the list is endless and increases exponentially the more members of the party are involved. Men, for example, may say they have nothing they need to bring but somehow find a way to inveigle their phone, a bottle of water and a football into the bags of others. Children come accessorised with an endless list of transportable objects, from bottles of juice to wet wipes, all of which Won’t Get To The Beach On Their Own.
Fortunately the choice of beach bags has never been so varied, so capacious or so attractive. From the traditional straw basket ( best for a British beach, filled with a Thermos and waterproof) and raffia options (sourced on the Costa del Sol with an optional appliquéd donkey) to the contemporary canvas and jute options, there is one for you, whatever your needs or destination. Some even have insulated pockets to keep drinks chilly and chocolate unmelted. Others are waterproof and can survive accidental dunking in the sea. Whichever you choose, look for handles long enough to loop over a shoulder to help you lug it beach-wards and a wide base for stability when you get there. Then all you have to do is unpack it and relax.
Thank goodness she had room to bring along her plate- sized hand mirror…