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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

As Italy starts fining sunlounger hogs, how to get the best spot on the beach and other holiday hacks

Fill these bags with water and freeze overnight to cool drinks in a bucket on the beach. Freeze plastic bottles of water and soft drinks for the kids, too; even in the baking sun, the keep cool for hours. Freeze soft drinks liberally spiked with vodka or gin for yourself to get around any local restrictions on public drinking. Just don’t get them mixed up with the kids’ drinks…

Some websites suggest that a fitted sheet beats the traditional beach towel: turned upside down on the beach, with coolbags in each corner to keep the sides up, creates a sand-free pit for your family. True, but you will also look like a mad person. However, a large flat sheet or blanket under your beach towel will minimise grit intrusion.

Buy a cheap watering can or bucket to rinse feet. Baby powder also helps remove sand from skin, though no one seems to know why.

When parking the hire car, rotate and lock the steering wheel, or cover it with a towel, to avoid burning your hands off on your return.

By the pool

If you’re going lay claim to a lounger, brazen it out by placing a “Reserved” towel over it.

Take an actual, physical, book with you. A paperback swollen with water and stained with suncream tells you with profound and tactile certainty that you are on holiday. Left open, spine upwards, it can also give you a few minutes’ grace from would-be lounger-stealers when you need to nip to the bar/loo. 

If you’re thinking of buying an e-reader, wait a year: Amazon is reportedly developing a solar-powered Kindle, perfect for holidays. 

If you’re already using an e-reader, make sure all books are backed up to your phone in case of those “oops, Mummy, I dropped it in the deep end” moments. And have a paperback as back-up. I’m taking HG Wells’ The War in the Air to Sardinia next month. 

Remember, when on holiday, local beer counts as “keeping hydrated."

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