Always Keep an Eye on Your Beach Bag

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So I am here in Barbados for my 2 year anniversary and having a great time. I promise to write you an entire trip report in the next week as the island is beautiful, the food is great (love the flying fish!), and there is so much to do. Today we headed to the east coast of the island where there is more surf and the waves are a little rougher. The one beach we were at, however, has reef close to the coast which makes for these little pools to wade in.

We ate lunch at the restaurant on top of the cliff then made way to the beach. We put down our beach bag in the shade and headed to one of the little pools. After about 20 minutes we decided to grab our bag and take a walk along the beach. We were probably only 35 feet away from our bag and when we returned it was gone – stolen! We asked everyone on the beach if they saw anyone take it and unfortunately no luck. While our eyes were not locked on our bag 100% of the time, we were in the water right in front of it and there were a bunch of families watching their bags right nearby. We believe someone quickly came down the side, grabbed the bag, and took off. I am sure we had "tourist" written across our face.

It would not have been the biggest deal if our car keys hadn’t been in the bag. Lesson learned #1 – always keep your keys in your pocket, especially if it does not have a remote door lock attached. Yes we had some cash, a camera, credit cards, and licenses, but not having a car key was pretty limiting. Luckily though, the family owned car rental company was extremely accommodating and brought us another car key, crisis diverted. While we were pretty bummed about the situations we realized quickly it was not the end of the world and we absolutely were not going to let this ruin our vacation. Luckily, we had not taken too many pictures thus far so the sentimental value of the camera was minimal.

The people on the beach and at the nearby restaurant were so nice and helpful. Everyone felt so bad and wished they could do more for us. We got free drinks at the restaurant and a million offers to take us wherever we needed to go. I truly believe this was an isolated innocent from a local as most of the locals we met were so kind and willing to go out of their way for a tourist. Petty non-harmful theft can happen anywhere, so luckily it will not leave us with a sour taste of Barbados – we still love the island!

We’ve traveled to many countries and this was actually our first experience with theft. I must say though, it did leave us with some lessons learned while traveling.

Lessons learned when going to the beach:

  • As already mentioned, keep your car keys with you (assuming no remote entry attached to the key chain)
  • Keep your bags close to the water so they do not leave your site
  • If possible, keep your bag locked in the car
  • Keep minimal amount of cash in your bags – most places take credit card anyways!
  • Make sure to upload all pictures from the day every evening on to your computer, this way only one days worth of pictures are lost
  • File a police report – this will help if you have any insurance you can claim against theft (we have renters insurance)
  • Cancel your credit cards immediately!
  • Keep your passport in your hotel safe
  • Do not keep jewelry in your beach bags, if you are going to take it off then leave it back in the hotel in the safe
  • Make copies of your license/passport and keep them in your suitcase always
  • most importantly…DO NOT LET IT RUIN YOUR VACATION!
So it was a fun day getting to know the local police. They were able to tell us more about the island and recommend some other beautiful beaches, so at least some good came of it!
And if anyone finds a tan canvas GAP bag in Barbados, let me know!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.



  1. Sorry to hear about the theft!

    Can I ask how much the car rental was? How hard is finding parking? Do you recommend getting a car?

    • @Mike – It was about $240 US for 5 days. We rented from M.A.H car rentals. Small family owned car rental business, there are many of those on the island. Stoutes is the more recognizable one, but more expensive – believe it would have been about another $100 US for the 5 days. Some will quote you in barbados dollars and others in US dollars so just pay attention to that. I would absolutely recommend getting a car. A taxi from the airport to hotel will run you about $35 each way anyways. I personally love being able to go and explore, but all depends on what you want to do on your vacation! Parking is VERY easy.

  2. Thank you for responding. Hope you post more about barbados each day. I would love to find out more before I arrive there, June 1st. I rented an apartment at Accra Beach.

    • @Mike – no problem at all. Accra Beach is really nice. The whole West Coast is beautiful. We loved Miami Beach. Will post more, not to worry!

  3. I feel so bad that this happened to you!! But I love the fact that rather than letting it ruin the trip, you are using this experience as a valuable teaching lesson for the rest of us. No matter how much we travel and feel that we are “experienced” so this won’t happen, we still need to be aware and use caution.

    Thanks again for this post, and Happy Anniversary!!

    • @Phraktur – Absolutely not letting it ruin anything. It really can happen to anyone the experienced just as much as the un-experienced.

      Now off to the beach! Have a great holiday weekend!!

  4. Here’s an adder to your “lock bag in car” advice. These thieves watch beach parking areas and see tourists lock their bag in the trunk. For more security, be sure it’s locked in the TRUNK (not the car interior) and put it in there before you arrive at the beach so you’re not showcasing your items to potential thieves.

  5. My advice is to hide in the trunk and when the thief opens your trunk, spring out and bite them like a wild monkey! Lol

  6. Sorry to hear about your bag. The mistake you made was going in the water together & leaving your bag unattended to. Easy target…

    Mike- depending on how long you are visiting, a rental car is not necessary for the full stay. The public buses are great & really cheap.
    An awesome restaurant across from Accra is called Just Grillin.

    • @Michael W Travels – You are absolutely correct, another lesson learned. I really like the Accra area.

  7. Your post brought to mind something I’ve wondered about. I know that AmEx has a paid service to cancel your lost or stolen cards with one call to them. I’ve thought it was to expensive particularly with the limited liability we have due to Federal regs. Generally I don’t keep copies of the CC numbers or 3 digit codes when I’m traveling but do have AmEx and Chases phone number on my cell. Is there an inexpensive service to go to for this type of cancellation in case multiple cards are stolen? Does Award Wallet do it?

    • @David – I am not aware of any inexpensive service. We had one credit card and one debit card stolen and it was really easy to call Chase and have them cancelled without knowing the card number.

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