When people think of car accessories, they often think about sat-navs and music equipment. While these can be very useful, it’s often the little gadgets which make the difference. Here are five affordable items to pack the next time you take your car to the beach. They all cost less than £20.
Summer weather (hopefully) means time for cold drinks, many of which come in cans. There’s a lot to be said for cans, it’s just a pity that once they’re open, there’s nothing you can do to close them – unless you fit a snap capp to the top, in which case, your can becomes a bottle and can be closed securely. When the can is empty, you just twist and pull to remove them. They’re useful everywhere but particularly in the car, where there’s limited space to hold half-full cans.
Vapour Reflex Bottles
One of those “why didn’t I think of that?” ideas, these bottles are a modern take on the old idea of water skeins, basically when they’re full, they’re just like standard water-bottles, but as they empty, they become flexible so that you can fit them into smaller and smaller spaces. When they’re completely empty, they hardly take up any room at all. They’re fully washable and reusable and great for hot weather, when refilling water bottles is a cheap way to keep hydrated.
As well as being nicer to use than plastic cutlery, metal cutlery is also a whole lot better for the environment and it doesn’t result in overflowing bins. Sporks are a cross between spoons and forks and will deal capably with most sorts of food, whether you bring it with you or pick it up from a shop on your trip.
Waboba Water Balls
The Waboba is a ball which literally bounces on water. It may sound weird, but it’s true. If you’re going to be near water and you’re looking for a cheap and simple toy, which will fit easily in the car and entertain pretty much everybody, including any family pets, then the Waboba is it.
Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern
This neat device was designed to solve the problem of providing light in countries where there was no feasible source of mains electricity. The company behind it operates a “Buy one send one” policy, meaning that every time someone buys one of these useful lanterns, another one is donated somewhere it is needed. Basically, if you charge it for up to 8 hours (from sunlight or any other light source), it will provide 6-12 hours of light. There’s even a flashing setting for emergency situations, meaning that it it will work just as well to provide light on the beach as it will if you have a breakdown.
Taking care of your car on beach trips
Although it may seem tempting to park your car as close to the beach as you possibly can, there are two good reasons to park further away. The first reason is that cars parked on a beach can find themselves literally being swept out to sea. The second reason is that beaches, by definition, are full of sand, water and salt. These are all bad news for your car. Leaving your car a bit further away provides some protection against both.
While it may be too much to clean out a car properly after a lovely day at the beach, the next day, you should make it a priority to give your car a good hose down outside and thorough vacuum inside. Ideally you should give your car a full clean and wax. This may seem like a lot of effort after a day at the beach, but sand, water and salt can all do serious damage to your car and the longer your car has been exposed to them, the more important it is to make sure that all traces of them are removed.
If you don’t fancy ending your day out with a full car wash, you can always get a professional to do it for you. Just type your postcode in to www.pro-valets.co.uk to find your nearest valeter. Using a professional valeting service not only saves your time and energy, but also has the added advantage that they will have specialist tools and cleaning products to do the best possible job. These days everybody recognises the importance of keeping their skin protected at the beach, using a valeting service will give the same sort of protection to your paintwork.
After almost 15 years working for various financial service companies, Kit MacLean escaped to work as a freelance writer and translator. She has a keen interest in cars, enjoys poker, walking with her dog and playing quizzes.