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Hopping on a red-eye straight from the beach may seem like more trouble than it’s worth, so you end up wasting the day away pre-flight. But we know the amount of annual leave you have is already limited – why write off travel days as time only spent getting from point A to point B?

From places to shower, to tricks for freshening up on the fly, here’s how to travel on a beach day. Find your next flight on, and read on for tips on making the best of your precious time in paradise.

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Where to go for a post-beach shower

Nothing feels as fantastic as a refreshing shower after a day of fun in the sun. Try these places to freshen up.

  • Hit the gym: Checking into a gym for an hour or an afternoon, not only provides a clean and comfortable place to take a shower, but also comes with the added bonus of getting your gym time in during your holiday. It’s easy to find a gym and many offer days passes for non-members.
  • Check into a spa: What is a holiday without a spa day (or two)? Book a spa outing to enjoy a relaxing shower before a soothing massage. Just be sure the spa has showers.
  • Ask your hotel to use the hospitality suite: It’s a little-known travel secret that hotels often have a hospitality suite, where guests may be permitted to go for a few minutes to freshen up before departing for the airport. Even if a hotel has a hospitality room, it may not always be available, so ask before checking out. Hotels may offer alternatives like Hotel Riu Plaza Times Square in New York City, which has a shower on the lobby level specifically for guests who have already checked out but want to freshen up before their flights.
  • Check into a hostel: Cheaper than a hotel room, hostels are great, often no-frills places to take a shower and a nap. Increase your savings by booking a bed in a communal room (which increases the chances you will be showering in a communal bathroom), but you can use the money saved to buy more souvenirs.
  • Shower at the beach: This may seem obvious, but travellers in a hurry might overlook showering at the beach. Better yet, try to visit a beach affiliated with a hotel. Many hotels offer day passes that may include access to the beach, pool and shower facilities.
  • Take the plunge: If you’re fortunate to find yourself near one of the handfuls of cold springs in the world, why not take a dip in nature’s bathtub (leave your soap and shampoo behind). Suao Cold Spring in Taiwan is a naturally effervescent spring that is refreshing on a summer day.
  • Shower at the airport: Many airports offer showers like Dubai International Airport, where there are complimentary shower facilities in Terminal 1 (between gates C18 and C22) and Terminal 3 (between gates A1 and A24 and gates B13 and B19) and Narita International Airport, where there are shower cubicles and day rooms in the central building after passport control, in the satellite building after passport control and new shower facilities in the central building before passport control.
  • Lounge about: Check into an airport lounge for a shower and a snack. An increasing number of airport lounges offer showers, like the Emirates lounge at Dubai International Airport. However, if you don’t have enough points for a lounge membership, you can pay for a day pass or try a non-airline lounge like the Airspace Lounge at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Tips and tricks for going from beach day to departure gate

Now that you’ve found a place to shower, be sure to pack these tips, tricks and hacks to make the journey as easy as possible.

Packing list

Don’t leave home (or your hotel) without these must-haves:

  • Body wipes, face wipes, dry shampoo and a face towel: These are the essentials for when your best shower option is little more than a sink.
  • Disposable towel or small quick dry swimmer’s towel: Both will do the trick for use in basic showering situations.
  • Baby powder: It is the key to removing sand whether you have access to a shower or not.
  • Flip-flops: You need them for the beach, but use these as shower shoes in public showers and hostels too.
  • Extra set of clothes: This might be a no-brainer, but make sure to pack your in-flight fashion in your beach bag, so you don’t have to open up your luggage in the hotel lobby or airport concourse.
  • Bring a gallon size zip-top bag and place your wet swimsuit inside it.
  • Carry all your must-haves in a bag with multi-compartments, ideally one that’s waterproof with separate sections for your swimsuit, dry clothes and toiletries.
  • Bring a sample-sized cologne/perfume and a travel-size bottle of Febreze to freshen up on the fly. The cologne/perfume will help you smell good and the Febreze will make your clothes smell freshly laundered.

Get creative

Use your imagination and the tools around you.

  • Use the bathroom hand dryer as a hairdryer (and, if you have time, clothes dryer).
  • Put your hair in a trendy topknot or French braids for the beach. Then, let loose to reveal beachy waves for a style change.
  • Use a scarf to make a DIY beach dress or sarong by day, a colourful accessory at night and a way to keep the cold cabin air at bay in flight. 

Plan wisely

One of the biggest challenges on travel days is what to do with your luggage. Here are some options:

  • Leave your bags with the hotel concierge.
  • Check your bags in early. Some hotels will facilitate checking your bags in with the airline. In Hong Kong, visitors can take advantage of free in-town check-in via the MTR’s Airport Shuttle In-Town Check-in Service that lets travellers drop off bags 90 minutes to one full day ahead of scheduled flight departure times.
  • Look for lockers at the beach, local train station, or shopping centres. Your hotel concierge may have a list of places where you can leave your luggage.
  • Travel with just hand luggage and keep your bag with you. (Yes, you can do it with our tips!)

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About the author

Lauren MackLauren Mack has traveled to 40 countries on five continents, including Cuba, New Zealand, Peru and Tanzania. For many years, she called China, and then Taiwan, home. Countries at the beginning of the alphabet, particularly Antarctica, Argentina and Australia are on her travel bucket list. Lauren is a multimedia travel and food journalist and explorer based in New York City.

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