So you’re in for a fun day at the waterpark. Waterparks can be awesome. They can also be dangerous, and a prime spot for opportunistic theft.
So you might want to do some googling before you go. Just in case. Waterpark injuries cause, according to Babygaga, 4,200 emergency room visits per year; out of a combined total of 85 million guests in 2015, that’s a pretty decent number. Still, you want to be vigilant and check a park’s accident record before you go.
But the big waterpark question, of course, is what you should do with your valuables. You’re going to need, at minimum, a credit card and some cash to carry around the park. You’re might need to bring towels, then you’ve got your clothes and car keys with you. You likely can’t leave your phone at home, either. That’s a substantial amount of stuff, with a substantial amount of value. What are you supposed to do with them?
One Person In Charge
The optimal answer is to bring a designated family member who will watch everyone’s stuff. You could bring grandma, for instance. Pay for her ticket. She doesn’t ride anything, you can leave all your stuff with her, and make her the resident photographer. She will probably also insist on paying for everything. But maybe everyone on your trip wants to swim. So…
Use The Lockers
For the clothes and the towels, you’re going to need to use the lockers. You simply can’t drag a giant bag all over the park with you — you’d have to leave someone off every single ride in order to watch it. See if you can find a picture of the lockers beforehand, or call the park and see what types of lock will fit: if they have their own locks, or if you need to bring your own. If you can bring your own, a combination padlock is probably preferred — then you won’t need to tote a key around. If the waterpark has their own locks, be wary: leave only what you can afford to lose.
[Prefer the beach? We’ve got tips for that.]
Use Waterproof Storage
For everything else, you’re going to need a waterproof fanny pack, pouch, or bag. That “everything else” should include nothing more than your credit card and if you must, your phone.
Leave Your Car Key Elsewhere, If You Can
If you don’t have keyless entry, get a keytainer. Hide it far up somewhere in the bottom of your car, which you have stripped of valuables, and leave your key in it. That way, you don’t have to carry it through the park or leave it in a sketchy locker.
Leave Your Phone, Too
If you can, leave your phone hidden away in the car. It’s worth hundreds of dollars — and you may be taking it down a waterslide. Unless you are leaving a member of your party off each ride, you are taking all your valuables down each wild ride. Which lifeguards may or may not even allow — check with each park’s policies on swim bags/packs before you make assumptions.
Don’t Leave Items With Staff
If you get to the top of the slide and find that you can’t take your bag with you, do not leave it with the lifeguard for safekeeping. You don’t know the lifeguards, and when you hand them your items, you’re handing him the keys to your entire financial landscape.
Don’t Leave Items With Strangers
You might trust that mom with three kids. But I’m a mom with three young kids, and I could probably break into your Facebook in the time it takes you to get down the waterslide. And while I wouldn’t steal your credit card number, many people would. Don’t take the chance. And don’t count on these people sticking around.
Minimize Your Gear
Basically: only bring what’s absolutely necessary to a waterpark. That’s the biggest thing to remember. Use common sense and give yourself peace of mind. Then you can have a good time. Probably.