Vacationers usually want a souvenir reminder of their trip. Beach vacations usually include some beach-combing and maybe shell collecting. So, can you bring shells home (wherever that is) from the beach?
Since I don’t know where home is for you, that is a difficult question to answer. Countries may have various rules on what can be brought in. If it’s allowed, then find out what you can collect and keep from the area you visit.
If you are in Florida, read about the Rules for Shell Collecting. And you should never keep any shells, starfish, sand dollars, etc. that are alive! Besides the fact that it’s going to kill the animal that created that shell you covet, it’s often illegal to collecting living shells.
It’s best to find out what local laws say. Ask at the hotel, or place you are staying – they should know. Killing any living creature is not cool in my book.
So, it’s fine to take all the empty beach shells you want, but how many do you really need? Here on the east coast of Florida, shells are small, and sparse. On Sanibel Island and the Gulf Coast, shells are numerous. With the wonderful cell phone cameras these days, it’s so easy to take photos and then collect a few favorite shells.
All collected shells should be rinsed well in plain water. Adding a tiny bit of bleach can help remove smells and dirt, but don’t let them soak for long in bleach or shell colors will fade. Please note: The exception would be starfish and sand dollars and any other more fragile specimens. Just rinse with water.
If a shell has a dark colored “skin” that is the periostracum. It will be tough to remove, but will eventually flake off.
Dry everything well, or put shells out on the deck, porch or in a sunny spot until they dry – remember that sun will fade shells! Shells are quite tough for the most part, but if you’ve found anything fragile, be sure to wrap it well or put it inside a cracker box, or empty food carton for the journey.
Check online with the airline, but anything packed in checked luggage should be okay for travel.