Summer is the season for breaking free and making a temporary escape from the daily grind. You might head to foreign shores or load up the family van for a road trip.
Wherever you’re going this summer, you need the right gear from home to maximize your enjoyment of your summer vacation.
Here’s the best packing list summer vacation with ALL the essentials for a summer weekend escape.
Let’s get right into it.
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For this post, we’ve separated all your packing list summer vacation basics into three sections:
- The Basics (for every travel, regardless of the season)
P.S. we’ve also written a great summer resource article in case you want to know 11 essentials for you to never forget to pack inside your beach beauty bag.
1.Summer Vacation Packing List: The Clothes
Regardless if you’re taking a carry-on, or if you have a larger bag filled with packing cubes to maintain everything organized, these summer essentials should always be a part of your summer packing checklist.
If you’re planning on doing some shopping for your summer outfits, visit our Summer Storefront to get inspired.
Why limit yourself by packing just a few of these summer essentials?
Bikinis and swimsuits are the ultimate summer clothes, so be sure to pack a variety of options for you to wear.
A bathing suit is the best way to dress during summertime. I am guilty of wearing my bikini with denim shorts and flip-flops all day long during summer.
Maybe you don’t like to swim or going inside the water, but high temperatures and sweaty outdoor activities have a way of overcoming inhibitions and letting you delight in a splashy frolic. Trust me.
If you’re self-conscious, seek styles that give you the right coverage while flattering your shape. Large chested mamas might feel cozier in sports-bra style tops that keep you safely tucked, while boy shorts don’t creep up your fanny when you climb out of the pool.
Dresses & Skirts
I also LOVE wearing dresses during summer and I always pack at least one or two dresses for all my summer travels.
Skirts are cute as well and perhaps more versatile (just switch your tops and you’ll look like you’re wearing completely new outfits). Midi skirts are not only elegant, but super comfy and fresh for your summer travels.
RELATED: Cinque Terre Summer Travel Guide
Nothing beats that feeling of retiring your winter sweatpants and putting on your summer shorts (after you wax your ”winter legs’, that is)—I imagine that especially for those of you who live in colder countries, wearing shorts must feel like such a blessing.
(we’re a bit spoiled with the Barcelona weather).
I advise adding at least two denim shorts to your summer vacation packing list (you never know, one might get wet at the beach, so it’s always best to bring an extra pair).
If you have space, black shorts are also dynamic and a great way to mix and match and look like you brought more outfits.
Lightweight materials like cotton and linen look stylish without holding in your body heat.
I might be biased, but linen is my favorite summer clothes (linen pants are always a good idea when it’s hot because you look both stylish and elegant at all times).
Look for mix-and-match separates in complementary colors so you can get dozens of different outfits from a few suitcase-ready pieces.
(that’s a trick my mom taught me on packing light and always having a variety of clothes to wear in a single trip with a small suitcase. Momma is the packing and traveling queen, I’m telling ya).
Sweater & Scarves
Also, keep in mind the climate of your destination.
Many coastal regions can have warm dry temperatures during the day and then drop to lows of 60-degrees Fahrenheit in the evenings.
Don’t forget to pack a light jacket or sweater, as well as rain gear, to be prepared for changing weather. Having warmer clothes, even during summer vacation, is always handy.
A scarf is a great item to carry on because it is so lightweight, and can even serve as a blanket inside a cold plane or restaurant with air conditioner.
Flip-Flops & Sneakers
Summertime is perfect for pampering your paws with a pedi, and you want to show off your polished toes. However, summer vacation and weekend getaways also mean plenty of walking.
Time to forget the stilettos at home and wear some nice flip-flops. As a Brazilian, I love the Havaianas (yes, it’s a Brazilian brand): If you haven’t tried them, I urge you to. They’re literally the most comfortable flips-flops ever!!
Don’t forget your white sneakers on your summer vacation packing list. Not only do they look great all year round, but they’re also perfect for sightseeing and walking all day. Wearing white sneakers.
Keep in mind that summer is an awesome time to go camping or hiking, making it another important reason for you to pack closed toe shoes for you outdoor activities.
One of my favorite summer clothes is pairing white sneakers with dresses. It’s a great way to add style to an otherwise boring outfit.
Also, a slight platform lends height without putting undue pressure on your toes and calf muscles while leaving more room for cushioning, protecting against fallen arches and plantar fasciitis.
Underwear, socks & bras
This is a given.
The number of undergarments that you bring with you in your summer travel depends on how long your trip is (and if you plan on doing any laundry).
Take at least 2 bras for summer travels. Remember that we tend to sweat more when it’s hot and bras can get stinky very fast depending on where you’re headed this summer.
2.Summer Vacation Packing List: The Essentials
Unprotected exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause damage to your skin and eyes, and can cause skin cancer. Please keep in mind these 3 VERY IMPORTANT sun protectors:
Let’s quickly go over each of these.
No summer packing list will exist without the mother of all summer essentials: Sun protection.
Let’s start with the basics: sunscreen!
Call me a freak or whatnot, but I use sunscreen inside my house during winter even when it’s raining cats and dogs. That’s how much I value sunscreen.
Yes, you might LOVE the bright summer sun and tanning on the beach all day (I do too), but one of the biggest summer travel tips is to ALWAYS use sunscreen, especially when you are doing outdoor activities during the daytime.
Sunscreen is a MUST, and not only for preventing cancer. It’s perhaps the best way to stave off premature signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and those horrible dark spots that never go away.
Your vacation memories belong in photographs, not on your skin, so take the right measures to safeguard your complexion, reapplying your sunscreen every few hours.
Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen!!!
Can you tell I’m scared of the sun yet?
Well, as a Brazilian, I take sun protection VERY seriously. You’ll never catch me on the beach without wearing a hat, and I mean it.
The other day I went for a spontaneous day at the beach here in Barcelona and I didn’t have a hat, so I tied my shirt to my entire head to protect my head and skin from sun rays.
A hat is a MUST for sun protection, especially if you plan on being a lot of time outdoors. I recommend a wide brim hat but a baseball cap is better than nothing.
Equally important, UV exposure can cause cataracts, macular degeneration, and corneal damage that harms your vision (yikes).
That said, I BEG you: please protect your eyes — a wide-brimmed hat not only looks stylish, but makes you look hella chic when paired with dark sunglasses.
It’s practically a vacation uniform.
A First-Aid Kit
Try as you might to prevent injuries, accidents happen, even during your summer vacation.
Be prepared and don’t forget to add to your summer vacation packing list a well-stocked first-aid kit.
Basic first aid supplies to include in your packing list include :
- various sizes of bandages
- sterile antibacterial ointment and wipes
- small scissors
- clean cloths
- insect bite remedies
However, you can — and should — soup yours up by personalizing it: ask your doctor for an extra stash of prescriptions for keeping in your travel kit and include your favorite OTC remedies.
It’s still smart to carry extra hygiene supplies, even though the authorities have lifted COVID travel restrictions.
Masks might no longer be required, but they can keep you healthier in the summer air, especially with popular cities being overly-crowded during summer vacation .
Extra wipes and hand sanitizer will allow you to enjoy a snack or at least feel less paranoid about accidentally touching your face on public transport.
Extra Charging Cords & a VPN
Is there anything worse than your phone dying on the road? Especially during a summer vacation where you might find yourself in a totally foreign city.
Take along extra charging cords and a backup solar charger or two.
New lightning cables can cost $20 and up — expensive as they might be,, if you forget to add yours to your summer vacation packing list, you could easily pick up an emergency one at a souvenir shop.
It’s also vital to invest in a VPN to protect your privacy if you intend to check your bank balance or credit cards on the road.
Did you know that hotel and coffee shop wifi are incredibly vulnerable to hackers? That’s mainly due to poor security. VPNs will give you peace of mind knowing that no weirdo can stalk your online activities.
There’s something romantic about writing about your experiences in a journal, isn’t it? Be sure to add a little journal or notebook to you summer luggage.
This mindfulness activity lets you reflect on your adventures, exploring what went well and what you could improve on your next vacation. You can even tuck away private mementos of your journey, like that adorable official Canadian maple leaf.
If you an, keep your journal in a small backpack so you have easy access to it. I bought myself these ones from Amazon which are very affordable, compact, and resistant… perfect for traveling.
I love that you get 4 of them (all the colors are gorgeous). Cris naturally asked to keep the one in black (he loves black)
A Portable Door Lock
If you’re a female traveling solo, your security concerns don’t stop only with pickpockets. Try as they might screen hotel employees, a bad apple or two might sneak through the cracks — and staff members often carry master room keys.
Depending on your summer vacation destination, double on your on-the-road protection with a portable door lock.
These devices install in seconds to your hotel’s frame with no tools necessary, keeping unwanted guests out of your room while you shower and dress. I did some research and found these ones on Amazon that are super well-rated and perfect in case safety is among your top concerns when you travel.
You can never be too safe as a solo female traveler.
A Hideaway Belt
Pickpockets can strike in a heartbeat.
That phone you casually place in your back pocket means thieves only need a moment’s distraction to use their sticky fingers and disappear into the crowd.
Living in Barcelona for so long now, it always breaks my heart when I see friends visiting being robbed without even realizing it. regardless of how many times I warn them about the risk of pickpockets in Europe, they still seem to find they are immune to the threat.
Regardless of where you travel in the world, an essential travel packing item to bring with you is a hideaway belt to keep your money and passport safe at all times.
Travel belts keep vital items like your passport and emergency money next to your flesh. Whether you carry a dummy wallet as a deterrent is up to you — but your most precious cargo will be harder to lift if they’re hidden under your clothes.
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Cloth Recycling Bags
This is for the sustainable travelers as myself out there.
Road trip aficionados probably notice that relatively few gas stations feature recycling bins. Instead of turning plastic bottles and aluminum cans into landfill fodder, carry cloth recycling bags so you can do the right thing when you pass a sorting center.
Likewise, there’s no need to wrap souvenirs in plastic bags. People now have microplastics in their lungs from all the pollution.
Be a part of the sustainable change by bringing cloth shopping bags. They take up next-to-no space and won’t put your suitcase over the weight limit.
If you use special types of shampoos, hair creams, deodorants, or other toiletries, certain items might be harder to find abroad.
Don’t take the chance!
For toiletries, we’ve split them into hygiene and beauty essentials, for ease.
Check the below important summer toiletries for your travel packing.
- Shampoo + Conditioner
- Shower Gel
- Toothpaste + Toothbrush + Floss
- Face Wash
- Lip Balm
- Sunscreen (already mentioned)
- Aftersun lotion
- Feminine Hygiene Products
- Nail Clippers + Nail File
Summer gives us a natural glow, so most of the time we prefer going bare face and not use makeup during the day, especially when we’re at the beach all day long.
But, often at night there are many fun activities to go, from bars and even dancing all night with friends.
For that, you’ll want to look your best and feel amazing. r
Remember to pack these essential beauty accessories for your next summer vacation:
Summer Travel | The Basics
Now that we got the specifics out of the way, let’s go o ver a quick checklist if al the basics that you might need next time you travel.
Here is a checklist of all the most basic items you should bring with you, regardless where in the world you’re traveling to.
Summer Vacation Packing List
- Passport and ID
- Money, credit cards, insurance cards
- Reading glasses, contacts, contact lens solution
- Medication and important prescriptions
- Antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer
- Photography gear (camera, GoPro, drone) and other electronics (mobile, laptop, tablet, kindle, cords, memory cards, external battery, universal travel adaptor if traveling internationally)
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
- Lip balm, lotion, deodorant, tissues, comb and other toiletries and makeup
- Reusable water bottle and healthy snacks (like these delish gourmet nut bag)
- Umbrella and raincoat
- Airplane neck pillow (I use this top-rated one which I love)
- Books, entertainment (download any movies)
P.S. Here is a list with all my fave books recommendations.
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Ready, Set, Escape: Packing List Summer Vacation
We hope you enjoyed this summer packing list. These are all my summer travel essentials, but let me know if i forgetting anything.
Summer is the getaway season, and the right gear ensures a happier journey.
Include the items above on your summer weekend escape, or even for longer summer travels. You’ll enjoy a safer, cleaner and more comfortable trip.
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