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What Essentials to Pack for a Summer Vacation

What Essentials to Pack for a Summer Vacation

You've planned the ultimate getaway, complete with beautiful scenery, fun activities, and quality time with loved ones. As the big day draws near, however, you'll need to think carefully about what you're going to pack. This doesn’t have to be stressful. We've compiled a detailed guide on packing essentials — the perfect resource as you prepare for a spectacular vacation. 

Summer Vacation Packing Checklist

Every successful packing effort begins with a detailed travel checklist. Look no further for an effortless summer packing experience than the checklist provided below.

Clothing and Accessories

Chances are, your vacation packing list will largely center around your wardrobe. There's a lot to consider, but the weather should be top of mind, particularly if rain is possible. Your itinerary can also provide valuable insight. Will you spend your time sightseeing, hiking, or lounging at the beach? When in doubt, pack these clothing essentials:

Swimwear and cover-ups

The right swimsuit can amplify an amazing beach or poolside experience. You want something that fits well and makes you feel confident. If you plan to spend a lot of time near the water, consider packing two or even three different bathing suits. 

Light and breathable clothing

When you're out and about, you want to feel stylish and comfy. Opt for breathable fabrics in light colors, as these are better suited to warm weather activities. Excellent options include:

  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Shorts
  • Summer dresses or skirts 

Comfortable footwear

You might be eager to show off your cutest heels, but comfortable footwear is always a safer bet for vacation adventures. Hiking boots are ideal for outdoor activities, but sneakers or walking sandals are fine for casual sightseeing. Flip-flops are best saved for the beach or the pool. 

Toiletries and Personal Care

While it's common to dedicate the majority of our packing attention toward clothing, this is only one element of summer vacation prep. You'll also need a variety of personal items to ensure that you are consistently clean, comfortable, and presentable. Essentials include:

Sunscreen and sunburn relief

Long days outside call for extra sun protection. Pack small, airport-compatible sunscreen if you plan to fly or, better yet, a sunscreen stick that packs easily and is a cinch to apply. Plan for the worst-case scenario with aloe vera gel or itch relief creams. 

Insect repellent

Do you plan on visiting a mosquito-heavy region? Pack multiple forms of insect repellent: bug spray, citronella bracelets, and so on. Again, small travel-friendly versions may be necessary if you plan to fly — and itch-relief products will come in handy once you inevitably suffer a few obnoxious bites. 

Travel-sized toiletries

Depending on your personal care regimen, toiletries have the potential to get out of control. Pare it down with strictly travel-sized containers for your carry-on bag. Essentials include:

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Soap or body wash
  • Lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss

Medications and first aid kit

Safety is paramount, so every vacation packing list must include a first aid kit and prescribed medications. Your first aid kit can be small, but it should provide Band-Aids, anti-bacterial wipes, and surgical tape. Bring a medication organizer for prescriptions. Consider over-the-counter extras for anticipated issues, such as ibuprofen for headaches or Dramamine for travel sickness. 

Personal hygiene items

We've touched on all the essential toiletries above, but don't forget deodorant or, depending on your menstrual cycle, feminine care products. Hand sanitizer is also essential when you visit locations with lots of touchpoints. 

Electronics and Entertainment

Electronics are a must for modern travel. Yes, you want to unplug, but your cell phone is an invaluable resource for directions, translations, and so much more. Begin by protecting it with a custom cell phone skin or wrap, which also gives it a more distinct appearance. Your phone shouldn't be the only device or accessory on your list, however:

Camera and smartphone for capturing memories

Long after your vacation ends, you'll want to relive top moments by browsing your photos and videos. A smartphone should definitely get the job done, but consider also bringing a dedicated camera or even an action camera such as a GoPro. Protect it with skins or wraps, which make it easier to identify and could also limit the potential for unsightly scratches. 

Portable charger and adapters

Your devices won't be all that helpful if they run out of juice. As such, it's crucial that each is accompanied by a relevant charger or adapter. Portable chargers are especially useful when you plan to spend long periods of time out and about. 

Entertainment devices

Your smartphone might seem like the entertainment jack-of-all-trades, but other devices can amplify your enjoyment or keep your kids entertained. A tablet or Nintendo Switch can be a parent's lifesaver on plane rides or during long car trips. Laptops provide on-the-go gaming and video streaming, but think carefully before you pack one: will you actually be able to relax in its presence, or will you feel compelled to work?

As with cameras and smartphones, these devices should be thoroughly protected. Accomplish this with tablet skins, Nintendo skins, or laptop skins, all of which can be custom-created with your unique stylistic preferences in mind. 

Travel speakers or headphones

The right tunes can make any outing more enjoyable. Bring headphones to listen to your favorites on the plane or during a quick jog. Travel speakers are ideal for the beach or the pool but can also add musical fun in a variety of other settings. Up the ante by designing custom skins or wraps for audio products. These protective accessories also allow you to homage to your favorite bands or musicians.

Travel Documents and Money

Streamline airport processes with carefully packed documents and payment solutions, which can minimize travel stress. While you can manage a trip without many of the items listed above, the following are absolutely crucial when you travel abroad: 

Passport, visa, and identification

If you don't already have your passport, be sure to acquire it several months in advance. Depending on where you travel, you may also need to secure visas. Personal identification such as a driver's license is always a must. 

Travel itinerary and reservations

This might not be something you need to physically pack, although some travelers prefer to keep hard copies available. Still, you'll want to double-check that your reservations are set and that you fully understand your itinerary. 

Cash, credit cards, and travel insurance

While a significant portion of your trip may already be paid for, you'll no doubt need to cover food, activities, and souvenirs. Depending on where you visit, you may prefer to handle these expenses via cash or credit card. Depending on your card, you may find physical protection in the form of a skin or wrap. An Apple card skin or wrap, for example, brings an extra-distinctive design to one of the most important items on your packing list.

Next, determine whether any extra fees will be applied and what it will take to acquire currency in other countries. Travel insurance may be helpful for non-refundable visits or longer vacations — but that's ultimately up to your budget and your need for peace of mind. 

Miscellaneous Items

Some vacation items don't fit neatly into any one category, but that doesn't mean they aren't important. Miscellaneous items worth packing include: 

Beach towels and blankets

Check with your hotel or rental property to determine whether towels or beach blankets are included. If you're driving, it won't hurt to add a few extra towels to the mix. 

Travel pillow and eye mask

Some vacationers find flights and road trips a lot more pleasant when equipped with the right pillow. An eye mask can block out light to facilitate better sleep on the plane or even at your hotel.

Reusable water and snacks

A reusable water bottle or tumbler will ensure you keep hydrated and may also limit spending on overpriced beverages. Add a tumbler skin to each so every vacationer knows where and how to hydrate. Snacks serve a similar function but are also helpful for keeping toddlers busy (and content) while traveling. 

Travel locks and security measures

How secure are your accommodations? A travel lock and provide much-needed peace of mind. These can be applied to hotel doors or even luggage. If you're driving, add a tonneau cover to conceal valuables within your vehicle. 

Backpack or daypack

Select a backpack that will accommodate your daytime adventures. A hiking backpack is a must for long treks, while a diaper bag will make life a lot easier when traveling with a baby or young toddler. For everyday sightseeing, a smaller (and more fashionable) daypack should get the job done.

Prepare for a Stress-Free Vacation

From electronics to medications and, of course, clothing, there's a lot to consider when packing for your dream vacation. Our ultimate packing checklist can save you a lot of stress along the way.

As you take care of all the details, don't forget to design custom MightySkins products to protect your most valued possessions. This might actually become one of your favorite parts of the packing and planning process. Start with the Create Your Own page or get in touch to learn more.
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