Top 20 Summer Travel Essentials

It’s that time of year…summer is quickly approaching and many people are planning their yearly summer vacation!  Summer can be a carefree time full of lazy days by the pool and warm evenings sitting on the patio.  Unfortunately, this time of year can also lead to stress for some.  You know, “What the hell am I going to do with these kids ALL summer?!”  (Yeah, me too).  However, your vacation should be a stress free time, and I am here to help you with that.  Here is my ultimate list of summer travel essentials!  Read this, pack up and enjoy your vacation!

Top 20 Summer Travel Essentials
Grab your pool floaty and let’s dive in!

20 Summer Travel Essentials For Your Vacation:

Fun In The Sun

1. Sunscreen:  I’m a pasty, red headed white girl so this one is important for me!  While a little sun can be good for you, if you plan to be out all day by the beach or pool or even out sightseeing, protect your skin with some SPF.  I prefer the non chemical variety, but you can choose whatever works for you.

2.  Chapstick with SPF:  Lips are skin too!

3.  Rashguard:  I bought my first rashguard late last year.  I originally bought one to wear on the boat during scuba diving trips, but I love it for hiking too.  They can be great for any activity that has you out in the sun for long periods of time.   You can find them in lots of different styles and colors.  The one I wear is from Athleta and I love it!  (Enjoy 20% off your first full priced item at Athleta with this link:  20% Off 1 Item at Athleta)

Top 20 Summer Travel Essentials: Athleta Rashguard
Rashguards aren’t just for water activities. I wear mine sightseeing and hiking too!

4.  Sunglasses:  Duh, it’s summer.

5.  Hat: It’s great to keep the sun out of your eyes and off your face.  Look for something that is lightweight and easily packable (big floppy beach hat for days by the pool or a baseball cap for sightseeing days).

6.  Beach Bag:  Don’t forget a big, durable bag to cart around all of your summer travel essentials!  Make sure it’s big enough for pool toys, water bottles, snacks etc.  I find that a cheap bag works best, so I don’t get upset if it gets wet or dirty.



7.  Wetbag:  I originally bought a wetbag when I was using cloth diapers for my daughter, but I have found so many more uses for it!  A wetbag is a bag that is waterproof on the inside.  You can store wet bathing suits in the bag without getting everything else wet.  I have also found it useful as a “dry bag”.  We store our phones and any other valuables in it when we are on a boat or going scuba diving to ensure these things stay dry.   I have been using this bag I bought on Amazon for over 3 years and I love it!

8.  Great Pool Floaty and Other Beach Toys:  If you plan on being by a pool or beach on your vacation, bring along some fun.  A cool pool floaty, noodle or a pail and shovel for the beach are a must with kids…and maybe a floating drink holder for an adults only trip!

9.  Bug Spray:  Summer can mean bugs…lots of bugs depending on where you are going.  Try to avoid them at all costs.

10.  Books or Kindle:  Don’t forget something to pass the time for yourself.  I am sort of old school and actually read real books (from the library!!) but I am sure most of you use a Kindle or something similar.  Fill it with some good reads for your downtime.

Getting There

11.  Travel Sized Toiletries or Travel Sized Re-usable Containers: This isn’t really specific to summer but it still important – especially if you plan on flying!  Don’t forget travel sizes for sunscreen!  For items I can’t buy in a travel size, I have some inexpensive reusable containers that I fill up with whatever product I need.  If you go this route, don’t forget to label your containers…or else you will have to do the sniff test to try to figure out what is in your container!

12.  Packing Cubes: This one is also not summer specific, but I have fallen in love with these so I wanted to mention them.  I love packing cubes especially if you are packing more than one person in a suitcase.  They keep everyone’s items separate in the suitcase which makes unpacking a breeze.  I just move my cube to the dresser drawer, unzip and I am unpacked.  I use these packing cubes, but there are many kinds available.  They are pretty basic so no need to get anything fancy or expensive.

13.  Headphones:  Headphones are a must if you plan to watch anything on a tablet or listen to a podcast.  On flights, we bring a splitter so we can watch the same show on our iPad (because we only have one…I know, it’s crazy)


Out and About

14.  Comfortable Walking Shoes:  Comfortable shoes are so important!  (my 20 year old self would have fainted if she knew she would write that sentence one day).  Seriously though, if you plan on doing some sightseeing, hiking or even walking through a museum or zoo, comfy shoes will make your day more enjoyable.  My favorite walking sandals are the Nike Comfort Thong Sandal…I have multiple colors!

15.  Stainless Steel Water Bottle:  I always bring a re-usable water bottle with me when I travel.  You can fill it up at a drinking fountain so you don’t get stuck paying for expensive water in a plastic bottle.  If you are flying bring an empty water bottle with you through security and fill it up before you get on the plane.  I prefer stainless steel bottles because they are lightweight and durable.

Top 20 Summer Travel Essentials: Stainless Steel Water Bottle
I always travel with a stainless steel water bottle.

16.  Small backpack or Crossbody Bag for Hiking or Sightseeing:  If you plan on doing any hiking, a backpack is a must.  I tried to use a crossbody on my first hike and quickly realized it wasn’t a great idea.    A lightweight crossbody is great for sightseeing as it keeps your hands free and your money/ID etc. close by.

17.  Underwater Camera:  Ok, maybe not “essential”, but pretty cool to have!  We rented the (expensive) underwater camera on my first snorkel trip and loved being able to capture those moments.  We have since purchased our own for our snorkeling and scuba diving adventures.  While “Go Pro” is the name you hear all the time, they can be expensive!  We opted for a less expensive one from Amazon.  We haven’t had a chance to use it yet (see Canceled Key West Trip) but will be testing it out next month in the Dominican Republic!

18.  Stainless Steel Snack Containers:  We will often bring snacks with us or pick some up at a grocery or convenience store.  This way we aren’t going to restaurants every single time we need to eat.  I’m not opposed to restaurant meals most of the time on vacation, but bringing your own snacks is an easy way to cut back on expenses a bit.  I love the Blue Water Bento series from for cut up fruit, nuts, granola or kid’s snacks (Goldfish, anyone) because they are lightweight and reusable.
Top 20 Summer Travel Essentials: Stainless Steel Snack Conatiners -Blue Water Bento series from

19.  Your Travel Rewards Credit Card:  Friends don’t let friends use cash.

20.  Cash: WTF?!  Yeah, I know…I am totally contradicting myself! This is one time I actually try to have some cash with me…keep small bills handy for tips at hotels and for tour guides.  But of course, use a travel rewards credit card for anything and everything you can!


Top Tips For A Memorable Summer Vacation

  • Take photos of info plaques, maps or brochures at sightseeing locations to remember details of your trip
  • Let each child who is old enough take photos from their point of view (maybe get them a disposable camera if they don’t have their own phone or camera).  Then you can make a memory book for each child from their perspective.
  • Relax!  Not everything will go right and that’s ok.  If you are traveling with kids there might be tears, puke and lots of whining.  If you are traveling with adults only there might be hangovers, disagreements or annoying habits to endure.  It’s never going to be perfect, but it’s vacation so let that shit go and enjoy yourself!

With these summer travel essentials plus my top tips for a memorable vacation, you are all set to sit back, relax and enjoy the summer!  Happy Travels!

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Top 20 Summer Travel Essentials. Everything you need to bring on your summer vacation.

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