17 Top Summer Vacation Packing List Items for 2021 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

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Updated on by Asher Fergusson

Summer vacations can take all manner of different forms, but no matter where you’re going, you’re sure to have an awesome time! Whether you’re exploring more of your own country or heading on an international adventure, it can be hard to know what to pack for your summer vacation. So we put together this helpful checklist.

We cover what to wear on summer vacation, what NOT to bring, and provide helpful answers to your summer vacation FAQs.

Don’t forget to bring your patience, cool vibes and prepare to leave all the worries of the year back at home.

Packing for a Summer Vacation – 17 Essentials

1. Packing cubes

HERO Packing cubesUsing packing cubes is the best way to stay organized when packing for your summer vacation. They’ll help you avoid overpacking by providing separate cubes for your different belongings. This set comes in fun colors and includes cases for your shoes and dirty laundry.

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2. Lipstick-sized portable charger

Lipstick-sized portable chargerOn summer vacation you’ll want to have a lipstick-size portable charger like this one to use as a backup battery when your smartphone or camera run out while you’re out and about. Keep it in your purse or daypack and charge your devices when you’re on the go.

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3. Neck Wallet

HERO Neck WalletNo matter where you’re headed on summer vacation, you’ll be glad you brought a handy neck wallet to keep your valuables safe and secure. Wear this pouch around your neck and keep your smartphone, credit cards, cash, and passport organized and tucked away under your clothes.

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4. Jet Lag Relief Pills

Jet Lag Relief PillsIf your summer vacation is taking you overseas or across various time zones, these homeopathic jet lag relief pills will be an absolute lifesaver. Use them both as a prevention and as a cure and make the most of your first day of vacation!

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5. Universal Power Adapter

Universal Power AdapterA universal power adapter will come in handy if you’re headed to an international destination for your summer vacation as you’ll need this to plug in your electronics abroad. This universal adapter works in over 100 countries and comes with a lifetime warranty guarantee!

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6. LifeStraw Water Bottle

LifeStraw Water BottleNo matter where you’re headed, you’ll want to stay hydrated during your summer vacation. Bring a reusable water bottle like this one, which has a built-in filter to ensure the water you’re drinking is safe and clean. It’ll also save you money and protect the environment from single-use plastic bottles!

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7. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

virtual private networkHaving a VPN on your summer vacation is great for so many reasons. It can be used to help you get around paywalls on popular news sites, it will allow you to access websites from home that your host country may censor, and it protects your private information from potential hackers any time you’re connected to WiFi in public places.

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8. Activated charcoal

Activated charcoalActivated charcoal will be an absolute godsend if you find that you’ve consumed something that doesn’t sit well with you during your vacation. Take these pills to quickly absorb and expel toxins in your system and keep you enjoying your trip.

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9. Windproof Travel Umbrella

travel umbrellaYou won’t want to get caught in the rain without an umbrella during your summer vacation! Be prepared for anything by packing this windproof travel umbrella for your trip. It packs down to fit in your daypack but extends to cover up to two people when opened.
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10. Electrolytes

ElectrolytesIt’s important to stay hydrated during your summer vacation, so you can’t go wrong bringing plenty of electrolytes. Add these to your water to help your body absorb the vitamins and nutrients it needs. These will especially come in handy should you get food poisoning or need to treat a hangover!

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11. Gorgeous Dress

Gorgeous DressYou’ll definitely have plenty of opportunities for nice dinners and nights spent out on the town so you’ll want to be prepared with a gorgeous dress. This one is great because it’s lightweight, looks great on a variety of body types, and can be dressed up or down with different accessories.

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12. Summer Vacation Travel Insurance

Honeymoon Travel Insurance Good travel insurance will give you peace of mind before, during, and after your trip, regardless of where you’re going. World Nomads is a trusted company well-loved by travelers throughout the world. They offer affordable plans that cover a wide range of activities and locations.

View their plans at WorldNomads.com ➜

13. Affordable Underwater Camera

Affordable Underwater CameraSome of your best summer vacation memories will happen during water-based activities, so be sure to pack an affordable underwater camera to capture them! This one is awesome because it’s compact and lightweight so you can easily bring it with you wherever you go.

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14. Daypack

DaypackYour summer vacation is bound to be filled with adventures and excursions, so you’ll need a reliable daypack to bring along everything you want to have with you. This one is comfortable and large enough to carry a change of clothes, water bottle, snacks, your portable charger, and anything else you might need.

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15. Deodorant wipes

Deodorant wipesSummer can get HOT and your friends and travel partners will thank you for bringing along some handy deodorant wipes to freshen up throughout the day. These can easily be tossed in your purse or daypack and used for a quick refresh any time you need it.

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16. Pashmina Shawl

Pashmina ShawlA pashmina shawl can have endless uses on your summer vacation. Use it to spice up an outfit, keep warm on a chilly evening, use it as a curtain for privacy, a blanket on a long flight, a swimsuit coverup at the beach, and so much more. This is a must-have item for your trip!

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17. Slip-On Mesh Water Shoes for Women and Men

Slip-On Mesh Water Shoes for Women and MenSlip-on mesh water shoes are great for summer, as you’ll likely have the opportunity to enjoy plenty of water activities. These will keep your feet at a comfortable temperature and protect them from rocks and sharp objects in and out of the water.

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Other Summer Vacation Packing List Items Not to Forget

What to Wear on a Summer Vacation

If you are staying in the Northern Hemisphere during your summer vacation, expect to experience warm, summery weather during your entire trip.

However, if you’re headed to a Southern Hemisphere destination, like South America, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa, the seasons are flipped and you’ll want to prepare for colder winter temperatures.

No matter where you’re headed, be prepared with rain gear and good travel umbrella, sturdy shoes for hiking and exploring, and ample sun protection.

What Should WOMEN Wear on a Summer Vacation? – (Click to expand)

Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Women should dress for warm weather on a summer vacation and be prepared for a little rain, regardless of where you’re headed. Be sure to pack a few cute outfits for evenings out, nice dinners, and special occasions, too.

What Should MEN Wear on a Summer Vacation? – (Click to expand)

Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Men should wear clothing that they’ll be comfortable in in hot weather. This includes swimsuits, shorts, t-shirts, sun hats, etc. Men should also be prepared with a few stylish outfits to look put together on evenings out, special occasions, and nice dinners.

How to dress for different activities on a Summer Vacation – (Click to expand)

Hiking and Outdoor Activities – If your summer vacation involves a lot of hiking and outdoor activities, be prepared with the proper attire. Bring sturdy hiking shoes or sandals, a sun hat, sunglasses, water bottle, sunscreen, and clothes made from sweat wicking or quick drying material. You may also want to bring a bathing suit in your daypack, just in case!

Beaches – Beaches in the summer will be HOT, so be sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection. Wear a swimsuit and bring a trendy swimsuit cover up and sandals to throw on when you’re done in the water.

Exploring Cities – What you wear to explore cities during your vacation will depend on where you’re headed. In most big cities, you’ll want to look put together and dress for the hot summer weather, so wear things like shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes.

Nightlife – You’ll want to look your best when you head out on the town to experience your destination’s nightlife. Men, be sure to pack a pair of long pants and shoes that aren’t sneakers to ensure you access to any venue.


What NOT to bring on a Summer Vacation

1) 🚫DON’T PACK a winter coat: It’s summer so you’ll have no need to pack a bulky winter coat for your trip! If you’re worried about getting cold, opt for layers instead, which will keep you warm and help you easily adapt to changing temperatures.

3) 🚫DON’T TAKE expensive valuables: You won’t want to risk your expensive electronics, jewelry, and other valuables getting lost or stolen during your trip. Bring the bare minimum with regard to valuables and leave the rest at home!

5) 🚫DON’T BRING heavy books: You might find yourself wanting to relax with a good book when you have downtime during your vacation. But don’t bog yourself down with a ton of heavy books, opt for a lightweight Kindle instead.

2) 🚫DON’T BRING too much stuff: The last thing you want to worry about on your vacation is lugging around an overstuffed suitcase with you everywhere you go. Pack light and leave room in your luggage for souvenirs!

4) 🚫DON’T PACK a regular towel: You’ll definitely have a need for a towel during your summer vacation, but regular ones are bulky and take up a lot of space in your suitcase. Instead, opt for a quick dry towel that’s lightweight, compact and will dry incredibly fast.

6) 🚫DON’T TAKE full-size toiletries: You may have trouble carrying-on your luggage if you’re flying to your destination and you’ve got a bunch of full-size toiletries. Opt for travel-size toiletries which are cheap and can easily be replaced or refilled.

What clothing should I NOT wear on a Summer Vacation? – (Click to expand)

Don’t wear clothes that will overheat you or make you feel uncomfortably warm. Summertime in most places is warm to hot, so you’ll want to wear lightweight clothing instead. Don’t wear flashy or expensive-looking jewelry, as it’ll make you a target for pickpockets and petty theft during your trip.

FAQs for Going on a Summer Vacation

    1. Where should I go on my summer vacation?

    When it comes to your summer vacation, the world is your oyster! You can go anywhere you like, pending your personal budget and time constraints. Some popular summer vacation destinations are Chicago, Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon, Italy, France, and the list goes on.

    2. What should I do on my summer vacation?

    What you do during your summer vacation will depend on where you go. If you’re headed to a big city, be sure to check out the unique neighborhoods, restaurants, shopping, and museums. If you’re going camping or planning to do outdoor activities, be sure to take in the sights and enjoy every minute! Regardless of where you are or what you do, make sure to spend plenty of time relaxing and soaking up your summer vacation!

    3. How can I spend less money during my summer vacation?

    Some tips and tricks for spending less money during your summer vacation include cooking instead of eating out, taking public transportation instead of cabs/Uber/private cars, and staying in budget accommodations like hostels or Airbnbs.

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Please note: We have over 200 packing lists covering practically every popular travel destination in the world. Access them all on our packing list overview page ➜