Vacation Packing List
This Vacation Packing List includes all the travel essentials you need to get the most out of a week-long trip.
The Ultimate Packing List for Vacation
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Everyone relaxes a little differently. Sometimes you spend the whole day taking it easy, only moving from your lounge chair long enough to refill your cup with a fruity drink (you know the kind we’re talking about—half a coconut and a bendy straw). Other days, you feel the urge to venture off and experience local life, whether you’re making your way to a nearby waterfall or window shopping in a quaint downtown. Maybe it’s a mix of both, and you rotate between relaxing in a hammock and snorkeling just offshore.
Regardless of how you chill, this vacation packing list covers everything you need for a week of R&R. Though we focus on travel essentials designed for warm-weather destinations, this gear covers more than just the tropical bases. We’re talking comfy clothing, exciting travel accessories, and everything in between to help you decompress in style.
Spend time away from your hotel or Airbnb and go on a cave tour, search for seashells, or explore a museum. Then, come back for a night of enjoying warm breezes on a restaurant patio or light a beachside bonfire. Whether you’re an ultra-planner with dedicated days for each activity or a go-with-the-flow type, we’ve got you covered.
Our team has researched and tested each item on this vacation packing list. We checked for durability, breathability, packability, and just about every other -bility you can think of. We even spent the day at the beach to ensure the water essentials are up to snuff. It’s hard work, we know, but someone has to do it.
The sections are split into unisex items (productivity & tech and miscellaneous) or men’s and women’s (bags & organizers, clothing & accessories, and toiletries & personal care). However, that doesn’t mean you need to follow the binary. After all, you’ll be the one on vacation, so you should pack what’s best for you. Check out our guides, reviews, and other packing lists to explore more options and find exactly what you need.
After all, vacations are about staying stress-free, and by creating a packing and travel checklist like this one, you’ll be ready to relax at the drop of a (sun)hat. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Vacation Packing List Video
Standalone Bags & Organizers
In this section, we cover the bags used to carry everything on this list. We recommend choosing a pack with enough space for your creature comforts, though you can always go smaller if you want to keep it light.
Every item on this vacation packing list fits inside the main travel pack so that you can one-bag it all the way to paradise. Well, two-bag if you count the sling. So, whether you’re catching your flight, hauling entertainment to the pool, or touring the local sights, you have all the space you need for your travel essentials.
The Topo Designs Global Travel Bag covers all the bases, from a supportive carry with its stowaway hip belt to gear organization with its built-in pockets. There’s a place for everything without needing a million cubes and pouches. You heard that right—a zip panel separates the main bucket storage from the rest of the bag, so you don’t even need packing cubes to keep your clothing from unraveling. Most importantly, there’s enough space for a week’s worth of travel gear, even if you don’t go ultra-minimalist. You can opt for the smaller 30-liter size if you want to pack light, but we like the 40-liter version because there’s more than enough room for everything you need, plus a little extra. You are going on vacation, after all, so you may as well make the most out of your trip. Either way, choose between Topo Designs’ notoriously fun and punchy colorways so everyone at the airport knows you’re off to somewhere fun.
The Moment MTW Mini Fanny Sling's design is simple, effective, and so lightweight that you hardly even remember you have it on. Plus, it comes in eye-catching colorways that easily accent your daily looks. We like to wear it across the chest; however, it also works as a hip pack if that's more your style. Though it's on the smaller side, this 1-liter sling is a great dump pocket for your everyday items like a wallet, battery bank, or even a camera. There's minimal internal organization, with only a single slip pocket at the back to hold a smartphone or similarly sized item. After all, you won't need to carry much with you on a day of relaxing beyond your chill attitude and a couple of essentials.
Your travel bag is great for getting you to your destination, though it looks pretty out of place at the beach. We dig Nanobag Reusable bags for their versatility and ultra-small form-factor. They take up virtually no space until you need them. The diamond ripstop is exceptionally lightweight but can hold up to 66 pounds, so it’s more than capable of hauling your pool towel, speaker, e-reader, and a drink or two. It dries fairly quickly when wet and is super easy to clean with a quick flip inside out if you accidentally get sand inside. Though it comes in a few different styles, we like the 19-liter Crossbody Sling because it feels the most secure. You won’t have to worry about it falling off when both of your hands are full of ice cream cones.
The Bellroy Slim Sleeve’s thin profile is surprisingly spacious and feels right at home in a pants pocket. There are two quick-access sliders for things like your credit card or hotel key and a pull-tab pocket for extra cards. Though there’s no cash sleeve, it does have enough space to fit half-folded US dollars or larger tri-folded international currencies. There are over a half-dozen leather colorways, a handful of leather-free options, and a few premium leather models with a refined style if you want to go the extra mile for your everyday carry.
We appreciate wallets with thin profiles that still have plenty of storage, and the Bellroy Card Pocket delivers. There are 3 storage spaces to choose from, with enough room to hold a few cards, some cash, and even coins. We like the zippered design for its added security, though it can be a bit sticky to open. That said, it’s small enough to slip into a pocket or sling, so you’ll never be without a few dollars to buy an ice cream cone. Choose between a few chic leather colorways and embrace your vacation style.
If you’re doing your relaxation internationally, the Bellroy Travel Wallet’s low-profile slim form factor fits all your daily essentials and two passports. Size is a huge factor here, as it won’t bulk up your pockets at the airport or while exploring the local downtown. If you’re not traveling internationally, you can leave this behind.
Clothing & Accessories
It’s time to embrace your vacation personality. Whether you’re into tropical patterns or prefer to keep things simple with solid t-shirts, we’ve got something for you. In fact, everything on this vacation packing list is designed for warmer weather.
Fabrics like linen, bamboo, and cotton are in no short supply, as they’re lightweight, breathable, and—most importantly—super comfortable. However, since they’re prone to wrinkles, it’s worth perfecting your packing technique. For a detailed walk-through on how we keep our clothing crisp, check out the How We Pack It video in Pack Hacker Pro.
We’ve also chosen light, neutral colorways that reflect sunlight instead of absorbing it, which helps keep you cool in the hot sun. Plus, neutral colors are fairly easy to turn into a capsule wardrobe—just be sure to match tones of saturated colors like blue and brown to avoid clashing. Once you pick your color palette, add flair in the form of individual pieces that accentuate your personality. We’re talking patterned button-ups that look right at home at the cabana.
Let’s get comfy.
When traveling to a warmer place, your entire outfit should be tailored to the climate, from your hat to your underwear. The David Archy Comfy Bamboo Rayon Boxer Briefs are crafted from a soft bamboo material that’s lightweight and wicks away moisture when a leisurely walk down the boardwalk turns into a hike off the beaten path.
While we don’t have beef with underwire per se, there’s something bralette-like about Aerie’s Real Chill Wireless Lightly Lined Bra that’s hard to beat when you’re in relaxation mode. It has enough support without feeling stiff against your body, which, let’s be honest, is the worst part about a bra. It provides more coverage and support than a bralette can give, though the material is thicker and can therefore get a little warm if you’re in the tropics.
Comfort is the name of the game on this vacation packing list, and the Aerie Real Free Padded Bralette delivers whether you’re sleeping or going on an evening walk. It’s shaped like a regular bra and has enough support to keep you comfortable while you lounge. Plus, the wide straps and soft, lightweight material won’t feel heavy on your body or dig into your shoulders. We like that the cups are removable, though they’re so thin you’ll hardly even notice they’re there.
It can be hard to avoid panty lines on a regular day, so why worry about them when you’re decompressing? Aerie’s No Show Underwear features a seamless design that won’t show through lightweight or light-colored fabrics. We’ve chosen a mix of bikini and thong cuts to cover us for any look. Though we’ve only packed three pairs and opted to give them a quick wash between wears, these are so lightweight that you could probably bring 20 and still have room to spare.
Even on a tropical vacation, you’ll need to wear closed shoes now and then. Bombas Cushioned No Show Socks ensure that your feet stay comfortable and dry until they’re back in the sand where they belong. Their cotton construction is breathable even on the warmest days, and the low-cut design won’t show with most shoes. Though they aren’t super odor-resistant, we’ve only packed three pairs since we’ll mostly be wearing sandals. You can still get a couple of days in before they need a wash, or you can always bring extras.
The Outlier Ramielust Cut One T-Shirt is made with a fabric called ramie, which is crafted from nettles and performs similar to linen. It’s lightweight and airy to keep you cool on humid days and is a great base layer for almost any weather. Its breathability also makes it somewhat see-through, though it’s mostly only visible if the shirt color you choose contrasts with your skin tone.
Versatile clothing is important for any trip, especially when your journeys take you into climates you’re not used to. The Fair Harbor Kismet Solid Tee is a t-shirt crafted from 50% cotton and 50% polyester. The cotton is breathable, so you stay cool while the polyester wicks away moisture that might make you uncomfortable. We’ve gone with plain white because it pairs well with any pants, shorts, or bathing suit, no matter the pattern or color.
Nothing screams vacation like a patterned button-up, and the Howler Brothers Mansfield Shirt delivers. It adds a sense of flair and fun to your wardrobe as an accent piece and even has a microfiber attachment on the hem to keep your sunglasses clean. We recommend looking for a pattern with colors that complement the rest of the clothing on your vacation packing list so that you can wear it any time, anywhere.
During a long day in the sun and surf, cool breezes off the water aren’t uncommon. The Patagonia Regenerative Organic Certified Cotton Lightweight Henley (that’s a mouthful) is a casual long-sleeved shirt that will keep you warm in the evening and looks at home just about anywhere. Though we like the casual look of the buttons, they can show through if layered with a lightweight sweatshirt. However, the breathable materials make it a great addition to any warm-weather loadout.
Even on the most laid-back trip, it’s important to have a piece that doesn’t look out of place at a fancier affair. The Everlane Linen Standard Fit Shirt is a breathable long-sleeved top that looks just as comfortable poolside as it does at a classy restaurant. Just be sure to pack it properly, as linen is prone to wrinkles and may still require some steaming or ironing once you get to your destination.
The transition from a hot beach to an air-conditioned restaurant can be a bit jarring. The Free Fly Bamboo Slub Hoodie is lightweight enough to be carried in your bag all day and acts as a comfortable layer when you need some extra warmth. The breathable material makes it a great option for varying temperatures, whether on the airplane or at the poolside bar; however, it is prone to wrinkling, so be sure to roll it up nicely.
The Outlier New Way Shorts look like your favorite pair of chinos but are crafted from a stretchy material that gives them a performance edge in warmer climates. They have a drawstring, so you won’t need a belt, and they can even be worn as swim shorts if your bathing suit hasn’t dried yet.
Sometimes you need durability in addition to comfort. The Patagonia Men’s Stand Up Shorts are tough enough to handle a day excursion hiking up a mountain as much as a relaxing afternoon under a cabana. The double-fabric seat and large back pockets are great if you want to go hands-free on your adventure. They’re not the most packable due to the thick organic cotton material, but we dig the loose, casual look.
The Cozy Earth Men's Ultra-Soft Bamboo Jogger Shorts are comfortable enough to sleep in but don’t look out of place at the breakfast buffet or on a late-night walk before going to bed. They’re crafted from super-soft materials, so comfort is top dog no matter where you wear them. Plus, the bamboo helps wick away moisture during sleep—feel free to open those windows and enjoy the warm breeze.
One of the most essential pieces of gear for a vacation packing list is a bathing suit. The Wellen Lined Swim Trunks pair vintage styling with subtle (yet fun) pattern options. The quick-dry poly blend and extra pockets make this a great beach or pool companion all trip long. We find the suit to be a perfect balance between loose and tight-fitting, ensuring that comfort is king.
The Madewell Athletic Slim Chino Pants have a relaxed fit and feature stretchy and breathable materials for a casual look on warm days. It’s made with COOLMAX, a cotton and polyester blend that’s lightweight and woven for better airflow. The loose fit looks good just about anywhere you might end up on vacation, so these are great as everyday pants.
The lululemon ABC Pant looks like your favorite pair of chinos, though its breathability and stretch are a step ahead of the game. It’s great for hot and humid days, wicking away moisture and stretching with your body as you drink one-too-many daiquiris. Plus, there are over a dozen colorways, so you can find something to wear for all occasions.
Whether you’re going to the arctic or the everglades, your pants need support. The Arcade Ranger Belt is a Pack Hacker favorite and slides perfectly into a vacation pack out. The material is stretchy, not restrictive, so you’ll be comfortable whether you’re exploring local towns or sitting on a patio all night. Plus, it has a TSA-safe buckle, so you don’t need to worry about taking it off at the airport security checkpoint.
These Cotton-Linen High-Rise Pants from Madewell are a happy medium of comfort and style. The material is lightweight and keeps you cool on warm days, and there’s a fair amount of stretch both in the legs and the waistband. We’re big fans of the relaxed fit—it’s almost like wearing more stylish sweatpants. Plus, the neutral colorways are easy to pair with just about any top.
Though they’re called joggers, we all know these comfy pants are just as happy lounging on a patio set. The elastic waistband adds comfort for sleeping while the included drawstring stays out of your way unless you want some additional cinching at the waist for a more stylish look. Plus, the FlashDry-XD material is stretchy, breathable, and dries quickly if you find yourself caught in a surprise rainstorm. Not that it ever rains when you’re on vacation, obviously.
The best leggings feel like a second skin, and the Pack Out Tights from Patagonia are comfortable, stretchy, and soft enough to do just that. They feature two side pockets for holding your phone while you run to the breakfast bar for another waffle and a zippered pocket large enough to hold your ID or credit card if you venture off in search of a specialty morning coffee.
Versatility in your clothing is key, and the Athleta Brooklyn Short’s simple design and soft material are great whether you’re poolside lounging or taking a short hike to a nearby waterfall. Plus, they even work as pajamas—yes, they’re that comfortable. Other features like the ribbed waistband, quick-drying fabric, and UPF 50+ protection make these shorts great for travel.
Some days are so hot that even shorts aren’t enough to keep you cool. On those days (and any other day, if we’re honest), we reach for the Abercrombie & Fitch Linen-Blend Pull-On Shorts. With 55% linen and 45% Viscose—a type of rayon that’s breathable, soft, and absorbs moisture—you’re set for both extra-sunny days and breezy nights. They come in a range of colors from neutral to neon and patterns from floral to plaid, so you can wear them as a staple solid or opt for a design to add flair like us.
Even if you won’t be doing any yoga on your vacation, the lululemon Align Tank Top’s soft, stretchy material makes days of walking around town more comfortable. Its cropped, fitted style looks great on its own, though it also works well as a base layer on a chilly day under a long sleeve shirt or button-up. It even comes in a few bold colorways, though we kept it neutral for easier pairing. We like the built-in bra, and the cups are removable if you prefer to go without.
Patagonia’s Trail Harbor Tank Top’s simple design and blend of hemp and cotton is the perfect combination to wear with…well…anything. The materials keep you cool as temperatures rise throughout the day while the scoop neck, wide shoulder straps, and hip-length design is easy to tuck in or leave out depending on the waistline of your pants.
When we say the Cozy Earth Stretch-Knit Bamboo Lounge Tee is soft, we mean it. Though we like to wear it to bed or while lounging around because of its breathable, moisture-wicking bamboo material and flowy look, it doesn’t look out of place tucked into a nice pair of pants for a night out. And, if you happen to find yourself with a gnarly sunburn on your chest, shoulders, and/or back, it’s soft enough to be comfortable on your sensitive skin. Not that it ever happened to us, of course.
What do we want? Flowy tops! When do we want them? Pretty much always, but especially on vacation! The Cates T-Shirt from lululemon is made with 94% Pima Cotton for breathability and 6% Lycra elastane for stretch and to help keep its boxy shape. This top is great for lazy mornings and pairs well with high-rise pants or shorts but is long enough to go with low-rise, too.
Not only does The Linen Workwear Shirt from Everlane keep you cool, it has a casual look that can be dressed up or down depending on where the day takes you. Tuck it in for a more dialed-in dinner style or leave it unbuttoned and layer it over a tank top to keep your shoulders protected on a sunny day. However, because it’s made with 100% linen, it wrinkles pretty easily and may require some TLC once you arrive at your destination.
The Scoop Swim Top from Cuup has an innovative underwire that’s flexible enough to bend, meaning you get extra support in your swimsuit without losing packability. Plus, the ECONYL nylon resists fading in chlorine and salt water or after contact with sunscreens and oils. The lack of padding may not be for everyone, though the ability to granularly adjust the fit and inclusive cup sizes are great for practically any body type.
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the water, the ECONYL nylon fabric of Cuup’s Highwaist Swim Bottom is a must. It resists fading whether you’re heading to the beach or the pool, and it even fights against sunscreen and oils. Its thin, too, so it packs down small like a pair of underwear in your bag. We like the cheeky high waisted cut because of its unique fit, though they also have bikini, brief, and a fuller coverage high waist options available at the time of publishing.
Whether you’re wearing it to dinner or as a bathing suit cover-up, the Athleta Newport Wrap Dress has a flowy fit that’s comfortable enough to wear all day long. The material is lightweight, stretchy, and thin without being see-through. Plus, it wicks away moisture and easily fights wrinkles. We also like that it has cap sleeves for a little added shoulder protection.
The Abercrombie & Fitch Halter Linen-Blend Mini Dress is a saucy little number that looks good whether you’re on a boardwalk patio for lunch or jumping between local nightlife hangs. The light color keeps you cool while the linen and Viscose blend of fabric adds breathability and stretch. This means that you’ll not only feel better in warm temps, but you’ll also be comfortable as this slim-fit dress moves with your body. Just be sure to hang it up when you get to your accommodations, as the fabric is prone to wrinkles.
This Bamboo Lightweight Long Sleeve from Free Fly is made with—you guessed it—lightweight bamboo material. What does that mean? You won’t be left overheating if you decide to throw it on before the sun fully sets, and you’ll even get the added benefit of UPF 40+ protection. We like this top for lounging around at night or on breezy mornings, though its soft colorways are great for any time of day.
The Organic Cotton Dreamsoft Travel Scarf from Zestt is a scarf, shawl, and blanket all in one—a triple threat. The soft cotton adds just enough warmth when you need it. Drape it over your shoulders on an evening walk around the city or when it gets breezy. We went with a solid color so it’s easier to match, though there are also color-blocked designs if you want to add some variety.
With sunny days ahead, you’ll need a set of sunglasses to see the ball in an intense beach volleyball game. The Sunski Avila sunglasses are lightweight enough to keep on your person at all times, and they don’t feel heavy on your face after a day in the sun. Plus, they provide polarization and protection from UVA, UVB, and UV400 wavelengths. There are tons of styles and colors to choose from, so you can show off your personality all day, every day.
A sunglasses case will ensure nothing breaks in transit, whether between the hotel and the beach or your home and the airport. Though we don’t have a specific recommendation, we prefer a hard case to ensure they don’t get crushed in our bag. However, keep in mind that they’re often bulkier than a soft case.
A hat is a vacation must to keep the sun out of your eyes and prevent sunburn. The Melin Hydro Hat has the feel of a regular hat but is made with materials that float in water. This means you won't lose it to the deep end if you get thrown in the pool by your travel buddies. After a long day of sun and surf, take it into the shower, give it a quick wash with shampoo, and hook it to the outside of your pack to dry using a carabiner.
What’s a vacation packing list without shoes that feel at home on sand, water, and the trail? This list’s answer is the Tropicfeel Monsoon, a lightweight sneaker that can be put on quickly for a day exploring town, short hikes, and even a dip into the water. It isn’t the most packable shoe we’ve seen, but we dig the fact that it dries quickly and has a drainage hole in the sole for water to dissipate. Who doesn’t want to slide their toes into a waterfall now and then?
The Birkenstock Arizona Essential EVA packs the ruggedness you expect from Birkenstock into a lightweight, waterproof shoe that’s perfect for walks along the beach. After a day in the sand, they clean easily with any water source or the brush of a hand. Plus, they come in tons of bold colorways, so you can make a statement or keep it neutral like us.
Nothing says vacation like a wide brim hat. However, that doesn’t mean they’re the easiest to pack. Thankfully, this FURTALK Beach Hat is flexible enough to pack down into your bag and bounce back after a few hours of travel. Or, hang it on the outside of your bag if you bring along a hat clip. The fit is adjustable via a hook-and-loop closure on the inside head band. Plus, it comes in plenty of shades and ribbon colors, so you can choose the palette that best suits your vacation packing list.
Wide brim hats may scream beach, but they also scream, “Wait, how do I carry this without wearing it?” Instead of shoving your hat into your travel bag and risk impacting its shape, hang it from the outside using the Klipsta. It uses powerful magnets to secure on either side of a brim, meaning you don’t need to worry about poking holes in your hat just to hang it. Though your hat can still slip through if you swing your bag around hard enough, we haven’t had any issues making it through the airport, TSA, or in and out of an overhead bin with the hat attached. You may just need to adjust the hold every now and then.
We’ve opted for a satin scrunchie from Kitsch to keep our hair up. The material dries quicker than a jersey or cotton commonly found in other hair ties, so you can get in and out of the water without hanging on to a wet scrunchie for the rest of the day. Similarly, satin (and scrunchies in general) are less harsh on hair, so they’re great for sleep. We went with black, but there are fun patterns and lighter colors to choose from, too.
We kicked it up a notch on this classic Vans shoe and went with the Old Skool Platform. Its chunky midsole has a trendy look without being so bulky that they’re hard to pack. Plus, the flat bottoms easily slot together in your travel bag; however, we prefer to wear these in transit. Though they’re not the most breathable shoe we’ve worn, we still find them comfortable enough to walk around in all day, even in the heat. We like the white because they have a sleek, trendy look that pairs well with the wide range of colors on the list, though there are plenty of fun colors available.
Embrace the urge to dip your feet in the water without taking off your sandals every time. The Reef Water Vista sandals have TPU straps that won’t hold on to moisture, so you’ll dry off quickly. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and feature a hook-and-loop adjuster to dial in your fit. Plus, the simple style is easy to pair with any outfit on this vacation packing list and will look nice on just about any occasion. However, keep in mind that the adjuster can take a while to dry, unlike the shoes themselves.
The Peak Design Shoe Pouch ensures that sand doesn’t make its way into your travel pack and has enough room for two pairs of shoes. This enables you to go off the beaten path without worrying about how to get a pair of dirty shoes home. Plus, it packs into itself, so you can leave it in your daily bag in case you decide to walk back to your beachside accommodations barefoot but don’t want to carry your shoes the whole way.
Productivity & Tech
This is great time to relax and unwind, and everything on your vacation packing list should help get you there. Maybe you like to watch movies before bed or wake up and read a few pages of your local newspaper. No matter how you unwind and unplug, we’ve got you covered.
Though we’ve kept tech to a minimum on this list, there’s still plenty to keep you connected to your life back home. As long as you come out on the other side refreshed, we’re happy.
The Topo Designs Accessory Bags are great for keeping like items together, whether you’re using it as a pouch for your daily essentials or to keep your camera and its accessories packed into one convenient place. They come in fun colors that feel at home in a tropical destination and are surprisingly spacious given their flat, simple design.
With a tiny pouch like the Topo Designs Square Bag, you can organize your small gear and keep it close at hand. This little dump pocket is a perfect spot for headphones, chapstick, a small deck of cards, or anything else you want access to during a flight or throughout your day. It even comes with an attached carabiner to hook it to your travel bag or belt loop. You’ll project major dad vibes in the best way.
Sometimes it’s nice to decompress after a long day in the sun. Instead of a laptop, bring along an iPad Air to watch your favorite TV show or movie, chat with friends and family members back home, or play a few brain puzzles to tire your engine out. The M1 chip and enhanced graphics are a step ahead of the iPad’s previous generations, so you’ve got a lot of power in a tiny package. However, we recommend disconnecting your work email for the week—you've earned it!
The TiMOVO Case for iPad Air pairs protection with a ton of bright colorways, making it perfect for a fun vacation. It has a low-profile design that fits into most device pockets. Plus, the front cover folds into a built-in stand so you can watch videos and play games hands-free on the plane or while you decompress before bed. Though the case isn’t sand-proof, its tight fit reduces the number of particles that get inside.
Remove the pressure to get the perfect photo when you’re on a stress-free vacation. The Instax Mini 40 brings new meaning to the term point-and-shoot, offering a fun alternative to taking pictures with your smartphone or camera. Plus, there’s no fuss around editing the photo or selecting the perfect shot. We like to bring two film packs with us, one loaded in the camera and one extra. The film is pretty easy to find, so if you run out, just stop at a local drug or big box store to grab more.
We’ve opted for the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition for its IPX8 rating and glare-free screen that auto-adjusts to your surrounding light. You don’t have to worry about surprise splashes while sitting poolside or fighting for a cabana to avoid the afternoon sun. Plus, the upgraded 32-gigabyte storage ensures you have plenty of room to download another beach read.
We like to wear an Apple Watch because it allows us to put our phone away for the day and still keep an eye on our notifications. That way, we can determine what can be ignored for a little while longer—this is a vacation, after all. Plus, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as blowing your step goals out of the water while you’re exploring a new city.
Though phones are becoming more durable and waterproof, the GoPro Hero10 is a perfect supplement to your smartphone camera when the journey becomes aquatic. It’s waterproof up to 33 feet, shoots 5.3K video, and fits into the palm of your hand. What else could you ask for?
The Handler Floating Hand Grip is a GoPro accessory that makes it easy to take selfies, point the camera at underwater life, and get action shots playing in the ocean–all while protecting your GoPro from sinking if you accidentally drop it.
What’s a vacation without some killer tunes? The Soundcore 3 offers an IPx7 waterproof rating, meaning it can withstand submersion up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. When combined with its robust sound and vibrant colorway options, the Soundcore 3 is the perfect companion for the pool or beach.
The Anker 735 has three available ports for charging every device on the full vacation packing list. It has a skinny form factor and flip-in prongs, which packs away nicely. With a maximum capacity of 65 watts, it quickly gets you the juice you need. Top up more of your entertainment at once, whether you prefer to do it overnight or while getting ready for the day.
Bringing universal cables is an easy way to save space in your bag when you only have a few devices on hand. The Rolling Square inCharge XL looks the same as your typical cable but has swappable adapters, so you can charge up to six different ways. Bring the 1’ version for your battery bank and leave the 6.5’ version back at your accommodations in a hard-to-reach outlet. The included case is a little bulky, so we opted to ditch it and keep it in our tech pouch instead.
The iFory Watch Charger is about as minimalist as it gets. It acts as a base to charge your Apple Watch, but instead of an attached cable, you can plug in your own USB-C cord. We love its small size and sturdy feel that takes up practically no space in a tech pouch. The less cords you have to manage, the better.
Charge up to three devices at once with the Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless Portable Charger. Set your headphones case on the wireless top to charge while you listen to tunes and top up your phone and e-reader using the other two available ports. And, with 10,000 milliamp hours at your disposal, you won’t have to worry about losing access to your map while directing friends or family back to the hotel.
Whether you typically bring a full DSLR set-up or simply enjoy capturing casual memories, the iPhone 13 Pro has you covered. While the standard lens is great for most shots, the second two lenses are ideal for group photos and detailed shots of native flowers. Plus, 12 megapixel photos are more than adequate for sharing on social media. If Android phones are your cup of tea, look for one with multiple lenses to ensure you can get the perfect shot!
When you want to keep your carry as minimal as possible, reach for the Jimmycase Wallet. It protects your phone and features a stretchy elastic pocket that can hold up to six cards. Store your ID when you head to the nearest patio for a drink or bring extra cash to buy a lemonade on the pier. Plus, there are a ton of fun patterns and colors to choose from.
Protect your phone, charging cables, and power bank from sand and surf with the Nite Ize RunOff Waterproof Travel Pouch. Its IP67 waterproof design acts as a barrier between your tech and sand or spilled margaritas. In the meantime, use it as a tech pouch within your travel bag to stay organized. Plus, you can even attach a strap or weave paracord through the side loops to create a makeshift sling and go hands-free.
Whether you’re looking for some peace at the airport or a cabana overrun by Spring Breakers, Apple Airpods Pro have noise-canceling technology that allows you to find your beach no matter where you are. Plus, they fit into the palm of your hand, your pocket, or your sling with ease.
If you’re traveling internationally, it’s essential to be prepared to charge your phone, tablet, or eReader once you arrive. The Kikkerland Travel Adapter has you covered in more than 150 countries so that you can juice up your devices around the globe. It’s important to note that the Kikkerland adapts the outlet—it doesn’t convert power—so be sure to double-check the specifications of the country you’ll be traveling to. If you’re staying local, you can leave this adapter behind.
You never know where you’ll find inspiration worth jotting down. The Pokka Pens Classic Pen is lightweight enough to fit just about anywhere and has a ton of colorways to match the mood of wherever you’re heading. Though it’s not the most premium pen we’ve tested, it’s a great option for writing in your journal while enjoying the sound of crashing waves.
The Baronfig Confidant Hardcover Notebook is perfect place to store your thoughts and experiences, doodles, and a few games of tic-tac-toe while on the go. It comes in dot grid, ruled, and blank page formats, so there’s something that will feel natural for everyone. We went with the Flagship size so we have enough room for new Pack Hacker ideas, though you can opt for the Pocket size if you want something smaller.
Toiletries & Personal Care
Looking to check out that five-star restaurant everyone’s been raving about? What about when it’s time to spend the day sun-bathing as you nurse a cold drink? No matter where you’re headed, you’ll need your toiletries to get ready for it.
Before you start adding everything and the kitchen sink to your vacation packing list, first check with your accommodations. Most will provide things like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Some even go so far as to provide makeup wipes (if you need them)! By checking what’s available first, you’ll save space in your bag for other (more fun) things—we’re looking at you, Miscellaneous section.
The Aer Travel Kit 2’s ability to organize bulky and tiny toiletries alike makes it a great pick if you have more to carry. The deep bucket shape secures larger bottles of lotion in place while the zippered pockets keeps your tweezers and makeup brushes from getting lost in the shuffle. Plus, there’s even a built-in hook for hanging, so you can give yourself a little extra counter space while you’re getting ready for the day.
The Gillette Venus Intimate Grooming Razor has a super flexible head that makes it easy to touch up a hard-to-reach bikini line. There’s a built-in bar that reduces the amount of contact it makes with your skin, which means there’s less of a chance for irritation. Plus, there’s even a precision trimmer on the back of the blades to really clean things up.
You can’t always plan a vacation around your cycle, but that doesn’t mean you need to pack a bunch of sanitary items just in case. We like the MeLuna Menstrual Cup for its convenience if your cycle starts early or runs late. They have sizes and shapes to accommodate just about anyone, so you can find a fit that feels right.
After a long day of body-surfing in the waves, your hair will need a bit of detangling. The Michel Mercier Travel Hair Brush is compact and features a cap that protects the bristles when you toss it in your sling or beach bag. Though it works great for getting knots out, the bristles are pretty hard on the end, so take care in how you brush if you have a sensitive or sunburnt scalp.
The lightweight coverage of Fenty Beauty’s Eaze Drop feels breathable in warm weather and adds just enough coverage to lightly even out pigmentation. You’re on vacation, after all—looking great with minimal effort is the name of the game. Plus, it comes in tons of skin tones, so there’s something for everyone.
Even on vacation, it’s nice to put a little makeup on. What’s not-so-nice is getting to the beach only to realize that you’re at risk of raccoon eyes if you go underwater. The Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara from Too Faced comes in a travel size container and stays on even when you decide to show off your best swan-dive at the pool.
With the Milani All-Inclusive Eye, Cheek & Face Palette, you have everything you need to get ready for a day in or night out. Go glittery with your eyeshadow or keep it basic with a little blush. There’s even a bit of highlighter and bronzer when it’s time to contour. Though you can’t choose the individual shades, there are a few different palette combinations to match your makeup style and preference.
Whether you want to wear makeup every day or just on special occasions, the Daily Essentials Total Face Kit from EcoTools gives you more options with less bulk. Use the large handle for the blush and buffer brushes and the small handle for the crease, concealer, and spoolie heads. Swap between them as needed and go through your routine with ease. Plus, you can add more interchangeable heads, as each type is compatible with either the small or large handle.
It’s nice to go to bed with a fresh face. At the end of the day, the Clean 10 Cleansing Balm from JUNO & Co. makes quick work of taking off dirt, SPF buildup, and yes, even waterproof mascara. A little bit goes a long way! Rub it between your fingers to create an oil, massage it into your skin, and wash your face just like you usually would. If you’re feeling adventurous, double-cleanse and follow up with a regular face wash. Your skin will thank you.
We like to keep things simple while on vacation, even with our toiletries. The Bellroy Dopp Kit has basic organization for carrying just what you need and nothing more. It has a flexible structure that’s easy to pack full of travel bottles, and it even has a dedicated shelf for your toothbrush. Bring it along to the beach or leave it on the bathroom counter until you’re getting ready for bed. Either way, it’s easy to find exactly what you need.
If you expect to be in and out of the water throughout the day, having a comb on hand is a great way to ensure that your hair always looks dapper. The Chicago Comb Co. Model No. 2 Carbon Fiber is ultra-lightweight, fits into your pocket and is durable enough to take the bumps and knocks of travel.
In addition to the Braun Electric Razor’s sleek design, it operates relatively silently with two double-A batteries. We like the twist cap that acts as both a protective cover in transit and a longer handle when it’s in use. Plus, it won’t turn on while the cover is closed, so the rest of your toiletries are safe. We’re sticking with easy beard maintenance on this vacation packing list, though you can bring a razor if you want a closer shave.
You might think your daily deodorant is perfect for a beach vacation, though standard roll-on deodorants are at risk of melting in hot weather or getting flagged at TSA. The Vasarii nakd. Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone comes in a sturdy, travel-size case and won’t melt in the sun, so you won’t have any issues with airport security. Get it wet before applying for the best results.
Though it comes with its own clear pouch, Eagle Creek’s Silicone Bottle Set fits snug in practically any Dopp kit. Between the four included bottles, we’ve split our SPF protection, regular lotion, aloe for soothing skin after long days in the sun, and toothpaste for, you know, your teeth. If you want to bring face wash, swap out the sunscreen and buy a big bottle at your destination instead. No matter what you pack, the thin, compact design of these bottles is ideal for your liquid essentials.
Here at Pack Hacker, we like to keep everything organized, including our medications. The humangear GoTubb is small, lightweight, and has enough room to stow medication for your trip. We like to keep ibuprofen here just in case we need it, and you can even leave the pills in there when you return home until your next trip.
A vacation packing list calls for sun, surf, and sugary snacks. The Philips One Battery Toothbrush by Sonicare meets our travel toothbrush size expectations and has the vibrations we’re used to from our regular model at home. Nobody likes messing up their daily hygiene routines, and staying ahead of your brushing can save you a toothache later.
Walking barefoot on the beach is one of the best feelings in the world; however, the occasional splinter is possible while traveling along the boardwalk. The Tweezerman Slant Tweezer has a minimal design that works well at removing everything from wood pieces to errant eyebrow hairs.
Nobody likes a hangnail, especially on vacation! The Victorinox Swiss Army Nail Clippers are a super packable set of clippers that ensure you won’t ever have to wait to get rid of a pesky hangnail again. Plus, they're TSA-friendly.
Though most hotels and Airbnbs provide beach towels, it’s always good to have a spare for spontaneous trips to the water. With over a dozen designs to choose from, the Nomadix Ultralight Towel adds flair to your relaxation without taking up too much space in your beach bag. It’s made with MicroSuede, which is a type of microfiber designed to absorb water and dry quickly. The included carrying case is a little large, so we prefer to roll it up and stow it in our pack on its own.
We always keep a tube of lip balm with us, especially on a beach vacation, to ensure our lips don’t get chapped due to humidity changes, sun exposure, and salt water. We recommend choosing a version that includes SPF protection. That way, you have an extra layer of safety from the sun’s rays.
Whether you need to contain something inside or outside the bag, a Ziploc bag does the trick. We’re bringing a quart size to get our liquids through TSA and a gallon size just in case we go for one last dip before our flight and need to lug home a wet bathing suit. We like to use a VELCRO cable tie to keep them rolled up and stowed in our toiletry bag or travel pack.
The items in this section are here to amp things up. We’re talking games, relaxation enhancers, and travel essentials that will make your life easier.
Though some of these aren’t necessities, they’ll help you get the most out of your vacation. Sometimes day 4 of sitting on the beach can get a little old, and this gear will ensure you’re having a good time as you relax.
On days when you want to go straight from the beach to dinner, store your wet bathing suit in Matador’s Droplet Water-Resistant Stuff Sack so it’s separate from the rest of your dry gear. It has 2.5 liters of storage space when expanded and packs down into a silicone container small enough to fit on your key ring. However, it’s not waterproof, so moisture can still seep out of the top cinch closure. It’s important to keep it upright when possible.
Card games are a great way to pass the time, whether you’re waiting for a storm to pass or just looking for a way to spend a few hours without screen time. Though they’re only slightly smaller than a regular deck of cards, every inch counts when you’re traveling with one bag. They’re durable enough to be used anywhere, though be gentle with the case, as it’s similar to a standard deck of cards and can be easily crushed.
Simply put, the Waboba’s name is a shortened version of what it is: a WAter BOuncing BAll. It fits into the palm of your hand and skips across water with ease, offering endless opportunities for fun at the beach or pool. The gel core doesn’t get saturated with water, so you can play with it for hours. However, it can skip a long way, so be careful how hard you throw it!
A hammock is a perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring a new destination. The Kammok Roo Single UL Camping Hammock makes that possible without adding weight to your pack. It weighs less than 6 ounces and packs into itself, so it’s easy to stow away until you need it. However, it takes a few tries to get used to the repacking process, so practice makes perfect.
An ultralight hammock is nothing without a set of ultralight hammock straps to pair with it. The Kammok Python 10 UL Hammock straps compress easily and slot nicely into your pack. Despite their small size, they can hold up to 300 pounds. They come with an included carrying case, though rolling the straps to fit inside can take some getting used to.
One of the best things about a tropical vacation is enjoying the sunset from the beach, though sand can deter you from sitting on the ground in your dinner clothes. The Matador Pocket Blanket 3.0 fits in your pocket for easy storage and has enough coverage for up to three people to sit. However, we’ve found it’s best suited for two. Plus, with the included stakes on each corner, you won’t have to worry about it blowing away.
Though the Purist Collective Mover looks like your everyday insulated water bottle, its unique design gives it an edge. On the inside is a thin layer of glass that protects your drink from developing that metallic-y taste you sometimes get when it’s left in a stainless steel bottle too long. This means that your ice-cold lemonade will stay fresh even if it takes you a few hours to finish it. We also like the sleek matte exterior, though it can scuff.
Tropical climates usually mean sun and surf, but it’s worth being prepared for inclement weather. We chose the DAVEK MINI umbrella for its compact size and lightweight construction. It’s so small that you won’t regret lugging it around town even if you don’t end up needing it. Plus, it comes in a ton of bold colorways, so there’s something for everyone.
The Loop Quiet Noise Reduction Earplugs help you enjoy a few hours of peace and quiet after a night on the town. They dampen outside noises so you can easily get a few more hours of shut-eye. Choose between four different silicone ear tip sizes to find the right fit for you. Plus, they come with a small carrying case, so you’ll always know where they are when you need them.
The Orbitkey Key Organiser is a minimalist key ring that holds a handful of the keys you need, like your house key for your place back home or the Airbnb you're staying at for the week. Leave it inside your travel pack or throw it in your pocket when you head out for the day.
Carabiners are always useful, but The James Brand Mehlville takes function to a new level. It’s separated into two sections, so you can secure small items like your keys on one side and attach them to your everyday bag with the other. Plus, it has a built-in bottle opener to crack open a cold one on the beach or poolside.
Whether you plan to take a few day-long excursions or don’t plan to leave the pool for more than an hour, it’s always best to be prepared with first aid. We like to purchase a standard premade kit and empty the contents into a small, thin pouch that’s easier to store. That way, we can look cool while we tend to a blister from walking around town all day!
Eating a frozen snack from a cart vendor is a great way to cool off; however, it can be a little tricky if your hands are covered in sand. Hand wipes are the perfect way to clean up before eating to ensure no sand or saltwater makes its way into your mouth. We like disinfectant wipes both for our hands and sanitizing public bathrooms or changing surfaces before using them.
See How We Pack It
In these videos, we show you exactly how we pack this full list. We’ll cover the process of each pouch, pocket, and the full travel pack itself. While you don’t need to use our suggested bag, we’ll be sharing plenty of important tips, from how to pack wrinkle-prone materials to where to store bulky gear you won’t be using every day. Sign up for Pack Hacker Pro to get access. Even if you don’t use our suggested travel bag, we helpful tips to help you pack better for your next trip.
Time to Chill!
So, there you have it! A vacation packing list designed to help you relax in style and, most importantly, comfort. If you’re curious about how to pack for more than just your vacation, check out our other packing lists and guides to help you get started. We cover everything you need, from traveling as a digital nomad to choosing the best travel backpack.
Whether you’re hitting up international beaches or staying within your home country’s borders, we hope this vacation packing list takes the stress out of packing so you can relax before your trip even starts.
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