Summer vacations are back: What should you pack?

Travel Essentials

Without a summer vacation packing list, it’s easy to overpack and overflow your carry-on or forget the essentials and scramble to buy what you need when you land.

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What to pack for summer vacation

The weather is warming up, and it’s time to whisk yourself away for a much-needed summer vacation. But without a summer vacation packing list, it’s easy to overpack and overflow your carry-on or skip the essentials and scramble to buy what you need when you land. Even the best family summer vacations need a little packing guidance.

You don’t want to get stuck on your dream vacation without the right clothes, or worse, come home with a blistering sunburn. Before jetting off, pick out some must-have summer vacation clothes and double-check your packing list. When you’re prepared for the trip ahead, you’re sure to have the best summer vacation.

Best carry-on luggage for summer vacation

Best of the best carry-on luggage

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels

This 20-inch carry-on meets most airline size restrictions. The side-mounted locks are TSA-friendly for easy baggage handling, and the interior dividers help you stay organized. It’s available in a wide variety of different colors to express your unique style.

Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

Best bang for your buck carry-on luggage

Amazon Basics Rolling Travel Duffel Bag

Amazon Basics Rolling Travel Duffel Bag

This soft-sided carry-on bag is a budget-friendly solution for summer vacations. The wheels make it easy to maneuver and interior dividers make packing a breeze. Customers point out that it is surprisingly lightweight and easy to carry. 

Sold by Amazon

Honorable mention carry-on bag

Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

If you’re packing light and looking for a smaller carry-on, this backpack is an all-in-one powerhouse for the frequent traveler. Five pockets plus a rear pocket hide even more storage compartments inside. The backpack can store a 15.6-inch laptop, clothes, chargers, work necessities and personal items. 

Sold by Amazon

Best men’s shorts for summer vacation

Best of the best men’s shorts

Wrangler Authentics Men's Classic Relaxed Fit Stretch Cargo Short

Wrangler Authentics Men’s Classic Relaxed Fit Stretch Cargo Short

These all-purpose shorts have 98 percent cotton and 2 percent spandex for extra comfort. The classic cargo short design can complement any vacation with six pockets for convenient storage on the go. A relaxed fit and 10-inch inseam will keep you cool through hot summer days.

Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck men’s shorts

Dockers Men's Straight Fit Supreme Flex Ultimate Chino Short

Dockers Men’s Straight Fit Supreme Flex Ultimate Chino Short

Class up your summer vacation clothes on a budget with these sleek chino shorts. These shorts are made from 97 percent cotton and 3 percent elastane and offer a straight fit for both comfort and style. 

Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Macy’s

Best sundress for summer vacation

Best of the best sundress

BerryGo Embroidery Maxi Dress

BerryGo Embroidery Maxi Dress

Glide into your next summer soiree wearing this V-neck eyelet dress. Beautiful details make it the perfect party dress with embroidery, adjustable straps and pearl buttons. The defined waistline gives a flattering design, and the lightweight material is breathable and easy to pack in any suitcase. 

Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck sundress

STYLEWORD Patterned Summer Dress with Pocket

STYLEWORD Patterned Summer Dress with Pocket

This summer dress is highly versatile and a comfortable addition to any summer wardrobe. The criss-cross neckline is universally flattering. The floral and striped prints are perfect for days at the beach. Dress it up with heels or down with sandals on your next vacation. This summer dress is available in a variety of colors and patterns.

Sold by Amazon

Best sunscreen stick for summer vacation

Best of the best sunscreen stick

Supergoop! PLAY 100% Mineral Sunscreen Stick

Supergoop! PLAY 100% Mineral Sunscreen Stick

Bring sunscreen wherever you go with a TSA-friendly sunscreen stick. This travel sunscreen looks like a stick of deodorant and is just as easy to pack. The lightweight formula offers 50 SPF protection and is water-resistant.

Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck sunscreen stick

COOLA Organic Sunscreen Stick

COOLA Organic Sunscreen Stick

Swimmers and those with sensitive skin love this sunscreen stick. Organic ingredients help moisturize your skin while protecting you from the sun with 50 SPF. Apply before makeup for the best results.

Sold by Amazon

Best sun hat for summer vacation

Best of the best sun hat

San Diego Hat Company Women's Ultrabraid X Large Brim Hat

San Diego Hat Company Women’s Ultrabraid X Large Brim Hat

This glamorous hat provides UPF 50+ sun protection with an 8-inch brim and durable ultra braid design. Complement all your favorite summer vacation looks with this classic wide-brimmed sun hat, complete with a styled knot in the back. Choose from additional colors if the original shade isn’t for you.

Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck sun hat

Sombriolet Sun Hat

Sombriolet Sun Hat

This drawstring hat is exceptionally functional. It’s water-resistant with a wicking headband and UPF 50+ protection. Side vents and the drawstring cord let you stay cool while adventuring on vacation. 

Sold by Amazon

Best men’s swim trunks for summer vacation

Best of the best men’s swim trunks

Speedo Men's Swim Trunk Knee Length Marina Volley

Speedo Men’s Swim Trunk Knee Length Marina Volley

These knee-length swim trunks are lightweight and durable with multiple pockets for all your summer necessities. UPF 50+ protective fabric helps to block UV rays. Find your style with a variety of colors.

Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Macy’s

Best bang for your buck men’s swim trunks

maamgic Men’s Slim-Fit Quick-Dry Swim Shorts

maamgic Men’s Slim-Fit Quick-Dry Swim Shorts

For an affordable pair of swim trunks that will last, these slim-fit swim shorts are hard to beat. An elastic waistband, drawstring tie and mesh lining ensure comfort and support. Three pockets let you hold all your essentials. These trunks fit above the knee and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Sold by Amazon

Best women’s swimsuit for summer vacation

Best of the best women’s swimsuit

PERONA Women's Tummy Control Swimsuit

PERONA Women’s Tummy Control Swimsuit

This V-neck one-piece suit is flattering for all with inner compression mesh and ruching details on the front. Adjustable straps and a built-in bra make the swimsuit comfortable and supportive. This one-piece comes in seven colors and patterns.

Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck women’s swimsuit

Tempt Me One Piece Plunge Swimsuit

Tempt Me One Piece Plunge Swimsuit

For a versatile swimsuit on a budget, this high-neck one-piece is a great choice for any water-based activity. The full coverage and ruched pattern accents curves and hides any imperfections, while the hook-and-eye clasp and padded bra add support. A choice of patterns and colors lets you pick a design that suits you.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Katy Palmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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