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Vacation Packing List: Pack Your Plans Right In

Destination? Check! Plane tickets? Almost check? Packing? Good lord, now what? If you’re about to go gallivanting for the Summer, I applaud you – traveling is one of the most rewarding experiences one can have (in addition to reaching your dreams and winning the lottery). However, packing for a vacation can be a bit dull. We’ve compiled your perfect vacation packing list for a beach, tropical, and city vacation so that you don’t have to think about it. The sun is waiting; let’s go!

vacation packing list - studysmarter magazine

Packing List for Summer Vacation

Praise the entire pantheon! It is finally Summer, and you’re about to embark on a fabulous vacation. No classes, exams, or work calls (there had better not be!) – your time is all your own. Wherever you’re going, the packing is pretty similar. As you gain travel experience, you’ll see how easily you deal with packing. But in case you’re unsure where to start, check out this list.

The basics listed here are your obligatory items regardless of where you’re going – mountains, beaches, or cities; you will need all of them. As you keep reading and find more specific lists for different types of vacation, always revert to this list and add the extras on top. PS The items listed here are enough to get you through a weekend trip (just reduce the number of essentials).

Here we go:

  • Travel documents. You won’t get too far without your passport, visa, plane tickets, and other IDs. Have those on hand ALWAYS.
  • 4–5 pairs of underwear. While it may be tempting to pack a new pair for every single day (and then some, just in case some unexpected accident happens), after traveling for a while, you realize that most places have laundromats or washing machines on the premises. Make the most of it and reduce your load.
  • 4–5 pairs of socks. The same principle applies.
  • Several T-shirts and tank tops. It’s Summer, it will be warm, and whoever invented these was a pure genius.
  • Shorts (1–2 pairs). If you’re certain it will be hot throughout your stay, you can go for more. Otherwise …
  • Long pants. For cool evenings and that one mandatory rainy day.
  • Hygiene products. Toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, shower gels, and shampoos.
  • Medicine. Painkillers, stomach meds, and any prescription medicine you are taking.
  • Sweater or hoodie. Again, for that pesky rainy day.
  • Chargers. Ideally, you’ll leave your laptop at home at this time, but your phone still needs to be fed.
  • Emergency snacks. Energy bars, fruits, or trail mixes – two in case of delays (which, too, are bound to happen).
  • Sleepwear. Your favorite PJs or that oversized band shirt you can’t let go of – whatever makes you comfortable.
  • Comfortable shoes. This is an absolute imperative. As much as you are tempted to take your new cutesy sandals, be sure that you can walk for a while in them. There’s nothing worse than suffering from blisters and otherwise disagreeable shoes while you’re trying to enjoy your vacation. Of course, even the most comfortable shoes may sometimes do you a bad turn, so don’t be alarmed if you have to bandage your feet in the middle of a crowded square (can you tell I’m speaking from experience?).
  • Sunscreen. Dramatic as it sounds, this is probably the coldest Summer of the rest of our lives, and it’s searing hot – might as well act like it and protect yourself.
  • Dress/skirt. If you wish, but don’t bring your entire wardrobe, seriously.

Traveling can be a huge nuisance if you’re lugging tons of stuff around. Be practical about what you pack, and you can wash everything along the way. Besides, vacations are about memories, not the clothes you wear – be comfortable and enjoy yourself 😉.

vacation packing list - studysmarter magazine

City Vacation Packing List

Let’s start small today. You’ve zoomed into the city of your dreams – from Edinburgh to San Diego, your vacation is all about sightseeing and nothing about lounging on the beach. Nothing feeds into one’s worldly knowledge like scouting various cities, exploring their histories, checking out museums, and, sure, taking a few selfies. Apart from the basics outlined above for your city vacation, you don’t need to pack any extra frills.

Let me elaborate. Think of a big city. What do you see? Beautiful architecture? Maybe a nice riverside? Tons of touristy sites? And, of course, shops and cafes. My point is – whatever you forget, you’ll easily find it here. What is more, for better or for worse, cities have become highly globalized, meaning that you will find all the regular brands and resting spots that’ll help you restock on whatever you may need.

The most important thing to consider when packing is what kind of weather might strike you – for example, the far north and far south of the same country may have different climates, so check the forecast before packing. Pack the essentials (always bring at least one sweater or jacket, just in case) and play it by ear with the rest. The only unusual items may be visas and electricity converters (which are available in every shop anyway).

Bring a camera and your beloved backpack (if you still haven’t fallen in love with backpacks, you’re seriously missing out), and off you go!

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Beach Vacation – Packing List That Cannot Fail

Sunshine, water splashing in the background, newest Summer hits blaring from the radio – it’s finally time to go swimming. You’ve been counting down the days until you find yourself lounging on a sandy beach far away from the daily struggle of work and studying. Now that the time has come, you’re not sure what to pack? In addition to your typical basics, here are a few more things to bring:

  • Swimwear. Bathing suits, bikinis, shorts – whatever you feel comfortable swimming in. Remember, every body is a Summer body, so go and enjoy your days! Pack at least two different sets, and make sure you wash them every time you use them – apart from basic hygiene concerns, salty water can stretch your favorite pair into disrepair.
  • Towels. At least two beach towels are a must for every waterside vacation. I highly recommend fun towels with cartoon imagery.
  • Flip-flops. As someone who keeps forgetting hers in the basement and is forced to go to the beach in sneakers, make sure you have a pair of light flip-flops on hand.
  • Sunscreen. The higher the protection factor, the better! Apply at least 30 minutes before leaving your room and re-apply throughout the day. On that note, avoid staying in the sun during the hottest hours (usually between noon and 4pm) to ensure your skin stays healthy.
  • Water bottle. Extra points for reusable ones. Stay hydrated throughout the day, and remember – coffee and sugary drinks do not count!
  • Sunglasses. Spare yourself from squinting all day long. Besides, sunglasses actually look rather cool if you have a pair that fits you!
  • Waterproof phone case. I wish I could tell you salt water has never killed any of my phones, but I would be lying (I’m so sorry Sony Ericsson K300i, you will always be in my heart). Spare your phone the tragedy and keep it safe.
  • Cooler. If you’re bringing food to the beach, you’ll want to have one of those neat, portable fridges.
  • Mosquito-repellent. Maybe not for the day in the sun, but the seaside loves mosquitoes at night. The only problem is that we don’t love them, so having a nice little anti-pest spray is a bare necessity.

Apart from the basics, you can always ramp up your game (dad-style) with extra gear:

  • Beach umbrella. If you’re traveling with your own car, sure, but don’t be a nuisance to people on trains by knocking their heads each time you turn with your beach umbrella under your arm.
  • Beach bag. Those cute, colorful bags are like black holes – everything fits into them. Still, if you don’t have one, your backpack will do.
  • Balls and toys. Sandcastles and beach volleyball, what’s not to like?
  • Water shoes. Protect your feet from sharp rocks and the general displeasure of not-so-sandy beaches.
  • Waterproof bags. In case you’re going rafting or kayaking, you’ll need one to keep your belongings safe.

Don’t forget to bring good spirits and fewer hours on social media – beach time is your time off!

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Tropical Vacation Packing List – When Beach is Not Enough

The world is such a beautiful place, and there are so many far-off locations worth seeing – why not get a bit more adventurous? Traveling into tropical corners of the little blue planet requires a different kind of planning that goes above and beyond simple packing. From flights to getting around, here are things that you need to take into consideration when packing for one such vacation:

  • Vaccination passport. This one is the first on the list, as most tropical countries require you to be vaccinated against several diseases. Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, and Malaria are only some examples of unfortunate illnesses that you should immunize yourself against. Check vaccination requirements for your specific locations and get in touch with your doctor at least three months before your trip.
  • Visa. If you need a visa for your chosen vacation wonder, get busy with it around two months before the trip – you never know how long it may take or how complex the red tape around immigration policies can get.
  • Plane tickets. The further you go, the wiser it is to book well in advance. Make sure you go for the companies that actively try to reduce their carbon footprint and pack light – the heavier your luggage is, the more you’re contributing to the environmental damage.
  • Insect-repellent. Flies, mosquitoes, some other winged beast we do not even want to think about, let alone name – better keep them as far away as possible.
  • Anti-insect sleepwear. Long-sleeved shirts and bottoms are your best friend. Don’t be too concerned about the heat; tropical nights tend to get unexpectedly cool. Pick clothes made of light cotton – avoid synthetics – and go for loose, oversized items.
  • Skincare products. Sunscreen, anti-insect creams, moisturizers, and those miraculous hand-disinfectants that dry on their own.
  • First-aid kit. Better safe than sorry.
  • Hats with anti-insect nets. Act like you’re in Jurassic Park and get your field gear on.
  • Beach cover-ups. Think long and light sarongs – you’ll be grateful for having them.
  • Antibiotics. Depending on where you are going, you will need different emergency medications – from stomach troubles to, heaven forbid, unwanted bites. Be absolutely sure to have some antihistamines in case any allergy arises.
  • Portable battery-charger. I guess you could ask local lions if they would be willing to share electricity with you while you’re on safari, but otherwise, be well-stocked.
  • Maps – online and offline. Save an offline map on your phone, and you might as well have a physical one. Just in case your reception is bad.
  • SIM card. If you’re traveling long-term, you’d do well to purchase a local SIM card.
  • Camera and the accompanying gear. Make memories!

Additionally, you should have your beach stuff available if you’re vacationing in seaside resorts – check out the list above! 😉

vacation packing list - studysmarter magazine

Remember These for a Summer to Remember

To recap, wherever you’re going, you’re going to be suffering from typical packing woes – what to bring, what to pack? Whether beach or city, the basics will always be the same:

  • Underwear and socks.
  • Shirts and short and long pants.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Comfortable shoes.
  • Travel documents and vaccination passes if needed.

Once you’ve got the basics covered, your destination will determine what else you need to bring along. No matter what, try to pack light and make your own vacation easier for yourself.

Bon voyage!

What should I pack for a seven-day beach vacation?

Start off with the basics: Underwear, socks, shirts, a summer dress, shorts, sunscreen, sunglasses, swimwear, flip-flops, and beach towels. If you have extra space, you can add waterproof bags for your belongings, beach toys, and a sun umbrella. Additionally, make sure you have your prescription medication, antihistamines, and painkillers, as well as your basic hygiene and skincare items.

What should you not forget for a beach vacation?

You should definitely not forget sunscreen and skincare items for a beach vacation! The UV rays are more and more dangerous! Additionally, two pairs of swimwear, flip-flops, and towels are a must.

What should I pack for a family vacation?

To pack for a family vacation, start with the usual: Undies, socks, enough shirts, pants, and comfortable shoes. Also, pack your basic hygiene items, medication, skincare, and enough snacks. If you're traveling with kids, bring their toys and books to keep them entertained (iPads and smartphones are not entertainment!).