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25 Travel Must-Haves To Pack For Every Type Of Summer Vacation

Elite Daily editors and writers share the vacation essentials they swear by.

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It’s time to make “doing it for the plot” your whole personality, because revenge travel SZN is officially here to help you make up for any plans lost to the pandemic. Whether you’re manifesting the ultimate summer 2023 road trip with your besties or *finally* planning that long-overdue week abroad, putting together the perfect packing list can be even more stressful than crafting your itinerary. Tbh, there’s nothing worse than realizing you overpacked 10 outfits that’ll never see Insta, but don’t have that one pair of cute yet blister-proof comfy sandals for exploring all day long.

In an ideal world, you could bring everything you could possibly want for your getaway, but IRL, your weekender duffel or carry-on bag can only fit so much. And main character energy doesn’t exactly pair well with oversized luggage — you’ve got way too many things to do and see.

To help you condense your summer packing list down to the essentials, Elite Daily’s team of editors and writers rounded up their favorite travel items to set you up for your next adventure. From packing hacks that’ll help you squeeze all your bulky jackets and sweaters in during a cold-weather weekend getaway to beach beauty faves that’ll ensure your summer skin is lit-from-within glowy and hydrated, you won’t have any regrets bringing these vacation must-haves along for the ride.

Travel Essentials For A Beach Getaway

A Lightweight Bottle That Makes Your Water Taste So Much Better

This plastic water bottle with a filter makes my regular tap water taste noticeably so much better, no matter where I am. I love how lightweight it is, and I feel like I cut down on waste from plastic water bottles by using it without sacrificing on water taste. — Lara Walsh, associate experiences editor

Flattering Sunscreen Balm Sticks That Double As Makeup

As much as I’d love to be a no-makeup girlie at the beach or pool, I swear by some light coverage to blur any imperfections. These sunscreen balm sticks come in three flattering shades — rose, champagne, and espresso martini — and I love that they give me a light filter effect and flush while also protecting my skin from the sun. — Lara Walsh, associate experiences editor

A Waterproof Pouch For Protecting Your Phone

Having a clear waterproof pouch for your phone is a must when you’re on a boat, riding a jet ski, or even just hanging out in the water. You can scroll and text without worrying about getting your phone wet, plus you can actually take underwater pics and videos — I got some close-up clips of coral and fish that look so cool. — Lara Walsh, associate experiences editor

Travel Weights That Give Your Workouts An Extra Burn

These are a game-changer for doing online workouts in my Airbnb or hotel room. They add just the slightest extra burn to my yoga and pilates workouts, and I also put them on my wrists whenever I’m doing arm sculpting exercises. — Lara Walsh, associate experiences editor

A Colorful Portable Speaker That Sets The Vibe

Having a portable speaker comes in handy when you’re lounging by the pool or getting ready in the hotel room. This option, with the cutest tie-dye design, is so easy to pop in your bag and take anywhere. — Jess Ferguson, BDG lifestyle intern

‌A Travel-Sized Aloe Lotion For Staying Moisturized

After a relaxing day in the sun, aloe is a must. This travel-sized moisturizer will keep your skin smooth, hydrated, and ready for more beach time. — Michelle Toglia, executive editor

Travel Essentials For A Week Abroad

A Compact Hair Styler With Lots Of Options

Anytime I'm traveling for more than a weekend, the Shark FlexStyle is the first thing I pack. It's smaller and thinner than most hairdryers and you can choose between eight stylers based on your needs. I throw the no-heat-damage dryer and round brush styler in my carry-on and I'm good to go, wherever I go. While the company doesn’t recommend using the product outside of North America, you can take it on vacays to Canada, Mexico, or countries in Central America. — Michelle Toglia, executive editor

Leak-Proof Cubes For Storing Liquids

After a trip where my serum and face tanner exploded all over my other toiletries, I tried Cadence’s capsules — and haven’t looked back. They’re compact, easy to fill, magnetic (meaning zero spills or leaks), and also super cute and easy to organize. — Lara Walsh, associate experiences editor

An On-The-Go Facial Humidifier That Gets Rid Of Dryness

Long plane rides always mess with my face. The dryness is so real. To keep my skin hydrated, a humidifier is an absolute must, and Hey Dewy's is one of the best. The latest one is even better for travel because it has an eight-hour battery life. No more wires! — Kaitlin Cubria, deputy experiences and beauty editor

A Sleep Mask That Actually Blocks Out All The Light

Real talk: I'm a bit of a sleep mask snob. I've test-driven too many to count, and Dream Recovery's checks all my boxes. It's silky soft, comfortable, and blacks out *all* light with its design. 10/10 would recommend. — Kaitlin Cubria, deputy experiences and style editor

Comfy Yet Chic Shoes You Can Use For Multiple Occasions

Shoes are always the worst to pack — the shapes never fit into any suitcase and there are too many different occasions you need to prepare for. That's why versatile, convertible footwear is a real game-changer. This pair doubles as slides and block-heel shoes, so you can wear them to the beach, a fancy restaurant, and anything in between. — Kaitlin Cubria, deputy experiences and style editor

Travel Essentials For Exploring Outdoors

A Sleek Crossbody Bag With A Water Pouch

There's a reason this bag keeps selling out. While it may look like your everyday crossbody bag, it has a surprise water bottle pouch you can pull out when necessary, making it ideal for any time you're on the move — and, if you're like me, that's always. — Kaitlin Cubria, deputy experiences and style editor

A Cropped Jacket That’s Chic & Comfortable

You never know when you might need to throw a light jacket on when you’re hiking or camping. This neon, cropped piece serves as both a fashion statement and a packing staple for any weather that comes your way. — Jess Ferguson, BDG Lifestyle intern

A Cute Beanie With A Built-In Flashlight

For overnight camping, you need something to keep you warm and a flashlight. This beanie does both. It also comes in a bunch of cute colors to match whatever outfits you're bringing. — Rachel Chapman, experiences staff writer

A Clean Bug Spray That Actually Smells Good

I’m unfortunately a magnet for mosquitos, so a clean bug repellent that actually works is a game-changer for me. This one smells amazing (kind of like a citrus body spray), plus you can get it in a travel-friendly 3-ounce bottle or wipes. — Lara Walsh, associate experiences editor

Your Favorite Sunglasses That Double As A Camera

When I don't want to hold my phone or I want to be hands-free on a hike, these sunglasses — in my fave Ray-Ban Wayfarer style — are so great for taking photos and videos on the fly just by tapping the side. You can also answer messages on them or listen to music. — Lara Walsh, associate experiences editor

Travel Essentials For A Road Trip

Cold Brew Bags That Make It So Convenient To Caffeinate

When you're on the road, or between hotels or campsites, you may not have time to stop for your morning iced latte. These single-serve brew bags with notes of chocolate, blueberry, and honey will help you get your java fix so you can focus on getting to your next destination. — Michelle Toglia, executive editor

A Toiletry Bag That Keeps Everything Accessible & Organized

I used to be one of those people who'd toss all my toiletries into a random bag — sometimes even just a quart-size plastic baggy (don't @ me!). But now that I've found a cute bag that actually keeps everything organized into individual sections, I'm never going back. Sorry, Ziploc! — Kaitlin Cubria, deputy experiences and style editor

An Insulated Bag That’ll Keep Your Drinks & Food Cold

Skip the heavy coolers and keep your food and drinks fresh and cold with this waterproof and lightweight insulated tote. It’s also collapsible, so it won’t take up much room in your car when you’re no longer using it. — Lara Walsh, associate experiences editor

A Phone Mount That Makes It Easy To See Directions

This PopSocket easily attaches to your car's air vents to mount your phone without blocking the view of your windshield. This will be your best friend during road trips or driving through unfamiliar areas to have the directions easily accessible. — Jess Ferguson, BDG lifestyle intern

Travel Essentials For A Cold-Weather Escape

A Versatile, Non-Bulky Jacket For Beating The Cold

This jacket is super lightweight but really keeps you warm. Since it’s so light, it doesn't take up too much space when packing. I've brought my Uniqlo jacket with me on Alaskan cruises in the summer. I also love that it comes in so many cute colors. — Rachel Chapman, experiences staff writer

Packing Cubes That Condense All Your Stuff

These packing cubes come in the perfect size variations to hold everything from chunky sweaters and thick socks to sweatpants and a pair of shoes. Especially if you're an overpacker, these cubes are very effective at condensing thick winter clothes to fit everything in your weekend bag or suitcase. — Abby Lebet, editorial operations manager

A Blanket & Eye Mask Set That Is Cozy & Compact

Never worry about sleeping while on a trip again. This set comes with a lightweight ribbed blanket and an eye mask, all packed into a compact pouch. Even if the sun is blaring through the thin hotel blinds or your chilly camping tent, you'll be sleeping soundly. — Jess Ferguson, BDG lifestyle intern

Water-Repellent Pants That Are Chic & Lightweight

For trips to cooler climates, or more outdoorsy adventures like hiking, invest in a pair of high-quality pants, like these sleek, durable ones from Athleta. They’re cute, functional, and will keep you warm. — Jess Ferguson, lifestyle intern

A Tumbler For Bringing Your Hot Drinks On The Go

When it's cold out, I like to warm myself up with hot coffee or tea. This tumbler from Yeti is a great travel cup for both warm and cold drinks. The lids prevent anything from spilling, and you have your pick of colors to choose from. — Rachel Chapman, experiences staff writer

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