After a cool and record-breaking wet and rainy spring along much of the East Coast, summer is finally here! No matter where you live though, packing for travel any time of the year can be a hassle unless you know how to pack like a pro.
I love summer! Lazy summer days stir up delightful memories of the salty smell of warm ocean air, the joy of discovering a perfect seashell found on an early morning beach walk, and the pleasure of slowly rousing from sleep without the use of an alarm.
There is so much to love about summer and the travel opportunities that come with school and work vacation time. But even though summers are typically more relaxed than other seasons, I still apply some simple packing tips for a more stress-free travel experience that helps my family spend less time packing and more time making unforgettable memories.
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Packing Tips for Summer Travel
Summer might be the easiest season to pack for, especially if relaxed beach or pool days, sunny warm weather and flip-flops are part of your everyday summer routine. Without some planning though, the little things can easily add up and turn summer packing into a chore filled with a lot of stress which often results in packing unnecessary items.
With many decades of vacation packing under my belt, these tried and true summer packing tips should help reduce frustration so everyone in your family can focus on enjoying the special moments that traveling during the summer months brings.
Go ahead and roll up your sleeves and use these tips to pack like a total boss for your next trip!
Carry Essentials in a Separate Bag
I learned this trick when I traveled to Tanzania one summer not too long ago where my Kilimanjaro gear list seemed endless. Pack one bag that contains all of your must-have and frequently used items. This way, if someone needs a specific frequently used item, there’s no digging through dozens of bags to find what’s needed.
Some items you’ll want to pack in the separate bag include charging cables, electronics, small toys to keep the kids entertained, a small supply of needed medications, and even some nutritious snacks.
I used to be considered a travel pack rat because my bags were always stuffed full and overweight. No more! Now I pack lightly and have even learned how to pack fewer and fewer items with each trip.
An easy to implement key component to using space efficiently is to roll, cube, or bag your clothing. Give each travel party member a set of packing cubes to fit clothes and extra items. By packing in cubes, items can easily be moved or reorganized if someone’s bag is over the airline weight limit.
I’ve had great success using jumbo sized Ziplock bags, rolling them to remove extra air before zipping closed. For smaller items such as socks and underwear, pack them in smaller Ziploc bags to fill in the tiny spaces that are available in the suitcase.
Keep Shoes Separate
Comfy, broken-in sneakers are a must for summer travel but they can stink! If you put shoes in the main compartment of your suitcase while traveling, keeping them in separate plastic bags so they don’t make other clothes smell is a must.
If you’re on a budget, recycle used grocery bags for this task and skip purchasing those specifically made for packing shoes. I’ve used grocery bags on plenty of trips and they have always worked just fine.
Carry Extra Ziploc Bags
Always pack a few large Ziploc bags wherever your travels take you. They are especially useful for keeping lotions and sprays that may leak separate from other items and help keep you organized. Easily lost small items are simpler to see and locate through the clear bags.
As a bonus, extra Ziplock bags are perfect for keeping souvenirs safe and sound for your return trip home.
Bring a Beach Bag
If your summer travel plans mean fun in the sun you’ll want to pack a lightweight beach bag in your suitcase. Knowing you have a grab and go bag you can fill with everything needed to be safe in the sun can really be a time and money saver.
Pack sunscreen, after-sun lotion, beach floaties for the little ones, and other needed beach items in a Ziploc bag for airplane travel. This will protect items in case they explode or leak from the increased pressure and then simply toss it all in the beach bag when you’re ready to head to the beach or pool at your destination.
Maximize Clothing Options
Multi-purpose sundresses and wrap skirts are perfect for summer travel. Take advantage of their multiple uses and save space as they pack in small spaces and they can be used as beach cover-ups too.
It’s easy to take a sundress or wrap skirt from day to night by packing a white or color-coordinated wrap for a versatile cover up for evenings out or dinner at your favorite restaurant. Compete your evening outfit with a simple necklace and a pair of wedge sandals.
For men, some swim trunks resemble casual chic beach shorts. Instead of packing a change of clothes for dinner, pair the shorts with a button-down shirt and nice driving shoes for an updated look that minimizes the clothing you need to pack.
By following a few simple and savvy summer packing tips, you can help make your trip stress-free by packing like a boss!
Do you have other favorite travel packing tips? Let us know in a comment below.
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