Ultimate Packing Checklist: Spring Break Edition
Spring is upon us, and for those craving adventure it can only mean one thing: Spring Break! Whoop Whoop! Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first trip away from home, this spring break packing guide will ensure that you have an epic getaway with your mates.
Bookmark this travel packing checklist because you’ll want to use it as a guide when packing for your spring break trip. It covers everything you should consider when packing your bag— including ample sunscreen and rehydration supplements, just in case you lay in the sun for too long or wake up with a headache after a late night!
Step 1: Choose Your Luggage
Your choice of luggage will be dependent on the kind of spring break adventure you’re planning. If you don’t already have a favorite travel bag, here are some suggestions to help you buy the perfect option for your trip:
Rolling Luggage: If you think you’ll need to make full use of the luggage allowance offered by your airline, consider rolling luggage options that are 95L or 110L—a wheeled duffel or lightweight trunk would be ideal.
Duffel Bag: A great option if there’s going to be limited storage space when you get to your accommodation. This affordable duffel bag will pack flat in a wardrobe or underneath a bed—it’s also seriously durable and lightweight.
Convertible Backpack: Whether traditional or wheeled, a backpack is the luggage of choice for many Spring Break backpackers. Offering hands-free versatility as well as the incentive not to over-pack (you’ll only have to carry the extra weight), a convertible backpack with wheels and straps offers the best of both worlds.
Carry-On: Whenever possible, I travel with compact wheeled carry-on luggage. This saves me time at the airport, lets me save on check-in fees, and means that I am guaranteed that the airline won’t lose my bag. If you can, consider this economical option.
Still not sure which style of travel bag is best for you? Read this handy luggage guide.
Step 2: Refine Your Spring Break Packing List
I don’t know about you, but I find I always have the urge to over-pack when traveling with my friends. Our itineraries tend to include everything from hiking and sailing to lazing on the beach and partying after dark. However, after an epic airport fail when I chose to discard a third of the weight in my bag at check-in rather than pay an extortionate overweight baggage fee, I’ve become better at traveling light.
My top tip to minimize your baggage fees? Layout everything you want to take and immediately get rid of half of it. You can pack light and still have an outfit for every occasion. It’s all about layering lightweight fabrics.
These are the basics:
Day pack – this can be stylish and practical, check out this packable daypack option
Shoes – flip flops, hikers/sneakers, and a dressy option for evenings out
Lightweight, quick-dry, packable clothing that you can layer and mix and match
Bathing suit – consider a wet/dry organizer
Packable rain jacket
Money belt– keep an emergency credit card in it and wear it under your shirt
Microfiber towel– a great option for the beach as it will dry out quickly and won’t soak your backpack
Sunglasses – make sure they have adequate UV protection and are polarized
Cell phone and charger
Water repellant dry bag– you can throw your phone and credit card in here at the beach to help prevent damage from sand and water
Girls, don’t forget…
Maxi dresses and jumpsuits are great for an easy transition between day and evening and can be dressed up with simple accessories.
Guys, don’t forget….
Check the local dress code. Depending on where you travel,you may need to pack a button-down shirt and chinos to wear foran evening.
Step 3: Organize Your Stuff
You’ve chosen your luggage and laid out everything you want to take with you, so what’s next?
Well, you could just shove everything in your bag and hope it fits; although having found myself in a position where I had to empty the contents of my bag on an airport floor, I can tell you that having a shambolic packing system is ill-advised.
My advice? Keep the contents of your luggage organized and compress your clothing with the help of packing cubes. Choose zippered organizers for small items and compression sacks for clothing and you’ll find you can fit a lot more in your luggage than you’d first thought.
Learn more about choosing the right packing organizers to keep your items in check both in your luggage, and while in your accommodation.
Step 4: Pack Your Toiletries
Don’t forget that if you’re planning to travel with just carry-on, you won’t be able to pack any liquids over 100ml in your luggage. Look out for travel size toiletries in the supermarket, or take a pack of refillable bottles and fill with your favorites.
If you plan to pack your toiletries in your luggage make sure you use a toiletry bag to keep liquids separate from your clothes in case a lid pops in transit. Not sure what to take and what to buy on location?
Sunscreen – buy a reputable brand at home so that you know what factor you’re putting on your skin
Shampoo – if you’re not fussed about using your own brand, buy a bottle on location and save weight in transit
Mosquito repellent – take a small bottle just in case
Rehydration solution – take some with you as it can help to relieve both hangovers and upset stomachs
Painkillers – buy a reputable brand at home so that you know exactly what you’re taking
Step 5: Collate Your Travel Documents, Local Currency, and Credit cards
Once you’ve packed your bag, gather together your travel documents, cash, and credit cards, and decide whether to keep them all in one place, or split them between personal item and your wallet (or waist pack if you’re jumped on the fanny pack trend). This travel organizer holds a passport, ID, credit cards, coins, documents, a boarding pass, and a pen; it’s also compact and will fit into a coat pocket.
Personal ID/Student ID card – if you’re a student, look out for deals and discounts in airports and hotels
Cash and credit card(s) – log into your online banking and let your bank know if you are travelling abroad
Health insurance cards/document(s)
Travel insurance information
Hotel and/or tour contact information, reservation numbers, e-tickets – save them on your smartphone for easy access
Final Pro Travel Tips for Spring Breakers
● Keep a copy of your ID on your phone in case you lose the original.
● Make a note of your booking references and relevant phone numbers to call in case of issue on arrival. You may not have roaming cell service at your destination.
● Carry local currency as you may find you need some cash for taxis or public transport when you land.
● Leave behind expensive items of jewelry or designer items like sunglasses and shoes—stick to options that won’t cost the earth to replace if you leave them at a beach bar.
● Check whether you need to apply for a visa to travel to your chosen destination. Many countries offer a 90-day tourist visa but it is worthwhile checking conditions of entry.
● Check if you need to take an electrical adapter for your gadgets.
● Leave details of your itinerary with your family, they’ll find it reassuring to know where you’re staying if they can’t get hold of you on your mobile.
Having suggested everything above, to be honest with you, as long as you’ve got your passport and a credit card you can’t really go wrong. Don’t panic if you get to the airport and realize you’ve forgotten your toothbrush or your lucky pair of shorts, it’ll give you a great excuse to buy some on location and they’ll always remind you of your epic spring break adventure!
Want to read more about how to pack for international travel? Read this ultimate travel packing list for every adventure!
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By Charli Moore on February 22, 2020
Charli Moore is an adventure enthusiast who has been location independent since 2011. A freelance writer and editor of the travel blog Wanderlusters, she has a penchant for adrenaline highs and crunchy peanut butter. Follow her on Instagram to feed your wanderlust.