Ultimate Packing Checklist: Spring Break Edition

Kayaks in the big lagoon with turquoise clean water

Written by Charli Moore on

Charli Moore is an adventure enthusiast who has been location-independent since 2011. As a freelance writer, she blogs about her adventurous travels at Wanderlusters, and has a penchant for adrenaline highs and crunchy peanut butter. Follow her on Instagram @wanderlustcharli to feed your wanderlust.

Kayaks in the big lagoon with turquoise clean water


Spring is upon us, and for those craving adventure it can only mean one thing: spring break! Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first trip away from home, this spring break packing list will ensure that you have an epic getaway with your friends.


Bookmark this spring break packing list, because you’ll want to use it as a guide when getting ready 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! 

Here’s what you need to pack for the perfect spring break trip:

Choose Your Spring Break Travel Bag

First thing’s first: you need a good travel bag. 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 90L or 95L—a wheeled duffel or a checked suitcase 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. It also has backpack straps to make it easy to carry while traveling. 

Backpack: Offering hands-free versatility as well as the incentive not to over-pack (you’ll only have to carry the extra weight), a backpack is the luggage of choice for many Spring Break backpackers. This one has a padded laptop pocket if you need to bring any schoolwork with you.

Carry-On: A compact wheeled carry-on luggage saves time at the airport, saves on check-in fees, and means that you’re guaranteed that the airline won’t lose your 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.


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.

Spring Break Packing List Basics:

  • Day pack – this can be stylish and practical, like a fanny pack, tote bag, or small backpack

  • 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

  • Packable rain jacket

  • 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

  • In-flight accessories like a travel pillow and blanket, eye mask and ear plugs, headphones, and tablet

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.


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 picky 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


Organize 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 items 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.

  • Passport

  • 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, 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!


Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

Spring Break Ideas: Avoid the Crowds!

5 Affordable Spring Break Destinations

How to Pack for a Girls Spring Break Trip to Mexico