What to Pack for Your Summer Getaways

We break down what to take to the beach, city and more.

By Courtney Kenefick

There’s an often-dreaded Thursday-night ritual for frequent travelers during the summer months: packing for the weekend ahead. Instead of throwing things together at the last minute and making do with what’s clean and in your closet, it’s less stressful to have a list of items geared for the beach, the city, adventure or wellness that you can stock up on at the beginning of summer. Then, when Thursday night rolls around, packing’s a breeze. Here we outline what items to bring on four types of vacation so that you can spend less time fighting with your suitcase.

For the Beach

Warm-weather wares are usually multifunctional, and what you bring your stuff in should be no exception. A weekender ($50) that doubles as a beach bag can be used both en route and on arrival. The most crucial beach article of clothing, the bathing suit, can serve dual purposes too. Guys can invest in tailored swim trunks ($145)—look for a fly closure instead of a drawstring—in a quick-drying fabric. That way they can double as a pair of shorts. Women can treat a chic one-piece ($98) like a bodysuit. A fashion-forward caftan ($245) for ladies works well as a cover-up on the beach or as an outfit at dinner. And don’t forget about protection: Sunscreen is a must and can often be found in products you may already own, such as moisturizers ($36), makeup ($30) and lip balms ($18).

For the City

Visiting a metropolis means you’ll most likely be on your feet all day, so come prepared. Comfortable shoes, such as a stylish sneaker ($75) or supportive flat ($145), should anchor your wardrobe. (Make sure they’re well broken in to avoid blisters.) You want shoes that can be worn with casual daytime looks as well as with a more dressed-up evening outfit. Equally important is a small cross-body bag ($150) that can be worn throughout the day and when going out at night. Stock it full of necessities, such as an RFID wallet ($50), which protects debit and credit card information from some types of electronic pickpocketing, and an external battery pack ($60) for your phone. And while SPF is still important in the city, you’ll also need to protect against air pollutants. A serum or cream ($40) with vitamins C and E and ferulic acid can help shield your skin.

For the Adventure Getaway

Going off the grid requires utilitarian garments. For adventures during the day, opt for moisture-wicking tops ($32) and quick-drying bottoms ($98). You’ll also benefit from lightweight articles of clothing that have UVA/UVB protection with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) ($85). Pair your functional getup with water-resistant hiking footwear ($150) and hiking socks ($16). Come prepared for cooler evenings with an insulated jacket or vest ($149) and for bad weather with a rain jacket or poncho ($109). A dry bag or resealable plastic bag is also a great solution for wet clothing. If you opt for a two-in-one duffel-slash-backpack ($89) instead of a more traditional suitcase, you’ll be set for both luggage and a hike.

For the Wellness Retreat

A weekend of wellness is all about centering, detoxing and healthy movement, and what you pack should be a reflection of that. While the majority of your activities might work with yoga pants ($75) and athletic tops ($64), an outfit or two for dinner or day trips may come in handy. You’ll likely find yourself barefoot during many parts of a wellness retreat—if you’re at a yoga studio or a spa or participating in a meditation ceremony—so opting for an easy-to-slip-on pair of shoes ($98) will serve you as well. So will a pair of sneakers ($130), depending on the athletic activities you have planned. Bring along your own personal indulgences, such as essential oils or crystals ($40), to create a space that makes you feel comfortable. And a book or journal ($14) can help you fill downtime while staying screen-free so that you’re not tempted to check your email and undo all that relaxation.

  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: May 2018