What to Pack for Your Next Outdoor Vacation

  *This is a collaborative post. This post is not me condoning traveling at this time, however, I am not ignorant and I'm aware peo...


*This is a collaborative post. This post is not me condoning traveling at this time, however, I am not ignorant and I'm aware people will continue to travel, so please be safe if that is your plan.

Summer has arrived, and with it comes the warmer weather and longer evenings. While summer this year obviously looks very different than most, folks are itching to spend time at the beach, or to take a trip up to the mountains to enjoy some time away from being cooped in the house. It's important to follow safety protocols when traveling, including wearing a mask while you're in public spaces, washing and/or sanitizing your hands regularly, and don't forget to disinfect regularly - your phone, the interior of your car, your keys, etc.

While an outdoor-themed vacation is usually a time to relax and enjoy, it’s also a time of stress when you’re packing for the whole family. There should be no stress on vacation. There should be fun, laughter, and no forgotten things to pack! With that in mind, check out the list below so you can check off everything that your vacation will need to be successful.


Obviously, the first thing on your list should be clothes. Make a list per family member and as you pack the item, tick it off. You could make this list on your phone or physically write it down. I keep a travel notebook, and I use a new page every time I travel, but I keep the old lists so I can base it off it each time. You'll need shorts, dresses, sandals, vacation t shirts, and obviously don't forget undergarments (I always take twice as many of the days I'm staying) to make sure that you’re all comfortable whilst you’re away. Don't forget at least one cover-up for your shoulders to avoid sunburn!


No matter how many people there are in your family, you need to make sure that you have appropriate sunscreen for all. It’s not just the sun protection factor that you need to consider, either. Each bottle of sunscreen has a “Star Rating” and you want to have a top star rating for your sunscreen. There is no use in having a high SPF if you’re going to have zero UVA protection! And I cannot stress enough the importance of sunscreen.


Beach clothes are not the same as the regular clothes on the list. You'll need hats, a swimsuit, water shoes, and sunglasses. Not to mention you'll need a mask for the crowded beach spaces - several swimsuit companies are making masks from their extra fabrics. This company even donates sales from specific masks to Black Girls Code. Pack sarongs and floppy, wide-brimmed hats, too. While you’re there, pack some towels specifically for beach use; they’re the ones you don't mind getting sand and seawater on, and these are the ones that you’re happy to “ruin” while you’re away.

Beach shade. 

Did you know that you can buy pop-up beach shades? If you have children, they'll need a little more coverage than grownups and it can save their skin and your sanity to have a shade for them to be in through the day. Don't forget about your own skincare - protecting it is so important. These beach shades are easy to fold and carry, and they're easy to pack away in the car when you're road-tripping.


If you're going to lay around on the beach or by a mountainside lake, you're gonna need a few good beach reads. Don't forget to pack some books, preferably physical, so you don't get sand in your electronic devices. They also tend to get too hot on the beach, so a nice paperback is something you'll definitely want to pack.

Bags for trash. 

Believe it or not, if there's one thing you'll need when you’re going on vacation, it’s trash bags - you could take smaller grocery store bags, but I prefer the small scented bags I find at the Dollar Tree (they're also the ones I use to change litter and they're the perfect size. Not only will you need them for trash on the beach so you can clear up after yourself, but you'll need somewhere to put your dirty laundry to take home. This way, you can keep it separated from the clean clothes in your suitcase.

Safety and disinfectant items.

I touched on this earlier, but it's so important to continue following CDC guidelines for the safety of yourself and others. If you are going to be traveling, do not forget to take multiple masks for each person - I'm a fan of reusable ones, so you could take a couple and wash them in the sink each evening, so they can be used multiple times throughout your trip. You'll want disinfectant spray and wipes, hand sanitizer, and antibacterial soaps. Make sure to take care of yourself, your family, and those around you. That's the most important thing!

Are you planning on taking any trips this summer? How are you planning to stay safe?

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