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Summer Packing Tips: 5 Mistakes You’re Making and How To Avoid Them

Written by Suzy Guese

When we plot our summer getaways, most of us envision lounging about on a beach or lake while sipping on frozen cocktails. The idealized vision of summer travel can quickly vanish if you don’t pack just right. Summer travel presents its own set of challenges and troubles for the vacation goer. Before your pack your bags this summer, make sure you aren’t committing these summer packing no-nos.

Packing Outfits That Don’t Mix And Match

For most travelers, summer travel can lead to loads of outfit changes due to hot weather and outdoor activities like going to the beach, hiking or, let’s be real, just walking around in a super humid climate. A common mistake that many summer travelers can make is to just throw in pieces that have no rhyme or reason. They don’t match and simply aren’t interchangeable. Summer presents the desire to pack enough outfits but also the quest to not over pack. To avoid over packing and still have what you need, be sure that all of your clothing items are interchangeable: they can easily mix and match and be worn several different ways. You can wear all items many times and in different combinations if everything follows a predetermined color scheme. Keep base layers neutral and add a colorful flair with accessories.

Bringing Only One Swimsuit

When I travel in the summer, I never pack just one swimsuit. While it might seem excessive to pack more than one swimsuit, beach and water vacations demand more than one. Remember the sandy mess your swimsuit becomes after a day at the beach body surfing, playing volleyball and lazily swimming around? You’ll need at least one other swimsuit to pinch hit as the other dries out for the day.

Taking Fabrics That Don’t Breathe

Last summer, I went to the Florida Keys in July. It was unbearably hot and humid. The items that I gravitated toward each day were the ones comprised of breathable fabrics. All too often travelers don’t consider their fabric choice for summer travel. However, you really should make your entire packing list focused more on fabric type rather than pure aesthetics. You might absolutely love a cute and flattering dress, but its material will undoubtedly be too hot for your beach vacation. Linen is a great fabric to bring on a trip to sweltering destinations and with the rise in athleisure fashions, comfortable workout-inspired clothing has become both a stylish and practical choice. With each item you toss in your bag, ask yourself if the fabric is going to breathe.

Putting Unsecured Liquids in Your Suitcase

Summer travel means you’ll be packing more liquids than you might in the fall and winter. You need items like sunscreen, bug spray and more shampoo. More liquids often poses more of a risk that your bottle of SPF could explode, presenting a soggy suitcase when you get arrive. The key is to pack liquids in plastic. I tend to bring extra plastic bags when I travel in the summer as an extra measure of precaution. To fully ensure that your clothing stays liquid-free, wrap plastic wrap over the openings of screw top bottles.

Checking a Bag

No matter how you swing it, more people are passing through the airport in the summer months. The increased crowds can mean a disaster at baggage claim and plenty of lost luggage. The key is to not over pack for your summer vacations so that you can carry on your bag instead. You’ll avoid lost luggage and wasting your precious vacation time. You will also dodge lugging heavy luggage through hot and humid locales by sticking to a carry on sized alternative.

A summer trip can be just what the doctor ordered. It can refresh, rejuvenate and relax. However, if you don’t pack just right, that summer getaway can turn disastrous. From sunscreen-soaked suitcases to spending the majority of your vacation waiting on lost luggage, these classic packing mistakes can turn a carefree vacation into an avoidable nightmare. Just a touch of forethought and extra care while packing can save you a world of trouble once you’ve touched down.

Do you have any summer packing secrets? Share your tips with us in the comments below.


About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at

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