Summer Travel Checklist: What to Pack and How to Save Big

Written by Charlotte Farrell | July 25, 2021

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Travel is back on, and with it comes the opportunity to fill up your summer calendar with trips, getaways, and escapes to the destinations that you’ve been craving to visit all year long. Statistics from Trip Advisor report that over two-thirds of Americans are planning to travel this summer. Before you start panic-packing and stressing over what to pack, we’ve scoured the web for the hottest deals and steals when it comes to packing efficiently, so your upcoming vacation will be stress-free. These practical and affordable items are what everyone should have in their suitcase, showing off a diverse range of goods that are equal parts stylish, versatile, and accessible.

If you haven’t solidified your travel plans, below are money-saving resources detailing travel hacks to finding cheap flights, hotels, and more.


1. Adapter

Price: $24.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond

We love a product that tackles multiple things at once. Enter this all-in-one adapter that includes the four most common global plug configurations and two USB charging ports. And thanks to a 6A fuse and safety shutters, you can juice up your devices safely. Take it with you to more than 175 countries, including most parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand, North America, and Russia. Plus, it’s lightweight and durable so your adventures aren’t burdened by extra weight.

Savings Tip: Enjoy 20% off a single item when you sign up for Bed Bath & Beyond’s text message subscription. For additional savings, check out Bed Bath & Beyond coupon and promo codes.
Travel Document Organizer

2. Travel Document Organizer

Price: $17 at Target

Vaccination cards, COVID-19 test results, passports, boarding passes, cash, credit cards, keys — the amount of important documents and monetary items to have on hand can be overwhelming. But rather than shove it all in the front zipper of your backpack and hope for the best, stay organized with this heather gray travel wallet! You can focus on getting to your destination worry-free, as the wallet features a zipper closure and many interior slots and pockets. Stay organized and stay in vacation mode!

Savings Tip: Target offers the Target Circle loyalty program that gets you 1% back to shop. You’ll also receive early access to sales and special deals, like 5% off on your birthday!

3. Sunscreen

Price: $12.97 at Walmart

Sure, you want to work on your tan, but in the hotter temps and the longer days, sun exposure is a real concern when it comes to retaining that youthful glow. This is because harmful UVA and UVB rays have been known to link to skin cancer. Bask in the sand or by the pool with peace of mind thanks to this Banana Boat blend that offers broad spectrum protection in a convenient spray so you can apply, let it dry, and play hard! The lightweight formula gives you SPF 50+ coverage and stays on no matter the conditions. Pool, ocean, wind, sweat, sand and extreme heat? No problem!

For more sunscreen options, check out our guide to finding the best face and body sunscreen for your skin type here.

Savings Tip: If you happen to see the same item for a lower price on an eligible competitor’s website, Walmart will match the price so you can save even more! Plus, you can save up to 50% off your purchase with select Walmart coupons.
Beach Hat

4. Beach Hat

Price: $19 $15.20 at Kohl’s

After you’ve lathered up your face and body with sunscreen, add on another chic layer of sun protection with this adorable, bohemian-inspired Panama hat designed by Lauren Conrad. Your summertime ensembles will be made instantly covetable, all while you shield your gorgeous visage from the sun’s powerful rays. The woven straw construction gives a laid back, beachy vibe, while the 4-inch brim lets you throw some shade all day.

Savings Tip: If you choose the store pickup option, you’ll receive $5 in Kohl's Cash. On occasion, Kohl’s runs promos for more savings on store pickup, such as $10 off on any order of at least $50.
Waterproof Beach Bag

5. Waterproof Beach Bag

Price: $26.99 at Amazon

Picture this: You’re at the beach and you have frisbees, cell phones, cameras, towels, cameras, and the rest of your beach gear thrown in a random receptacle. Suddenly, a wave makes an entrance, thoroughly soaking everything in sight and leaving you with a mess to clean. Avoid all that with this large tote bag which is water- and crease-resistant with an 11-inch handle drop, and you can even use it as a carry-on! Plus, it comes in more than 30 designs to fit your style!

Savings Tip: If you’re a student, you can get 50% off the Amazon Prime subscription, giving you free speedy shipping and access to exclusive prices.
Reusable Water Bottle

6. Reusable Water Bottle

Price: $22.95 at Backcountry

Show some love to the planet that offers so many beautiful places for you to explore! A reusable water bottle comes in handy at the airport, beach, and on hikes. Whatever you drink, this 20-ounce bottle has a lifetime manufacturer warranty and a leak-proof lid so spills are a thing of the past.

Savings Tip: Sign up for the Backcountry newsletter and you'll get 15% off your first purchase. You can enjoy extra savings by applying a Backcountry coupon code during checkout.
Floating Lounger

7. Floating Lounger

Price: $42.99 $32.29 at Target

Shore up on your vitamin D as you lounge in luxury atop your favorite circular dish! Perfect for pools, rivers, and lakes, this pepperoni pizza-style inflatable raft is ideal for one person to revel in the sunshine while drifting into a state of aquatic zen. Constructed from heavy-gauge PVC with RF-welded seams, the floaty is built to last summer after summer for everlasting (and cheesy) vibes!

Savings Tip: Enjoy free two-day shipping when you spend $35 or more at Target.
Wireless Headphones

8. Wireless Headphones

Price: $25.99 at Amazon

In multiple colors and adjustable to fit any cranium, these high-definition stereo headphones include seamless bluetooth connectivity, long battery life, specially developed software and noise reduction technology. These features are designed to drown out ambient noises so you can lose yourself in whatever album, audiobook, or podcast makes you forget about your stresses. Not to mention the fact that they are foldable for packing into small spaces!

Savings Tip: Amazon’s Audible offers a free 30-day trial so you can catch up on the latest reads.
Beach Towel

9. Beach Towel

Price: $23.99 $9.99 at Kohl’s

It’s called “The Big One" for a reason! At 34 inches wide and 68 inches long, this Turkish cotton and reversible towel lets you sprawl on the sand or wrap up after a dip in the water with a vibrant twist. The colorful design is made of OEKO-TEX materials, which are tested for harmful substances and manufactured in environmentally friendly facilities that have safe and socially responsible work practices. Quick to dry and uber-soft, it’s a must for any watery endeavors!

Savings Tip: Get 15% off when you sign up for Kohl’s emails.
Water-Resistant Phone Case

10. Water-Resistant Phone Case

Price: $19.99 at Best Buy

Keep your beloved smartphone safe from the sea, the pool, the river, or the waterpark so you can continue exploring the great outdoors! This water-resistant mobile pouch fits most phones thanks to a strong PVC build and a sealed closure that prevents water from ruining all your selfie and panoramic pic opportunities. The sleek, clear finish lets you retain functionality when texts come through — although we do encourage a digital detox on vacation!

Savings Tip: Students can sign up for Best Buy deals at any age! You’ll get access to multiple offers within the “member offers" section of your online account.
Silicone Snack Bags

11. Silicone Snack Bags

Price: $21.99 at Amazon

Plane food is often a bust, and no offense, but pretzels and peanuts are not for everyone. Plan accordingly by prepacking snacks in a reusable silicone snack bag that’s plastic-free, dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, and eco-friendly. Unlike other plastic food receptacles, this particular design contains no BPA, no PVC, and no latex, and uses an innovative, airtight pinch-lock seal. Once you reach your destination, you can use it throughout the duration of the trip to refuel between your adventures.

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