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Summer Travel – 21 Must-Have Essentials

Summer Travel Essentials
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Summer travel time is almost here.  For many, that means taking a trip to somewhere sunny – a cruise, beach vacation, camping, or foreign exploration.

We are just returning from a week in the sun cruising on the Norwegian Sky.  Now that I’m back, I wanted to share my personal list of must-have summer travel essentials.  These 21 items are the things that keep me sane or help make cruises, beach weekends, or summer travel easier.

Summer Travel Electronics and Media

This is the best thing I carry in bag.  It turns one three-prong outlet into three and adds surge protection along with two USB ports.  AND it swivels and extends.  This comes in handy when the only “useful” outlet in your hotel room or cruise stateroom is on the floor under a table.  Or on the desk on the side of a lamp.  The link above will take you to multiple variations of this device including a 6 outlet version that is great for families traveling together.  (This has also been part of a go-to gift for graduates who are preparing for a job with travel – they LOVE it!)


I’m a huge fan of my Fire HD Tablet – I can read books by the pool, surf the internet, and use my favorite apps.  And at $64.99, I don’t have to worry about losing or breaking a more expensive device.


And to go with that Fire HD Tablet, I need the Kindle Unlimited to go with it… because I like having a ton of things to read!

Something that is on Kindle Unlimited that I have yet to read that I’ve queued up next:

Jim and I have agreed to disagree about favorite headphones.  (You can read all about his favorite headphone picks here.)  For me, these are the best in-ear headphones around.


I am a magazine addict.  And as such, I’ve been a subscriber to this unlimited monthly service for four years now.  I used to pick up at least two magazines a week in the airport plus subscribe to 2-3 more.  Now for one flat price of $9.99 a month I can have access to all my favorites on up to five devices at a time.  And when I say all my favorites, I mean ALL my favorites – its like an entire newsstand.  A very well-stocked one.  And full of back issues, too.

Design idea copied from Better Homes and Gardens' "Do It Yourself" magazine.

Fashion Finds

Fold-up flats are a summer travel essential.  These are great for everything for summer weddings (slip them on when your dancing feet just can’t handle your heels anymore).  Or lots of city walking (carry them in your day tote so you can replace your casual sandals).  These come in dozens of colors and include a cute carrying bag to keep them clean in your suitcase or bag.

Chestnut Brown Tieks


These are my favorite summer flip-flops.  I wear them everywhere when I can get away with it and when they wear out, I replace them.  I have them in black and silver (the current colors) but they have in the past also come in bronze, pink, and turquoise.


Every girl needs a good sun hat to keep the rays at bay.  And every good Southern belle knows that hat should be monogrammed.  Swoozies carries my favorite one and it can be monogrammed so no one grabs yours by accident.  It comes in six colors – this  is the PERFECT gift for a girls’ summer getaway!

Another of my favorite Swoozies finds.  Scout bags are amazing.  They hold a ton of stuff (towels, snacks, toys, all the beach gear).  And they wipe clean when you get back from the beach.  Did I mention they are CUTE?

Scout The BJ Bag Fleetwood Black

Throw These In Your Summer Travel Bag

I used to think these were gimmicky.  Now I think they are a must-have to keep your towel secured all day.  I linked the basics but Amazon carries several dozen varieties of these including themed ones for sports teams.  You’ll have no problem being a chair hog wherever you go when your towel never budges!

Another must have for any wet activities is a dry bag for your cell phone so you don’t miss out on anything!  I linked one for an iPhone 7 but there are many varieties of these.  Look for one with a wrist strap, floating capability, and the right seals and plugs for whatever equipment you’ll be using.


Another thing I used to think was gimmicky before I saw the light.  My S’well bottle goes everywhere with me so I can stay hydrated.  Summer travel requires it.  I often drink my water in my Uber on the way to the airport and then fill it up again as soon as I am past security so that I am never without a full water bottle.


I like to take a Tervis tumbler with me to all my summer outdoor events.  They are perfect for any beverage (from soda to beer, mojitos to wine).  Tervis tumblers have become so popular that they can be purchased in almost any color or branded combination you like – for schools, fraternal organizations, holidays, or hobbies.  While I like having plain ones for everyday use, we also have beach colors for summer travel.


We’ve shared how much we love NatureBox before.  We took snacks with us on our cruise this last week to have healthy treats in the room (which helped keep us from grabbing things from the buffet).  I like to keep a NatureBox bag in my tote during all my trips to ward off hunger pangs.  These are great for all summer travel – from road trips to beach weekends.


A great passport holder/travel wallet is a must.  This one has an RFID blocking cover which is a must to keep thieves from stealing data and comes in multiple designs.  (Jim and I have both been fighting the identity theft gremlins lately – I had a credit card number compromised the morning we left on our cruise and he’s had multiple alerts lately too.)

Health and Beauty Essentials

I hate trying to dry my hair in humid climates.  It’s usually pointless so I just get by with setting it on Velcro rollers.  As I’ve shared before, these are one of my secret weapons for great hair!  This makes summer travel so much easier, even if I am just going to throw my hair into a ponytail or bun.


I had a melanoma diagnosis earlier this year.  We luckily caught it early enough that a second margin excision was deemed enough treatment this time around.  I’m not taking any chances for future damage though.  Sunscreen is a must for me.  In addition to using the usual cream and wearing hats and sun blocking clothing, I carry sunscreen spray so I can easily reapply throughout the day.


Jim had Zika last year (yeah, we are quite the pair!) and we aren’t taking any chances there either.  There are many products you can use to avoid Zika (we reviewed several last month) and among them are these waterproof bracelets.  They are perfect for the beach or other water-based activities.


We forgot to pack these for this last trip – and regretted it.  Big mistake.  Blister gel bandages are one of the best travel secrets out there.  Unlike regular bandages, these form a nice cushion over the top of a blister that allows it to stay bubbled so it can heal.


This product is marketed for marathon runners but I call it the “fat girl’s secret”.  It helps for avoiding “chub rub” (that chafe that comes when bare thighs brush together or bra straps irritate underarms).  Before I discovered this, I had more than a couple of summer travel adventures that were made less than pleasant by chub rub.  Bodyglide has fixed that.  (They also make a version for feet and a women’s version… but I have not found significant variation in those products.)

I shared my love of this product last week as one my three secret travel toiletries I can’t live without.  I was SO not kidding.  (The other two are awesome too but I absolutely could NOT survive summer travel without this one!)

Do you have any favorite summer travel essentials?  Did we miss anything critical on this list?  We’d love to hear what you’d include that we missed!  Please feel free to share it with us – we just might include it on a future list!


  1. Have you had any trouble with your S’well bottle going through the X-ray machine at security? Do you take it out of your bag? I use mine all day at work, but I’ve never traveled with it because I wasn’t sure if TSA would want a closer look at it.

    1. No problems at all and I’ve never had to take it out of my bag. I always make sure it’s empty before I get to security but I’ve been flying with it for almost a year now.

      I also sometimes fly with an empty shaker bottle (for protein shakes) and have had no issues with that either.

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