Packing Essentials for Summer Travel

Summer Travel Essentials for Packing Light

Summer vacations are the perfect excuse for packing light, as you can get away with wearing a lot less clothes!  However, as light-weight as these outfits can be, if you choose your wardrobe is a smart way , you’ll be able to get more three to five looks from one a couple of items. And you’ll have more space in your luggage for souvenirs! So i’m going to share my packing essentials for summer travel.

Packing Tips for Summer Travel

These days, I’ve gotten really good at packing light. I’m almost a pro. Well, sometimes I fall off that wagon and you’ll see me jamming in clothes at the last minute. But summer is the best season for minimalist packing for obvious reason that you can shed heavy fabrics and layers.

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Packing tips for Minimalist Travel

  1. Most of us wear the same two outfits all the time.  
    Yes, the same two.  So packing anything extra is often for peace of mind as an optional variable to go to. Packing an outfit per every occasion is just a much of a fallacy as is the myth that our bodies require three full meals a day. Really, we can survive on a lot less and our bodies will be happy for us .
  2.  Mix and match
    Most pro packers, choose outfits that are versatile to different styles and occasions.  If you find a couple of versatile wardrobe pieces, you might be able to pull four or five outfits out of it.


Read Recommended Packing List for Travel Vloggers

Swim & Beachwear

Here’s a list of some of the versatile pieces I use as well as, other summer essentials I’ll bring on a trip!

Bikini bra

Due to the fact its summer, its perfectly acceptable to see more bikinis underneath. A bikini makes a perfect substitute for bras and if you ever needed to change tops and you didn’t have a dressing room, voila! Being that i’m from Hawaii, I love Roxy halter top bikini topsir?source=bk&t=grrrltraveler 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=166fd31d926b93402778dcfea80ad3af& cb=1502858440025 .


Tankinis are another type of bathing suit top (tank top + bikini). They look like a tank top and if you pick the right pattern, you can easily transform it into a blouse/tank top/ gym workout  substitute.  The one I wear in my video is Tommy Bahama’s Halter Top Tankini.  The only problem I find with the one I’ve chosen is that the countries I tend to lean towards are more conservative and the frontal V dips rather low. Makes for a sexy evening blouse, but in a conservative country, I need to throw my white long-sleeve shirt over it.

Tankinis, Summer Travel Essentials for Packing Light, Tommy bahamas tankini
Tankinis by Tommy Bahamas


Check out Ways to Outsmart Pickpockets and Thieves

Pareo /Sarong/Scarf

If you saw my carry on video you know I’m a  fan of scarves! During the summer , my favorite green pashmina scarf is too warm for the beach, so I’ll bring a scarf that acts like a pareos (aka sarongs). These tend to be more stylish in pattern. These stylish wrap-arounds beach skirts make great scarf substitutes, beach towels, coverup dresses and blankets.

Tip:  If I’m packing a pareo, sometimes I leave my towel at home!  It helps me pack light.

pareo, scarf, sarong


Coverups come in all styles~ from zip-up hoodies to sheer tunics! My favorite is the La Blanca Island Fare white coverupir?source=bk&t=grrrltraveler 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=5d92d078375693c55ac1e387f45756a1& cb=1502857689662 which is to die for (I have an orange one too!). It makes me feel romantic, beach dressy and if I want to jump into a beach restaurant, I’m good to go.

PackingTip: Throw a camisole and leggings underneath your coverup and you’ve got a romantic tunic good for casual days and evenings

La Blanca tunic coverup , waikiki beach
La Blanca tunic coverupir?source=bk&t=grrrltraveler 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=db2e423f1f1f1a22374bf54c8c136ef4& cb=1502857620659 and my havianas


Another favorite of beach travelers is this Yincro Women Chiffon Tassel Beach Coverup. Light-weight, semi-sheer and boho-chic… no one would know it wasn’t a Seafolly kaftan coverup! (Note: It is four times less the cost!)

Seafolly Women Chiffon Tassel Beach Coverup
Women Chiffon Tassel Beach Coverup

Packing Essentials for Summer Beach Dress

The Summer Beach Dress

Beachwear invites casual, flowing, and lightweight summer dresses.  The easiest places to grab a fun beach dress is at a beachwear or surf retail shop. Most of the dresses may be a bit surfer chick but that’s not necessarily bad. Department stores, local night markets and hotel stores often carry them too.

Boho Maxi Long Dress has spaghetti straps and is 95% Rayon, 5% Spandex and beautifully flowy. You can wear it as a coverup over your bathing suit, as an evening or casual dress. I love mine. I wore mine at a travel conference and love to go shopping with it.

maxi long dress spaghetti straps
maxi long boho dress spaghetti straps

Jescakoo Women’s Summer Casual Wrap V Neck Dress is a classic wrap that is great for all occasions and never goes out of style. It’s an actual wrap dress so you can cinch it as much as you need.

Summer Casual Wrap V Neck Dress
Summer Casual Wrap V Neck Dress
Read: Packing List for Southeast Asia and India

Convertible skirt

The convertible skirt-dress are a 2-in-1 Transformer combo. You can either wear it as a skirt or sun dress.  Some are simple skirts that you pull up to create a sexy sun dress.  Others, you may find at kiosks that have a model out front showing you how you can use your convertible 100 ways.   While the latter is useful, I also find it rather complex to remember or suit up, even if you have a diagram in front of you.

Tip: You might even pair this with your tankini.

Classic Black pieces

I like to add a classic black polyester cami and black stretchy skirt to my wardrobe as interchangeable, mix-and-match items. They are great for tight spots, when you’ve packed like a backpacking bum and then find yourself wanting to go nightclubbing in the evening.

Take a look at this Summer Casual Handkerchief Hemline Midi Skirt. It is soft, comfy and flowy and can dress up any blouse you match with it. You can even pair it with a t-shirt!

Tip: Just throw a scarf, blouse or jacket over them for a stylish look!

summer hemline midi skirt
Prinstory hemline midi skirt

Wrinkle-free UV-protected long-sleeved shirts

I absolutely love Alpine Design’s long-sleeved sun shirts which I bought at Sports Authority years ago (Alternative: Columbia PFG Bahama; it’s a fishing shirt). I’ve not been able to find an online equivalent to what I have because the texture of the fabric is high quality and wrinkle-free (yes, the wrinkles actually loosen when you wear it, so it irons itself out) and I don’t get hot in it.on  Furthermore, it hangs on your body in a flattering way, such that I’ve used it from traveling rugged destinations  Bangkok ( the three seasons are hot, hotter and hottest) and then turned it around and used it with clients and meetings. It’s as breezy and comfy as wearing a t-shirt.  They’re also 100% UV protected and these days, due to global warming and the prevalence of skin cancer due to the harmful rays of the sun, every ounce of sun protection is well advised. The closest alternative to my original shirt might be here.

Columbia Women's PFG Bahama II UPF 30 Long Sleeve Fishing
Columbia Women’s PFG Bahama II UPF 30 Long Sleeve Fishing

Libin Women’s UPF 50+ Hoodie Jacket with finger holes offers sun protection for the beach or sport. It has a breathable mesh fiber made to keep you cool while you’re turning up the heat.

Libin Women's Full Zip UPF 50+ Sun Protection Hoodie Jacket Long Sleeve with Pockets
Libin Women’s Full Zip UPF 50+ Sun Protection Hoodie Jacket Long Sleeve with Pockets

Rash guards

Want to go swimming or snorkeling but not get too tanned or burnt? Getting a Women’s UPF50+ Long Sleeve Rash Guard is for the female traveler who wants to get wet but wants coverage. This rash guard offers UV Sun Protection, is quick dry and cooling. It offers a barrier between you and the elements and your water sport.

UV Sun Protection Shirts Quick Dry
UV Sun Protection Shirts Quick Dry

Convertible pants

 I’ve been a fan of NorthFace Convertible pants  for years.  It’s got a travel-safari look that I like and it’s helpful to strip down to shorts on hot days, without having to find a changing room. Although they look stiff, the pants get softer as you wear them. But you’ll also appreciate a little protective layer, when you hit rugged terrain and adventure activities.

northface convertible pants, best travel pants, best convertible travel pants, top travel gear, best travel gear for 2015
Best convertible travel pants


Black leggings work magic for any occasion. Form fitting, they can act as workout pants, casual evening wear or perfect for sightseeing.  They take up such little space in my luggage and day pack that I don’t know what I’d do without them.

Summer Travel Essentials for Packing Light

Essentials for Skin Protection

Sun, sun, sun! The sun is a criminal worse than any pickpocket or thief! It can rob you of good and healthy skin and at worse, ruin your health and vacation.

BB cream or CC cream

BB cream or CC creams are musts for me. They are mostly an all in one, foundation, concealer, moisturizer and SPF 20. My consistent brands are Face shop FACEIT CC Cream  and recently, Stila CC Color Corrector Cream.

Lip Balm

Lip balm is an essential for hot and dry locations.  These days, even lips require moisturizing and protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. I use Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer, which moisturizes in dry environment, while adding a little color to my lips!  The color rhubarb is perfect for my complexion.

Sun hat or sports cap

 A wide-brimmed sun hat or baseball cap is helpful to have for extra protection on a hot day’s trek or for lounging at the pool.  I always prefer my Korean-styled sports cap for activity, but these days, I’ve been going for more coverage in a floppy wide foldup hat.

A good firm straw hat that you can pack is Furtalk Womens Beach Sun Straw Hat UV Travel Foldable Brim This straw travel hat has a UV UPF50 to keep harmful rays out and has a travel foldable brim. The brim is neither to big and floppy or too small but offers decent coverage.

furtalk Womens Beach Sun Straw Hat UV Travel Foldable Brim
furtalk Womens Beach Sun Straw Hat UV Travel Foldable Brim

Wide floppy brims are great for coverage against the sun, but horrible if you’re going on a cruise or somewhere windy. If you’re going to go with a wider brim, make sure the brim is firm and not floppy. Additionally, any headwear which is floppy, expect the wind to catch on it and blow it up or push it down against your face. The second thing to consider is if it’s a packable hat or crushable vs. not (just think… airport carryon).

Summer Travel Essentials for Packing Light, packing light for summer
packing light for summer: Sports cap & lightweight wrinkle free UV proof shirt


Due to the fact the sun’s rays are only getting more harmful, it’s essential to pack sunscreen or buy it upon arrival. As I pack for carry on luggage, I buy my body sunscreen in the country I travel and pack my face stick sunscreen with me. Keep in mind, at some destinations (like Southeast Asia) it can be expensive.

I have two favorite facial sunscreens: Peter Thomas Roth’s SPF 30 Brush-on Powder and Coppertone Sport Stick SPF 55. Both are great on the go. Sprays allow for greater coverage and easier application than creams. However, if you want to feel protected, creams are usually the way to go.

Sunscreen for summer, Summer Travel Essentials for Packing Light
Sunscreen for face



Footwear can get clunky and take up a lot of space in your luggage. So when packing, i’m looking at bare essentials. I adopt a two footwear rule:  I take only two types of footwear…. running shoes and flip-flops. If I am somewhere urban or I know I’ll hit a nightlife scene, I’ll make it a three footwear rule, throwing in my best pair of fashion shoes or sandals.

Running or hiking shoes

They fit every athletic occasion and can take the long haul.

New Balance running shoes are my favorite brand. I like how they have good shock absorption and they cradle my high arched feet. I can last hours in them without my feet hurting.

Tip: As I’m on my feet all day long, I always throw in a padded insoles or gel cushions to absorb extra shock, so I don’t wear my tootsies out too quickly.  The padded insoles are also perfect for when your shoes begin to smell. You can easily wash the insoles and hang them to dry as you walk around in your normal shoes.

Flip flops

They’re  just a good idea for any trip, hostel stay or beach vacation. At some point, you’ll want to resort to them.  Comfort can come at a price. If you want slippers that provide comfort over long walks, my favorite brands are:

Reef – Made from a surf clothing company. Lightweight and comfortable. Easy to pack.

Sanuk – Sanuk claim to make your feet happy and they don’t lie. They’re made from  real yoga mats, so your feet will feel like chanting OM as they walk on heaven.

Havianas – Made in Brazil, they don’t feel like flip flops. The rubber is smooth, soft and lightweight. Sometimes I don’t feel them at all.


Havianas for summer
Havianas for summer

What would  you recommend for the summer travel?

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Summer Travel Essentials for Packing Light


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