Travel

14 Travel Accessories For Summer That’ll Make Your Next Vacay So Much Better

written by JESSICA FRIEDHOFF

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Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

Traveling any time of the year requires careful planning. You need a detailed packing list and a comprehensive logistical plan to get you through the airport, to your destination, and back home again. But summer travel comes with its own set of considerations, as airports become busier, the weather gets warmer, and activities involving sun, sand, and water are more likely to be on the itinerary. In addition to your typical travel essentials, you need to be prepared with a few summer-specific items to make your traveling experience as comfortable and convenient as possible. We’ve rounded up some must-have travel accessories for summer that we guarantee your future self will thank you for. 

1. Water Bottle

Hydration is always important, but it’s even more crucial when you’re spending long hours in the sun. There’s just nothing more refreshing than a sip of ice-cold water on a scorching day. Traveling with a well-insulated water bottle ensures you always have cool water on hand, and these options are equal parts cute and practical.

Target
Owala Freesip

7 colors available

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Amazon
24 Oz Hydro Flask

10+ colors available

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2. Packable Beach Bag

Unless you want to drag your suitcase to the beach, a beach bag is essential to take all your seaside necessities back and forth. These easily packable options separate the sand from your stuff without taking up too much room in your suitcase. Plus, these are cute enought to use as a tote bag for strolling around town.

Madwell
Crochet Straw Packable Tote

2 colors available

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Target
Mesh Tote Handbag

6 colors available

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Baggu
Foldable Tote

10+ colors available

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3. Waterproof Speaker

Nothing elevates a vacation like a curated soundtrack, and with a waterproof speaker, you can set the vibe wherever you go. These options are small enough to fit in your suitcase and portable enough to take them on the move. Trust us, once you add a speaker to your usual packing list, you’ll wonder how you ever traveled without one.

Amazon
Bose Bluetooth Portable Speaker
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Amazon
Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

5 colors available

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Amazon
JBL Clip Speaker

10+ colors available

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travel accessories for summer
Source: Dupe | Sash Gabriel

4. Sunglasses

Whether you’re at the beach, by the pool, or out sightseeing on a sunny day, sunglasses are a must. They shield your eyes and instantly make any outfit a little bit chicer. We recommend polarized options for maximum protection against the sun’s rays, which is especially key when you’re spending hours outdoors.

Quay Australia
Oversize Aviator Sunglasses
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Free People
Polarized Sunglasses

4 colors available

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Revolve
Dime Optics Sunglasses
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5. Belt Bag

Belt bags are our go-to for a hands-free travel bag that feels super secure and is comfortable enough to wear all day. Especially during a busy summer travel season, keeping your belongings zipped up and close to your body is always a good idea. And if you’re traveling alone, wearing a secure, crossbody bag is one of the best solo travel tips to prevent you from becoming a target for pickpockets.

Lululemon
Everywhere Belt Bag

10+ colors available

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Quince
Italian Pebbled Leather Sling Bag

5 colors available

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Dagne Dover
Neoprene Fanny Pack

10+ colors available

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CALPAK
Minin Belt Bag

10+ colors available

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6. Kindle

From road trips to international travel, a Kindle is just so much more convenient than lugging around a physical book. You can easily slip this device into your personal item, and you’ll never have to worry about finishing your book too soon and running out of reading material. Plus, if you opt for one of the water-resistant models (AKA the Paperwhite or Oasis), you can rest assured an accidental dip in the pool or any other body of water isn’t going to ruin it.

Amazon
Kindle Paperwhite

3 colors available

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Amazon
Kindle Oasis
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7. Packable Straw Hat

Straw hats are both a chic summer accessory and a practical defense against the sun, but packing one can truly be a pain. Space concerns and worries about ruining its shape can lead you to forego a hat altogether—unless you’ve got one of these packable versions. Designed to roll up neatly and unfold again wrinkle-free, these straw hats are a game-changer.

J. Crew
Wide-Brim Packable Straw Hat

2 colors available

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Free People
Woven Packable Hat

5 colors available

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Nordstrom
Packable Floppy Hat

4 colors available

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Camille Travel Accessories For Summer
Source: Charmed by Camille

8. Packing Cubes

Even the best travel bags can’t stem the chaos if the inside of your suitcase looks like a jumbled mess. If you struggle with keeping your luggage organized, packing cubes are the #1 piece of travel gear you need to invest in this summer. By keeping your clothes neatly organized and compressed, they not only make it easy to pack, but you’ll also know exactly where everything is once you get there. No more rifling through your whole suitcase to find your swimsuit!

BÉIS
6-Piece Packing Cube Set
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CALPAK
Packing Cubes 5-Piece Set

10+ colors available

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Mark & Graham
Monogrammed Packing Cube Set

10+ colors available

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9. Quick-Dry Towel

Whether you’re using it to lay out on the beach or to dry off after taking a dip, a quick-drying towel is a must for travel. It’s even more important if you’ll be staying in a place where towels aren’t readily available, like at a campsite or in a hostel, or if your hotel doesn’t allow you to take towels off the property. Choose one made from lightweight microfiber to ensure it can fold up compactly and dry as quickly as possible. 

Nomadix
Ultralight Travel

8 colors available

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Sea to Summit
Drylite Towel

3 colors available

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10. Sun-Protective Clothing

OK, I’ll admit this may not be the sexiest thing to pack for a summer vacation. But when you get a major sunburn halfway through your trip, you’re going to want some extra protection beyond sunscreen. Or maybe you’ll have the good sense to wear sun-protective clothing throughout, reducing your chances of getting sunburnt to basically zero. Whether you’re at the beach, on a hike, or out sightseeing, there’s no better protection for spending hours outside.

J. Crew
Active Long-Sleeve Rash Guard

4 colors available

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Athleta
Pacifica Illume UPF Fitted Top

4 colors available

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Athleta
Cropped Rashguard

3 colors available

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Eddie Bauer
Women’s UPF Guide 2.0 Shirt

4 colors available

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megan beach trip
Source: @meganstokes

11. Towel Clips

If you’ve ever felt the frustration of your towel constantly slipping down your lounge chair while relaxing by the pool or beach, you understand the genius of this summer travel accessory. These clips are designed to keep your towel in place despite wind or gravity—they even make ones you can stake in the sand! Plus, they’re small enough that you can easily pack them in a carry-on.

Amazon
Beach Towel Clips
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Amazon
Beach Towel Clips
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Target
Towel Clips
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12. Travel Toiletry Containers

Packing toiletry items like face wash and moisturizer is obviously a must no matter what time of year you’re traveling. But for summer travel, you may find yourself needing to pack a few extras (hello, sunscreen and aloe vera). To save precious space in that TSA-approved liquids bag, trade individual travel-size products for capsules you can fill with your favorite products from home. From serums and creams to hair-care products and more, these leakproof containers will revolutionize your toiletry bag.

Cadence
Bestseller Set

8 colors available

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Amazon
Silicone Travel Containers

6 colors available

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13. Waterproof Phone Case

If your summer travel plans include any water-adjacent activities, you’re going to want one of these. Keep your phone (and other small belongings like a wallet or ID) protected throughout boat rides and beach days with a waterproof pouch. The touch-friendly design ensures you can still text, scroll, and snap pics—even from underwater.

Amazon
Waterproof Phone Pouch
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Amazon
Waterproof Phone Pouch Case

5 colors available

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14. Wet Bag for Swimsuits

I don’t think I have to explain the horrors that can ensue if you toss a wet swimsuit into a bag with the rest of your stuff. Whether you’re heading back from the beach or packing up to go home, keep your wet suit contained (and any sand that came with it) with one of these waterproof wet bags. 

Dagne Dover
Roll Top Dry Bag

4 colors available

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Dermstore
Wet Bag
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The Container Store
Travel Wet Bag

2 colors available

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Summer Travel Accessories List

Consider this your official packing list for all your summer travels: