Between snow showers and single-degree weather, the new year can be a bit of a downer — but you know what’s not a downer? Spring break, that’s what. Lucky for us, it’s just a few days — or weeks — away. Whether you’re a college grad planning on backpacking your way through Europe, a bachelor headed to Tulum or a kid-free couple looking to take advantage of some paid time off in the Caribbean Islands, the point of spring break is the same: to escape your current reality and completely unwind.
But before you can do that, you’ve got to pack. We’re here with a roundup of spring break essentials to bring on your upcoming adventure — whether you’re planning for a road trip or a flight across the country. Consider this your packing list cheat sheet. From travel necessities like passport cases, carry-on bags and luggage tags to organizational tricks like packing cubes and wet bags, to warm-weather wardrobe must-haves like bathing suits, cover-ups and sandals, we’ve got every facet of your entire trip covered. Check out our favorites below, and just remember, don’t overpack — and follow our tips for avoiding checked bag fees!
Between Uber rides, airport security bins and public restrooms galore, you’re going to want to be sanitizing those hands — a lot. Keep the Purell handy 24/7 with these wrap carriers that you can attach to your tote or backpack, and with a set of eight, you’ve got one for everyone in your party. Another thought: Stash some disinfecting wipes in your carry-on so that you can de-germ everything around you throughout your travels.
For many, polycarbonate luggage is the only way to go when traveling, and Away is one of our favorite makers of the style. Sized to perfectly fit in the overhead bin, The Carry-On has 360-degree spinner wheels and an interior compression system that makes for intuitive packing — not to mention a USB phone charger if you opt to pay an extra $20. After our testing, we ranked the Away Carry-On as the best overall hard-shell carry-on luggage.
While there are many travel jewelry cases out there, this option from Calpak is one of our favorites for good reason. It features a 28-hole earring card, four snap tabs for rings and necklaces, a padded ring roll and a super-luxe drawstring pouch for corralling bulkier pieces like watches and bracelets. The case is feminine yet structured with a zip-around opening.
A true sign of adulting? Have a matching passport case and luggage tag. We love this set from Mark & Graham, which is crafted from vegan leather with a crisp, clean finish. More to know: For a small fee, you can have a monogram shadow printed onto both. Looking for a luggage tag with a bit more personality? Check out the brand’s fun leather options that are available in seven different colors here.
Know what you don’t need this vacation? A “low battery” notification. Ensure your phone is always fully charged with this Anker option that has 13,000mAh — enough power to fully fuel an iPhone 11 two and a half times. As a bonus, the two USB-A ports mean that you can charge two devices at once. After testing, this was our pick as the best overall portable charger, and it’s perfect for your spring break trip.
Set yourself up for viewing success on your next jaunt in the sky with the Flight Flap, a bendable phone and tablet holder that can attach to the seat in front of you or rest on your tray table. The best part? It flattens for easy stowing when not in use.
These small but mighty containers are a travel game-changer. The set is completely customizable — pick your favorite colors and any labels to fit on the top of each — and fit the magnetic containers together for staying organized while in transit. Not only can you use them for liquids and gels, as they're completely leak-proof, but you can also use them to carry around jewelry, powders and much more.
There is a slew of pricey noise-canceling headphones on the market, but we declared this pair from Anker to a good budget option to buy. The sound-canceling capabilities compare to that of a brand six times more expensive, and our editors also loved the Soundcore Life Q20’s extreme comfort, great sound and incredible 40 hours of battery life. Looking to splurge on a fancier pair? A pair of the Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones is the way to go.
The AirFly is a must-have travel accessory if you fly with Bluetooth wireless headphones. It acts as an adapter that plugs directly into the in-flight entertainment system. Once it's paired with your headphones, you can listen to the movie or show of your choice from the seatback screen without needing a pair of poor-quality headphones or earbuds from the airline.
Would you spend 10 bucks to save your phone from water-related death? We thought so. More than 75,000 Amazon reviewers did, too. Simply place your phone in this IPX8-certified waterproof pouch, secure the lock mechanism and voila, your phone is safe from water, snow, dust and scratches. More to know: When 100% sealed, the pouch is screen-touch sensitive, meaning you can take your phone with you underwater and nab some coral reef photos and videos for the ’gram.
Hit all your packing cube needs with this pretty set from Mark & Graham that includes one extra-large, one large and two small packing cubes, in addition to a shoe bag and the ever-important laundry bag. Available in a natural light pink, navy and an adorable navy-and-white pinstripe, the set can also be monogrammed with initials for an additional 12 bucks. Done and done. (For more packing cube options, visit here.)
One unfortunate part of vacationing is that as the days pass, the laundry increases. Tuck your stinky and stained items out of sight in these Isolate Cubes from Eagle Creek. The cube walls are lined with an antimicrobial treatment to keep odors — and dirt — contained within the zippered pouches. We love that they’re water-resistant and machine washable, too.
If you're looking to pack everything for your spring break trip in just a backpack, look no further than the Incase A.R.C. Travel Pack. In our testing, we found this to be a great travel backpack option for longer trips when you want to avoid checking a bag. It's got plenty of storage options as well as a butterfly-style packing system that allows you to utilize packing cubes and other organizational tools. While it's pricier than some other travel backpacks on the market, it's sure to last for many trips to come thanks to its durable exterior and versatility to use from vacation to the office and beyond.
Listen, we get it, a spring break round-up doesn’t typically include a luxe puffer. If you’re like us, you’re hopping on a plane to get away from your current freezing locale — meaning you’ll be bookending that fabulous vacation with single-digit temps. Avoid shivering during your airport commute with this insanely warm jacket from Canada Goose that can actually pack into itself by folding the entire jacket into the left side pocket, which then turns into a cinchable bag with a backpack strap. While we love the fact that the Cypress is travel-friendly, its true selling point is that it’s going to keep you warm all winter long for the next few decades. For a less-expensive option, check out Girlfriend’s Fossil Hooded Packable Puffer.
If you want to pack for your spring break trip in just a weekender bag, look no further than July's Volume+ Weekender bag. When expanded, the bag features 42 liters of packable space — enough for a few days away from home. Best of all, this bag still qualifies as a carry-on bag with most airlines, so you won't have to worry about checking it once you get to the airport.
Sunscreen is a spring break must, and we love the Supergoop! PLAY option that is packed with SPF 30. Moisturizing, fast-absorbing and easy to blend into the skin, this Supergoop! option is free from harsh chemicals and is water and sweat resistant for up to 80 minutes. So, it's the perfect option if you're planning on playing some beach volleyball or tennis under the sun's rays. We’re fans of the mini, TSA-approved size, but if you want the bigger option, visit here.
We get it: You want to take all of your bags on the trip — but that takes up a lot of space. Solve the problem with Paravel’s travel backpack, which folds up into a zipped petite pouch. A mini version of the brand’s beloved Fold-Up Backpack, this smaller option is perfect for exploring a local market or heading out for a day of boating. Weighing in at less than half a pound, the backpack also comes in six colors and can be monogrammed for an extra $15.
Meet the new “It” bag! Beloved by Marianna Hewitt and influencers galore, Naghedi NYC’s handwoven neoprene totes are not only incredibly chic, but they can also transition from the airport to the beach with ease thanks to that durable, easy-to-clean fabric and the roomy bag interior. We love the unique patterns — from this orange stunner stunner to monochromatic neutrals — and the fact that each tote comes with a matching zippered pouch (perfect for storing your phone and sunscreen!).
This Amazon dress is a must-pack for any spring break vacation — and you'll love it during summer, too. Starting at just $32, we love it for its variety of colors and patterns available and its flattering shape. The fit emphasizes the right places, it's a great length and comes at a price point that makes it an excellent option for getting a few different colors for each night of your spring break vacation.
Sunglasses are a vacation must, and we love Goodr because it’s got dozens of fun options — all of which are priced at just $25 to $35. Lightweight and slip-proof — even when you’re really, really sweaty — the glasses are known for their snug fit and polarized lenses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. We’re also not mad at the hilarious names, like “Gardening with a Kraken” and “Falkor’s Fever Dream.”
Slip-on shoes that are comfortable, cute and machine-washable? Yep, they exist for men — and women, too. We’re obsessed with the shoe’s cozy fit and soft knit fabric, which is spun from plastic water bottles. The perfect travel shoe, the Driving Loafer will keep you warm throughout your travel day and will have you looking spiffy for vacation date night. Did we mention they’re machine washable, too?