20+ Must-Have Items To Add To Your Vacation Packing List

20+ Must-Have Items To Add To Your Vacation Packing List

This summer, my partner and I are finally taking our long-awaited honeymoon trip to France. When we got married over four years ago, we didn't anticipate that our plans would get delayed quite this much. But factor in an unexpected cross-country move for new jobs, a serious health scare that sidelined me for the better part of 2019, and a global pandemic, and it all makes sense. But at last, our two-week adventure abroad from Los Angeles to Paris is fully planned and booked for this June and July, and the only thing left to do is to organize my packing list for our vacation — and do a little shopping of course.

Our plan is to spend one week living our best flâneur life walking from arrondissement to arrondissement in Paris — exploring museums, flea markets, and where ever else the wind takes us. This calls for breathable pieces that will make it comfortable to log plenty of miles under the heat of the summer sun. (By the way, if you have any recs for must-see Paris spots, my DMs are open @colourwars). Then for the second week of our trip, we'll train down to the south of France and split out time between Cassis and the general Cote d'Azur region and end the trip driving up through Provence. I've been dreaming and scheming this trip for literal years — it's hard to believe it's almost here!

If you're in a similar boat and starting to travel again after a long hiatus, packing may feel seriously intimidating. Here's hoping that my thorough overshare below will help you build your own solid packing list so you can depart for your next trip feeling relaxed and ready to disconnect — not worried about what you might forget at home. Allons-y!

My Official Packing List For A Two-Week Vacation In Europe

What To Pack In A Carry-On — Clothes and Accessories

Clothing packing list for vacation

Swim Suit
Casual Outfits
Going-Out Outfits

purple carry on suitcase away

Away The Carry-On ($275)

My husband called dibs on my favorite luggage so I may take this as an excuse to invest in a new colorful carry-on bag complete with a lifetime warranty. If lilac doesn't strike your fancy, we've got plenty more carry-on luggage recs here.

green crop top and green short set from gap

Gap '90s Reissue Cropped T-Shirt ($27) and GapFit Rec Shorts ($20)

I'm trying to resist the temptation to dress like a French girl cliché, so I plan on packing a slew of my monochrome sets like this one in a bright Kelly green vs. Breton strips galore.

parade high waist underwear

Parade High Rise Boyshort ($12)

If you haven't tried Parade undergarments yet, this is your sign that you should! They're ultra-comfy and come in the best colors. I always bring a few neutral pairs with me if I'm traveling with white pants or sheer-ish dresses.

Lively Bralette and High Waist Swim Bundle ($95)

One of our hotels is right on the water in Cassis, so that seems like a good impetus to invest in a new swimsuit for the summer. This cabana stripe set feels very Cote d'Azur.

madewell gingham dress

Madewell Patchwork Gingham Button-Front Tiered Midi Dress ($138)

I love a dress that can pull double-duty as a frock on its own or function as a beach coverup. This breezy piece could work for lazying around our hotel or for adventuring into town.

Allbirds white

Allbirds Women's Tree Runners ($105)

I wear these sneakers everywhere and with everything. It truly feels like you're walking on clouds in these, and my feet will need the support as I rack up miles walking around Parisian streets!

urban outfitters floral bucket hat

Urban Outfitters Blake Printed Bucket Hat ($25)

Am I too old to rock a bucket hat? Maybe, but this flower power hat will shield my pale, over-freckled skin from the summer sun and make me easy to spot if I wander off from my partner while shopping or exploring a museum.

Charlotte stone checkered pool slides

Charlotte Stone Jaquie Pool Slides ($198)

I'm usually a Tevas kind of gal but these rainbow checkered pool slides are screaming vacation and might need to come along with us on our trip! Here are some other great spring shoe and sandal trends if you're keen to browse.

Emma Mulholland pyjamas

Emma Mulholland Check Pyjama Short Set in Olive ($162)

You can't go wrong with a fun matching set, and these linen pajamas have a nice relaxed fit that are comfy for sleeping and lounging around. These would also make for a great swim coverup.

chunky sweater and other stories

& Other Stories Boxy Rib Knit Cardigan ($89)

Peak summer travel doesn't typically call for sweater weather — but better safe than sorry! This knit will also be nice folded up as a plane pillow if I need extra comfort on the flight.

Essentials For Your Personal Item — Bag, Purse, or Tote

Packing Checklist Personal Items and Electronics

Foreign Currency
Hand Sanitizer
Sleep Patches
International Power Adapter
Hand Cream
Water Bottle

slim colorblock wallet card case

Madewell Leather Card Case ($30)

I hate carrying around a bulky wallet so I opt for thin card cases that can easily fit in my small fanny pack. Once abroad, I won't need my Vons grocery store card or other local punch cards I keep on me, so downsizing isn't a problem.

floral passport holder

Ban.do Getaway Passport Holder in Emerald Super Bloom ($15)

I just got a new passport and my photo is horrendous — so I'm getting a cute passport holder to cheer me up when I have travel with it.

happy plugs wireless airbud earbud

Happy Plugs Air 1 Plus Wireless Earbuds ($99)

You shouldn't be fighting with tangled cords when you're on vacation. That's why I'll be bringing along my wireless earbuds for my audiobook and music binges.

Amass hand sanitizer spray

AMASS Four Thieves Mist Hand Sanitizer ($20)

Yes, hand sanitizer is still essential. And a mist makes it a little more fun.

Nite Nite sleeping patches from the good patch

The Good Patch Nite Nite Patch ($16)

We originally featured these in our spring break essentials piece because of their ability to help with jet lag and a messed up sleep schedule. I'm hoping these patches packed with premium hemp extract and melatonin will help me catch some zzz's on my 12-hour flight from Los Angeles to Paris.

light pink sunglasses

Sunski Dipsea Dusk Bronze Sunglasses ($58)

These polarized sunnies are neutral enough that they should match most of the outfits I'll be packing.

Comrad Knee-High Compression Socks ($32)

I don't mess around when it comes to long flights, especially if they're overnight and I hope to sleep. These compression socks give me peace of mind and also ensure I won't have to deal with any swelling from traveling.

Two pack international power adapter plug

European Travel Plug Adapter, 2-Pack ($22)

During my first trip to France in 2011, I totally fried all of my hair styling tools because of my adapter situation. Rookie move. I will not make the same mistake this time, so I'll be bringing backup with these power plug adapters for my phone charger and flat iron.

Baggu grid print tote duck bag

Baggu Duck Bag ($34)

A roomy bag with a zip or snap closure makes for a great personal item while flying. This one will fit my personal essentials, reading material, and a few plane snacks — and it's neutral enough to match a lot of my travel looks to wear once I'm in France.

Tylenol dissolve packs

Tylenol Extra Strength Dissolve Packs ($5)

I'm a baby when it comes to taking pills, especially if I'm head-achy or PMSing and I don't have any water nearby. These little dissolvable packs are great for stowing in your purse for unexpected health hiccups and they kind of taste like Pixy Stix, so there's no bitter aftertaste to worry about.

aesop travel size hand cream aromatique

Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm ($31)

I have super dry skin and live in a desert climate in California, so I'm very bougie about my hand cream. This one has never let me down.

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry ($10)

I can't travel without a book or two, and this one is just so delightful! I'll likely bring Emily Henry's newest novel, Book Lovers, with me as well.

Personal Care Toiletries Packing List

Packing Checklist for vacation toiletries

Travel Size Skin Care
Travel Size Shampoo & Conditioner
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Styling Tools
Dry Shampoo
Brush or Comb

Want more inspiration? Check out our thorough travel-size beauty product cheatsheet!

Cadence Travel Size lotion organizer

Cadence Capsules ($14)

These little holders are great for transferring over your skincare so you can keep your routine while on the go. They're also magnetic so you don't have to worry about losing them.

bliss spf mini for travel size sunscreen

Bliss Block Star™ Mineral Sunscreen ($9)

SPF is my number one skincare essential, so a few travel size sunscreens will definitely be in my toiletries bag. The Bliss daily sunscreen is a great option for its clean ingredients, sheer finish, and fresh lavender scent.

rose inc blush and lip stain

Blush Divine Radiant Lip & Cheek Color ($30)

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's new beauty line totally lives up to the hype. In addition to the tinted serum I use regularly, the hydrating cream lip and blush stain is perfect to complete a no-makeup makeup look on vacation.

sand & sky serum

Sand & Sky Tasmanian Spring Water Splash Serum Travel Size ($30)

When treating my dry skin, I look for products with hyaluronic acid in them for an extra blast of hydration like this water-based serum from Sand & Sky.

r+co death valley dry shampoo

R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo Mini ($18)

My favorite dry shampoo that comes in a travel size spray. It smells great and adds volume for a win-win.

euphoria makeup half magic

Half Magic Chromaddiction Matte Eye Paint ($24)

You never know what adventures await when you're heading abroad, so I'll be packing a few fun beauty products like this graphic chartreuse eye color from Euphoria's makeup artist, Donni Davy, for unexpected nights out and gallery hopping.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Travel Size

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($25)

This product has been my holy grail for the last decade — at least. It's light enough for summer wear and delivers the perfect no-makeup makeup finish to smooth out any uneven color on my face. The SPF is an added bonus paired with the other sunscreen I wear, and the travel size version won't take up too much space in my toiletries bag.

With any luck, I'll have plenty of space to squeeze in all of the above (and more) into my carry-on luggage. If you're heading somewhere fun this summer, DM us @britandco and tell us about your packing list travel essentials and where you're headed on your next vacation!

Back to blog