Your tickets are booked, hotel is reserved (and if not get the hell on it) and you are seriously ready to get your party face on. But what are you bringing? Sure you could play it safe and bring your whole closet in a checked bag, but baggage fees are so last year. Let’s break down the essentials you’ll need and show you how to get them all neatly packed in your carry on. Because the less time you waste waiting at a baggage carousel means more time on the beach and isn’t that really the whole point?

Table of Contents

spring break

Sunscreen. Non-negotiable. Because, safety. Also nobody wants to party with the bright red lobster with the unfortunate tan lines. Bonus: don’t forget lip balm with SPF either, because your lips burn fast in that afternoon sun.

Refillable water bottle (empty during the actual travel, natch). Bonus if you can find one of those collapsible ones. The goal is to stay hydrated with your own water supply and NOT have to shell out your beer money on bottled water.

Portable battery and phone charger. If you don’t have a portable rechargeable battery, buy or borrow one. You will have your phone out all day, snapping pictures, posting Instagrams to make your friends back home jealous, and getting walking directions to Senor Frogs. A portable battery means never being tied to an outlet. FREEDOMMMMM!

Two swimsuits. Because your main one will probably not dry overnight on your hotel balcony, and slipping into a cold, damp suit in the morning feels gross.

It may also get covered in...stuff.

It may also get covered in…stuff.

A light jacket. You are probably heading somewhere warm, but the nights can get chilly or a sudden downpour could literally rain on your parade.

Aspirin. Long days in the sun + drinking = headaches. Also good for muscle aches if you flex too hard trying to impress some hottie on the beach.

Your own towel. Some hotels do not allow you to borrow theirs for the beach, and you don’t want to have to buy a $30 towel from a souvenir shop. Your towel also rolls up to make a good neck pillow on your flight, so when you are hung over tired on the way home you can rest a little easier.

So now that you know what to bring, here’s how to get it all in your carry on, because you are smart like that…

  • Take those travel-sized bottles and tubes out of their bulky boxes and into a clear Ziploc. Easier at airport security and takes up much less space.
  • Roll, don’t fold. Rolled clothes defy the laws of physics and fit better. Don’t ask how, just try it and thank us later.
  • Limit yourself to three pairs of shoes, MAX. Ladies, we are looking at you here. You really only need three pairs: flip flops for the beach, your favorite sneakers for the rest of the time and one pair of dressy flats if you decide to hit the dance floor. These can be swapped for heels if you absolutely have to, but they will take up more precious real estate in your bag.
  • Wear your sneakers, your jeans and your jacket for the plane ride. The bulkiest stuff you are packing won’t waste space if you wear it to and from Cancun.

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