What to Pack for Vacation: Must-Pack College Apparel For College Students and Alumni

What to Pack for Vacation: Must-Pack College Apparel For College Students and Alumni

I. Beach-bound

A. Man-up

B. Breezy and beautiful

II. Think safety

III. The accessories

The last year kept most of us from travelling, and most of us are itching to get back. Whether you’re an alumnus looking to head back to the old stomping grounds or a student looking to take a weekend road trip, there are some essentials you are going to need to make your visit complete. What to pack for vacation may be just as important where you’re going.

How are you getting to your destination?  The airlines are slowly coming back to life and need to maximize their financial opportunities-- that means bag fares still exist.  If you’re going to have limited luggage space, you’ll need to be strategic in your choices.  Take the time to pare down your packing to some vacation essentials.  Of course, where you’re going is going to dictate what makes your vacation essentials list.


Summer vacation is the perfect time to head down to the beach. From Martha’s Vineyard down to the Florida Keys, there are some specific beach vacation essentials that should be in your bag. Obviously, we all know that it is important to pack sunscreen and bathing suits. Why else would you go to the beach if you don’t intend to hit the sand?

Then again, maybe the beach isn’t just about sun and sand.


Are you heading to South Beach? Maybe Myrtle Beach or Seaside Heights. Everyone likes to rep their schools on the shore. Pack some shorts and tees that announce your allegiance.  Don’t forget to pack a ball cap to protect your skin (and show off your school). Sun safety is a great opportunity to sport your colors.

Wherever you’re headed, think about your time away from the shore. For the guys, pack some light pants and leisure shoes. Don’t be the guy that heads out to dinner in flip flops. Hawiian shirts have made a comeback and are a great summer vacation essential.  These comfortable styles are great for dinners out, or catching some local music.  If you’re going to be hitting the clubs, stick to good jeans and casual shirts.  You’ll probably want to avoid hitting the cologne too hard-- after getting sun during the day, the alcohol base can irritate tanned skin.

Breezy and beautiful

For the ladies, keep things light and breezy. Some summer dresses will give you the ability to go from evenings in the restaurants to nightlife fun. Remember that temperatures at the beach can drop dramatically at night, so pack a lightweight sweater or jacket to be safe. Avoid heels.  Beach towns have notoriously uneven sidewalks, streets and boardwalks. Pack some sandals that are not flip-flops. Flats or small heels can prevent an unfortunate accident.  

Of course, what you pack for a beach vacation is often dictated by the beach. It is likely that you’re going to need to pack a comfy sweatshirt or two if you are heading up to Cape Cod.  On the other hand, Ft. Lauderdale visitors often find the need for sweats or sweaters pretty minimal, even at night. Light, loose-fitting clothes are an important choice, just in case you overdo the sun worshipping. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go.

Think safety

Be sure you are sensible with your valuables. Don’t pack a lot of expensive jewelry.  Make sure that your wallet and keys are as pickpocket-proof as possible.  Beach towns are known to attract small-time criminals and petty thieves. Don’t let yourself be an easy mark. Men should be sure their pockets are not too baggy or easily accessible, especially if you’ll be carrying cash or credit cards. A money clip emblazoned with your school’s crest is a great way to make a statement, while helping to keep your cash in your pocket.

Women should pack a bag that has a strong strap. As fashionable as a thin-strapped purse might be, a quick swipe can mean a ruined vacation. A bag that can’t be easily pulled off your shoulder makes you less likely to have a run in with a purse snatcher.

The accessories

As we mentioned before, a beach vacation is probably not the place for your best jewelry or most expensive watch but that doesn’t mean there is no room for accessories on your list of beach vacation essentials. The choices you make when packing for your beach vacation can either make things convenient.

Remember a beach tote. Depending on your needs, the facilities available at your destination and how you like to beach it up, you’re going to want the right bag. For some, a simple, canvas tote can do the job. For others, maybe it’s a well-worn napsack. Remember, sand, sun and salt water can be harsh, so plan accordingly.

A beach blanket or towel with your college’s logo can be a great conversation starter.  Think oversized. Large towels and blankets provide comfortable seating, especially when the sand is hot. The ocean is usually quite a bit cooler than the backyard pool, so you’ll appreciate the ample wrap of a large towel after a dip. There are definitely some things to consider when choosing beach towels and blankets.

Slick artificial fibers do tend to repel sand, but can often absorb more heat than natural fibers.  Cotton and bamboo are popular natural fibers and technology has gotten to the point where the knits can help with sand.

Finally, here’s a little family secret-- pack some baby powder in your beach bag. Once you are off the sand and heading to your car, apply some baby powder to your dry skin to release any sand that is still clinging to you. The baby powder absorbs whatever moisture is still on your skin, causing the sand to continue to stick to you.  A light application of baby powder will prevent an itchy walk or ride back to your accommodations.

With some simple foresight, figuring out what to pack for vacation can be easy; and your beach vacation can be a fun, safe time to connect with friends and family. Bring what you need, and avoid exposing yourself to the dangers of resort towns.

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