Spring Break Essentials: What to Pack for a Carefree Vacation

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you!) if you make a purchase using any of these links.*

what to bring on spring break

Traveling with friends and family is, in my opinion, one of life’s greatest experiences, and Spring Break is usually an opportune time to do it. Getting to share new adventures with the ones you love is such a special, although oftentimes expensive, thing. I just got back from a cruise around the Western Caribbean with Kyle and my family, and as incredible as it was, I’m happy I remembered what to bring on Spring Break. Cozumel, Key West, and the Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman (where these amazing shots were taken– I mean seriously, how gorgeous is that water?) wouldn’t have been the same without my slew of Instagram-worthy beach essentials. Keep scrolling for the full packing list and for swimsuit details.

what to bring on spring break

Gotta love big brothers.

what to bring on spring breakwhat to bring on spring breakShop the Look: One Piece Swimsuit: Ella Moss, $118 | Hat: J.Crew, $35 (similar)

What to Bring on Spring Break

Now for what to bring on spring break… below you’ll find all my spring break success essentials– not including the obvious, like sunscreen. Please protect your skin. You’ll be mad at yourself in as little as five years if you don’t (trust me). Also, because I’m currently coveting them both, I couldn’t not include two of my favorite one piece swimsuits. Still, be on the lookout for a round-up of my favorite one pieces at a variety of price points next week. 

what to bring on spring break

1. Square Cash, Free: My primary recommendation isn’t even a tangible item; it’s a phone app called Square Cash. With excursions, dinners, and drinks being purchased left and right, it’s so nice to be able to square up (pun intended) immediately– and to not have to keep hounding your big brothers for the money they owe you.

After having my identity stolen last year, I get easily sketched out by financial apps. I remember having my PayPal account hacked and wanting to never send money electronically again. Square Cash is protected by a 128-bit encryption and fingerprint scanning with passcode optionality, so it’s completely safe to use. With just a quick link of your debit card, Square Cash allows you to quickly send, receive, or request money from friends and family, so you don’t need to hunt anyone down after your vacation is over. Square Cash is also incredibly user friendly, and its most useful feature (in my opinion) is how quickly deposits can move to your bank account once a transaction is complete. It can literally take seconds, compared to days from Venmo or Facebook Messenger. Download it for free for iPhone here and for Android here.

2. Antigua Goddess One Piece, $160: One pieces are 2017’s biggest trend in swimwear, and every girl needs at least one bright and colorful suit. This floral Nanette Lepore one piece styled with slim straps at the plunging V neckline and lace-up detailing at the low back is Spring Break perfection. You’ll get compliments left and right for its flattering silhouette, and your Instagram followers will be dying to know where you found it. 

3.  GiGi Floral Printed Sandals, $60: A comfy pair of thong sandals is vital for looking cute and allowing for spontaneous adventures simultaneously. As much as I love fluffy pom poms and lace-up straps, I just don’t think they’re comfortable. These printed thong sandals are. Plus, the cheerful floral print accent screams Spring Break.

4. ‘Liana’ Portable iPhone Charger, $45: If you want to actually remember your trip photographically, pack a portable iPhone charger– and you might as well make it a cute and reliable one. I’ve included some other cute designs below, as well. Click on the image to shop. 


5. Pineapple & Watermelon Playing Cards, $19: On our Caribbean cruise, my family and I played more card games than I ever dreamed possible. And it was actually a lot of fun. These are a saving grace when decent internet is sparse and it’s too early to drink. 

6. Vinyl Graphic Beach Pouch, $12: Big beach bags are great, but sometimes they’re a pain to lug around. Keep your essentials protected in this adorable water-resistant zip pouch featuring a bright and fun tropical graphic.

7. Out of Office Floppy Sun Hat, $64: When you’re living in swimsuits, sassy graphic tees aren’t useful. Opt for a sassy floppy sun hat instead. I was literally shocked when I saw that the original Eugenia Kim retail price was $485 (I mean… seriously?), so luckily, Etsy came to every girl’s rescue. Check out some of the most popular designs below. Simply click the image to shop.


8. Pineapple Sipper Cup, $14: For the first time in my life, I heard “you probably shouldn’t drink the water” by a Cozumel resident. Bring your own (pineapple) sipper cup and drink your own water. 

9. Cat Eye Sunglasses, $12: To hide the evidence of late nights in photos, invest in an affordable pair of classic cat eye sunglasses. Seriously, this pair is $12– and it’ll be the best photographic investment of your twenties. For more of their gorgeous $12 styles, check out some of my favorite pairs below. 


10. Tropical Cocktail Kit, $25: Dress up your drinks on the go! This SunnyLife cocktail kit is the perfect beach party accessory, and a single set includes one transparent cocktail shaker, six coasters, six ice cubes, six umbrellas, six straws, six stirrers, and three fabulous drink recipes.

11. Pool Party Giant Beach Towel, $38: Kyle and I wasted over $80 on ugly beach towels because we didn’t think to bring our own. Come prepared and buy yourself a soft, sassy pool towel beforehand. 

12. Margarita Pool Float, $28: Every girl needs a fun adult pool float. I buy myself a new one every year, and this year I landed on this fun margarita pool float. Last year it was a giant pineapple, and the year before was an enormous flamingo. For a full list of all my favorites click here— otherwise, check out some of my favorites below!


13. Foot Air Pump, $14: This doesn’t sound super exciting, but I promise it’ll save you so much energy in the long run. Instead of bugging your guy friends to expend all their energy blowing up your enormous pool float, invest in this $14 portable air pump, which allows for easy inflation or deflation of any fun adult pool floats. 

14. Ella Moss ‘The Lover; One Piece, $118: Sorry again for including two one piece swimsuits on the same list, but I just couldn’t leave this gorgeous all black beauty off the list. I wore it in the Cayman Islands, and I’ve never been more in love with a swimsuit. Open-knit panels trim the sexy, deep V neckline, and slim shoulder straps lace down the open back. This style will still be sexy in fifty years, so consider it part of your summertime capsule wardrobe.  

15. Melissa Harmonic XI Flip Flops, $75: No one can (accurately) forecast the weather– and no one wants to ruin an expensive pair of leather sandals on vacation. Come prepared with the cutest pair of casual rubber flip flops on the market. I mean seriously, these have a two-tone bow on the toe straps… you can’t get more ladylike charm than that.

16. Beach Please Tote, $48: For the unavoidable occasions when you need to transform into your group’s Mary Poppins, pack a sassy summer-ready tote with you! This one is perfect for stashing towels, flip flops, beverages, games, and any other essentials you may need. Shop some of my other favorite beach totes under $50 below.


Did I leave any worthy items off my list of what to bring on spring break? Please feel free to share your essentials in the comments! Also, don’t forget to give Square Cash a try (for free) to simplify all the financial wheelings and dealings on your vacation. Download for iPhone through the App store here and for Android on Google Play here. Happy Spring Break, y’all! Enjoy it!


11 thoughts on “Spring Break Essentials: What to Pack for a Carefree Vacation

    1. Stephanie Ziajka Post author

      It’s my favorite spring/summer accessory ever, and I want the “Rose All Day” and “Do Not Disturb” hats, too! How many sassy floppy hats is too many sassy floppy hats?!

      … the limit does not exist. šŸ™‚

  1. Chrissy

    I agree with all of your essentials and I would add that a good book is a must! I love reading by the water and it just wouldn’t be a good vacation without a book!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *