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Review of Sun In + Summer Vacation Essentials (& Free Printable Packing List!)

This post was sponsored by PRIMP Network. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products I love. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep The Determined Dreamer running!

Who else is rooting on spring like, C’mon you can do it. You can stick around for more than 3 days before being taken over by winter again.

via GIPHY

The only thing keeping me strong during this moody weather fest is the fact that Connor and I are going on a cruise in precisely 11 DAYS! We’ll be driving to my hometown, sunny San Diego and then heading off to Mexico for 4 days. We’ll be eating our hearts out, lounging by the pool(s), and trying not to get seasick (I’ve never been on a boat and not gotten sick, so that’s gonna be FUN!)

I’m a major planner/organizational freak, so I’ve already got our packing list written out and stocked up on plenty of Sea Bandz and Dramamine. I’m that person that’s always prepared. When people ask, “Does anyone have lotion?” or “Does anyone have an extra jacket?” I’m the one who has ALL THE THINGS because it makes me feel better to know I have everything I need in case of an emergency. But I also don’t go overboard and pack the whole house- just the essentials that some people tend to forget. So, because I love packing and planning so much, I thought I’d do a little roundup of my packing essentials!

This packing list is going to be spring/summer vacation specific because unless you’re traveling to Antartica or Greenland for your summer vacay, you’re gonna need to know how to pack for loads of sunny fun!

My Spring/Summer Travel Essentials

1. Sun In Hair Lightener Spray: The thing I’m MOST excited to take with us on our cruise is my Sun In hair lightener. This is an absolute essential for spring/summer/anytime of the year! Because it’s heat activated, meaning you can lighten your hair with it using JUST A BLOW DRYER (mind blown!), you actually don’t have to be out in the sun to use it!

Because I’m trying to use heat on my hair less so that my hair will grow faster and get thicker, I only used a blow dryer to lighten my hair with it once, but most people use a blowdryer regularly, so this is the perfect product for ANY time of year!

Even after using it only once, my hair got a shade or two lighter so I CAN’T WAIT to spray this on my hair throughout our trip. Winter turns me into a pale, dark haired looking vampire, so I’m glad I have Sun In to lighten my hair up QUICK instead of having to wait until the end of summer to even begin seeing my hair get naturally lighter (Or using a box dye that’ll completely damage my hair… or going to a salon to get it dyed, which costs WAY too much).

The whole process takes all of 5 minutes and isn’t messy at all, which are just a few things I love about Sun In. To lighten your hair, all you have to do is:

  1. Spritz some of the spray onto your damp hair.
  2. Comb through your hair to evenly distribute.
  3. Blow dry your hair until it’s all the way dry.

If you want more of a natural highlighted look, you can just spray whichever strands you want highlighted, but I noticed that it still looks really natural and brought out more of my natural highlights even when I sprayed my entire head with it. If you try it out once, you can sort of tell what it’s going to do to your hair and how you should approach the process moving forward!

Here are my results after only using it only ONE time!

I have brown hair and it worked great for me. It works great for blondes and brunettes, but if you have REALLY dark hair, it may turn your hair red instead of blonde (just a warning!) If it’s brown like mine (a lighter or medium shade of brown) it’ll work fantastically!

It’s also alcohol-free and it conditions your hair while it lightens, which is great because I’m trying not to damage my hair with dyes or heat. I love that I’m able to just spritz some of this on and go about my day in the sun while it lightens up my hair! Or take a blowdryer to it while still knowing it won’t damage my hair like other bleach-filled dyes do.

I’m so impressed that it worked this well after only one time, so I can’t wait to see how much it lightens my hair while on our cruise! You can pick this product up in the hair dye section of Walmart or order it online here for just a few bucks! You’ll have a new look and feel super fresh and ready for summer in no time!

2. Sandals and Tennis Shoes: What I love about bringing sandals instead of flip flops is that I can wear them to the beach and pool AND to more dressy events. We’ll be dining at a couple of classier restaurants that require fancier dress while on our cruise, so having sandals that work for those events as well is a space-saving hack. Shoes take up a lot of room in your suitcase, so it’s important to try to get shoes that have a variety of functions. I also always, always, always pack one pair of tennis shoes in case we go on a hike, workout, or go sight seeing!

3. 2 Cosmetic Bags: I always pack one larger cosmetic bag full of all the things I’ll NEED throughout the trip and one smaller bag (like the pink one shown below). The key word is NEED. I make sure to go through my makeup bag and set aside anything I don’t absolutely need during the trip. I only bring the essentials. I use the smaller bag whenever we’re going somewhere (like during the day trips on the cruise, when we get off the ship or when we go to the pool while on the boat). I can just throw a few products in there to touch up my makeup or apply lotion if I need to, without having to bring my entire stash of beauty products.

4. Tote bag: Tote bags are must-have for summer vacations! Whenever I forget to pack a tote bag, I seriously regret it. Between day trips to the beach and pool and night-time festivities, there’s going to be a time that you wish you would have brought a slightly-bigger-than-a-purse bag to stash your essentials in.

5. Mini “First-Aid” Kit: I always make sure to pack my own custom-made first-aid bag. The ones you buy at the store are great, but you probably don’t need everything that’s included in those (plus they usually have first-aid kits wherever you’re staying), but it’s always nice to have a few extra bandaids, pain relief medicine (inc case you get a headache or something), Pamprin in case you experience PMS symptoms, and other products that you feel you could need. You don’t have to pack your medicine cabinet. Just pack what you regularly use anyways. Get a pill container holder, put a few pills in each little section, and label the sections, so you’re all set to go without taking up too much space in your bag!

6. Clothing: Obviously, I don’t know exactly what type of clothes you wear or what your clothing needs are, but my advice for clothing is to pack less than your instincts are telling you to pack. For some reason, our brains are WAY off when it comes to packing clothes! Most people (including myself) pack way more clothes than they need. For our 6 day trip (4 nights on the cruise and 2 days spent driving), I’ll be packing 1 tank top, 1 pair of shorts, 2 t-shirts, 1 nicer shirt, 1 pair of leggings, sandals, tennis shoes, 1 swimsuit, undies (of course!), pajamas, one lightweight jacket, one lightweight cardigan, and one sundress- and that’s ALL!

(P.S: The picture below doesn’t represent everything I’m taking on our trip. That would be a little bit too “light” of packing, haha.)

7. Snacks and More Snacks: Our cruise is the one vacation that I actually won’t be packing snacks for because #unlimitedfreefood BUT 99.9% of the time, I make sure to pack snacks (even when we’re just going to one of our parents houses). I like having snacks wherever I go in case I don’t like the meals served, I get hungry late at night when everyone else is trying to sleep, or I just get into a snacky mood at a time when I can’t make it to the grocery store to grab snacks. Personally, I just like knowing I have food in case I get hungry, but that might just be me, haha!

8. Miscellaneous Items: A few other things I’m prone to forget, so I make SURE to put on my packing list are: sunglasses, rain jacket or lightweight jacket that has a hood, umbrella (if you really don’t want to get wet), regular sunscreen, tanning sunscreen, aloe vera gel (in case of sunburn), extra chapsticks (cause I’m a chapstick addict), headphones, and extra hair elastics and bobby pins.

A Freebie Packing List Printable Just for You!

Now that I’ve gone over what I think it’s important to pack or avoid packing, I want to hear from you! What’re your essentials? Let me know in the comments below because I may have missed some important ones that I’ll need to add to my list! I also want to give you this freebie printable that you can download and write out your packing lists on. It’s helpful while you’re planning and packing to have your list a little more organized! Here’s your A4 Ultimate Bucket List freebie packing list! (I named it incorrectly, but it is the correct file!)

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11 Comments

  • Jess Friedman | Jest Kept Secret

    Great list! I especially liked the pill box idea. I’m going to have to try that the next time I travel–so much easier than taking full bottles of stuff I might not actually need, but then you still have them with you if you DO need them. Thanks!

    March 28, 2018 at 10:08 PM Reply
    • Coral Allen

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this and found something helpful! 🙂

      March 29, 2018 at 10:20 PM Reply
  • Taylor Mobley

    This is PERFECT. I love this entire list. I’m a big fan of sun in!

    March 29, 2018 at 3:33 AM Reply
    • Coral Allen

      Same! It’s so affordable and works well! Glad you enjoyed this! 🙂

      March 29, 2018 at 10:21 PM Reply
  • Courtney

    I’m not traveling anytime soon, but this definitely made me want to. I loved all of your ideas. I’m such an over packer and this list is super helpful and your tips are great!

    March 29, 2018 at 2:10 PM Reply
    • Coral Allen

      Thank you! I’m so glad you liked them! I used to be an over packer but I’m trying to better about that cause I hate lugging around way too much stuff. I went to Europe and packed WAY too much and was so annoyed with my giant bags the entire time… Ever since then I’ve been better about packing haha 🙂

      March 29, 2018 at 10:22 PM Reply
  • Kellie Monahan

    You are so right about us being so similar because I also am the one that packs "just-in-case" things that someone is going to end up needing haha. I also really can’t wait to try the hair lightener, I didn’t even know that was a thing. I’ve been paying a fortune just to have my hair lighter when I could have paid $4! I hope you have so much fun on your trip, you deserve it!!

    March 29, 2018 at 4:27 PM Reply
  • Seppy

    I definitely like having a few items "just in case" – like an extra top or socks!

    Seppy | http://www.elleisforlove.com

    April 13, 2018 at 6:31 PM Reply
  • Kristin Cook

    That’s really cool that you can just activate it with a blow drier. I totally assumed that you had to be in the sun.

    April 15, 2018 at 1:44 PM Reply
    • Coral Allen

      I know, I love that about SunIn! It’s an amazing product! 🙂

      April 17, 2018 at 10:55 PM Reply

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