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What to Pack for San Diego
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What to Pack for San Diego

Heading to the sunniest city in Southern California? Here’s a handy list of what to pack for San Diego.

What to Pack for San Diego

In addition to the San Diego packing list below, don’t forget your favorite phone charger—because you’ll be snapping plenty of Insta-worthy shots.

Water Bottle

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It’s too easy to get dehydrated in hot, sporty San Diego. To prevent dehydration—and to show off your eco-friendliness—bring along a BPA-free water bottle.

GoPure Pod


When planning out your San Diego packing list, order a GoPure pod to drop in that aforementioned water bottle. It’ll immediately start purifying any tap water so that you don’t end up needing to crack those overpriced bottles in your hotel room whenever you want filtered water. Each of these tiny pods lasts up to six months and can treat up to 264 gallons, replacing the equivalent of 2,000 plastic bottles.



When deciding what to pack for San Diego, you don’t have to debate whether to lug along a massive surfboard. Instead, throw a handboard into your backpack and, voila, you’ve got an easy-to-carry way to catch this beach town’s legendary waves.

Drone or Remote-Control Airplane


Not quite ready to glide off the Torrey Pines cliffs with your entire body? That’s fine, but do bring along a drone-like remote-control plane so that you can experience San Diego’s incredible aerial views.

Golf Clubs


If you’re a big golfer, you’ll want to check your own set of clubs so you can tee off on some of California’s best courses in style.

San Diego Hiking Book

If you’re a hiker or outdoor enthusiast, what to pack for San Diego can be as easy as a pair of hiking socks and boots, plus a great guide to hiking within and around the city. To save space and money, go for the Kindle edition.

Easy-Pack Beach Blanket

It used to be difficult to pack something as bulky as a beach blanket. Not so anymore. Outdoor manufacturers have started making easy-pack spreads for the sand made from parachute nylon. They’ll keep your bottom off the hot San Diego sand, and when you’re ready to go, they stuff nicely into a tiny carrying sack.

Compact Beach Towel


As with the aforementioned beach blanket, it’s no longer impractical to travel with a beach towel in your suitcase. New microfiber designs are lightweight and flexible enough to stuff right into a small pouch when you’re not using them. They absorb well and dry quickly, and sand won’t stick—but most of all, they’re compact enough to easily travel with.

Foldable Frisbee


What’s a San Diego beach day without a frisbee? Throw a foldable flying disc into your suitcase to ensure active daytime fun.

Fold-up Dog Bowls

San Diego is an eminently dog-friendly town. Many hotels welcome pets, and this city’s beaches and parks are full of furry friends. So bring yours along too—as well as a collapsible set of bowls for Rover’s water and kibble.

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—Original reporting by Avital Andrews. Follow her on Twitter @avitalb.

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