What I’m Packing in My Backpack This Summer!


It’s officially summer and for a lot of vacationing families and thrill seekers, summer entails a trip to the theme parks! Showing up prepared for a full day of walking around the parks can turn an o.k. day into a great day plus it can save you a lot of money and stress during your day! To help you plan for a fun-filled day, here’s my family summer theme park checklist and what you’ll find in my backpack. Please keep in mind, this list is made with families in mind but doesn’t cover specifics of all families (for example- families traveling with babies) so modify as needed and let’s win the theme park day together!

1. Refillable Water Bottle – It’s hot out there! And hydration is necessary! In some theme parks, there are refillable water stations, and having a refillable bottle filled with ice can help to keep you cool throughout a long, hot day.  And if you don’t have a refillable water bottle, be sure to ask for water at kiosks to stay hydrated throughout the day.

2. Reusable Cups – If you’re the type that likes to purchase drinks during the day or you’re going to be visiting the same park more than once during your stay or multiple parks within the same company, I highly recommend purchasing reusable cups.  We have reusable SeaWorld cups that we carry with us to SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and Aquatica. With these cups, refills can be purchased at a discounted rate, and having drinks, especially icees along with our water really helps to make the heat much more bearable.  We definitely get our money’s worth for the cost of the cup after taking advantage of the refills multiple times and at different parks.

3. Sunscreen – Staying on the topic of heat, don’t forget sunscreen, hats, or any other necessary items to protect your skin from the sun.  Of course, you can purchase these at shops within the theme parks, but it will cost you a pretty penny!

4. Bug Spray  Bug spray is something new I’ve personally added to my packing list. Some theme parks take measures to deter mosquitoes and some do not.  This past fall, when visiting Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta, GA, and walking through the swampy area of the animal park, we recognized the dire need for bug spray!  So for now on, we bring along a small can of bug spray and we plan to experiment with other insect repellant products.

5. Spare Change – Something else that I’ve recently added to my theme park checklist is quarters.  Many theme parks have gone cashless but we still have ran into occasions where having quarters on hand would have been helpful. (ex. purchasing food for animal feeding stations).

6. Binoculars – You can’t always have the best seat in the house and in some cases, there is no such thing.  We learned that while viewing the Cheetah Run animal experience at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.  The enclosure of the cheetah habitat put us a considerable distance away from the action however the binoculars allowed my kids an unclose look at the world’s fastest land animal.  During that day, the binoculars also came in handy while viewing animals on the safari from the train.

7. Ponchos – You’re not expecting it to rain on your fun day out at the theme park, but it does happen.  Lugging an umbrella around all day is tiresome especially if it never rains and you could grab ponchos from a gift shop if it does start to pour but again that will cost you a pretty penny!  For those reasons,  I always bring along ponchos for the family in my backpack.  Another benefit of ponchos is that you can wear them during water rides so you don’t have to walk around the park wet or as wet as you would have been flying down the mile-high, sure-to-get-you-wet flume ride.

8. Water Misting Fans – Since we’re on the topic of water, let’s talk about water misting fans.  On a hot day, while spending the majority of time outside, you may need more than one weapon to combat the heat. Water misting fans are a great way to find some relief from the sun especially when you find yourself just standing in one spot waiting in line.

9. Batteries – I also like to carry a few batteries just in case something like a water misting fan, a bubble wand, or a light-up toy needs them to keep the young one at bay.

10. Towels – Cooling towels and sweat-wicking towels, have places in my backpack to help combat being in the heat all day.

11. Wet Wipes/Napkins Messes happen, there’s no getting around that.  I find carrying a small pack of wipes to be extremely handy and I throw in a few napkins as well.  Although we can run to a kiosk or eatery to grab napkins, it’s a huge convenience to have them right on hand when we’re in the middle of a mess.

12. Hand Sanitizer Again, messes happen and you can sanitize and freshen your hands easily throughout the day.

13. Sandwich Bags – Not normally a problem with my teenage son, but my daughter will often not get through a donut, candy, or some snack.  Sandwich bags allow me to save the snack for a later time and they serve so many other convenient purposes.

14. Charging Cord & Power Banks – If you’re like me, you’ll be taking a lot of pictures and videos during the day, a charging cord and power bank will allow you to keep your cell phone battery going until the end of the day.  Some parks do have charging stations but I prefer to carry my own and then I can charge on the go too.

15. Snacks If you’re fortunate enough to be at a theme park that allows outside food and beverages, this is your chance to bring along your favorite snacks!  It’s a great money-saver and can often be a time-saver too allowing your family to forgo some lines during the day. If you’re packing drinks, don’t forget to carry ice packs too to keep the drinks cold. 

16. Fanny Pack-  Venture deep into your closet and pull out that fanny pack because you may just want it for your upcoming theme park trip! A fanny pack has been useful for me when I’m on a ride, separated from my family, and I want to keep some essentials with me while I’m riding such as my cell phone (so I can text or call my family to catch back up with them) and credit cards for purchases.  Of course, fanny packs come in handy for other reasons too. 

Well, those are the 16 must-have items you’ll find in my backpack!  Tell me which of these are must-have items for you and your family. Are there any extras that you would add to this list? If you’d like to know what my must-have items are for a day of filming for our YouTube channel, please comment below or send me a message at info@offourcouch.com and we’ll share that list as well! Enjoy the theme parks this summer and stay cool!

Happy Travels!



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