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What to pack in your backpack for a trip to the amusement park

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A day at the theme park in the summer can bring hours of fun for the whole family, unless you are carrying a backpack stuffed almost to its breaking point. 

If that’s the case, a day of fun can quickly turn into one of exhaustion and frustration. 

It’s vital when packing your bag for the day to only bring the essentials. Keep in mind that if you carry a backpack with you, you’ll want it to be small enough that it doesn’t weigh you down and also fits inside a locker when you ride the coasters. 


So, what are the essentials? 

This guide is split up into the items you absolutely can’t forget — and items that you may find helpful if you do have a little extra room to play with. Jump right in!

Fury 325

This guide is full of helpful items to have in your backpack for a trip to a theme park. (AP Photo/Erik Verduzco)

Theme park essentials 

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Sunglasses
  3. Mini portable fan
  4. Water bottle
  5. Slim wallet
  6. Snacks
  7. Hand sanitizer
  8. Lip balm
  9. Hair clips and bands
  10. Band-Aids

1. Sunscreen

Be sure to find a spot for sunscreen in your backpack. You’re going to be spending the whole day, possibly multiple days, in the hot summer sun. 

Even if you put on sunscreen in the morning before you go, you’ll want to reapply throughout the day to ensure your skin doesn’t burn. 

Burnt shoulders will quickly make your day painful. If you don’t have enough room in your bag for a full-sized bottle, you can always get a travel size instead. 

2. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are essential for a day at the theme park. You’ll be spending the whole day outside, often stuck directly in the sun while waiting in line. 


Just make sure not to leave your sunglasses on or on top of your head once you get on the ride, or else you’ll likely lose them once it takes off.

The best place to keep your sunglasses while you ride is safely tucked away in your bag or secured in a closed pocket. 

3. Mini portable fan

When you’re walking around with the heat surrounding you, a mini portable fan is going to save the day. 

You can even get one that you wear around your neck if you don’t want to hold it. 

These fans are a perfect way to enjoy nice cool air as you make your way from ride to ride. 

4. Water bottle

It’s so important to stay hydrated while you are at an amusement park. 

Collapsible water bottles are perhaps the best way to go, as they take up very little space in your bag. 

Woman drinking water

Make sure to stay hydrated during your day spent outside at a theme park. (iStock)

Buying water at the parks is very expensive, so having your own bottle to refill will save you lots of money.


Many amusement parks also offer guests souvenir cups that you can refill with your favorite soft drinks throughout the day. 

These are a great option for a practical souvenir you can take home with you. 

5. Slim wallet

You’ll want to have your license, credit card and some cash with you while at an amusement park, but a bulky wallet is less than ideal. 

Find something slim that can slip into your bag with ease and fit only the essentials. 

Amazon is full of slim wallets you can choose from for your travels. 

6. Snacks

Hungry children (and adults) are no fun at amusement parks. Let’s face it, snacks at amusement parks are costly and can add a large expense to your vacation bill. 

Granola bars, trail mix and fruit strips are great snacks to pack in your bag. Think of things like those that are small and that won’t get crushed in your backpack. 


Before packing your snacks, make sure to check the food policy of the theme park you are visiting to make sure you won’t have to dump any of your food upon entry. 

7. Hand sanitizer

Amusement parks are dirty places — so hand sanitizer is a must-have, especially before snacking. 

Railings and lap bars on coasters are hot spots for germs, among many other places. 

Make sure you have hand sanitizer and maybe even wet wipes with you to keep your hands clean throughout the day. 

8. Lip balm

Chapped lips are not fun. This is such a small, easy item to add to your bag. 

Woman putting on lip balm

Throw lip balm in your bag with SPF in it to avoid painful chapped lips. (iStock)

Make sure you have lip balm with SPF for extra sun protection. 

9. Hair clips and bands

Your hair is bound to be wind blown after a roller-coaster ride. Pack plenty of extra hairbands and clips. That way, you can tie up your hair quickly before you ride to avoid inevitable knots and tangles from leaving it down. 

You’re also probably going to want to tie up your hair after a few hours in the sun. 

10. Band-Aids

Accidents happen. If they do, you’ll be prepared with Band-Aids packed neatly in your bag. 

Blisters are common at amusement parks from walking around all day long. 

Putting a Band-Aid over any blisters that form will keep you going through the day comfortably. 

Additional helpful items 

  1. Individually wrapped ponchos
  2. Portable phone charger
  3. Sweatshirt
  4. Waterproof phone case
  5. Extra pair of socks
  6. Travel-sized deodorant
  7. Hat
  8. Plastic bags
  9. Motion sickness remedies
  10. Cooling towel

1. Individually wrapped ponchos

Check the weather forecast before you head to the park. If there’s rain in the forecast, you’re going to want a poncho. 

Regular ponchos can take up a lot of space, but an individually wrapped poncho is slim and easy to fit into your bag. 

Even if it’s not going to rain, these are helpful to have on water rides, so your clothes don’t get soaked. 

2. Portable phone charger

This isn’t an absolute necessity, as your phone battery is likely to be strong enough to last you the whole day. But, if you are an avid phone user, or your device has a short battery life, a portable phone charger is good to have. 


There are lots of portable phone chargers that plug directly into your phone without any pesky cords needed. These are great space savers, and you can also easily use your phone while it charges. 

Disney visitors

If you’re going to be taking lots of pictures and videos on your phone throughout the day, packing a portable charger in your backpack isn’t a bad idea. (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

3. Sweatshirt

A sweatshirt isn’t a necessity, since most likely, it’ll be hot most of the day. Consider bringing a sweatshirt only if you plan on staying in the park late, as the temperature will cool as the sun goes down. 

These are going to take up a lot of space, so if you’re willing, it may just be easier to purchase a sweatshirt from the gift shop if you get cold at night. 

4. Waterproof phone case

If you’re going to be visiting a water park during your travels, a waterproof phone case is going to come in handy. 

One of the best you can get is a clear pouch that you simply place your phone in and secure shut. These come with a lanyard, so you can wear your phone around your neck as you move about. 


These cases allow you to still see and use your phone while it’s secure. These pouches float in the water, so if your phone comes off your neck, you’ll very easily be able to spot it. 

This may not be something you think to pack, but you’ll be glad that you did. 

There are a few different reasons why a fresh pair of socks can come in handy. The first is if you go on any water rides during your day in the park, such as a flume ride.

Family on water ride

An extra pair of socks can be helpful after a wild water ride. (Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

If you’re wearing socks and sneakers, and they get wet after a water ride, you’re in for an uncomfortable rest of the day. Having an extra pair of socks to change into will make you a bit more comfortable. 

Also, while walking around in hot temperatures, you’re bound to get a little sweaty. Changing your socks at the halfway point of the day can help you feel (and smell) clean. 

6. Travel-sized deodorant

Speaking of smelling clean, a travel-sized deodorant can be a lifesaver when you are feeling sweaty at an amusement park.

Swipe a little deodorant on and you’ll feel brand new. 

7. Hat

To avoid a hot scalp and the sun beaming in your eyes, keep a hat in your bag. 


This also helps keep the hair out of your face throughout the day, while also hiding your coaster hair. 

A bucket hat is a great option to have in your bag, since you can fold it up nice and small. You can also clip a baseball hat right onto your bag to save space. 

8. Plastic bags

Plastic bags are a multi-use item that can be extremely helpful at amusement parks. 

Close-up of Disney popcorn

Use plastic bags to store snacks you don’t get around to finishing. (Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

If you get a snack, like popcorn, that you don’t finish in one sitting, don’t throw it away. Instead, put the remainder in a plastic bag so you can snack on it later. 

Plastic bags are also a great holder of cash, coins and credit cards if you don’t want to bring a wallet with you. 

9. Motion sickness remedies

Just in case anyone you are traveling with gets motion sickness from all the rides, having some remedies packed with you isn’t a bad idea. 

Dramamine, motion sickness patches or bracelets are all options. 

10. Cooling towel

This is definitely not a necessity and more of a helpful tool. 


Placing a cooling towel around your neck can fill you with relief from hot temperatures. 

These usually come in a tube or bag, so you can put the wet towel right back in its container before placing it in your backpack to prevent all your other items from getting wet. 

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