Tennis travel is on our list for 2024. Whether it’s attending an adult camp, luxuriating at a fancy tennis resort, or traveling with a team to play offs (maybe all three?), we want to take our games on the road. Tennis vacays are tons of fun and can help jumpstart real improvements in your game.
To get the most out of a tennis trip, pack smart. Your mode of transportation will make a difference, obviously. Air travel requires a more serious edit than just throwing bags into a car. But either way, we’re talking about essentials that help you shine on court and off. Plan to be comfortable, ready for action and always looking put together. Simple mantra: Up your game. Go for a slightly elevated version of your at-home tennis self.
Racquets to Go
The TSA allows tennis racquets to be carried on airplanes. That said, some airlines may have different rules, as the average racquet is longer than some carry-on specs allow. Frequent tennis flyers will tell you that they always fly with their racquet(s) in a carry-on tennis backpack with the handle(s) sticking out and usually have no problems at all. And once you arrive, you’ll have a tennis bag to bring to the court. It’s best to find out if your carrier has any specific policies, of course. You can pack your racquet in a bigger suitcase and check it, but it’s probably wise to wrap it in bubble wrap or some other protective outer layer.
After your trusty tennis racquet, your tennis shoes, though bulky, are next on the list. It’s tempting to travel with them on if you’re flying, but don’t. Save them for the court, that’s what they’re for, and they’ll last longer as good playing shoes if you take care of them. If you don’t have a good shoe bag, get one (or more). These indispensable items are perfect for protecting your shoes and keeping the rest of your gear clean. Don’t clay and Har-Tru just seem to get everywhere?
A good athleisure sneaker is great for travel wear and a versatile option to have on a trip. Nike, Veja, Adidas, New Balance and Superga make sneakers that are super comfy and can be worn with just about anything. Bring along a pair of sporty flip flops or slides (try Athleta, Fit Flop, Lululemon or Hoka) as well. These will work in the locker room, spa, poolside or out and about with shorts or skirts. If you’re traveling to an upscale resort with a cute bar or lovely dining room (yes, please), perhaps add a dressier sandal or flat to your packing list. And don’t forget extra sport socks.
Packing tennis separates that mix and match is a solid gameplan—daily outfit planning becomes a no-fuss breeze. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to throw a favorite showstopper, like that Etoile tennis dress or Tory Burch skirt and polo set to take you from court to lunch or cocktails. Just don’t skimp on the tennis clothes. Like most tennis players, you’ll want to play as much as possible, so you’ll need fresh attire throughout the trip. A bathing suit (or two, depending on your destination) is an essential. A nice swim, soak in a hot tub or trip to the spa really helps with recovery. Have a light tennis sweater and a zip up or two on hand for pre-match warmups and after play. We love the options from Aimee and Lulu, Renwick Sport, Runway Athletic and Lacoste. A pair of sweatpants or leggings make sense, unless you’re headed somewhere quite warm. In that case, comfy and/or smart-looking shorts are key. A pretty shirt dress (Athleta and Tuckernuck) is perfect for social events or a night out during the trip, if that’s on the agenda. And pack presentable PJs for travel… because our mothers always said so.
Don’t Misc. Out
Bring what helps you play your best. Hat, visor, sport sunglasses, wrist bands, extra hair ties, elbow brace, athletic tape, replacement over grips--these small items can make a big difference if you need them and don’t have them on hand. Sunscreen is usually easily purchased, so it’s not necessary to lug a huge bottle or tube if that’s inconvenient, but bringing a good facial moisturizer with SPF or a sunscreen stick with a formula that stays put even in the heat is a wise choice. (Banana Boat, Neutrogena and Bare Republic make excellent, highly protective versions.) And don’t forget a separate lip balm, preferably with sunscreen. Check out Super Goop, Sun Bum and Aquaphor lip protectants. For these little things plus wallet/ID, bring a great looking wristlet that holds the bare essentials. This helps organize your backpack, tote or carry on, and doubles as a small purse or clutch when heading out to lunch, dinner, happy hour or that massage that you definitely earned. As for toiletries, etc.—you do you. But maybe bring along some analgesics or heat therapy patches to take the edge off any tennis aches and pains that might pop up. Cosmetics-wise, do yourself a favor and keep it simple. A tinted moisturizer and bronzer or blush should do the trick for a healthy, “I just won my match” glow, even if you have to fake it ‘til you make it.