9 of the best vacation perfumes that evoke wanderlust vibes, according to the experts

These are the ultimate memory-making vacation perfumes, no matter your destination...

Best vacation perfumes: scents from Diptyque/Maison Margiela, Le Labo, Sol De Janeiro and Zara in a pink, purple and orange gradient template
(Image credit: Diptyque/Maison Margiela/Le Labo/Sol De Janeiro and Zara)

Got a getaway booked and want a scent to match your destination? These are the ultimate vacation perfumes, from fresh and salty scents to niche, woody and coffee-like blends fit for a sophisticated city break.

Whatever fragrance you pick should leave you with lasting scent memories that will transport you right back to your poolside spot and evoke all those happy, blissful vibes, even when you're back at work (*cry*). And like all the best perfumes, they should make an impression on those around you—and, of course, keep them guessing about what scent you're wearing.

What's more, if you're planning to pack light, you might also need a fragrance that covers all the bases—like a day-to-date night perfume. So, whether you're after a versatile vacay scent that you can repurpose as an office perfume or a tantalizing vanilla perfume, we've asked the experts which fragrances will create the perfect scentscape for your trip...

Best vacation perfumes for long-lasting memories

When it comes to holiday scents, you might typically think of sweet and floral perfumes that evoke thoughts of blossoming flowers, blue skies and sunscreen, but The Fragrance Shop's Chief Commercial Officer, Natalia Ortiz, recommends some altogether zestier perfume notes for summer 2023...

Best beach vacation scents

  • Recommended beachy notes: Citrus, lemon, honeysuckle and salt

Best city break scents

  • Recommended city notes: Matcha, pistachio, 'skin-scents,' cedar, vetiver and spices

Best day and night perfumes (for packing light!)

If you're looking to pack light for your sun-soaked getaway and just take one of your fave perfumes, Ortiz says: "Heat causes our fragrance to evaporate differently and the perfume's base notes, which are the strongest, stay on the skin longer."

What perfume notes should you choose for different vacations?

There are a few different fragrance moods you can opt for for different types of trips...

For a summer vacation

For a summer getaway, Ortiz recommends:

  • Citrus—"Citrus scents are some of the most appealing for summer, according to studies and the multifaceted lemon note is a summer winner. Think gorgeous lemon groves in Greece! With sweet, sour and aromatic undertones, lemon is cheerful, uplifting, and gives a boost of energy and confidence to those who spritz."
  • Honeysuckle—Ortiz says the note evokes thoughts of: "walking through the countryside on a warm summer’s day. It emits a sweet floral note with a beautiful and delicate nuance of honey and pollen. Its payoff is heady and ambrosial and is often reminiscent of jasmine mixed with vanilla."
  • Salt—"They're like a burst of sea air on your skin, salt notes are used to add a zing to aquatic, wood and gourmand fragrances. It’s the perfect warm weather note as it adds a tang to otherwise sweet notes. Think chocolate, praline, vanilla and caramel. It creates a real wow contrast."

For a city break

If you've got a city break booked for next fall and are perhaps looking for a more sophisticated, complex scent—like some of the best oud perfumes—Ortiz recommends:

  • Matcha—“It's perfect for those who love a light skin scent for summer and the perfect everyday note for a city trip, as it is unassuming and subtle. Matcha tea accord smells like creamy fig with facets of subtle vetiver and natural cedar. If you’re a person who loves getting out into the bustling city streets at every opportunity, this is the new note for you. It’s also very aesthetic, and in keeping with the clean girl fragrance trend of late."
  • Pistachio—"It's used to add a touch of warmth and richness to floral, fruity, and gourmand fragrances, or as a standalone note in niche perfumes, its ability to range from sultry to playful and sweet adds to its appeal and popularity." If you want to try this particular nutty note, check out Kayali's new Yum Pistachio Gelato perfume (available at Sephora).
  • Woody 'skin-scents'Le Labo Santal 33 is one of the most popular cedarwood-based fragrances you can buy. It's unisex and actually Niall Horan's go-to cologne. So, if you're traveling with your partner, you can save suitcase space and share this scene on your trip.
Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.