Counting down the days to your next holiday? Whether it’s a week-long summer escape or a winter city break, we’re all in need of some much deserved TLC. Before you get away and start collecting stamps in your passport, you should always pack and prepare in advance to make sure that your trip is as stress-free as possible.
If you struggle with what to pack for a weekend away or a longer trip abroad, then you’re in luck! We’ve created a holiday essentials list, designed to help you take only what you need and not what you think you need. Our holiday packing guide is split into easy-to-follow categories that make preparing your things a breeze. Read on to discover the vacation necessities you should be taking, what you should put in your carry on and our top packing tips to make your journey as smooth as can be.
Small and easy to forget, but definitely the most important. You won’t be going anywhere without your passport so make sure it’s the first thing you pack. Those double and triple checks might seem unnecessary, but they’ll be worth it to prevent any disasters before you’ve even boarded the plane.
- Passport Do we even need to say anything else?
- Driving license You’ll need this if you’re planning to rent a vehicle on your holiday.
- Travel insurance documents It’s always best to print off copies of your travel insurance documents and highlight emergency numbers.
- Hotel booking confirmation Should your phone run out of battery, you’ll still be able to locate your hotel and make your way there.
- Currency and cards Converting your currency before you go usually works out cheaper than using your card abroad, but you should take your card with you too in case you need extra spends.
Tip: keep your documents all together to avoid losing them. A clear folder, document holder or even a ziplock bag will do the trick.
Who’s guilty of over-packing too many clothes and taking items that will never see the light of day? Definitely us! Save on suitcase space by being ruthless with your clothing. Plan out your outfits so that you can only take exactly what you’re going to wear. A capsule holiday wardrobe is always the way to go.
- Light day tops - Shorts - Skirts - Day dresses - Light evening outfits - Cardigan - Trousers - Swimwear - Sandals/flip flops - Sun hat - Sunglasses - Beach bag - Smarter evening shoes
- Tops that can be layered - Jumpers - Jacket/Coat - Jeans - Trousers - Smart evening wear - Scarf - Hat - Gloves - Trainers - A pair of comfy boots/heels
Tip: Wear your heaviest items of clothing on the plane to save on luggage space and weight. And it’ll keep you warm on the flight when the temperature inevitably drops.
In case of emergency, toiletries can usually be bought at your holiday destination. Things like shower gel and shampoo are often provided by your accommodation, but you may want to take your own if you have specific preferences.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste Remember you don’t need one tube of toothpaste per person.
- Deodorant Roll on deodorant is more economical and safer to travel with than aerosols.
- Facial skincare If you’re going to visit a warm climate, be sure to take a moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated
- SPF Sun protection is a must and purchasing it before you go away tends to be cheaper than buying abroad.
- Aftersun To prepare for the inevitable sunburn on the back of your neck and shoulders.
- Make-up You may want to bring a small collection of make-up if you’re going out in the evenings.
- Shower gel/shampoo/conditioner As we mentioned before, most hotels offer complimentary miniatures but if you’re traveling in a large group, you could be better off bringing your own.
- Insect repellent Don’t get eaten alive, take some insect repellent to keep the mosquitos at bay.
- Hairbrush Don’t overlook this everyday essential. You’ll be lost in a new climate without it.
- Razor Make sure you place this in your checked in luggage as it may be prohibited in hand luggage.
- Sanitary products One for all the ladies. If you do happen to forget, you can easily pick some up from the local shops.
- Antibacterial hand gel For grubby hands when there’s no restroom. A necessity when you’re travelling by plane.
- Contact lens solution For all contact lens wearers.
- Lip balm Try to find one with SPF in it. Your lips need protection too!
Tip: If you’re only taking hand luggage or are limited on space in your case, do not take full size products with you. Opt for travel miniatures or decant products into smaller containers to save space. Less product also means less spillage!
You don’t need to take the whole medicine cabinet with you, but it’s always a good idea to stock up on some essential first aid items. Accidents can happen anytime, especially when you’re abroad.
Tip: always keep your medication in its original packaging to avoid any questions at border control.
Whether you’re capturing the perfect image for Instagram or planning on getting through a few novels by the pool, you’ll want to make sure you bring all your necessary electronics with you. Coordinate with others in your party to see if you can share devices or chargers to save space.
- Phone & charger You definitely don’t want to be caught out without these.
- Headphones A saviour for the flight, long car journeys or even sunbathing on the beach.
- Travel adaptor Always research what type of adaptor you’ll need at your holiday destination before you go.
- Reading device & charger For afternoons spent lazing by the pool.
- Camera & charger To capture those special memories and for general sightseeing.
- Hairdryer/straightener Keep away the dreaded humidity hair, or for looking glam in the evenings.
Tip: most accommodations provide hairdryers so it’s worth double checking with the place that you’re staying.
For all of those little bits and pieces that don’t fall into a specific category, and you might not think to include on your list, but you’ll thank us for later.
- House keys Keep them somewhere safe that you won’t forget about.
- Tissues You’ll be amazed at how handy they are.
- Neck pillow If you’re going on a long-haul flight it’s best to get comfy.
- Phrase book Looking to immerse yourself into local life and connect with the locals? A phrase book is perfect for practicing on the plane journey.
- Playing cards Cheap and cheerful entertainment for hours of fun.
- Laundry bag For separating your dirty clothes from your clean ones.
What to keep in your hand luggage
So you’ve gathered everything you need and trimmed down the excess, but what should you take on the plane with you in your carry on? You should keep your valuables, anything you’ll need on hand at the airport and your inflight essentials in your hand luggage for sure. It will make getting through the airport a lot smoother and your life a hundred times easier.
- Phone - Keys - Passport - Currency - Tickets/boarding pass - Travel insurance documentation - Headphones - Phone charger - Neck pillow - Jumper - Entertainment for the plane - Sunglasses - Antibacterial hand gel - Tissues - Lip balm - Electronic devices - Medication - Eye mask
Tip: always read up on the permitted and restricted items for your airline before you fly. Most airlines have similar guidelines but it’s always best to check. Generally, no weapons, sharp objects, liquids in more than 100ml containers and explosive, flammable, chemical or toxic substances are allowed in hand luggage.
Top Packing Tips
- Roll don’t fold your clothes Believe it or not, rolling your clothes can actually save you space and keep your clothes wrinkle-free!
- Invest in packing cubes Keep your clothes organised with packing cubes. These handy, zippable bags are available in a range of sizes and are perfect for organising your clothes. It’ll be easier to navigate around your suitcase, and will save you space.
- Weigh luggage before you leave for the airport Don’t let the luggage scales at the check in desk make or break your holiday. Always weigh your case before you leave home to check that you’re not over the baggage allowance limit. Try to leave space for souvenirs and other goods that you’ll no doubt want to bring back.
- Make your case identifiable Tie a ribbon to the handle or use a colourful luggage tag to make your suitcase easy to spot when it comes out the other side. Don’t let the holiday nightmare of someone else mistaking your case for theirs become a reality.
- Double check your hand luggage For all of you money savvy holiday goers who have avoided paying the checked baggage fee by only taking a piece of hand luggage, make sure you don’t have excess liquids and prohibited items in your suitcase.
We can’t pack for you, but we hope that this list makes it easier for you to get everything you need ready for your holiday. From home to your hotel, our holiday essentials list means that you won’t forget a thing so that you can focus on enjoying yourself. Visit our blog pages to discover more handy help guides.