Packing essentials - 24 things to take on holiday

First published: 13-07-2015

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Summer holidays are the best way to relax and unwind - that's why we look forward to them all year round. The last thing you want to do is forget to take anything, so we've compiled some suggestions of how to ensure you get the most out of your holiday packing.

From what to take to how to pack it, we're on hand to help make packing as stress-free as possible.

What to take

To make things super-simple for you, here is a list of the 24 essential items you will need on holiday:
  • Your passport
    Absolutely vital if you're leaving the country. Take photocopies, too, to be 100% on the safe side.

  • Travel Visa
    Not always necessary, so be sure to check!

  • Insurance documents
    Keep them in your day bag wherever you go. (Make photocopies of these, too!)

  • Tickets/booking confirmation
    The flights, the hotel, the trains… keep all the relevant information in one safe place.

  • Money, money, money
    Be it in card or cash, you ain't going nowhere without your spending money!

  • Day bag
    Image 2 Lightweight, roomy, and extremely useful, especially for those all-day beach sessions.

  • First aid kit Whether it's travel-sickness medication, plasters, or tablets you need for any pre-existing conditions, better to take it with you than be wandering around in the middle of the night looking for a pharmacy!

  • Camera
    Go on, indulge in a little bit of holiday spamming.

  • Chargers
    You'd pay treble the amount to replace them at the airport, so don't risk it!

  • Adaptors
    Just make sure you get the right country!

  • Suncream and aftersun
    Factor 15 or 50… you're probably going to need it. Take extra for the kids (with a higher factor to cover their sensitive skin), and take plenty of it so you don't have to compromise on any time in the sun.

  • Reading material
    Image 3 An e-reader might be handy if you're planning to get through a lot of books - they're so much lighter and take up less space, or you might just want to pack your favourite books (or magazines for lighter reading).

  • Makeup remover
    One for the ladies. If you're planning to take any makeup with you, make sure you remember your makeup remover, too!

  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) It's free, and will give you access to state-provided healthcare in countries within the European Economic Area (just check the specifics for whichever country you're visiting).

  • A watch
    Because, like Aerosmith, you don't wanna miss a thing.

This also doubles up as a fabulous holiday accessory - something to add a certain style to your rested and relaxed look.

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Swatch watches (like this blue and red unisex model) are perfect for this, as many of them have alarm functions, and come in a variety of patterns that are ideal for the summer. Most of us reserve our jazziest patterns for when we go abroad, but Swatch's range has patterns you'll want to wear even when you arrive back in Britain (unlike those Hawaiian shorts you spent too much money on…).

  • Eye mask
    Not all hotels have the most effective curtains, so an eye mask will guarantee you a good sleep. They're also very handy if you want to have a nap during the plane journey!

  • Insect repellent
    To keep those international bugs at bay.

  • Phrase book/map
    Learn a few key phrases before you go and you'll be amazed how many people are willing to help.

  • Umbrella
    Fingers crossed you won't need it. But it's essential if your holiday is in the UK.

  • Sunglasses
    Image 5 Unless you want to be blinded, these are pretty essential. Plus they look really cool too.

  • Tissues/wet wipes/hand sanitiser
    So you can stay feeling fresh all day long.

  • Underwear
    However many pairs you're taking, take more. You'd be amazed how many people forget altogether.

  • Layers
    Yes, you may be headed for non-stop sunshine, but take a lightweight sweater, cardigan or pashmina for chiller summer evenings, or in case the weather proves a bit more unpredictable.

  • Safety pins
    For wardrobe maladies, they're a miracle. For hotel curtains just leave just a little strip of light, they're even better. You'll thank us when you get an amazing sleep.

A few tips to help you pack

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It's something we often do at the last minute, so here are a few things that can help you get it right even if you're running late!

  • Hand luggage
    Keep all your valuables in here, so you can keep an eye on them during the entire journey. Also pack the things you will need the most at the top so they are easily accessible - your passport, boarding pass and purse, for example.

Also pack some outfits in your hand luggage. This means you'll have options in case there are any mix-ups with your main suitcase!

  • Secure your toiletries
    Make sure all your shampoos and shower gels are wrapped in plastic and kept inside a toiletry bag. Any mid-air explosions could ruin your clothes and suitcase, so either you're your toiletries up securely, or play it really safe and just pick some up when you arrive.

  • Leave a little room
    You're bound to buy something while you're there, so leave some room for any holiday purchases.

  • Roll, don't fold
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    Classic trick, but an effective one! Rolling clothes saves room, and fills all the awkward gaps in your suitcase. Utilise the insides of shoes, too, to maximise the space.

  • Make a list before you go
    Write down everything you have taken with you so you can check you haven't left anything when you're packing for the return journey.

No-one wants any drama on holiday, and this starts with your packing. Bear in mind all these hints and tips, and you're one step closer to that rest and relaxation you've been waiting for!


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