The Essential Holiday Packing List and Tips

Who doesn’t love going on holiday? It’s so exciting, from the planning and booking to taking off. One of my favourite things in life is travelling to new places and exploring as much as I can of my chosen destination. The only thing I don’t look forward to is packing.

Packing can seem a bit overwhelming; it’s difficult to know where to begin. Many people struggle with deciding what to pack and how to pack. I always spot people at the airport with bulging cases as they’ve tried to cram in too much. It’s bad news if you exceed your luggage allowance as you can be charged for the extra weight.

I like to think I’ve travelled enough to have a good idea of how to pack sensibly. I’ve managed trekking for two weeks with just a rucksack and been on long weekends with just my hand luggage.

Here’s my suggestions for packing light

  • Travel in your bulkiest clothes to save luggage space. I like to wear trousers, a t-shirt and a hoodie or cardigan, which I can then use to keep me warm on cool evenings.
  • Buy a lightweight suitcase or holdall then you can use the saved weight to pack your favourite dress or shirt.
  • Your beach bag can be used as your hand luggage.
  • Don’t pack anything that you can buy when you get to your destination. There will be shops selling essentials like shampoo and toothpaste. Your hotel probably provides hairdryers and pool and beach towels so there’s no need to take them.
  • Leave behind some of your clothes. Be ruthless as you won’t need those extra tops. Just think you’ll mostly be spending time in your bikini or trunks.
  • Roll with it. Rolling clothes instead of folding them saves space and prevents creasing. Small items like socks can be pushed into shoes and corners.
  • Use your hand luggage to pack shoes, underwear, or an extra outfit if you’ve run out of space in your suitcase.
  • Wash clothes on holiday so you can wear them again. Washing powder can be bought from the local supermarket or hotel shop.


Here’s my packing list for a week’s summer holiday



  • Hoodie/cardigan/lightweight jacket/blazer for cool nights (worn to travel in)
  • Trousers/chinos x1 (worn to travel in)
  • Leggings/jeans x1 (for cool evenings to cover legs or if doing any activities ie. horse riding)
  • Closed-toe shoes/trainers (comfy for travelling in or for walking excursions)
  • Sun hat/cap (travel in to avoid damage)
  • Shorts x2
  • Day tops/T-shirts x4
  • Lightweight evening outfits x5 (non-crease items)
  • Swimwear x2
  • Underwear x7  (they take up minimal space)
  • Flip-flops/sandals/espadrilles x1
  • Socks x3 (it’s probably too hot to need them where you’re going)
  • Nightwear x1 or none (you can always sleep in a top and shorts)


Toiletries and Medication

  • Sun cream
  • Toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste
  • Small deodorant
  • Small hairbrush/accessories
  • Make-up (if you can’t live without it)
  • Razor; tweezers; nail cutters; small scissors
  • Moisturiser with SPF
  • Diarrhoea treatment
  • Paracetamol
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Plasters
  • Personal medication like hayfever remedies

Other stuff

  • Mobile phone/charger
  • Mp3 player/headphones
  • Travel adapter
  • Sunglasses
  • Pen/paper/diary (for recording your holiday memories)
  • Reading material (with charger if necessary)
  • Day bag/evening handbag

Bought in resort or usually provided by the hotel:

  • Hairdryer
  • Towels
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Shower gel
  • Sun cream
  • After sun
  • Insect repellent
  • Hand sanitiser gel.


Packing for kids

If you’re going on a family holiday then you’ll need more luggage space. Most importantly you need to pack plenty of sun cream including a waterproof sun protection of factor 50+, sun hats and maybe even sunshades for the beach. Alongside food and clothes it’s worthwhile taking some toys to keep the kids amused on the flight.

Best packing tip for families:

Buy a Trunki suitcase. Children love these as they can sit on them and have fun at the airport whilst carrying some of the load too.

Do you have any great packing tips? Share your knowledge or post pics of your packing skills below.

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