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Skyscanner presents the essential packing list

Packing for your next adventure is never easy. Hours are spent deciding on which clothes to bring, before you arrive at the airport and realise that you’ve left something vitally important behind - like your passport.

Our essential packing list will help you get organised, whether you plan to ski, hike or lie by the pool. Plus, we’ve got some insider packing tips to maximise your space and make your trip as smooth as possible.

The absolute essentials:

Tick these packing essentials off the list as you go and check out our handy tips to help you along the way:

  • Passport / visa – make sure you’ve got at least six months left on your passport before you travel, which is a post-Brexit requirement for travelling to the EU. Print out your visa and make copies of both to keep safe in your suitcase and carry-on luggage.

  • Travel insurance documents – make sure your travel insurance is in date and covers the country you’re visiting, and the activities you plan on doing. Bungee jumping on the agenda? You may want to check if you’re covered for ‘extreme’ sports.

  • Boarding pass/tickets – whether you’re going by plane or train, it’s best to print it all out or load it as PDFs on your phone (we’d advise doing both in case you run out of phone charge or can’t log on to the WiFi). Check with your airline whether you have to check-in online before you arrive at the airport.

  • Currency and credit/debit cards – even if you’re planning on using your card abroad it’s always a good idea to keep some currency and change on you for cash-only situations, like your first taxi from the airport. It’s best to let the bank know if you’re travelling abroad, too, and for how long.

  • Emergency contact details – no matter how many people you’re travelling with, make sure you have contact details for someone back at home in case disaster strikes. Keep a copy in your suitcase and your hand luggage in case you get separated from either.

  • Devices – no doubt you’ll have your phone on you at all times, but don’t forget your camera if you have one, a tablet or kindle for the journey and headphones, too.

  • Chargers – forgetting your phone or laptop charger can be a nightmare.

  • Medication ­– make sure you get any prescribed medication before you travel and that it’s enough to last for longer than your planned trip, in case you find yourself delayed or stuck abroad for longer than expected.

  • First aid kit – it’s worth packing some different-sized plasters, insect repellent, painkillers, wipes and antibacterial hand gel.

  • House keys – we have a feeling you’ll be wanting these at the end of your trip.

What else do I need to pack?

Now you’ve got the essentials, we’re guessing you’ll want some clothing and a few luxuries to go with them. For a one-week holiday, we’d suggest packing the following amount of clothes, toiletries and extras if you have space.

1 x jacket or coat (depending on the temperature – check the weather forecast before you pack)

6-7 tops (for daytime and evening)

2-3 pairs of shorts/trousers/skirts/dresses

1 pair of pyjamas

7-8 pairs of underwear (plus 1-2 bras)

7-8 pairs of socks (if you’re not wearing sandals and flip flops all the time)

Toothbrush and toothpaste (plus floss and mouthwash if needed)




Body wash

Shampoo and conditioner (go for a 2-in-1 to save on space)

Brush or comb

Contact lenses and solution, plus glasses

Make up and make-up remover

Small pair of scissors or nail clippers

Suncream (plus lip balm with SPF)

After sun


Hat or visor

Insect repellent

Bag or rucksack to transport all your beach gear

Small bag to keep valuables safe and separate from wet or sandy towels

Flip flops or lightweight sandals


Travel towel – look out for a towel made from microfibre which is lightweight and dries quickly

Planning on being a little adventurous, climbing mountains or skiing down them? Read our winter and active holiday packing lists below.

Essential packing for winter holidays

Just when you think you’ve got the packing list down, you decide to take on a new kind of holiday. You may need a lot of the same things wherever you’re off to, but if you’re planning to hit the slopes you’ll need a few extra (warm) essentials. Don’t forget to check that your travel insurance covers snow sports, too.

Clothing and accessories for one week:

  • 3 x thermal tops
  • 3 x thermal leggings
  • 2 x fleeces/jumpers
  • Waterproof ski jacket
  • Waterproof trousers/salopettes
  • 4 x pairs of ski socks
  • Underwear
  • Swimwear (if needed)
  • Comfy clothes – think warm layers
  • Shoes with a good grip – snow or hiking boots are a good investment. Save space in your case by wearing them on the plane

  • Ski gloves (plus thermal gloves if you get super cold)
  • Neck warmer (ditch the chunky scarf)
  • Ski goggles
  • Sunglasses with UV lenses
  • Helmet (if not available for hire)
  • Hat
  • Sun cream and SPF lip balm – don’t be fooled by the snowy scenes. You’re spending all day, every day outside
  • Small rucksack for when you’re on the slopes – with a water bottle and emergency contact details inside

Essential packing for the great outdoors

If you’re jetting off somewhere a less snowy but just as active, your packing list will change all over again. Swap the thermals for more lightweight clothing, keep your toiletries to a minimum and if you’re planning any overnight treks you’ll need your sleeping bag, mat and tent too. Add these items to the list depending on what your activities are.

Clothing and accessories for one week:

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Walking boots or shoes – wear these in before you travel to avoid blisters
  • 4 x pairs of hiking socks
  • 2 x pairs of lightweight walking trousers
  • 1 x waterproof trousers
  • 6-7 short-sleeve, mid-length and long-sleeve lightweight tops
  • 1 x fleece
  • Water shoes – if you’re planning on doing a lot of canoeing and kayaking

  • Dry bag – to keep your belongings dry, no matter how wet you get
  • Waterproof rucksack cover
  • Torch
  • Portable charger
  • Insect repellent
  • Water bottle
  • Medical kit – with a more active holiday you may want to increase your supplies. For extreme hikes, make sure you’ve got altitude sickness tablets to hand and do your research before setting off

Essential packing tips

Now you know what you’re taking, what’s the best way to pack it all?

  1. Keep it safe – keep your valuables in your hand luggage so they’re always in sight.

  2. Hand luggage – make sure you’ve got a spare change of clothes in your hand luggage just in case your luggage goes missing. You don’t want to be stranded at an airport in only the clothes on your back.

  3. Mix up your money – if you’re taking a lot of currency with you, split it between your suitcase, your handbag, backpack or hand luggage, so if a bag goes missing you don’t lose all your cash.

  4. Packing cubes – make packing and unpacking easy with a set of these. In a normal set, you’ll get a variety of sizes and shapes, so you can pack tops in one bag, underwear in another, and dirty washing in a separate compartment. They then fit neatly into your suitcase.

  5. Roll, don’t fold – rolling your clothes is a tried-and-tested packing method which takes up less space, and it means you won’t spend the whole holiday ironing your clothes.

  6. The rule of three – if you’re on the move for a while, it’s best to pack and rotate your clothes in threes: wear one, wash one, dry one.

  7. Last-minute dash – if you’re still using a lot of items the day before you leave, write yourself a list of all the things you need to add to your carry-on luggage before you leave home. Stick it on the front door if you’re worried you’ll forget that, too.

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