Packing for your next adventure is never easy. Hours are spent umm-ing and ahh-ing over whether you really need 17 tops for that one-week trip, before you arrive at the airport and realise you’ve left something vitally important… like your passport.
Our packing list will help you get yourself 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.
everything you really can’t travel without
Tick these valuable items 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. Print out your visa and make copies of both to put in your suitcase and your carry-on luggage – you can never be too cautious, right?
- Travel insurance documents – make sure these are in date and cover the country you’re visiting and the activities you plan on doing. Bungee jump on the bucket-list? Cage diving with sharks 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, print it all out, load it onto your phone (we’d advise doing both in case you run out of phone charge). Check with your airline whether you can – or have to – check-in 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 those ‘cash-only’ situations. Make sure you let the bank know if you’re travelling abroad too and for how long so you avoid any mishaps on day one.
- 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 and want to capture those stunning vistas, a tablet or kindle for the journey and any headphones you may need too.
- Chargers – there’s no point taking your phone or camera with you if you have no way of charging it right…
- 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 in a tricky situation.
- First aid kit – you don’t need to take reams and reams of bandages and enough antiseptic for the country you’re visiting, but it is worth packing a few items: some different sized plasters, insect repellent, painkillers, (a small amount of) antiseptic or 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 (daytime and evening)
2-3 pairs of shorts/trousers/skirts/dresses (your choice!)
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)
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)
Hat or visor
(More) 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.
Winter holiday essentials
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 and jump in the snow, you’ll need a few extra (warm) essentials. Plus, 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 fleece/jumpers
- Waterproof ski jacket
- Waterproof trousers/salopettes
- 4 x pairs of ski socks
- Swimwear (if needed)
- Comfy clothes – you’ll want something to wear when you’re not on the slopes so think layers and think warm
- 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)
- Sun cream and SPF lip balm – don’t be fooled by the snowy scenes. You need to be just as careful when you’re spending all day, every day outside
- Small rucksack for when you’re on the slopes – plus all the contents such as a water bottle and emergency contact details
Active holiday essentials
If you’re not into the winter vibes and you’re jetting off for something a little warmer but just as active, your packing list is about to change all over again. Ditch the salopettes and 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 the risk of 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
- Portable charger
- (Lots of) 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
Packing tips you need to know
Now you know what you’re taking, what’s the best way to pack it all?
- Keep it safe – keep your valuables in your hand luggage so they’re always close to hand.
- Hand luggage – at the risk of sounding like your parents, make sure you’ve got a spare change of clothes in your hand luggage just in case your luggage goes off on its own kind of holiday. You don’t want to be stranded at an airport in only the clothes you’re wearing.
- Mix up your money – if you’re taking a lot of currency with you, make sure you split it between your suitcase, your handbag, backpack or hand luggage. If you were to put it all in one and lose it… you may be in trouble.
- 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.
- 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 de-creasing your clothes.
- The rule of three – if you’re on the move for a while and away from civilisation, it’s best to pack and rotate your clothes in threes: wear one, wash one, dry one.
- 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.
Now you know what to pack, it’s time to decide where to go:
Check any visa requirements with the Foreign Office. Visa information correct as of 12 July 2019, obtained from www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. Please always check the latest guidance at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice before booking a trip.