Holiday packing: a guide

Do you end up packing more stuff than you need? Follow these tips to make your holiday stress‐free and enjoyable…

Do you end up packing more stuff than you need or missing out on the essentials? Follow these tips to make your holiday stress‐free and enjoyable…


Stay light

It’s best to travel light, unless you are going on a cruise. Ask yourself whether you really need it and if you can hire or buy it cheaply abroad. Also consider whether you can afford to lose it.

Suitable suitcase

Too small a case will mean over‐stuffing and creased clothes. If the bag is too large for your requirement, things will get knocked around. Something with wheels and a collapsible handle is useful, especially if you have a bad back.

Hand baggage limits

Try and limit your cabin luggage to a shoulder bag or small backpack (with wheels, wherever possible). Security restrictions are constantly being updated and it’s useful to remember that if you don’t check what the latest ones are, you could risk the restricted items being confiscated during the security check just before boarding.


Consider the weather and temperature at the place you’re travelling to. If going to a warm and humid place, keep at least one long‐sleeved shirt and full‐length trousers to protect against insects. You may also need to cover up in case of sun‐burn, unusual weather conditions or local customs.

Leave some room

One of the joys of travel is to look for bargains to bring back. Whether they’re for yourself, the home or Christmas presents for the family, make sure you leave some room to bring your shopping.


If packing these, make sure that they are not too large or too thick, as it’ll take longer to dry. Consider buying special ‘pack towels’ that are ultra‐light and super absorbent.

Liquids and creams

With present security restrictions on these items, they have to be packed as part of the checked in baggage.  Either have a separate bag to hold your shampoos, colognes and creams or get hardy plastic self‐sealing bags so that if there are any spills, they don’t damage any clothes.


Ensure that the zips are strong on the cases and that you have good quality padlocks on the checked in baggage. Keep a spare one for your hand baggage as well. Combination locks are useful if you don’t want to have the hassle of looking after keys.

Packing clothes

Using tissue paper to fold clothes will mean less ironing when you get there. Another useful tip is to make ‘tubes’ by cutting up old tights and then rolling the item and placing inside the tube. This is useful for filling up corners in the case as well. For formal clothes pack in a garment bag, which can be hung up as soon as you arrive.

Distinctive tags

Make sure that bags contain your name and contact telephone number. If you mark your bags by tying a distinctive ribbon or tag, it will be easier to find on the baggage carousel upon arrival.

Last minute

Stick to your list and don’t be tempted to add things to your packing at the last minute. The chances are that whatever it is, you won’t need it.

Document checklist

Passports and visas
Driving licence/international driving licence
Spare passport photos
Address of the local UK High commission (for any emergency)
Traveller’s cheques
Credit card
Map of the country

Useful items to pack

Spare specs/contact lenses
Sunscreen Sunglasses (suitable for stronger sun)
Camera (batteries or charger and film or memory cards)
Alarm clock
Penknife or Swiss army knife (remember to place in checked‐in baggage only)
Universal adapter plug
Torch (a small one will do)
Notebook and pen
Nail clippers and tweezers
Toothbrush and hairbrush
Pack of cards (to pass the time in case of delays)
Travelwash and universal sink plug (could save you a fortune on laundry bills)
Small sewing kit
Medi‐kit: plasters, mosquito repellent, anti‐diarrhoea and headache tablets

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