It’s that time of the year again – holidays! Long and sandy beaches, cool modern city, tropical island, rocky trails, tours with a guide, exciting events… Whichever way of spending your time off you prefer, we can all probably agree that although we all love travelling and relaxing basking in the sun, not knowing what to take with you always makes things a bit stressful. It often happens that during a travel you have a feeling that you forgot something and as soon as you arrive at the place, you realize you left at home some very important items. What to pack on holiday? What to wear? Forget all these questions! Here are our ultimate, holiday travel essentials tips to help you pack only the must-haves!

Summer holiday packing list

It is clear that you like to have everything under control, so you pack more then you need. Still, it often turns out that you actually didn’t need half of your clothes, since you didn’t change your clothes three times a day, and the baggage you took almost broke your back. Better safe than sorry? Not exactly. The smart way, if you want to be prepared for every situation, is to choose clothes that are perfect for mix and match! It’s better when your favourite designer heels and denim jacket stay at home, unless you have a really valid reason to pack them (a fancy party or a date at sunset?).

When it comes to your stay at a hotel, there are a couple of things that we might call international and common. There are also additional items that you’ll need during your voyage. If you have travel-friendly electronics, that is the moment to make a good use of them! So, what to pack for holidays? Look at these basics:

Universal must-haves:

  • Underwear
  • Pyjamas
  • Flip-flops
  • Bath towel
  • Phone and a phone charger
  • Camera and a camera charger
  • Headphones (music saves your life during a long journey)
  • Hairdryer and, if needed, straightener of choice or curler, rather small-sized (or look for one of the hair straighteners that come in a set with a curler already)
  • Travel adapter
  • Contact lenses/glasses
  • Ear plugs (you might need them during flights)
  • Reusable plastic water bottle – drink a lot of water, but be the eco traveller!
  • Guides to places you’re visiting
  • Backpack, if apart from relaxing on the beach, you also plan to go on a sightseeing trip

Tip: most of the hotels provide clients with hairdryers and irons, so it’s worth asking about it before, if there’s no info on the website, so you’ll know whether you need to pack them or not.

Beach fashion:

  • Swimwear
  • Beach towel
  • Sun hat or cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach bag

Everyday clothing:

  • Shorts and/or one pair of trousers, if you get cold easily
  • Dresses (the ones that serve well both for daytime and in the evening) or skirts
  • Light sweater or a jacket
  • Sweatshirt
  • T-shirts and/or tank tops

Shoes:

  • Flip-flops
  • Flats
  • Trainers, especially if there’s going to be a lot of walking
  • Sandals and/or wedges (depending on how fancy your holiday style is)

Cosmetics and toiletries holiday packing checklist

To start with, think of cosmetics you use every day. Peeling, mask, serum – these are the things that you don’t need during your holidays, especially on a quick break. Leave out also the extras – surely you don’t need to comb your hair on the beach and in the hotel with two different hairbrushes. Remember to choose cosmetics in small travel-size or pour it to a spare bottle (for example 100 ml max). Here’s our list:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste, floss
  • Shower gel
  • Shampoo and conditioner (or select 2in1 shampoo with conditioner; if you have greasy hair, opt for separate conditioner)
  • Makeup set (whatever you need, but remember that usually waterproof mascara, eyeliner, blush and lipstick will do!)
  • Hairbrush, elastic bands and pins
  • Razor,
  • Antiperspirant and perfume or deodorant
  • Sun cream and after sun lotion
  • Moisturiser, face cream and hand cream, if you need it
  • Menstrual products like tampons or other items of choice
  • Insect repellent
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Wet wipes (useful especially on the beach, particularly the ones with antiseptic properties)
  • Aid kit, especially sticking plasters, and your medication
  • Jewellery (to boost you summer outfits)

Important documents holiday checklist

We’ve discussed the fun part of things to take on holiday, now is the time for the rudiments - the key items, especially for a trip abroad, without which we simply can’t leave our homes. For security, prepare a small bag for documents which can be put into your hand luggage.

Always remember to pack:

  • Currency of a given country
  • Credit or debit card
  • Passport
  • Flight ticket and a boarding pass
  • Insurance documents

Also download and print the details of your hotel booking and its address. Travel tip: apply for European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for free and buy travel insurance– if you have any of these (and it’s best you have both!), bring them, too. Keep in mind to take the most important documents, Visa, cash, keys, tickets and valuables in carry-on.

There are also a few things that are not entirely essential, but often turn out to be quite useful. What are we talking/writing about? Entertainment. Long flights or travels by bus or train may become tiring and boring, so make sure to take something to read, like magazines or a pocket-size books which are now available almost in every book store. If you’re more a digital type of person, opt for gadgets like a kindle or a tablet.

How to plan what to pack for holidays?

Always remember to read about destinations you’re heading to and what is the weather like in the place you want to visit, since you may need to adjust the lists above. Surely, if your holiday plans comprise of swimming and relaxing laying on a beach, it doesn’t really matter whether you go to Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Australia or Thailand since your outfits will be more or less the same. But if you’re more active and plan to go on trips, or to explore also inland cities and towns, you might need to add a few items which will keep you warm and dry like a rain coat or even a scarf (which is also useful even in hot climate for occasions like visiting sacred places, for example for a woman it is vital to have her neckline and arms covered in churches in Italy). Different rules and codes of conduct will be for instance in Europe and Asia in specific countries, getting to know foreign customs beforehand is thus also heavily important.

Customs and weather are not the only things you should consider. As we stated before, much of the clothes and equipment you need depend on the way you travel – by plane, bus or train, or by your own or rented car. The more burdensome the travel, the smaller baggage you should take. Another thing, obviously, is the amount of days you’ll spend there – weekend trip or 2 week journey – really think it through and eliminate every item that is not totally compulsory. A short break abroad with a hand luggage is possible, but you need to leave out extra pairs of shoes, fancy bras, hair straighteners, notebook (look, you can pen your memories when you come back), couple of towels and a whole makeup and moisturising kit. Sports bra, pants and socks, a pair of trousers and shorts, one t-shirt and a long sleeve, rain coat, sweatshirt, soap to wash both your body and face, and a shampoo will save you a lot of money and space in your bag. And in case you need something, you’ll probably find it in a local store.

The matter of how you travel and where you stay always determine what you pack. Knowing that you’re not going to cook your own meals but eat local food instead, makes packing easy and less heavyweight. Also always trust your personal experience, lifestyle and needs. Create your own check list and compare with ours. You can always look for some inspiration on Instagram.

To ensure that you have everything, it’s a great solution to go through our list after packing your bags. Now imagine yourself by the pool with a book and a drink, and start planning your holidays. One last piece of advice? Don’t forget to take optimism with you! Now nothing will ruin your time off!