The ultimate holiday packing list

5 minutes

All of our content is approved by our in-house advisory board of experts

Packing may not be the highlight of any holiday, but getting it right makes for a stress-free break. Check out our holiday packing list to make sure you have everything you need.

  • Pack to maximise space and cut down on costs
  • Think about any dress codes or special activities
  • Don’t forget your other essentials

Sun, sea and sand? Or perhaps a snowy winter break? Either way, there’s nothing quite like jetting off on holiday. When it comes to packing, we’ve all left it to the last minute at some point in our lives – but that’s a sure-fire way to forget some holiday essentials.

Thinking ahead about what you’ll need while you’re away can also help you avoid excess baggage charges from packing too much.

Trips have struggled to get off the ground lately, but fear not, our packing list will make sure you have all the holiday essentials with you.


The holiday essentials you can’t leave home without

Some things are more important than others, and these are the items you probably won’t be able to get off the ground without:


Everyone needs their own individual passport, even babies, and new ones can take up to 10 weeks to arrive so be sure to plan ahead.

Flight tickets and boarding passes

These may be on your smartphone or emailed to you so it’s best to check with your airline if you’re unsure what you need.

Travel insurance

The best policies take COVID into account, but not all do. Do your research and check what’s included before taking out a policy.


You can change currency at most banks, post offices and even the airport. The rates usually differ so you might want to shop around a bit to get the best deal. It’s also worth letting your bank know you’ll be using your card abroad.

Additional details

Depending on where you’re going, you may also need the address of where you’re staying, transfer information and an emergency contact’s details.

These holiday essentials should be top of your packing checklist. You’ll need most of them to hand in the airport, so why not pop them into a secure envelope inside your carry on?

Holiday packing list

Once you’ve organised your must-haves, you can get started on your packing checklist for your holiday. Write down what you’ll need for your break and tick them off as they’re packed. This will vary depending on where you’re going but here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Toiletries
  • Toothbrush
  • Medication if needed, or first aid kit
  • Clothes (make sure these are appropriate for any different cultures or religious sites you may be heading to)
  • Pyjamas
  • Shoes (sandals, flip flops, walking shoes etc)
  • Sunglasses
  • Chargers
  • Electrical converters


You may also want to add:

  • Jewellery
  • Headphones
  • Books
  • Swimwear (even if it’s not a beach holiday, you might find a spa at your hotel)
  • Sun tan lotion

Exactly what you classify as an essential will depend on the type of holiday you’re going on. For example, if you’re hitting the slopes on a skiing holiday, you probably won’t need a swimsuit.

Other things to consider when packing for a holiday:

  • Do the restaurants you’re planning to visit have a dress code? Even all-inclusive resorts tend to have rules as to what you can wear, so pack accordingly.
  • Are you planning to go on any activities that may require other clothing or equipment?
  • How long you’re going for – a two-week trip will obviously require more than a city break.

We’ve broken down a general holiday checklist below to help you pack everything you need to enjoy a stress-free trip.

What to pack in your hand luggage

Your hand luggage should have the things you may need to grab quickly, so save yourself hassle at the airport and pack wisely:


  • Everything in the ‘holiday essentials’ list
  • Debit cards and credit cards
  • A small amount of cash
  • Medication if you’ll need it during the flight
  • Glasses or contact lenses
  • Phone and portable battery bank

What not to take

As tempting as it is to bring everything but the kitchen sink, you could free up some space by leaving these items behind:

  • A different outfit for every single day – maximise space by bringing versatile pieces instead
  • Your entire makeup bag – only bring essential pieces, as you’re unlikely to need it all
  • Too many pairs of shoes – realistically, you’ll only need two or three pairs, consisting of sandals (or boots if it’s a winter holiday), formal shoes and comfortable trainers
  • Items that the hotel provides – check the website in advance, but typically hotels will provide hair dryers, towels, irons and certain toiletries
  • Heavy or expensive jewellery – wear some versatile jewellery rather than heavy pieces
  • Guidebooks and maps – your hotel will likely have some, or you can do some research online

Remember to check what items you’re not allowed to take into the airport. These include lighters, electric cigarettes, and liquids over 100ml in hand luggage.

Top packing tips

In order to maximise space and make the most of the weight limit, it's important to think about how as well as what you pack.

Our top tips for packing for a holiday will help you nail this without having to sacrifice any essentials:

  • Decant toiletries into smaller bottles
  • Wear heavier items on the plane
  • Roll your clothes rather than folding them
  • Use a bright or recognisable tag for your suitcase
  • Put small items such as jewellery and charger cables in sunglasses cases to prevent them getting lost or tangled.

And remember, before you get started on your packing make sure you find suitable travel insurance so you can have the stress-free break you deserve.

Now sit back, relax and start your quote

Get a travel quote