Your Ultimate Holiday Checklist

Packing doesn’t have to mean panic – let us do the hard work. All you have to do is follow this catch-all checklist of holiday essentials, then start focusing on putting your feet up.

Packing doesn’t have to mean panic – let us do the hard work. All you have to do is follow this catch-all checklist of holiday essentials, then start focusing on putting your feet up.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - From 4am on Monday 1st November, all countries will be removed from the UK red list. You still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through as they can change at short notice, check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information or find out more here.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
minute read
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Posted 15 JANUARY 2021

Before you start packing…

Make sure you’ve:

  • Arranged travel insurance
  • Got a valid passport(s)
  • Had any necessary vaccinations (ask your GP if unsure)
  • Planned transport to and from the airport, and at your destination.
  • Arranged airport parking if necessary

Now, let’s get packing.

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Printable holiday checklist

Simply download and print the holiday checklist to use as a guide for your next trip away.


What documents do I need for my holiday?

  • Passport – email yourself a photo of it too, just in case
  • Visa documents if needed, plus a photo copy
  • Driver’s licence (and car hire details if using)
  • Travel insurance documents, including your EHIC/GHIC card if travelling in Europe.
  • Airline tickets, hotel bookings, train tickets
  • Your ATOL certificate, if you have one

What should I pack in my hand luggage?

The essentials:

  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Keys
  • Wallet/purse (with credit cards, local currency and/or a travel money card)
  • Essential medication
  • Copy of your prescription(s)  
  • Glasses/case/contact lenses
  • Hearing aid

And how about:

  • Electronic plug converter
  • Electronics (tablet, iPad, iPod, computer) and charger
  • Earphones or headphones
  • Camera and camera charger
  • Wet wipes
  • Scarf, shawl or blanket
  • Tampons and sanitary towels
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • A lockable case for any valuables
  • Jewellery
  • Book or magazine
  • Pen to fill out landing cards if needed
  • Snacks or treats for long flights
  • A bottle of water once you've passed through security

What is not allowed in carry on? 

  • Liquids in any container over 100ml in size 
  • Sharp objects including knives, razors or scissors 
  • Weapons or ammunition 
  • Lighters, flammable liquids and fuels 
  • Aerosol based insect repellant 
  • Sports equipment and gear 
  • Tools 

Is a handbag classed as hand luggage? 

This can vary between different airlines, so it’s important you check beforehand, but, generally, most airlines will let you take a handbag on board, as well as your dedicated hand luggage. 
A good general rule to follow, would be for your handbag to fit easily beneath the seat in front of you, while your hand luggage fits the airline’s standards and is stored in the overhead storage compartments. 

If travelling with children:

  • something to keep them amused such as toys, games and books
  • nappies if necessary
  • change of clothes
  • dummy or comforter
  • favourite toy
  • baby food, if needed

Practical items for my checked bags

Or hand luggage if you prefer a travel size (under 100ml for liquids):

  • Hand cream
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Contraception
  • Sun cream
  • After sun
  • Mosquito repellent and bite cream
  • Hairdryer
  • Deodorant
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Face and body moisturiser
  • Lip balm
  • Tissues
  • Hair brush
  • Hair clips and ties
  • Contact lens solution
  • Face wash
  • Soap and/or shower gel and shampoo
  • Razor and shaving gel

What should I pack for a family holiday? 

  • Backpack 
  • Painkillers 
  • Plasters 
  • Nappies 
  • Baby wipes 
  • Games and toys (don’t forget their favourite cuddly animal!) 
  • Beach toys and inflatables 
  • Books and magazines 
  • Music players 

What should I pack for a beach holiday? 

  • Sun cream 
  • Beach towels 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Hat 
  • Swimwear 
  • Swimming goggles 
  • Armbands for young children 
  • Flip flops 
  • Insect repellent spray 
  • Fan 
  • Books and magazines 
  • Music, podcasts and audiobooks downloaded 
  • Inflatables, pool and beach toys 

What should I pack for a city break?

  • Local guidebook 
  • Map or map app 
  • Comfy shoes 
  • Suitable clothes for different types of weather 
  • Backpack 
  • Camera 
  • Portably battery charger 

What should I pack for a walking holiday? 

  • Walking shoes or boots 
  • Walking poles 
  • Suitable clothing – think about layering 
  • Waterproof clothing 
  • Backpack 
  • Camera 
  • Maps or map apps 
  • Local guidebook 
  • Water bottle or thermos  
  • Portable battery charger 

What should I pack for a skiing holiday? 

  • Skis 
  • Snowboard 
  • Protective equipment, helmets and clothing 
  • Ski goggles 
  • Extra socks 
  • Suitable clothing for warmth and layers 
  • Walking boots 
  • Woolen hat 
  • GoPro or other camera 
  • Thermos 
  • Sun cream 

What should I pack for a camping holiday? 

  • Tents 
  • Sleeping bags 
  • Sleeping mats or inflatable mattresses 
  • First-aid kit 
  • Food and drink supplies 
  • Cooking equipment 
  • Map or map apps 
  • Backpack 

What is the 311 rule? 

This rule relates to the liquids that can and can’t be taken on a plane. The three refers to the 3.4oz (100ml) rule, the maximum amount of liquid you can take on board. The two ones refer to the liquid being stored in one clear plastic bag, and that there should only be one plastic bag per passenger. 311. 
This is just a general rule however, so it’s important you check any specific limits to your airline. 

Is it better to fold or roll clothes? 

Different people will swear by each method, but your best bet is a combination of the two. 
Folding is best for heavier or better structured clothes, such as trousers, jeans, shirts and jumpers. These are easy to fold along certain lines, and are less likely to crease. 
Rolling is better for saving space with light clothes such as t-shirts, socks and underwear, because you can make them more compact and stack them more efficiently. It also helps prevent creasing, which is common when folding thinner materials. Rolling can also make certain clothes fit in more unusual spaces in your case. 
However, there’s also a third technique. Commonly referred to as bundling, this is when you create one large pile, by folding your clothes inside each other. You start with the largest and heaviest clothes, such as a jacket, and then build up by layering lighter clothes on top, shirts, trousers, then t-shirts, before finishing with underwear. You then wrap the smaller items in the larger ones, finishing with the jacket, to create one tight and single bundle. It takes a lot more effort than simple folding, but it is very efficient if you are travelling for a longer period. 

Other useful bits and bobs for travelling

  • Neck pillow
  • Blanket
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Phrase book and guidebook or apps for the country
  • you're visiting
  • Reading material – on your device or paper copies
  • Playing cards
  • Umbrella
  • Sealable plastic bags for toiletries
  • Extra plastic bags for dirty laundry
  • Pen knife
  • Mini sewing kit

That’s it. Print out one of these handy checklists for your holiday and stick it to your fridge. Don’t forget our useful travel insurance comparison service. And the last thing to remember? Enjoy yourself.

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