• Izabelita

Holiday checklist - how do I pack for holidays?

I decided to write this post for those of you who may need an idea for a checklist before packing for holidays, or for those of you who may not have thought of certain items. This post is also for those who like light reading :) I meet people on holidays who forget loads of items, unfortunately they end up having to buy it overpriced later or have holidays without them (which was of course my case too!). I'd much rather spend this money on food, trips, or souvenirs. Bear in mind, that this is very subjective holiday checklist with hope it may help someone, or put a smile on your face :)

Imagine this, you booked your flights, bought all the new travel essentials, packed your beautiful luggage. Now on the day of the travel you check passports, boarding passes, phone, updated playlist, headphones etc. All good and you're off to the airport. All well and dandy, you sit on the plane, just about to fasten your seat belt, and then this moment, a voice in your head screams "I forgot...!?!?!" Panic! (or this happens when you arrive at your destination)

Photo: Packing for a 4 day city trip to Lisbon in hand luggage is possible.

Well, I am a bit of a pedantic person when it comes to holiday packing now and it's thanks to my very good friend FiFi that I started creating holiday packing lists. It was when we went on a snowboarding trip together and then when we talked about him forgetting something, he said "I'm going to add it to my checklist for next year" to which I said surprised: "next year checklist ?!" He explained that he does it every year when he goes away and forgets something, he adds it to the already existing list for next time! And that's how I used his clever idea and started preparing my holiday lists (yes, it's plural because there are two types of holidays that packing needs; summer for beach holiday & winter for snowboarding trip). So if you need a list or just want to cross check some of my items with yours that need packing here it is:

Shoes section:

*sliders or sandals

*beach flip flops

*trainers or comfortable sports wear (for the walks and the hikes) also for Apres ski on the slope

*a pair of smart shoes if I know there might be an occasion to wear them

I'd love to take all my shoes, but from experience I learnt that I very often wear the most comfortable one or the one that match majority of outfits. Packing tip: shoes are packed at the end on the edges of the luggage to serve as a buffer.

Clothes section:

*hats and caps & as many sunglasses with UV filter as I can fit into my luggage

*summer wardrobe (dresses, skirts, shorts and t-shirts)

*even if I go to a hot country, I always take one sweater or thin jumper - just in case.... or for the way back, as England loves to welcome me with rain

*beach cover ups, and bikinis (sometimes towels depending where I am staying)

*gym kit (if hotel has a gym I exercise, or I like to think I will)

* small bags for nights out or sightseeing when you don't want to carry too much staff

I try all clothes on before packing - just in case they don't fit anymore! I usually roll them so that they take very little space and they don't crease. I pack hats and caps upside down and fill them with bikinis to save space and not to damage the hats.

Cosmetics section:

If I have travel size, I take whatever I can in travel sizes (especially for short and weekend breaks) otherwise I take half empty bottles so that I use them up on holidays and don't bring them back. Another alternative and my recent discover is Beauty Advent Calendar (it offers you a lot of travel size products which are perfect for travel!). I like to think that I don't take a lot of beauty products with me, but I always have some essentials including shampoos and shower gel (there's very few hotels that have good quality products) and because I have long and thick hair, the hotel little shampoo bottle would not be sufficient for me.

First aid pouch - after my accident before I left for Cuba I always take with me plasters, and antiseptic wipes, and silicone stitches, I also take tablets that help with food poisoning - if I travel somewhere where it may be necessary.

Eye drops - I take them for the flight as my eyes get very dry in the cabin, but also as I am contact lenses wearer it's good to have them just in case. Of course enough supply of contact lenses (believe me I forgot once and thankfully my friend had spare set of 5 contact lenses to test which I borrowed from her and they were blue; so I had one eye brown and one blue - just like a Siberian husky dogs!).

Because of my sun sensitive skin, I always take either after sun moisturiser cream or Aloe Vera gel for after sun. My other must haves: biodegradable sunscreen (safe for the reef and marine life but also safe for my sun sensitive skin, high factor protection is also needed for face at high altitude in the mountains during winter), lip balm (for snowboarding I have a special factor 50), antibacterial hand gel, moisturising mist for the plane, and the rest of usual staff! Mosquito repellent (if it's a country that requires it),

Photo: It may sound funny but I lay out all my cosmetics before packing so that I know I have everything.

The gear:

The most important is of course - the camera, then Go Pro, extra batteries and all the cables, plus extra Memory card!

phone charger, and my own headphones for long haul flights, if I am renting a car I always take my magnetic phone holder (my savoir), and power bank!!!!

Plug adaptor is another item that I always take, as I learnt my lesson in Valencia already. (but that's another funny story, for another time).


For short flights I usually buy some healthy snacks, e.g. Deliciouslly Ella bars which are my favourite, or fruit. I may take some nibbles to have with me like biscuits, or nuts just in case. It also depends which airline I'm travelling with, as some European budget carriers don't have good healthy option offers - so I pack my nibbles. It is always good to have some spare snacks. As an example, in country like Cuba you are not able to buy snacks, so if you are on a day long trip on the road it is hard to get anything. In Turkey, on the way to Pamukkale we were not able to exchange money and no one wanted British Pound, so we could not buy lunch, so nuts and protein bars saved us!

Water - always stay hydrated, as the plane's air drys out your skin (and eyes, and throat) I refill my re-usable bottle with water before the flight. I may also put one bottle in my hold luggage so when I arrive somewhere and cannot get one quickly I always have a small bottle with me. It saved me so many times!

I also pack green tea bags to my hand luggage, as none of the airlines have green tea on board.


More recently (since Mexico and Thailand trip) I am trying to plan my itineraries on the phone not to use paper. However, I still have a sentiment to good old book versions and I may have one as well with me. If I carry paper notes, I will have them on various pieces of paper, notepad etc. - it's a miracle I have never lost them (yet)! Sometimes I print a map with places I want to see.

I download / or buy a useful phrases book so that I can use few words and 'blend in' - it is also the best way to get the local people to mingle with you and few words such us Hi, Good morning, please and thank you always go a long way!


*Towel clips - so needed on the windy beaches

*thermo-mugs for cooling your water and drinks (something I noticed a lot of Canadians did in Cuba)

*beach bag - it sounds obvious but I forgot it so many times that it's now permanently on my list

*Snorkelling gear (you can always rent, but I have my own)

*Ocean pack - waterproof backpack for boats that get wet

*Snowboard gear (all the bits from thermal clothes to googles, helmet and gloves)

Books, magazines, and anything for relaxation time on the beach or evening by the fire place.

I wonder if there's anything you pack that I don't have on my list? Please share great ideas! I'm curious to know.

Other lists:

The team at TUI have created an interactive holiday checklist to help you plan the perfect holiday. All you have to do is choose your destination, who you are traveling with, your type of holiday and create a bespoke holiday checklist. That is really cool, isn't it? If you want to check it out follow 'TUI Holiday Checklist’

Wishing you hassle free travels,


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