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The Ultimate Holiday Packing List Guide for Your New Adventure

Intro: Embrace the Chill and Master Your Travel Prep

Looking for a great holiday packing list and guide? Look no further! Excitement is in the air, but let’s be real— packing part can be overwhelming. No worries, though! We’re about to embark on a laid-back journey together to master the art of packing and ensure your travel is as carefree as can be. Buckle up for the ultimate holiday packing list guide—’packed’ with tips, hacks, and all the chill vibes you need.

I must say this blog only covers what you will take in your carry on and/or checked suitcase (luggage). So things like money and passport and other documents we will cover in another blog where I will discuss what I take in my personal bag so I breeze through airport security. For now let’s focus on the main packing items such as clothes, toiletries and other items to make your trip zen.

Blue Suitcase filled with folded clothes

Holiday Packing list 101

First things first—let’s create a comprehensive blueprint for your packing adventure. Your packing list is your roadmap, ensuring you won’t forget a thing. Break it down into categories like face, hair, body, clothes, tech, and whatever else your heart desires. 

This is not just about avoiding the notorious “Did I forget something?” panic—it’s about tailoring your packing approach to your unique travel style. Writing it down puts your mind at ease.

We’ll now delve into the art of crafting the perfect packing list. From the basics to the specifics, we’ll cover it all, making sure you’re well-prepared for any adventure that comes your way.

So what should you consider when packing for your trip?

  • Are you travelling to a hot or cold destination/? what will the weather be like?
  • What type of activities are planning to do? 
  • Would you need specific gear for this? For example if hiking or exercising be sure to bring good trainers (sneakers) and breathable outer wear.
  • What is my restriction for luggage allowance if any?
  • What will your accommodation provide? Can you easily get products near where you are staying?

The answer to these questions will determine what and how much you pack for your trip.

I will always advocate for packing as light as possible, if nothing else it leaves space for shopping on your trip and at very least less load to struggle with. Great packing can truly set the tone of your trip!

Categorise to Maximise your Packing

Holiday Packing list Categories could include:

  • Hair
  • Face
  • Body
  • clothes (incl underwear and outerwear)
  • Accessories
  • gadgets 

Look at each category and note down what you will need. Write down your must haves, things you simply cannot be without. You may have a preference for brands or have sensitive skin and need certain products. Whatever the reason don’t fret get them on your list and work around the rest. 

If going to a hot climate then ladies go for a natural look with minimal makeup as you don’t want to look like a hot mess. A natural face is classic and easier to pull off.

Everyone knows by now the restrictions to liquids in carryon upto 100mls in a small ziplock bag, this will restrict what you will bring if you are only having a carry on case. However, you can carry full size liquids in your checked luggage. Just make sure they don’t spill and ruin your clothes.

Some items like over the counter painkillers, pills and certain ingredients are prohibited in some countries so please do check! Also things like razors and aerosol sprays may only be able to go in checked luggage.

Choose a simple hair style that last the vacation or a simple elegant updo or bun works with anything. Guys a fresh cut or restyle is all you need. No need for complication here save that energy for the trip!

Pro-tip I recommend for ladies is use a pressed powder foundation, this saves on space and no risk of spillage. Its also great in hot weather! Make sure you use a brand you always use though or test weeks before you go we don’t want to risk break out on holiday or wrong shade!

Pro-tip: Use a lip liner as lipstick with a chapstick/gloss is just magic!

Items for holiday packing list, Laptop, Camera, Sunglasses, Shoes, and various clothes / toiletries filling a suitcase

Holiday Packing list Items to include:

  • Facial wash and other products for cleansing
  • FacialToner and moisturiser
  • Makeup items (e.g. lip balm, lipstick, foundation, powder, mascara, eyeliner, lipliner)
  • Hair bands/clips/pins
  • Hair styling items straighteners/blow dryers
  • Brush and/or comb
  • Clippers/Shavers/razors (these might not be allowed inc carry on)

Miniaturise your packing 

Buy travel sizes or fill portable bottles to take what you need to last your trip. Travel sizes in hotels last about 2 days max, use this gage to determine how much you need for your trip. Of course if staying in a 4 or 5 star accommodation, towels, toothpaste, shampoo conditioner and shower gel will be expected. As well as robes at the least in 5 star. If unsure, nothing wrong will contacting your hotel or accommodation and ask what will be provided in your room so you know. This could determine the type of clothing (avoid linen as creases too much) you bring and what you need to keep you looking fresh.

Holiday Packing list items to include:

  • Shower gel
  • Hair conditioner/shampoo (if not provided or prefer your own)
  • Body lotion
  • deodorant
  • Perfume/cologne travel size if in carry on
  • Towel
  • Portable steam Iron (if not provided in hotel)
  • Shower cap
  • Feminine Hygiene products for women (even if mother nature is not expected!!)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

Pro-tip: Get your favourite perfume/cologne as a sample at duty-free if its a popular brand they should have it, otherwise try something new!

Holiday Packing list with style

Now, let’s talk fashion! Dressing cool while packing light is an art that can transform your travel experience. The key here is versatility. Select clothing items that seamlessly transition from day to night, allowing you to create various looks with minimal pieces. Mix and match is your best friend, ensuring you look stylish without lugging around a hefty suitcase.

Planning your travel look

I love the concept of a capsule wardrobe for travel. I’ve got it down to a fine art. I always have a theme for my travel to focus my mind. For instance if my destination is Paris and the chic colours are navy, red and white I use this as my pallet when choosing what clothes to bring. Black, white and demin don’t count in my capsule wardrobe and I try to avoid demin if possible as its heavy but it can be useful at times.

I bring versatile shoes black or tan goes with everything and have at least one smart shoes, one sandals weather depending and one comfy walking shoes. With a few items in this colour palette I can mix and match to make many outfits. I also focus on layering with tops, trousers, skirts and a couple of nice dresses with a scarf/shawl cardigan or blazer that matches everything and can take any outfit from day to night. 

I sometimes have a packing rule for example nothing black! Now that really focuses my mind when I choose the outfits. As I am strict with myself. For my last trip I have pastel colour theme? Be practical though I won’t be wearing a gold outfit to the gym or to go on a hike up a mountain so it serves as a good guide to keep me in line, otherwise I will bring everything!!

Holiday Packing list for men

For guys at least one smart trousers and a suit jacket a button shirt can be all you need to look smart. A jacket with a T-shirt and jeans looks put together on any man or a smart casual look. Or a button shirt with jeans looks like a bit of effort as well. I think loafers can be casual or smart.

I try to have a day and evening outfit for every day of my trip and no more and I rarely use them all. 

Pro:tip- use the ‘capsule wardrobe’ technique, choose a colour or theme where everything matches get lots of outfits from few items.

Holiday Packing list items to include:

For a weeks trip consider this example list for clothing:

  • 3 t-shirts one smart top for day to night
  • 3 vest tops including at least one dressy vest
  • 2 cardigans
  • 2 skirts (one long maxi)
  • 2 trousers 1 shorts
  • A button down shirt/blouse
  • 2 dresses
  • 2 gym outfits (optional if not working out no need) 
  • A shawl in versatile colour
  • I blazer or jacket
  • 1 or 2 jumper/sweater (if cold)
  • 2 PJs/sleepwear
Man folding mens clothes including shirts and jeans

Try before you carry on

I always try on things and plan the different outfits at least a month before so I know if they fit well and what I have in my mind works in practice. Sometimes my idea doesn’t work in practice and I have to have a rethink. It also gives time if you need to purchase anything to polish off your holiday look. I must admit I am not always super organised and throw things together last minute but for your first time or if not used to travelling, try to plan ahead as much as you can. It’s worth it trust me.

Holiday Packing list Items to include:

  • Jewellery keep minimal with 1 or 2 nice sets for evening
  • beach bag
  • hand bags, 
  • hats, 
  • sunglasses, 
  • reading glasses (if needed)

Pro tip: I hook necklaces on a larger safety pin to prevent tangling.

Tuck and Roll

Ever tried the roll, don’t fold packing technique? It’s not just a packing hack; it’s a game-changer when it comes to maximising space in your luggage. In this chapter, we’ll unravel the secrets of efficient packing, ensuring that you can fit more into your suitcase without the added bulk.

Space is everything when packing, you might need to take public transport or even at the airport to get out trolleys might all be gone by the time you get your bags out of baggage control! So pack light if possible. I have been known to pull off a 10 day trip with just a carry on. However this was a hot destination so swimwear, and cover overs was the main stay of my trip.

Space Savers

I haven’t used packing cubes but they do look interesting and I may try them. I tuck, roll and leave no dead space. Shoes get filled, pockets get filled. Rolling pieces that go together for an outfit is also a great trick. Vacuum packing cubes can work well but I always worry about clothes becoming so wrinkled that I would look awful unless I take an iron (I know | don’t want any excessive amount of ironing on my trip!).

I always bring a light weight towel with me especially if there is a beach element to my trip. And even my swimwear I mix and match bikinis in complimentary colours so I can create different looks from 2 or 3 sets.

Pro:Tip Wear your bulky items such as jeans, jacket or bulky shoes to go to the airport. Can always take them off while waiting or when in flight.

Holiday Packing list items to include:

  • 2 sets of Swimwear (minimum no matter if its 3 days)
  • Light weight beach towel
  • 1 pair sandals/flats, 
  • 1 pair smart shoes/heels, 
  • I pair walking/workout shoes
  • 10 pairs underwear (for a week)
  • socks

Safety first when packing

In addition to the basics like band-aids, pain relievers (you may have restrictions even on paracetamol depending on destination so do check!), and any necessary prescription medications or specialised items (for these you may need a doctors note to travel with them). Don’t forget a small tube of antiseptic cream, blister pads and insect repellant depending on destination consider water purification tablets. If you have a sensitive gut like me then definitely bring some hydration salts and nausea or motion sickness remedies with you.  A compact emergency sewing kit has save my day, you don’t realise until you need it. I always carry some 3 or so safety pins as well.

The goal here is to ensure you’re well-prepared for unexpected health situations. And remember, it’s not just about the physical health but also about the mental well-being. Consider packing a small journal or some mindfulness activities to keep your mental health in check during your travels.

Also look after your skin if you burn easily, sun screen and after sun lotion is a must to avoid peeling sunburnt skin which is not a good look for anyone! I always carry lip balm and a cooling mist spray to cool down or to moisturise in drying conditions.

Holiday Packing list items to include:

  • Sun screen
  • Aftersun
  • Cooling mist
  • Small first aid kit with bandaid
  • Pain relievers
  • Travel size Insect repellant/ antiseptic cream

Tech it easy, Packing electronics and gadgets

Holiday packing list items, coat, boots, backpack, Multi tool, compass, camera, notepad and map on a wooden floor

As our reliance on technology grows, so does the need to keep our gadgets charged and ready. Consider investing in a portable power bank with multiple USB ports. This way, you’re not just keeping your smartphone charged but can also juice up your camera, tablet, or any other device you might be carrying. Also so you don’t run out of space take an extra SD card with you for your phone or camera. Ensure you have a universal charger so you are covered for any destination and have a USB extender helps with being able to charge multiple gadgets at once. 

If you want to read or have movies you like on the go then having tablet is great and I always have games, movies, books to keep me entertained. For this I have earbuds/pods as well as headphones I just like the big headphones call me old school. I also have a portable speaker so | can listen to my fave music when getting dressed to go out, in the shower or at the beach. I need music wherever I go!

Moreover, let’s not forget about the importance of digital security. Ensure your devices have the latest security updates, use strong passwords, and consider using a virtual private network (VPN) for an extra layer of protection, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.

I also have a location app like Life360 on my phone so my family always know where I am.

Holiday Packing list item to include:

  • International adapter
  • Portable power bank 
  • Chargers 
  • Portable speaker
  • Headphones and/or earbuds/pods
  • SD card
  • Camera
  • Other Things to consider when packing
  • Tablet with movies, books, games downloaded for offline
  • Updated apps on your smartphone

Pro:tip Buy a retractable multi head charger cord with different types of charging connectors to suit your gadgets. No need to bring multiple cords when one will do.

Pack smart and don’t get caught out!

I always have toilet paper, wipes/tissue on me. No need to explain this one but tourist destinations/sites can run out of essential cleaning products so don’t rely on it and be prepared! Its not cute if things get desperate!

If allowed I bring an empty mug with lid for hot drinks and ask for hot water at coffee shops and restaurants in airport where ever I go. You can also take a hot drink with you if on an early sightseeing trip or for keeping warm in cool climate. I also have my selection of teas I always have with me.

Added items to consider are a flash light or portable fan again depends on destination and type of holiday if this is needed. 

I also always bring a mini sewing kit some hotels provide these but I have collected a few that I have handy just incase of a wardrobe malfunction.

Holiday Packing list items to include:

  • Toilet paper
  • Wet wipes
  • Tissue
  • Hand sanitiser 
  • Portable fan (rechargeable)
  • Portable Flash light
  • Mini sewing kit with needle and few threads.

Planet friendly packing – Sustainable travel items

Brown Suitcase filled with bottle, shoes, and bags

Taking reusable items makes your travel more sustainable so minimise plastics and use reusable/recyclable items where possible. I like to have my own set of sustainable cutlery in bamboo on me and not use plastics in the shops and have how about a reusable straw. There are some great sets available now and I use these at home or away.

Being mindful about hydration it is not just about carrying a water bottle; it’s about making a sustainable choice. Opt for a reusable water bottle to reduce single-use plastic. Explore the local water situation at your destination—some places might have perfectly safe tap water, allowing you to fill up your bottle. I also make sure I have water purification tables on me as I have a sensitive stomach. 

Pro:tip: Boil water in your room kettle before bed and let it cool overnight. In the morning fill your water bottle to take with you for the day.

Holiday Packing List Items to include:

  • Water bottle
  • Flask or cup with lid for hot drinks
  • Small container with lid to carry snacks like fruit (I need my snacks!)
  • Motion sickness pills (check if these can go in carryon may be restrictions)
  • Hydration electrolyte powder incase something doesn’t agree with you.

Conclusion: Unleash Your Inner Packing Pro

3 Blue Suitcases next to each other in front of an orange wall

There you have it—packing made easy and fun! These tips are your secret weapons for a stress-free start to your vacay. So, chill out, pack up, and let the good times roll! 🌴✈️ #PackingGoals #TravelMagic

One major tip is to plan well ahead, write everything down (on in a document in computer, phone or tablet) and stick to familiar products items and styles as you normally would when home. Delving into a brand new look, new products in a new environment can be too much! This can help keep some familiarity when away which can help with resilience when things don’t go to plan. So you can keep it zen…. 

If you find that just thinking of packing is a bit much and trust me it get be overwhelming I would be happy help put you on the right path. Just contact me using the contact form and put ‘Ultimate Holiday Packing List’ in the subject and I will send you a full packing list that you can adapt.

Did I forget something or is there something you always bring with you, let me know. Share this blog with family and friends and do comment below. Adventure Awaits!