Packing for holiday can be a nightmare, especially when you’re not sure what things to take and how it’s all going to fit in your luggage. You know what I’m talking about. 

Look, I’ll be honest – despite the fact that I now travel around ⅔ of the time, I am not the kind of “oh I packed everything days ago” kind of person. 

Nope, you can guarantee that if I’m flying at 10pm, 4pm will see me hurriedly gathering my things and getting down to some serious work. Could I make my life easier by doing this days in advance? Sure. Will I? The substantial body of evidence to date says no.

I’m never stressed though. Because I know I’m such a calamity of a last-minute rusher, I’ve gotten my packing list game on top form. Rather than raiding the wardrobe and trying to choose things at random, I have a step-by-step list I work through that never lets me down. 

Now I’m going to share that list with you… this ultimate holiday packing checklist will help you decide what you need to take with you on your trip. At the end of the guide, I’m also going to share my top packing tips to help you level up your packing game too. 

Bags at the ready… let’s rumble. 

The Ultimate Holiday Packing List


  • Suitcase 
  • Packing Cubes 
  • Day Bag 
  • Travel wallet or organiser
  • Plastic bags for dirty laundry
  • Toiletry bag (or ziplock bag) for toiletries


  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • T-shirts
  • Shirts/blouses
  • Pants/shorts
  • Dresses/skirts
  • Sweaters/jackets
  • Pyjamas
  • Swimsuits / bikinis 
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • Hat or cap
  • Scarf
  • Gloves


  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Flip-flops or sandals
  • Dress shoes (if needed)
  • Any other shoes necessary – for example hiking boots or running trainers

Gadgets + Electronics 

  • Smartphone and charger
  • Camera or smartphone with a good camera
  • Portable charger/power bank
  • Universal travel adapter
  • Headphones/earbuds
  • Laptop or tablet (optional)
  • E-reader (optional)
  • Travel-sized surge protector (optional)
  • Wireless charging stand (optional) 
  • Memory Cards (optional) 
  • Spare batteries for gadgets (optional) 


  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Cleanser, Toner, Moisturiser
  • SPF for Face
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body wash or soap
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Hair ties/clips
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent (if needed)
  • Feminine hygiene products (if needed)
  • Prescription medications
  • First aid kit
  • Toilet paper or tissues

Other Holiday Essentials 

  • Passport and visa (if required)
  • Travel itinerary and reservations
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Travel pillow and eye mask
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Travel guidebook/maps
  • Snacks
  • Travel umbrella
  • Entertainment (books, playing cards, etc.)
  • Sunglasses and case
  • Extra plastic bags (for wet items or garbage)
  • Personal identification (ID, driver’s licence)

Top Tips for Packing for Your Holiday 

I’ve written a super in-depth guide on how to pack a suitcase (honestly, whatever you think you know, throw it out and start from scratch) so I’ll keep things relatively brief here but here are the things you need to be thinking about when packing for your trip. 

  • Don’t overpack. That may be the biggest challenge when thinking about things to take on holiday and clothing is usually the main culprit for this. Again, think about practicality as well as comfort and anything that has a dual purpose or can be mixed and matched is best.
  • Also, have a look at the weather you will be encountering on your trip -are you going on a tropical break? A cruise? A hiking trip? Weather and activities will strongly influence what to take on holiday in terms of clothing.
  • If you take prescription medication, it’s a good idea to bring enough with you to last your trip. If you think you’ll need to refill while you’re away, bring the appropriate paperwork from your doctor. 
  • This is a no-brainer but always double check that you have your passport with you before you walk out the door. It’s also important to make sure that you’re on top of visa requirements for your destination, you don’t want to be caught out at the airport.
  • Travel insurance should not be a second thought and as soon as you organise your flights, insurance should be next. It will at least give you the peace of mind that if something was to go wrong, then you are covered.
  • Cards seem to be the main form of currency these days so it’s worth looking at the best travel card deals with zero or limited fees. Always take a backup credit card though and keep it separate, being stuck without access to cash is not ideal.


  • Practicality is the main factor you should think about, as depending on where you’re going and what you plan on doing, one might be more practical than the other.
  • Suitcases can be lightweight and perfect for rolling around an airport or train station, but not so much on rough roads or cobblestone streets. 
  • On the other hand, a backpack can be carried on almost any terrain but the stress on your back might be a bit much if you tend to pack a lot. 

Packing Cubes 

  • I would rather not think about life without packing cubes. They revolutionise the way you pack and if you’re not using them, then you certainly should. They are usually light, fabric bags to separate your belongings into sections so that you know where everything is once it’s packed into your luggage. You can also buy different sizes, which is great for making everything fit perfectly. 


  • Trousers or leggings are a comfortable travel wardrobe staple. Jeans will always look good, but for practicality and more adventurous activities you might also need to think about hiking pants or active leggings as well.
  • Depending on the time of year and the weather at the destination you plan to go, you’ll need to seriously consider your warm clothing items. They can also take up a bit of room so thinking about quality is essential.
  • A thin scarf or sarong can have multiple uses, from a scarf to a blanket to a folded pillow
  • A pair of black active leggings can also have a dual purpose from being your exercise or workout clothing to adding warmth underneath a dress.
  • If you’re bringing a hat, roll your underwear and place it inside to stop the hat from being crushed in transit. 


  • Footwear is where you have to be most ruthless on your holiday packing list  as they take up a lot of room in your luggage but also can make or break your trip.

Read More Packing Tips & Guides 

  • How to Pack Your Suitcase – A Step-by-Step Guide 
  • Do You Really Need Packing Cubes? Yes, Here’s Why 
  • Planning Your Trip: An Insider’s Guide to Stress-Free Travel 

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