Packing priorities: Top 10 summer holiday packing essentials

As soon as those clocks spring forward, thoughts start turning to the summer – and if you’re lucky enough to be taking a holiday in the coming months, now is an ideal time to start drawing up your holiday packing checklist. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as remembering your toothbrush these days. Whether you’re off to Cornwall or Corfu this summer though, we’ve put together our top 10 items to pack for your summer holidays, including the necessities and additions to keep you comfy, relaxed and most-importantly, safe.

Of course, what you need will vary depending on destination and your mode of travel, but the below will stand you in good stead wherever you’re off to.

1. Documents, tickets and/or passport

Even if your suitcase styling is on point, your itinerary is enviable and your destination is one heading your bucket list, if you forget these items your summer holiday could be over before it’s even begun.

Of course, if you are staying within the UK, you likely won’t need your passport unless taking a domestic flight – but even if not your passport, any form of ID is important to pack, even if it’s just to prove you’re the main bookee when get to your holiday park. If heading abroad, your passport is essential and do make sure that it is within date and valid – since Brexit the rules around passports have changed – if travelling to a country within the EU, your passport needs to have been issued less than 10 years before your arrival date (the day you land on holiday) and be valid for three months from the final day of your holiday.[1]

Documents includes all the details for your accommodation (arrival time and booking number), itinerary for your stay, hire care details, in fact – any documents you have to do with your trip, be sure to have these with you! Either on your phone (see number 7) or printed out.

If you’re taking any public means of transport to get to your holiday or have transfers and excursions planned while there, do make sure you have those tickets packed! Chances are they may have arrived with you in the weeks running up to your break and could be separate to the other documents handed over at the travel agents. Consider a travel wallet one of the key buys before your trip.

2. Travel Insurance

Any holiday requires a significant investment, particularly if you are falling victim to the heavily increased prices during the school holidays. So it’s important to protect that investment (and yourself!) with travel insurance. If circumstances outside of your control should arise which mean you can no longer go, something happens which affects your health, experience or just your return date while you are there, travel insurance will give you that peace of mind – make sure you are covered and have all the details about your cover, including policy number and valid dates included in your documents packed. You can compare prices and find the right cover for you, all while supporting your favourite good cause by arranging travel insurance via easyfundraising.

3. Money

You’ll need some spending money while you’re away – be sure to have your card or cash with you and of course, in the relevant currency! Most major cards will work wherever you are in the world, but you may need to advise your bank where you are travelling and during which days to make sure any payments don’t get blocked by the rigorous security measures they put in place. Having some cash with you is a good idea – but remember to keep it concealed and with you at all times, or in a safe at your accommodation.

You can find the best travel exchange rates and collect free donations, too.

4. First aid items & medicines

OK, we’ve dealt with a lot of the admin bits – now it’s on to those items to pack to keep you safe and well during your holiday. First up, first aid! You don’t need to take a huge First Aid Kit with you, but be sure you have plasters, antiseptic lotion, antihistamines, bandages, travel sickness aids and if you have little ones with you, some simple medicine like Calpol.

If you have any other regular medication you or anyone in your travelling party should need, make sure you have them packed and if going abroad, following the necessary guidelines when taking medicine outside of the UK.

If travelling via plane, certain medicines along with the following items listed from 5-8 are subject to hand luggage restrictions so be sure to familiarize yourself with these before you depart.

5. Sun cream & after sun

The high temperatures and UV levels are likely the reason you picked the destination of choice, but it’s important to not put yourself at any risk of harm whilst out on your lounger. There are numerous guides out there on choosing the best sun creams, so pick your favourite, order it in and get it packed! The likes of Boots and Holland & Barrett are standing by to offer great deals on sun creams and they will donate to your cause whenever you spend with them: browse our cosmetic retailers.

6. Toiletries – travel size

This will vary depending on the sorts of activities you have planned and where you are going, but the universal essentials include:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair brush or styling products
  • Soap / shower gel
  • Toothpaste and Toothbrush

Plus your favourite make up, deodorant and moisturiser, or male grooming items. As in the hand luggage guidelines linked above, there are restrictions on the volume of certain cosmetic products you can take on board a plane and you can buy minis of the products listed, all available from our cosmetic retailers linked previously.

7. Devices (and chargers)

Try to avoid spending your whole break staring at your phone or tablet – but they should still be packed so that you can store travel documents electronically or just pass the time when waiting for departures. Plus, they handily remove the need to take a separate camera and memory card with you to capture those all important holiday snaps too. Most importantly though, it’s there for you to contact help in an emergency.

If you’re heading outside of the UK, it’s always wise to review your contract and make sure data roaming is part of your agreement, after all, you want to be sure you can actually use your device on holiday without it costing the earth! If you need to make any changes to your phone contract or treat yourself to a device with more storage before you go away, visit our mobile retailers.

You’ll also want to be sure devices are charged up throughout your stay, so ensure you pack relevant charger(s). The night before you leave, perhaps connect the charger to your device’s port ready to pick up both together. Oh and speaking of charging…

8. Travel adaptors

We’ve all been there – you remembered your devices, your charger, but when you excitedly land at your apartment / lodge / hotel or holiday home, you can’t plug them in! Make sure you pack an adaptor that will convert your 3-pin UK plug into one compatible with your holiday destination’s sockets. These are available from most electrical retailers, including multi port ones so you won’t need many – but be sure to do your research before you order.

9. Hat, swimwear & beach bag – beach essentials

OK we’ve cheated a bit and put 3 items together so we had a nice round 10, but this section really is about beach essentials.

You’ll want to make sure you have a sun hat or cap with you to not only provide shade, but to provide an extra shield for your eyes and skin too. Keeping your head cool will help to maintain a stable body temperature, so you can stay longer in the sun, safely!

Skinny dipping isn’t welcomed on most beaches, so remember to pack your swimwear! (and under that header, we’re including flip-flops too – so we can keep it at 10!). Again, there are plenty of guides out there on those which are most in style or perfect for your body shape. Swimwear is ideal for making sure you pack light, and with a sarong or light scarf for the ladies, and a lightweight open shirt for the boys, it can work for a stroll around the town too.

A large beach bag is a must – it’s really handy for keeping a good book, your towel, aforementioned sarong and our 10th item in as you head down to the coastline. It’s useful for keeping a sweater or light cardigan in too should the clouds roll in.

Collect free donations from any of these fashion retailers as you choose the perfect beachwear and bag to add to your luggage.

10. Sunglasses

Lastly, that classic summer essential – sunglasses. If you want to enjoy the sun in comfort these are crucial, so be sure to pack them! Play it safe and travel with them on your head if necessary. You’ll be sure to find a pair you love via the link above.

Feel good on your holiday

If you make sure you pack these 10 items, you’re on the runway to a fantastic time, wherever you’re heading. Want to really feel good on your break? Your chosen retailers will donate to your favourite cause every time you book holidays, or shop for travel accessories via easyfundraising. Visit our travel retailers by 19th May 2024 and you could also win an extra £1,000 for your cause!

Your summer holiday could generate even more than just great memories. Enjoy your trip!

[1] Passport validity rules for entering the EU – Which? News