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How to prepare and pack for a tour holiday.

Read our hints and tips on how to prepare for a touring holiday - from packing the essentials to ensuring you have all the right travel documents.

Suitcase packed for a holiday
Packing the right items for a touring holiday is essential.

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If you’re off on holiday this year you will need to choose your preferred destination and the type of holiday you want, deciding between options like adventure travel, romantic and relaxing breaks and special interest tours. 

Saga will frequently take care of holiday details like day trips with a guide, optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights and a VIP door-to-door travel service to the airport, so the only thing you need to do is prepare what to take in your suitcase and remember your passport.

Consider some of these travel essentials before leaving the UK on your holidays in 2015, including what gadgets to pack and the types of clothes you might need to buy.

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Travel-sized toiletries

People going on holiday overseas often panic about taking a lot of toiletries and there is generally no need. They are heavy and take up valuable souvenir space. 

If you are flying and only taking hand luggage, the maximum allowance for each bottle of liquid is a travel size of 100mls, which should be plenty for a short holiday.

Many high street stores sell designated travel toiletries that include small bottles of hair shampoo and conditioner, shower gels, tubes of toothpaste and hand gels, to name just a few essential products. 

If you are headed somewhere hot you might want to consider a mosquito and insect repellent too. Look out for offers where you can buy several for a set price.

If you forget something, the places you are visiting will often sell the general products you need (and on occasion, so will the ship you are on if you have booked a cruise tour with Saga). 

The only items that are absolutely necessary to buy in advance are any specialist health products, like soap free shampoos for skin conditions, that might be hard to find on holiday.

Electronics and travel adapters

You don’t want to be too weighed down with gadgets, especially if you are going to a few different countries that require varying travel adaptors. We recommend investing in a brilliant universal adapter that is compatible with wall outlets around the world.

Keep the electronics to a minimum on holiday. If you want to pack light, buying an e-reader is a fantastic way to keep your luggage weight low (especially if you like to bring holiday reading and guidebooks with you).

If you have a micro USB connection you may only need one charger to keep all your electronics charged. Inexpensive tablets or a small lightweight laptop can be useful as well, while a small digital camera is great for the holiday snaps that you will want to view on your return.

Clothes for travelling

Whether you are packing for hot weather or cold, the key is always layers. In Mediterranean countries, for example, the temperatures are usually warm during the day, but depending on the season it can get quite cool in the evenings, especially if you are beside the coast or staying out at sea on a cruise ship.

Light knitwear and cotton layers are especially good travel items to take with you, while scarves are a great addition for travellers on the go, adding warmth or colour to your wardrobe without taking up too much room in your holiday bag.

Meanwhile for those looking to try adventurous activities like hiking in the mountains, a pair of sturdy walking boots or sandals and wet weather waterproofs are usually essential. Don’t forget your swim suit or trunks if all you want is some time at the beach with a beautiful view.

How to pack a suitcase

Travel accessories and holiday extras

These should be kept to a minimum so you aren’t weighed down when it comes to moving your luggage at the airport, but there are some items that are incredibly useful to have on holiday. 

Pack sunglasses, even if you’re heading to a cold place, a hat to keep the sun off your face and a travel-sized lip balm for hot and dry weather.

Essential travel items

Other than your passport and visas, you need to ensure that if you have a health problem and take medication you have enough to last the length of your holidays, especially if you are going on a long cruise. 

It can be worth bringing snacks if you have specific dietary requirements like celiac disease, a small first aid kit and after sun cream. Sunscreen is a must, particularly during the spring and summer seasons.

It’s always worthwhile having a variety of payment methods available. Take a debit card, credit card, cash and travellers cheques so that you have options under different circumstances.

How to get a good deal on holiday money

Final holiday travel tips

Roll your clothes, this will save on space and keep them from getting too creased in your bag. 

If they do get a bit wrinkled and there isn’t an iron to hand at the hotel or on the ship, you can either use a hairdryer to blow out the creases, or hang up your item while you take a hot shower allowing the steam to smooth out your clothes.

It is inadvisable to take precious items; make sure you keep your money, jewellery, passport and tickets on your person or inside your carry-on luggage at all times rather than leaving them in hotels.

So those are our general travel essentials and tips. If you’d like to know more about what kind of weather and conditions you will likely come across while on one of our Saga holiday tours, take a look around online or speak to one of our advisors before you purchase new accessories.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.