The ultimate travel packing list

06 June 2016

There is nothing more exciting than booking that longed-for holiday, but before you can truly embrace the freedom and embark on your journey, there are a number of important tasks and essential items to tick off your check-list.

To help you avoid unfortunate events ranging from the exasperating (packing your reading material in your main suitcase) to the downright cataclysmic (forgetting your passport), we've put together a nifty holiday check-list to help get your trip off to the best start possible.

Pre-travel checks

  • Passport: British passports permit travel to any EU country up to and including the passport expiry date. However, some destinations may have stipulations such as ensuring there are six months left before your passport expires.

  • Visas: Some destinations require visitors to purchase a visa. Check whether this is something you need to apply for in advance or can buy on arrival.

  • Insurance: Book this as soon as possible to cover yourself against unexpected cancellations. Always read the small print, taking into account the excess you might need to pay, any pre-existing medical conditions and any activities you might choose to participate in abroad which might need additional cover such as skiing.

  • European Health Insurance Card: If you are travelling to another European Economic Area, the EHIC gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost or even free. Be aware this is not a replacement for travel insurance.

  • Vaccinations/medication: Some destinations require vaccinations a few weeks in advance of travel. Additionally, if you need to bring personal medication, check with your GP and airline to find out if you need a note to bring it on board a flight.

  • File your documents: Photocopy your passport and insurance policy details and seal these in a travel wallet, along with any printed confirmations of bookings for your journey. Alternatively, upload relevant documents to a site like

  • Change your money: Additionally, let your bank know you will be abroad if you plan to use your debit or credit cards and check the fees.

Hand baggage

  • Valuables and breakables: Cameras, mobile phones, hearing aids, kindles, reading glasses and sunglasses should all travel along with you to minimise the risk of loss or damage. Don't forget your chargers and adaptors.

  • Medication: This should include simple painkillers and travel sickness remedies – just in case you feel unwell on the journey.

  • Entertainment: Books, magazines, an iPod or anything that can help to pass the time on a long journey should be within arm's reach.

  • Toiletries under 100ml: Liquids and gels must be sealed in a clear plastic bag for security, but you may be in need of some freshening up during a long-haul flight.

  • Additional layers: A light jumper, blanket scarf or pair of cosy socks can help keep you warm under chilly air-conditioning.

Main suitcase

  • Clothes: Roll your clothes to take up less space. Don't forget to pack swimwear, waterproofs and sandals or walking shoes if necessary.

  • Larger toiletries: Wrap securely to prevent leaks.

  • Items such as hair-dryers, towels and travel kettles are commonly provided by accommodation, but if these are essentials you cannot live without, be sure to check in advance.

Read our guide on how to pack a suitcase.

Remember, it's never too early to start planning your packing check-list. This way, you can quickly get back to more exciting considerations, such as having the time of your life.

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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.