Do I need this? Can I squeeze this in? Can I leave that behind? Have I remembered everything? I love going on holiday, but I definitely don’t love the packing, and nor does anyone else I know. In fact my best friend once had to pack my suitcase for me. Here are my top 10 tips to make it all a little bit easier – some of them learned the hard way.
Deciding on how you get to the airport is an important part of your planning. Just as their are comparison sites for flights and hotels, there are also websites that will help you find cheap airport parking. Once you’ve completed your search, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether you’ll be better off driving to the airport or taking public transport or a taxi.
1. Clothes. You never need as many as you think you do. If you’re going away for seven days, you do not need seven different outfits, unless you’re the world’s messiest eater, in which case you should probably pack a bib. Clothes can be worn more than once. What you should always make sure you have plenty of is underwear and socks. Don’t believe the people who say you only need three pairs of pants because you can wash them in the sink every night. This is not how you want to spend your holiday.
2. First aid kit. Don’t forget the blister plasters – they’re invaluable if you’re doing a lot of sightseeing and walking. Avon Skin So Soft moisturiser doubles as an unlikely insect repellent – apparently it’s used by the Marines to ward off mosquitoes.
3. Medicines. Take some paracetamol, and some travel sickness tablets if there’s even a chance you’ll need them. I didn’t take them on holiday to the Cayman Islands because I’m usually fine flying. Then I went on a boat trip. That taught me.
4. Wet wipes or antibacterial gel. You need to be more careful about hygiene when you’re abroad, not less.
5. Travel adaptor. If you’re travelling outside the UK, you’ll not be able to plug anything in abroad unless you take the right adaptor for the country you’re going to. And if I can’t plug my straighteners in, I’m not leaving the house.
6. Spare glasses or spare contact lenses. You probably won’t need them – but I’ve not forgotten the time I sat on my frames and had to fix them with sellotape like Jack Duckworth.
7. European health insurance card (EHIC) if you’re travelling in the EU. This entitles you to medical treatment at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. You need this even if you have travel insurance – some insurance companies require you to have the card, and others will waive your excess if you’ve used it.
8. Important documents. You’ll need your travel insurance documents and a photocopy of your passport in case it gets lost or stolen. Keep the photocopy in a different place from your passport itself. You should also leave photocopies of your passport and travel insurance documents at home in the UK.
9. Airport parking booking confirmation. Not really a packing tip as such, but lots of people don’t realise that if you book in advance, you can sometimes halve the cost of parking at the airport. It’s worth spending those five minutes booking online. Don’t forget your booking confirmation though.
10. Light raincoat and umbrella. “You won’t need a raincoat in Spain,” my uncle scoffed before I flew out to spend the summer there. Four weeks later, it rained so hard that the drains flooded and the water wasn’t drinkable. Unless you’re going to the Sahara desert, take a raincoat.