The Ultimate Vacation Packing List: Everything You Should Bring

Vacation time! You’ve been looking forward to this for a while now and it’s so close you can feel it. But before you can dig your toes into white sand or make snow angels in the mountains, you need to undertake a big task. 

Packing without forgetting anything. 

With this vacation packing list, you’ll never again rock up to your hotel and realize you’ve left that one thing you really need at home.

It might feel like you’ve got ages to pack, but we often leave it to the last minute and forget essentials. Read on to discover everything you need to pack for a stress-free vacation. 


Before we get into the list properly, let’s talk about luggage. 

You might already have a good range of travel luggage but your vacation type defines which you’ll need. Rolling luggage makes life easier for airports and many city stays but it’s not ideal for everything. 

If you’re heading to Venice for instance, you’ll want a good-sized backpack. With no cars in the city and lots of cobbled bridges, rolling luggage just won’t work. 

If you’re off for a weekend break, a small case or bag will kill that temptation to pack way more than you need. The key is to always consider how you’ll be getting from the airport to the hotel. 

Here are all of the things that you need to be sure you put into your luggage before you leave.

1. Important Documents

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare to turn up to the airport without a passport. But there are other important documents you’ll need to take too. 

  • Travel/Health Insurance – Always take a paper version in case you can’t get online.
  • Vaccination Card – This is important if you’re going somewhere that requires certain vaccinations or the yellow fever jab. 
  • Booking Confirmations – Not every destination will have reliable internet access so take paper copies. 
  • Identification – In some countries, it’s mandatory to carry ID with you. A driving license if often ideal. 

2. Essential Toiletries

It’s not always easy to buy forgotten toiletries when you land in a new place. You might be far from shops or be in a country that doesn’t sell what you need. 

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Contact lenses, case, and solution
  • Prescription glasses
  • High SPF sunscreen
  • Q-tips
  • Makeup and makeup remover
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Shaving kit
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Face wash
  • Lip balm
  • Toilet paper
  • Medication and birth control

3. Gadgets and Power

Once upon a time, all you needed was a disposable camera. Now, half of our luggage seems to be filled with cables and gadgets. With so many things to take, the last thing you want is to show up without the right cable. 

5. These Three Pairs of Shoes

If you’re trying to reduce your luggage, shoes can be a sticking point. Depending on the type of vacation you’re going on, you might need more shoes than you can carry! These three pairs are travel necessities.

  • Comfortable Shoes – Sneakers or slip-on shoes are perfect for plane journeys and can be used for daytime exploring on vacation.
  • Evening Shoes – A pair of smarter shoes are essential if you’d like to dress up for dinner or go to smarter events.
  • Activity Shoes – From hiking boots and flip flops to ski boots and deck shoes, this pair is footwear you need for your activity plans.

6. These Four Outfits

Is there anything more difficult than picking the perfect travel clothing wardrobe? Clothes you’ll need will depend on the vacation length, the activities you’ll be doing, and the washing facilities available. 

But no matter where you’re going, these four outfits types are travel essentials. 

  • Travel Outfit – However you’re getting to your destination, you’ll want to be in comfortable, breathable clothes. If you’ve ever worn tight jeans on a long plane journey, you’ll know what we mean. 
  • Day Outfit – Will you be exploring a city or hanging by the beach? Having a few mix-and-match day outfits means you can take a small number of items and mix them up every day. 
  • Evening Outfit – One of the best things on vacation is eating out. Pack at least one evening outfit so you can dress in style.
  • Activity Outfit – Whether you’re skiing, swimming, hiking, or just sunbathing, don’t forget the activity-essential clothes.
  • Extra Tip – Always pack enough underwear and socks!

7. Tools for Relaxation

Vacations are your time to kick back and relax, no matter where you’re going.

After long flights, you might arrive at your destination surprisingly exhausted. And with the weight of work finally getting off your shoulders, it’s important to capitalize on your downtime. 

  • Candles – The best candles to take with you are scented candles. Light one when you arrive and take ten minutes to sit and breathe. Remember to pack a lighter or matches in your hold luggage. 
  • Books – Get a great novel in paperback or on an e-reader and spend some time getting absorbed into the story. 
  • Meditation App – Download a meditation app and spend 10 minutes a day trying it out. It might just be the icing on your vacation downtime. 
  • Foot Foam Roller – If you plan on skiing or hiking, a small foam roller for your feet will ease the day’s tension away. 

9. Activity Equipment

Whatever you’re planning on doing, you’ll probably need at least some activity equipment. You can pick and choose from this list to suit your vacation. 

  • Skis, poles, helmet, and goggles
  • Snowboard
  • Swim goggles
  • Fins and snorkel
  • Hiking poles
  • Camping equipment
  • Beach towel
  • Quick-dry travel towel
  • Head torch
  • Swiss army knife
  • Waterproofs
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Wetsuit or rash vest
  • Sport watch
  • Maps

10. A Notebook and Pen

You might go for months at home without needing a notebook but when you’re on vacation, it’s amazing how useful they are. 

Choose a lightweight notebook and you can use it as an itinerary planner, jot down words you learn, play games on the plane with it, or use it as a travel journal.

If you’ve always wanted to sketch or want to write a letter to a friend, it’s a perfect all-round travel must-have. Don’t forget a pen!

The Importance of a Vacation Packing List

Each vacation is different which is why packing can be so tough.

But when you use this vacation packing list, you’ll be able to see the categories of travel essentials and mold it to fit your needs. 

Follow us for more great travel advice and wherever you’re going, have a blast!

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