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Vacation Checklist: Things to Take on Holiday

The author has travelled extensively in many countries. These pages give his advice on how best to prepare for, and enjoy your vacation



NB: All my articles are best read on desktops and laptops

This is my second page devoted to the subject of holiday packing. In the first - a Vacation Guide to Effective Holiday Packing - I give practical tips on luggage to take and how best to pack it to keep it safe, accessible, clean and tidy, and below air travel restrictions on weight. One piece of advice which I offer on that page is to compile a checklist of things to take, and to tick it off as you pack to ensure nothing is forgotten. On this page I have produced a sample list for you to consider. Of course we all have our different priorities and interests, and it is beyond the scope of this page to cover everything that you may need to take - my knowledge does not extend to the requirements of small children, or specialist sports gear, camping gear etc, so your list will undoubtedly differ from this one. Having said that, maybe this list will give you a few general pointers to help you create your own personal list. I hope so.

Further advice about other aspects of holiday preparations which will ensure peace of mind whilst away from home can be found in the third page in this series - my Guide to Good Holiday Preparation. Please check this out.


Passport and visa

Copy of passport ID page (keep in a different bag to passport)

Insurance documents

Copy of insurance documents (keep in a different bag to insurance)

Flight tickets, car hire and other transport bookings

Copy of medical prescriptions (just in case you need to replace any medical supplies you depend on)

Hotel bookings

A list of addresses and telephone numbers (for contact in emergencies)

Vaccine certificates

Leaflets & downloaded advice about your destination

Foreign cash and travellers cheques

Prebooked event tickets (local tours / sporting events etc)

One or two credit / debit cards (if you take two, keep them in different bags)

Tour dossier and joining instructions (for package tours)

Domestic cash (for when you return from holiday and need cash to get home)

Domestic travel arrangements (for when you get back to your home airport)

It can be a major headache if any important papers get lost or stolen on holiday. Hence the advice to carry copies to show to the relevant local authorities. An alternative is to put copies of these documents on an e-mail account you can access when abroad. And take money in at least two different forms, or have two different ATM cards.


Hat - for shading both from heat or from cold

Swimming costumes

Umbrella (or a hooded coat)

Coat (if necessary, but a coat can be very bulky!)


Neck pillow for the plane

Jumper / cardigan

Sarong - can serve a number of functions


Long-sleeved shirts

Night attire


Short-sleeved shirts and blouses



T-shirts and all other casual tops

Shoes / hiking boots / trainers / sandals


Long trousers and shorts

Gloves and scarves (for cold climate holidays)

Handbag and purse, wallet or money belt

Dresses and skirts

Suit (for posh cruises - not my style!) 

Wrist watch

Sarongs, apart from being an item of clothing, could also be utilised as a bed or beach sheet, or in various other ways. If at all possible avoid taking heavy coats to warm counties, even if you have to return home to a freezing winter. Remember however that you may sometimes need to cover up in warm countries for skin care, to avoid mosquitoes, or for cultural reasons.


Comb or brush

Prescription pills for any medical conditions

Sewing kit

Hairsprays / hair gel etc

Headache pills

Safety pins (just a few, just in case!)


Diarrhoea pills and rehydration compounds

Tie tags and rubber bands


Anti-sickness pills

Tape (for sealing bags, leaky bottles, securing bandages etc)

Razor and shaving cream

Malaria pills etc for any infectious disease


Perfume / aftershave etc

Insect repellant

Carrier bags for dirty clothes and other uses

Anti-perspirants and deodorants

Sting relief

Polythene bags (preferably zip-lock)

Toothbrush / toothpaste and a few toothpicks

Suntan lotion

Universal sink plug


Lip balm and mouth ulcer analgesics

Travelclean and a travel iron

Female hygiene products


Tissues, and wipes and lens cleaners

Toilet paper

The European Health Insurance Card

Ear plugs

Quite a long list, but remember you can almost certainly buy some of the toiletries locally, and you probably won't need ALL the medicines (unless you suffer from that most serious and distressing of all diseases called hypochondria). Some of the sundry items are only required in very small quantities. Just pay attention to the particular requirements of the country you're visiting.


Camera(s) (what about a disposable underwater camera?)

Laptop / iPads etc

Camera batteries and camera battery recharger

Laptop batteries and cables etc (no point in taking any technology if you can't use it!)


Mobile phone / smart phone

Memory cards or films

Mobile phone cards and any phone information for your destination

Lenses, lens hoods, filters, tripod and other accessories

Electronic games, music etc

Of course any technology list will be determined by your own specialist interests, but also pay heed to the weight of such equipment, and the amount of rough treatment your luggage is going to receive, before packing delicate electronics. Besides, do you really want to travel to exotic locations and then shut yourself off from the outside world with a laptop or iPhone?


Novels (these days a kindle may be a better weight restriction option)

Maps (preferably laminated and waterproof - 'Insight' fleximaps are particularly good))

Phrase book


Padlocks for your luggage, and spare luggage labels

Guide to birds (a nice addition on safari, or just for when out walking)

Spare glasses or contact lenses

Guide to other animals (for safari, but also I like spotting wildlife anywhere!)

Mini screwdrivers (for people who wear specs with tiny screws) and a Swiss army knife

Guide to coral reef fishes (for diving and snorkeling holidays)

Sweets and biscuits (preferably not chocolate if you're somewhere hot!)

Star maps (if like me, you're into astronomy and want to identify stars)

Tea bags or a small jar of coffee

Notepad or diary and pens

Alarm clock

Puzzle books / playing cards / games

Small torch

Binoculars (not much point in a bird book if you can't see them!)


Toys and gifts (if visiting friends, or if staying with local people)

The miscellaneous objects on the left are self-explanatory. The list on the right reveals my own interests in natural history, astronomy and other local interests. Suffice it to say that even if you're going on a beach or hotel holiday, you may venture out into the countryside in an exotic country, and it adds much to the holiday if you know something of the world which you see around you.

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I'd Love to Hear your Comments. Thanks, Alun

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on June 01, 2015:

Leah snowden; Aw thanks Leah! Glad it helped. Being well prepared is half the battle in making sure the holiday is free from stress. Hope you have a good time wherever you go. Alun

Leah snowden on June 01, 2015:

This was great for me! Going on holiday in two weeks and felt like I had forgotten everything!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on April 22, 2015:

My thanks to both Zita and Max for commenting. Alun :)

Max on April 19, 2015:

Thank you for this.

Zita on May 28, 2014:

Very useful! Thank you!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on February 03, 2014:

Thankyou holidaylover12 for commenting; a checklist of some kind is always a good idea if it saves you forgetting something which proves useful or important! Cheers, Alun.

holidaylover12 on February 03, 2014:

that was very helpful and it was the only holiday that i didn't forget anything

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on June 01, 2012:

Thank you friend

hi friend from India on June 01, 2012:

great hub

RahelBanisil on May 29, 2012:

Oh,,, Wow!!! That was very informative... I learned a lot... Thanks!

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on May 28, 2012:

Thank you RahelBanisil for your kind comment. Certainly, for someone like myself (very disorganised!) a checklist is essential for peace of mind and for ensuring I don't forget anything which I need to take with me on a holiday.

RahelBanisil on May 28, 2012:

Wow!!! this is really helpful... Thanks for sharing..

Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on November 20, 2011:

Derdriu, thanks as ever for your visit and comments. Three pages of travel tips were the first three pages I ever published (because they didn't require too much research or photographs, so were fairly straightforward to write).

Quite often I print up customised star maps from an Astronomy CD-Rom, because of course if you travel to southern latitudes, so many of the constellations are orientated differently, and many stars invisible in the north may become visible. Also, depending on where you come from and where you travel to, the sky may be so much clearer and less light-polluted, so star gazing is a nice addition to an exotic holiday. With a good Astronomy programme, it is possible to print up a chart for exactly the location and date of the visit.

Derdriu I can't tell you how much I appreciate your visits and support, but thanks again.

Derdriu on November 19, 2011:

Alun: What a clear, logical, useful guide you are offering to readers in terms of packing for the holidays! It is most convenient the way in which you break up the descriptive passages with charts, which are such excellent sources for quick visual checks of what the would-be traveler has or overlooks. In particular, I like your mention of star maps, because I always have counted on my own knowledge and that of acquaintances. That does not always work, for instance in Brazil, where the night sky is so different!

Thank you, voted up, etc.,


Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on March 23, 2011:

Thanx for that!

sharon thomas on March 23, 2011:

That was an excellent guide to follow though individuals have there own needs this could be used as a basic check list.

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