It’s that time of year when many of us are preparing to head off on a well-deserved getaway. But whether it’s a long-haul adventure or a staycation closer to home, there’s one challenge to tackle before the journey begins: the vacation packing list.
Deciding what to take and what to leave behind can be tricky, especially if you’re going away for a while or traveling with the kids in tow. Pack too light and you might not be prepared. Pack too much and you might incur excess baggage fees. If you forget your travel documents (or they’re out of date) you could miss your trip altogether!
Luckily, help is on hand from the team at Top Villas. We’ve compiled a handy guide packed with first-hand advice and tips to take the stress out of your vacation packing.
Packing list essentials
First and foremost, you should gather the absolute essentials. These are the things you can’t travel without. This includes passports and visas, boarding passes, travel insurance documents, credit/debit cards and some cash (local and foreign). You might have some travel documents stored on your phone, but we recommend printing a hard copy too, just in case you have any issues with your phone’s signal or battery.
Travel packing list – items to prioritize
- Passport/visa: Before booking your trip, make sure you’ve got at lease 6 months left on your passport. Print two copies of your passport and visa, and place one of each in your suitcase and hand luggage.
- Boarding passes/tickets: Wherever possible, check-in for your flights in advance and be sure to pack copies of your boarding passes and tickets. Don’t forget to pack the details of any transfers too.
- Travel insurance: Make sure you have travel insurance in place before you travel, and double check that your policy covers the countries you’re visiting and the activities you’ll be doing. If you have an existing policy in place, check it’s in date.
- Credit/debit cards & cash: Pack the credit/debit cards you’ll be using. Also pack a small amount of cash in the currency you’ll need. We strongly advise you to check the international fees of your bank or credit card company.
- Devices & chargers: If you leave without these you might regret it! Pack your phone, camera, iPad or whatever else you might need, whether it’s some handy headphones for the journey or a kindle to read on the beach. You’ll want the chargers and some plug adaptors too.
- Emergency contact details: If you have an emergency while you’re on vacation, someone might need to be contacted back at home. Keep copies of their contact details in your hand luggage and suitcase.
- Medication & first aid kit: Be mindful of any medication you take and pack enough to cover your trip. You’ll also want a basic kit with painkillers, antihistamines, insect repellent, anti bacterial hand gel, plasters and anything else. Some countries have restrictions on the medications you can bring so be sure to double check.
Packing list tips and hacks
Now you’ve got the essentials in place, it’s time to start thinking about the other things you’ll need. It’s a good idea to check the weather at your destination and research any activities you’ll be doing. Bear in mind how long you’re going away for, and prepare your vacation packing list nice and early to give yourself time to double check, and triple check it!
Here are a few vacation packing list tips and hacks:
Pack light to avoid the hold
Make the most of a small suitcase and you can avoid checking bags in to the hold. Instead of folding your clothes, roll them – it saves lots of space. Also, wear your heaviest clothes on the plane, whether it’s a cozy jumper, jacket or pair of trainers.
Mix and match
Save space by packing a capsule wardrobe with mix and match items to create many outfits. Once you’ve chosen the main items you’re taking them, lay them all out together and have another look at them. If in doubt about that extra shirt or pair of shorts, put them back in the wardrobe!
Compress and cram
No vacation packing list would be complete without mentioning packing cubes or clear bags. You can cram clothes into them and squeeze out the air to create more space in your suitcase. Use elastic bands for loose wires from any electronic items to keep them nice and neat.
Remove anything you can buy at your destination
Do you really need those large bottles of shampoo or sun cream? In many cases, your accommodation will provide shampoo, shower gel and soap. If not, you can buy whatever you need from the local supermarket at your destination.
Buy travel-sized containers
If you really need to take your own products, just take small amounts in a travel-sized container. These are handy for hand luggage too, as there are regulations on the amount of liquids you can carry.
Keep your valuables on you
As a general rule, you should avoid including your most valuable items on your vacation packing list. Keep any other valuables in your hand luggage rather than your suitcase so they’re close to hand, and as an extra precaution in case of any issues with your hold luggage.
Book spacious accommodation
While hotels can be limited in terms of wardrobe space, a private villa or condo will offer plenty more in the way of storage space. If you’ve got lots to take, or your traveling with the whole family, make sure you book somewhere spacious to stay!
Beach packing list
Does your vacation itinerary involves lots of sun, sea and sand? Then you’ll need to prepare a beach packing list. This should include all the aforementioned essentials, along with some necessary beach-based items. Even if you want to laze on the beach and do nothing else at all, there are some basic items to include in your beach packing list.
Beach packing list – the basics
- Bathing suit
- Beach bag
- A good book or your kindle
- Beachwear such as shorts, sandals and a hat
- Toys for the little ones – save space by buying them at the beach
- Goggles, armbands and floats
- Snorkelling gear – you can usually hire this at your destination
- Towels – check if these are provided by your hotel or villa
- Umbrella – you’ll typically find umbrella rentals at the beach
Disney World packing list
Given the sheer size of Disney World and the vast amount of things to do in Orlando, planning is essential if you’re visiting the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’. Along with your Disney tickets and mobile apps, we recommend taking a rain poncho, plus lots of high-factor sunscreen as the sun in Orlando is strong.
Disney packing list – kid-friendly extras
- Snacks and water: There are some limits, but you are allowed to bring food and drink into the parks.
- Strollers: Strollers/pushchairs are available to rent at all of the Disney parks including Disney Springs.
- Autograph books: You’ll want to capture and cherish your favourite characters signatures.
- Ear plugs: If your child has sensitive ears or doesn’t like loud noises such as fireworks, consider bringing child-sized earplugs.
- Wet wipes/hand sanitizer: It’s a good idea to carry travel-sized wipes and hand sanitizer.
- First-aid kit: First-aid stations are dotted around each Disney park, though it’s useful to pack your own supply in case of a trip or fall.
- Baby food: You can bring baby food and make the most of the ‘Baby Care Centers’ in every park. They provide microwaves, changing stations and other facilities.
- Disney-inspired clothes: Looking for things to wear at Disney World? Check out Magical Day Apparel for some fantastic options for all the family!
Ski trip packing list
A ski trip packing list can be pretty extensive, but luckily you can rent all the ski equipment you need at your resort. There are some basics to consider though, such as your ski clothing, ski passes and equipment hire details. Your ski trip packing list should include the following:
- Ski passes – essential for getting in and out of resorts
- Equipment hire details – if you’re hiring ski equipment, get as much information as you can in advance. It will save you a lot of time at the resort.
- Details of any lessons or activities planned – Keep copies on your phone calendar to remind you, there’s so much to do on a ski vacation, it’s easy to forget where you’re meant to be and when.
- Ski jacket, trousers & thermals – Keep yourself toasty on the slopes with warm, waterproof clothes.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses – the sun can be harsh on the slopes, and snow blindness is no joke!
- Ski socks – Keep those toes warm and cozy with thick socks designed for skiing.
- Ski googles & gloves – Thick gloves are a must to help prevent sore fingers.
- Camera – Capture special ski vacation memories. Whether you use your phone or have a state-of-the-art camera, you’ll want it on hand to capture incredible moments.
- Regular warm clothes – pack these for après ski, dining and other activities
- Swimwear for use at any on-site spa – soak away any aches from a day of the slopes in resort spas and swimming pools.
Ready to book your next vacation?
Top Villas offers a wide range of great-value vacation homes in the world’s best vacation destinations. Book with us and not only will you get beautiful accommodation at great prices, you’ll also benefit from round-the-clock customer service plus a wide range of fantastic travel extras.
Follow our simple online booking process and you can secure your holiday home instantly without any phone calls or fuss. It’s easy to check availability, get a quote and book instantly online. Or if you’d prefer to talk to one of our friendly villa experts, give us a call!
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