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Vacation Checklist: Things to Take on Holiday

Updated on March 27, 2017
Greensleeves Hubs profile image

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.


Please feel free to quote limited text from this article, on condition that an active link back to this page is included

© 2011 Greensleeves Hubs

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

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    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      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

    • profile image

      Leah snowden 2 years ago

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

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

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

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      Max 2 years ago

      Thank you for this.

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      Zita 3 years ago

      Very useful! Thank you!

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      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.

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      holidaylover12 3 years ago

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

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 5 years ago from Essex, UK

      Thank you friend

    • hi friend profile image

      hi friend 5 years ago from India

      great hub

    • RahelBanisil profile image

      RahelBanisil 5 years ago

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

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 5 years ago from Essex, UK

      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 profile image

      RahelBanisil 5 years ago

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

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 5 years ago from Essex, UK

      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.

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      Derdriu 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 6 years ago from Essex, UK

      Thanx for that!

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      sharon thomas 6 years ago

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