cushion the impact Guide to Packing for a Sun Holiday

BY Sue Williamson

When packing for summer holidays, many of us (hands up here!) find it difficult to achieve the balance between packing everything but the kitchen sink and forgetting essential items.  While we can’t stop you packing 25 bikinis and 10 pairs of sandals for a week-long break, we can give you a checklist of what you actually need.

Pack these essentials to avoid panicked shopping mid-holiday and extortionate excess baggage charges.

Before we start, here’s a bonus tip: roll your clothes tightly to make the most of space, and minimise creasing.

How to Pack for a Sun Holiday


Thanks to the wonders of travel laundry detergent and quick-drying summer clothes, you don’t need to pack as many clothes as you think. For a week’s holiday, try the following:

  • 2 bikinis/swimming costumes
  • Sarong or similar cover-up
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 2-4 vest tops or t-shirts
  • Lightweight trousers for sightseeing, restaurants etc.
  • Light jacket
  • 2 evening outfits
  • Cardigan or wrap in case of cool evenings
  • 2 pairs of flip flops, sandals or other daytime shoes
  • 2 pairs of evening shoes
  • 3-4 sets of underwear
  • Beach bag and 1 smarter evening bag. Use your beach bag as hand luggage while flying to save space and weight in your case 


  • Glasses or contact lenses (plus solution)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • 1-2 scarves for evening
  • 1-2 sets of jewellery


  • Passport
  • Holiday tickets and hotel confirmation
  • Chargers for phones and camera (tip: a USB travel adapter can save you carrying so many plugs!)
  • Camera
  • Hair dryer/Straighteners/waving wand
  • Hairbrush
  • Books, Kindle or similar
  • Addresses/labels if you intend to send postcards
  • Cash or a currency card such as Revolut, which can be far more convenient
  • ATM and credit cards
  • Maps and directions
  • Travel laundry detergent
  • Snorkel, flippers, goggles etc.
  • Travel pillow for the plane if a long flight

Health & Beauty

  • Prescription medication
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Shower gel
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Razors
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Sun protection cream and after sun
  • Insect repellent
  • Lip balm
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel or wipes
  • First aid kit containing:
  • Indigestion tablets
  • Imodium/Motilium
  • Rehydration sachets
  • Anti-histamine
  • Sticking plasters
  • Anti-sickness tablets
  • Disinfectant wound/burn spray
  • Painkillers

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