08 Jul 2024

The ultimate guide to holiday packing

4 minute read

Packing for a holiday can be a daunting task because there are multiple things to remember. Worrying that something important will get forgotten is stressful! 

Whether it is streamlining a suitcase or simply reducing the overwhelm, APDO member Sheena Taylor has 6 fantastic holiday packing tips to help you pack like a professional for a stress-free start to your holiday.

1. Create A Master Checklist

The goal is for packing to be as easy and as quick as possible without forgetting anything essential.  Start by creating a master packing list at least a week before the departure date.  To help with this task in the future, it is a good idea to create the list digitally so that it can be used again.  This can be as simple as using the Notes app on any phone to produce a list of items that will be needed for the holiday.   Things can be added if needed or ticked off once they have been packed, ready to go.  Categorise items into clothing, essentials, toiletries and other.  This not only ensures that important things are not forgotten but also helps to keep the number of items being packed to a minimum.

2. Toiletries Just for Travel

Forgetting at least one essential toiletry when embarking on holiday is something most people have experienced.  To avoid this happening, it can be useful to purchase duplicates of the most important items and create a travel toiletries bag that is kept strictly for travelling.  This can include items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, body soap, face wash and any other toiletries that will be needed.  Storing this bag inside a suitcase between trips allows it to be easily found and repacked when a new holiday presents itself.

3.  Choose Clothing Carefully
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Planning and packing the outfits for each day can save a great deal of time and space in a suitcase.  When creating outfits, consider choosing versatile pieces from one colour group or neutral colours.  This allows for items to be easily mixed and matched throughout the vacation.  Think about the different activities that may be occurring throughout each day to help decide what to wear.  If one day involves hiking, swimming and an evening meal, choose clothing that will be suitable for these events.  Select lightweight clothing that can be layered up instead of packing bulkier items.  This not only saves space but also ensures preparedness for varying weather types and temperatures.  

4. Stay Organised on the Go
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It can be very difficult to find things when living out of a suitcase on holiday, so it is worthwhile putting some consideration into how items are packed to keep things organised.  Using different coloured packing cubes is very useful and helps to keep different categories of clothing together and easier to find.  Use small pouches or bags to keep items such as chargers, electronics, medications and documents easily accessible.  Bring a lightweight, foldable laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate from clean ones.  This will keep clean clothing fresh and make unpacking simpler when returning home.  

5. Be Mindful of the Extras
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The most important items to bring on any holiday are travel documents such as passports, tickets and any reservations.  Most of these can be stored online or emailed prior to a trip, but sometimes paper copies are also required.  Storing these items in a designated plastic wallet keeps everything in one place and reduces the stress of searching for them.  Also, packing reusable items like water bottles and shopping bags is not only eco-friendly but these things will be useful for various situations on any holiday.  

6. Relaxation Kit
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Instead of seeing the destination flight as a means of transportation, it’s worth viewing it as a chance to recharge and unwind ready for the holiday.  One way to do this is by packing a relaxation kit that covers a few self-care needs while the plane is in the air.   If sleep is the goal, remember to pack an eye mask, ear plugs and an essential oil that aids sleep and relaxation.  Airplanes are notoriously dry so bringing along a nicely-scented hand cream and lip balm can go a long way to making the flight more comfortable.  If it’s a lengthy flight, having eco-friendly face wipes and a light face moisturiser will give that refreshed feeling prior to landing at the destination.  

A relaxation kit should also include items that provide entertainment for the onboard experience.  This may be in the form of music, movies, books, games or podcasts, depending on preference.  One great idea is to download TV shows and documentaries about the holiday destination.  Whatever the choices are, ensure methods for charging phones and other electronic devices are included just in case batteries need recharging.

Following these professional packing tips will provide a clutter-free and organised approach to holiday packing.  Not only will these ideas make the travel experience smoother and more enjoyable, but it will also allow any tourist to focus on making the most of the vacation. 

If you would like your local Professional Organiser to support you with planning and packing for a holiday, check out our Find An Organiser directory.

Happy travels! 

Sheena Taylor of yourprofesionalorganiser is an eco-friendly professional organiser. As well as being an APDO member, she is our Reuse and Recycling Coordinator and recent APDO conference speaker.  Having featured in Ideal Home and House Beautiful magazines, she also shares her expert knowledge with her overwhelmed clients, many with ADHD, to make space for life to be easier, moving from a place of struggle and shame to one of confidence in staying on top of things.  Sheena lives in South Croydon with her husband and son and has enjoyed travelling to 42 countries so far. 


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