How to pack a suitcase: Travel packing tips

Going on holiday? Follow this packing checklist to make sure you’re prepared. Get ready to jet-set and go with these handy travel packing tips.

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travel packing tips

Secrets to making a packing list & packing a suitcase easily

  • Write your packing list in advance of your trip - waiting to the last minute increases the chance of forgetting items.
  • Pack all the essentials first. If you run. out of spacem it is better to sacrifice a few luxuries.
  • Rolling clothes is often more efficient than folding them so use your space wisely.
  • Wear items that are too bulky to pack where possible.
  • Keep your passport, travel documents, phone and wallet in a separate bag so you don't lose them.

What do you need when you’re going on holiday? The answer ultimately depends on the type of holiday you're planning but there are some universal items needed on any travel packing list. Make sure you have the essentials and learn a few packing tips to help make sure you fit everything in your suitcase with this guide.

Account for a little space when you’re drawing up your travel packing list. Try not to pack your suitcase completely full or you won’t be able to bring any gifts back with you!

Travel packing checklist: the essentials you should pack

You can divide your packing into essentials and luxuries. Pack the essentials first, then start adding things you may not absolutely need. Of course, what’s essential varies between people but here’s a packing list for the basics.

Clothing:

  • Make sure you’re thoroughly equipped with socks and underwear.
  • Have enough outfits to see you through the duration of your stay, taking into account how easily you’ll be able to wash them at your destination.
  • Remember your swimwear, if you’re expecting to use it. Similarly, pack winter clothes, walking boots, or other weather-dependent clothing as needed.
  • Pack nightwear soyou stay comfy at night. Most hotels will provided gowns and slippers though!
  • Think about what shoes would be appropriate for your holiday. If you’re planning to walk extensively, or in adverse weather, you’ll probably find walking boots useful. If, on the other hand, you’re planning to spend most of your holiday at the beach, you might prefer to bring sandals.

Toiletries:

  • If you’re taking any medication, make sure you’ve got a supply for your entire stay. speak to your doctor or pharmacist in advance of your holiday.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Deodorant.
  • Any haircare or skincare products you think you’ll need.
  • Shaving equipment, if you’re going to be shaving.
  • Sanitary pads/tampons, if you need them or if your teenage daughter always forgets to bring her own.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Bring towels if necessary.

You’ll be able to pick up toothpaste, sanitary products, shampoo and so on at most destination, so you don’t necessarily need to bring all of the above things on your journey. Airlines have restrictions on the quantity of liquids you can carry with you in the cabin too so this may affect your decision. Although miniature toothpaste tubes and shampoo bottles are conveniently sized, they aren't always the best value for money. If you do want to pack your own toiletries, buy refillable bottles and top them up from your full-sized bottles at home.

Other essentials:

  • Bring your phone and charger, along with chargers for any other electronics you’re taking.
  • If you’re travelling to a country with a different style of plug socket, be sure to bring adaptors.
  • Make sure you have any necessary travel documents. Do you need a visa? Do you have overseas health insurance?
  • Bring your passport, if you’re crossing borders.
  • Don’t forget any tickets you’ve booked for travel.
  • It can be helpful to print out the booking details for anywhere you’ve arranged to stay.
  • Remember your money! You don’t want to suddenly realise on the plane that you’ve left your wallet at home.
  • Carry some of the currency of your destination with you to cover any immediate costs - like transfers from your airport or a quick snack and drink after landing!

Travel packing tips: how to pack a suitcase easily

A few travel packing hacks can mean the difference between a successful holiday and one that’s best forgotten. Here are the best suitcase packing tips we have to offer.

  • Make a packing checklist. The above can serve as a start but you’ll have other things you’ll want to bring on holiday. Write them down so you don’t forget when it’s actually time to pack.
  • If you’re travelling by plane, remember to check the baggage allowance for your airline before you start packing. It can scupper all your plans if you show up at the airport and get told that your suitcase is too big.
  • In advance of your holiday, check whether there are laundering facilities at or near the place you’re staying. You can save on space if you have a convenient way to clean your clothes, particularly if you’re planning a long stay. Just don't forget to take some of your favourite detergent, like Breeze, if you're not sure if you can buy it locally.
  • If you’re struggling to close your suitcase, think about whether you can cut back on clothes. A lot of us get a little too cautious when we’re packing. You don’t need five pairs of jeans for a two-week holiday. Unless you’re planning on tramping through mud, you can usually get away with wearing the same pair for a week straight!
  • It seems counterintuitive but rolling your clothes rather than folding them can actually save space when you’re packing.
  • Look for nooks and crannies you can take advantage of. If you’ve packed a pair of boots, there’s empty space inside them that you could cram more socks into.
  • If you’re wearing clothes, you don’t have to find space for them in your luggage. You’ll regret trying to wear three coats on top of each other but you can at least choose your bulkier clothes for the journey.
  • A lot of essential toiletries are in liquid or gel form. If you’re taking a flight, there will probably be restrictions on how much liquid you can take into the cabin. Make sure your bathroom bag is in your checked luggage, rather than carry-on, if you can.
  • It’s discouraging to open your suitcase on the first day of your holiday and be hit with a wave of mildew. To make sure your clothes are smelling their best before you pack them, check our advice on how to make laundry smell good.

Hopefully these luggage packing tips will help ensure that you have all the essentials with you on your holiday, so you can focus on relaxing. Have a great time!

Originally published