Oh, pack it in!

It’s at this time of year we start the countdown to our well-earned holiday. Your beachy break is booked and all you have left to do is pack. You don’t want to spoil it by looking like a tourist. The question is: what do you pack for your week away?

Whether you’re planning a relaxing break or a party fuelled week, the key to packing is to plan ahead. Follow these simple steps for stress-free packing*:

1. Make a list

Okay, so it sounds like a boring, middle-aged thing to do, but making a list for all you may need to pack, results in a stress-free experience.

Be realistic about what you’ll need and how much space you have. Remember the airline baggage limit: if it says 20kg, it means 20kg! You don’t want to start your holiday off on the wrong foot by paying extortionate excess baggage charges. So gather all the items you want to take – then put half back! You’ll be living your days on the beach, so won’t need much anyway!

Think about what you will be doing and where you’re going. For example, if you’re heading to Greece and value your limbs, leave the Jimmy Choos and Manolo’s behind – they have no place on those Greek cobbles!

2. Clothes roll call

Let’s break it down. A simple list for what you may need to pack for both day and night.

Dressing by day

During the day, life for most will revolve around the beach or pool, with perhaps the odd trip thrown in. With this in mind, here’s what you’ll need:

  •  2-3 bikinis and perhaps a one piece swimsuit (incase of those lovely poolside cocktails!)
  • 2 beach cover ups – think sarong/tunic/sundress.
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 3-4 vest tops/tshirts (which can be suitable for walking around town/going on trips or double up as low key beach bar wear).
  • 1 pair flip flops and 1 pair flat sandals – these are much easier to walk in on rustic cobbles than high stilettos, believe me! If you must have heels, opt for wedges.
  • 1 pair of Converse/trainers – not only super cool to travel in but also incase of an unexpected trip or hike!
  • a hat – not only protects from the sun but also finishes off a perfect outfit!
  • Beach bag – with a microfibre towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, music/book.

Top tip: Microfibre towels are far lighter than beach towels. They roll up really small, thus taking up less precious space in your case! Decathlon do some good ones at a great price.

 Dressing by night

Whether you’re a party animal or opting for something a little more low key, no doubt going out at least for dinner and drinks under the starry skies, will be on the menu. Here’s what to take:

  • 1 pair dressy shorts/long skirt/ flowy trousers
  • 2-3 tops to match
  • 2-3 dresses: 1 maxi, 1 classic(black or white) and maybe a bright one to show off your tan!
  • Small bag
  • 1 jacket/cardigan or shawl – not only great for travelling at the cooler UK side and on the plane, but it can get chilly in the evenings in some places abroad.
  • accessories: keep it simple with some classic gold which goes with everything and will look a-may-zing against your fabulous golden tan!
  • underwear, 1-2 pairs of socks & sleepwear

Shoes: If you’re a shoe girl like me, it’s so tempting to take one pair for every outfit, but stick to the rule of 3: flipflops, sandal/wedge, pumps.


pack a pair of flip flops

2. Essential routine items

Everyday beauty essentials: Toiletries

Multi-tasking travel sized items work well and save space eg a tinted moisturizer that acts like a foundation or a moisturizing showergel. But sometimes a girl just needs her ‘routine essential items’.

Decanting your must-haves into smaller refillable plastic bottles will save you both weight and space in your case. Then group them into a resealable bag to avoid any spillages. These can be placed around the outside corners of your case or rolled in a towel.

Haircare products and brush/comb & ties, body wash, moisturizer (body and face), 1 razor (for touchups), deodorant, toothbrush & toothpaste, minimal cosmetics (I doubt you’ll need a full face of makeup on a beach break!), suncare/aftersun, mini fragrance atomiser, make up for those nights out.

Being prepared

First aid kit: You don’t need to pack for surgery, just the essentials eg plasters, pain killers, upset stomach solutions, any essential medication, allergy medications (as these may be prescription only in your destination). Mosquito spray (and room repellent plugs) are also useful.

Tech head: Don’t forget the all important adapters, chargers, phone/camera & SIM memory card for all those lovely beach selfies you’re going to take which make you look utterly fabulous! Do you really need to take your laptop?

3. Space saving packing tips

Rolling your clothes carefully saves space and avoids those troublesome creases. Some fabrics like underwear, tshirts, knitwear won’t crease as easily as heavier materials like cotton shirts, skirts etc. Treat your suitcase like a sponge cake: Place the rolled items on the first layer, then the folded (more likely to crease) items on the middle layer. Top the pile with the items you’re likely to need first eg swimwear/pyjamas – depending on what time you’ll arrive at your destination.

Stuffing shoes with chargers or socks/pants and placing around the outside of the case not only acts as a protective barrier. It also keeps fiddly items together.

Remember to save some space for any holiday purchases you may be bringing back home too.

 4. You won’t be going anywhere without these!

Don’t forget the all important travel documents! Without these, you won’t be heading anywhere. These are so important, so keep them safe in your hand luggage. Don’t forget all of your travel documents, boarding passes, valid passports, any visas required, insurance policy, EHIC card, currency etc .

Luggage can go astray, so to avoid having to spend the duration of your holiday in your travelling clothes, make sure you label your luggage well. It’s also a good idea to take some spare luggage name tags and a pen with you, not only for your return trip but just incase yours get snapped off.

 5. Hand luggage

Make sure you follow the restrictions of the country you are travelling from regarding hand luggage. For example in the UK you are allowed no more than 100ml liquid which must be in a clear bottle within a resealable transparent bag, no sharp items such as manicure kits or scissors are allowed in hand luggage either, so keep them in your hold luggage.

Some people suggest taking a pair of clean underwear and a garment in your hand luggage, incase of airport mishaps too.

Entertainment: The all important book or music device for on the beach and to pass the travelling time.

By being practical and following an idiot-proof list, you will have stress-free packing. But don’t forget, the most important thing of all: to have a blast and enjoy your fabulous holiday!


Ps Don’t forget to let me know what you can’t travel without in the comments box below…

 * This list is not an exhaustive list but covers the essentials you may need for a week at the beach. Don’t forget, many destinations can be shopping meccas, so anything you may have forgotten can soon be picked up there!


Hi friends, I'm Claire: Wife, Mother of 2 girls and a furbaby, 40+, creative designer, business woman, health conscious and curious minded...

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