Heading off to escape ‘summer’ in the UK? I’m not jealous, I promise. I’m not. In fact – here’s a parting gift of my own handy list of holiday essentials to take when I go away, designed for swift and compact packing that beats budget-airline red tape.
(But really, I’m not jealous at all.)
My top 10 holiday essentials
- Ear plugs. Probably not what you’d expect at the top of anyone’s list of holiday essentials. But it’s not just light sleepers that might find this an essential item both on the bedside table and in the bric-a-brac pouch of the rucksack. Earplugs come in handy when your underway too, for example to muffle the sound of cranky children. Or stag parties. I use regular soft ear plugs, but air-pressure-regulating earplugs could be an alternative for the plane, potentially helping to keep your ears happy as the altitude changes.
- Flip-flops. Even if towels are provided at my destination, comfy indoor footwear often isn’t. I’ve trodden on cold floors, wet floors, and less regularly cleaned floors; all situations where flip-flops help. On the flip (ha!) side, they also come in handy in a heatwave.
- Hot-water bottle. Talking about things warm – for those with perpetually cold hands or feet, a mini hot-water bottle can save the day on many an unheated bus/train/plane trip, and in cold hotel bedrooms. Boiling water is readily available in cafes if you’re on the go, and you can often get pretty hot water from airport/railway station bathroom taps.
- Small shoulder-bag, for days when you don’t need to lug your rucksack around. Also handy for stashing documents, passports, keys and other valuables, and keeping them close on the plane/train/coach/boat.
- Tablet with small keyboard. I’m by no means welded to my electronic entourage, but the trade-off of flexible working hours is that I sometimes need to check in while I’m away. After years of lugging around a ginormous 15-inch brick of a laptop, I invested in a small Bluetooth keyboard build to fit to my tablet, and haven’t looked back.
- Think discount: Student ID any other cards that might potentially get you a discount are easy enough to stash away in your wallet, so take them.
Health cover could save you cash on a holiday abroad © Wolfilser
- Think insurance: Definitely a must in any list of holiday essentials: I never go away without good cover. Citizen of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, and going on a European holiday? The free EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is there for the taking, so don’t forget to apply for it in good time. You might still need extra health insurance, so check exactly how EHIC works in the country you’re visiting.
- Think cash, in the form of a pre-paid travel card. There are many to choose from, and you can load some of them with a variety of currencies before and during your trips.
- A ‘Pack this’ checklist – yes, I actually use these for my inbound as well as outbound trips. If you’ve ever forgotten to pack everything up after a holiday, you’ll know why packing checklists are a swell idea in both directions.
- A pouch of ‘goes-without-saying’, including travel tickets and in-date ID (check the validity entry requirements for the country you’re heading to), medication and mini-toiletries. In 100ml refill bottles, not off-the-shelf, of course.
And with that, I bid you ‘farewell’, and wish you a truly fantastic time away!