Travel - Packing Essentials

September 28, 2015

{I first wrote this post for So You're Getting Married last week}

I've been packing and unpacking rather a lot recently and while I get my Cornwall blog posts organised I thought I'd share a little list I've put together to make sure I don't forget any of the essentials. I think packing is one of those things that you either love or hate. It's partly stressful, especially if you're restricted on luggage weight or if you're going to multiple climates within one trip {I swear I need to pack more for a UK break than I do for going halfway around the world with our crazy weather}. But equally it should be exciting, especially if you're off on your honeymoon. I actually packed for our honeymoon a week before we got married because we were flying the next day and I didn't want to stress. Obviously I always end up taking way too much with me {on long haul flights especially, a bit more restricted if flying Easyjet or hand-luggage only for a European trip}, a trait I've inherited from my mother, but it's better to have options. You know what us women are like. One thing I've learned though is that even in the middle of Africa, you'll be able to buy deodorant or shampoo so really it's not the end of the world if you forget something. 

Ok, so this list is for your typical hot beach holiday for one week. You'll probably need to adapt it if you're going for a city break or somewhere very cold. Right now I have that feeling that I always get on the drive to the airport, what have I forgotten?!!

1. Hammamas cotton towel. Chic turkish towels made from 100% cotton are the way forward, they're more absorbent that regular towels, you can fold them into your beach bag without them adding bulk and they double up as a scarf/sarong/dress/blanket too. I love the colours from Hammamas and after using mine all day everyday in Corfu I'm about to order a few more for the collection.



2. Extra contraception. I'm not joking, when I was in Mauritius the housekeeping threw my pill away thinking it was rubbish! Cue a panicked rush to speak to the hotel doctor. In the end the local pharmacy stocked the same type and housekeeping searched the bins and found my original. But from now on I'm always taking a spare packet, not the kind of thing you want to worry about on holiday, especially a honeymoon! Winking face

3. A big beach bag, one that doubles up for my hand luggage, and potentially a day bag too. Plus a smaller evening bag.

4. Sunglasses plus a spare pair.

5. Sun hat, I never used to wear a hat until this year but would always come home with a burnt scalp, not a good look. Also good for covering up the inevitable bad hair effects from the sea/pool/beach/wind. Who gets beachy waves naturally, who?!! Mine just goes into a tangle. I got mine in the photo above from TK Maxx but I've seen similar in Accessorise.

6. Three bikinis/swimsuits, you want options and taking three gives a buffer in case you want to get out of your current damp one.

7. Three pairs of shoes, a sparkly pair for the evening, saltwater sandals for the day {I bought mine last summer from Toast online and have got so, so much wear out of them so far. The softest leather that promises never to give you blisters and you can wear them in the sea.} they don't give much support though so for a lot of walking I'll wear sparkly fit-flops.

8. Sun cream. My favourite so far has been Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protection Spray which I wore everyday on honeymoon where I was in and out of the water all the time and I never got burnt - not even a bit pink! However I'm about to try Ultrasun - Australian standard for UV filters is a lot higher than Europe - for a press trip in a few weeks time which has incredible reviews so I'll report back.

9. Aftersun to prolong your tan and stop any slightly pink bits from peeling.

10. Chargers for your phone/camera/kindle plus travel adaptors. Check whether you need to take US or European ones with you, some are stupidly expensive but I've found Wilkinsons to be the best place for them. I always take an Anker charger wherever I go too. iPhone batteries are awful.

11. Camera plus an extra memory card. I'm looking into a new waterproof camera at the moment too.

12. Outfits for the day which will vary depending on the type of honeymoon you're having. I always take way too many and end up just wearing beach cover ups most of the time but think about if you'll be going out for the day or walking around a town. Shorts/tops/dresses/skirts.

13. Pretty dresses for evening dinners. Look up the dress code before you pack, Mauritius for example is very smart and most resorts require that men wear trousers and smart shirts every night. And no 'tailored shorts' won't count as we watched one man get whisked away on a golf cart one evening after turning up to a restaurant in shorts. Most other places are incredibly casual though although I think it's nice to dress up a little.

14. Cardigans/scarves/wraps even in hot countries it can get chilly in the evenings. Take neutral ones that will go with all of your outfits.

15. Jewellery, a few big statement necklaces and dangly earrings to add some sparkle for the evening and some more delicate bracelets/necklaces for the day. Accessorise always comes out top.

16. Bug spray. From Corfu to the Caribbean, mosquitoes love me. In some parts of the world they can be quite dangerous too. Take a spray that has at least 50% deet with you for protection. I like the sprays better than roll ons which leave a horrible shiny residue.

17. Likewise for bite cream and other medical products you need to take. I always take some paracetamol and ibuprofen with me. And when we went to South East Asia I took a supply of rehydration sachets in case we got ill. Might be worth taking if you're going anywhere really tropical.

18. Hairbands, a comb, shampoo, conditioner, razor. Leave in conditioner to protect your hair from the sun/sea/chlorine. Body wash. Moisturiser. Night face cream. Toothpaste. Toothbrushes. Mouth wash. Deodorant.

19. Make up although this is minimal in hot countries. I never wear foundation somewhere hot, just waterproof mascara, pretty lipsticks, sparkly eyeshadow and maybe a shimmery bronzer. I always take this in hand luggage with me, all my make up is under 100mls for security. I always leave perfume behind too for hot countries, it can burn your skin and attract insects. For city breaks though consider filling a perfume pen with your favourite scent meaning you don't have to take the whole bottle with you.

20. Gadgets: Kindle, I do love proper books but can't believe we used to fill our suitcases with paperbacks. I read at least four books a week on a beach holiday so that takes up valuable packing weight. But of course now we just load up our kindles before we go. I take my iPad for Internet browsing and Spotify playlists. I just bought this portable speaker too, from Amazon for £10 which we used a lot in Corfu.

21. Underwear, knickers, socks, bras. I always take at least one strapless bra away with me for strappy tops/dresses.

22. Oh and mostly importantly, have you remembered your passports?!!

23. Likewise for Travel insurance - if you don't go away all that often then buying a one off policy may suit you better. Try online comparison sites and the Post Office. If you go away more than once a year, even within England, it would be worth getting an annual policy. Look into your bank accounts, they may already cover you. We've found American Express to be very good for all that it includes although touch wood have never had to claim.

24. EHIC cards if you're staying within Europe. It will give you free/cheap access to healthcare should you need it at the rates locals pay. Get your card for free from this official website.

25. Travel money. It can be better to open up a separate bank account {we use Metrobank} but Halifax do a good travel account, it saves you carrying lots of cash with you and lets you withdraw it for free from cash machines when abroad compared to being charged per transaction. It's a competitive exchange rate too. But of course it's always good to take some cash with you too to cover any emergencies.

26. Snacks for the plane/airport/when you arrive in the middle of the night.

Have I covered everything?? What have I missed? Men's stuff. But they're so easy.

More honeymoon posts here, and check out the guide for ideas about where to go and when.
R <3
{disclaimer - I was sent the Hammamas towel to review but as always would never promote anything that I didn't truly love. That's a promise.}

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