12 Must-pack items for your summer holiday
Whether you're packing for a fortnight on a sunny beach in Thailand or have booked a city break to spend some quality time with your other half, there are certain holiday essentials that you can't afford to be without. A happier, healthier holiday starts with the things you take with you - so making an organised list and packing the important things is vital. Ever wondered what other people pack in their suitcases? The Expertrain team has come up with this list of 12 must-pack items for your summer holiday this year, whatever you're getting up to!
Sun cream, sunscreen, sun tan lotion - whatever you call it, SPF is an essential item for your holiday suitcase. UV rays cause premature ageing and damage the skin, leading to an increased risk of skin cancer. You should wear at least SPF 30 at all times on holiday, and look for natural, physical sunscreen without harmful chemical ingredients that can be absorbed by the skin. Make sure you're applying plenty of sunscreen and reapply regularly, particularly if you're swimming. We love brands such as Aubrey Organics and Eau Thermale Avene for naturally-good-for-your-skin options.
#2. A hat
A wide-brimmed, floppy hat or even a baseball cap are great choices to pack for your summer vacay. A hat helps to shield your head and face from harmful UV rays. Because you can't apply sunscreen to your scalp, it's often one of the first areas to get sunburnt, and this could lead to itchy, flaky skin and soreness. Protect your hair from the damaging effects of the sun and prevent premature wrinkles with a stylish hat - it could also help you to stay cool during the hottest part of the day.
A pair of sunnies is essential for your holiday to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun, even if you're not heading to the hottest destination around. Look for shades which offer 99 to 100% protection from both UVA and UVB rays and don't be tempted to buy 'fashion' sunglasses which offer minimal protection. A good pair of sunglasses can reduce your risk of developing cataracts in the future, protecting your eyes against 'blue light' which can cause macular degeneration (1).
#4. A good book
Even if you're not a huge reader at home, packing a bestseller (or two) or your e-reader is a great idea, as you'll have more time on holiday than you do back home. Reading helps you to relax and unwind, and it can reduce your stress levels. It's also a great way to drift off to sleep and if you're lazing on the beach all day, what else are you going to do? The more we read, the more active our brains become, and research shows that reading can actually improve your attention span - which could come in handy when you return to a full inbox at work!
#5. Aloe Vera Gel
Forget chemical-laden aftersun lotion, pack some 100% pure aloe vera gel in your suitcase and you'll have instant cooling, soothing relief from sunburn whenever you need it. Natural aloe vera gel can also be used to soothe heat rash or shaving rash and reduce the swelling and itchiness that can accompany insect bites, so it's a great item to pack on your travels. Make sure the aloe vera you're buying is 100% pure - it's best to pick it up from a health food store - and has no added ingredients.
#6. Multi-region adapter
Ever arrived at your destination and been unable to charge your gadgets? Yep, us too. Multi-region adapters can be hard to find in more remote locations, although in major towns and cities you should be able to pick one up fairly cheaply - beware, as they can be really expensive in airports! But packing your own one (or two) can come in handy, especially if you're travelling with friends and family, who probably all have their own gadgets to charge. Even everyday items like an electric toothbrush or hairdryer will need power at some point!
#7. Healthy snacks
If you're intending to stick to your healthy eating diet whilst you're abroad, it can be a good idea to pack some healthy snacks, like mini bags of trail mix or fruit cereal bars (we love Nakd bars, although they don't always travel well!) Nobody's saying you can't indulge on holiday, and you'll probably find there is plenty of fresh fruit and salad on offer to ensure eating healthily abroad is easy, but it can't hurt to pack a few healthy snacks for those late-night or mid-afternoon snack attacks.
#8. Emergency wardrobe
Pack an emergency outfit - clean underwear and a change of clothes - in your hand luggage, just in case your suitcase goes missing en-route to your destination. It's unlikely, but having at least one change of clothes that's appropriate for the climate you're travelling to means you won't be left feeling hot, sticky and uncomfortable by the time you reach your destination.
You'd be surprised how many people forget to pack either their travel documentation or their passport. Without both of these things, the only place you'll be going is home! Make sure your passport is valid for at least three months from your date of travel too, as there's nothing worse than turning up at the airport to be denied travel. If you do need to renew your passport before your holiday, give yourself plenty of time, as during peak periods passport applications can take weeks or even months to process. There's usually a fast-track option, but you'll pay more for the privilege; not ideal if you're on a budget.
#10. Resistance bands
Just because you're abroad, doesn't mean you can't stay fit and healthy! Perhaps you're already going on an activity holiday filled with things to see and do - in which case, you might not need to take any exercise equipment. But resistance bands are a great item to take so you can work out anywhere - in the departure lounge, your hotel room, the top of a mountain... Chuck them in your suitcase and you can squeeze a quick full-body workout into your action-packed day!
#11. Comfy shoes
We'll let you be the judge of what you consider to be a 'comfy' shoe - for some it's flip-flops, for others it's hiking shoes or sandals, whilst trainers are the shoe of choice for others. Make sure you take at least one pair of comfortable, sensible shoes that are appropriate to the destination you're visiting - you might want to go hiking, mountain biking, running or take part in other activities where sensible, comfortable shoes are a must. Save the wedges and heels for night time and make sure you have a practical pair of shoes that can be worn for almost any kind of activity - that way you won't miss out!
#12. Natural insect repellent
Chemical-packed insect repellents are bad news for your skin, particularly if you have sensitive skin, and for your health, as they can be absorbed by the body. But packing an insect repellent is important, especially for those fair-skinned individuals who always seem to get bitten! Natural deet-free repellents such as Incognito repellent are the way to go.
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