Your holiday may have been booked months ago and you’re already thinking about your spot by the pool, but there’s always a nagging doubt that you haven’t packed everything you need. Whether it’s something vital like your passport or something practical such as Wet wipes, check off our list of travel essentials to make sure you’re fully prepared to relax.
Your key travel essential items:
- Local currency
- First aid kit
- Travel insurance
- Personal medication
- Visa (if required)
Documents, documents, documents
Until the travel industry fully catches up with the digital revolution, you’ll need a number of documents to travel and access certain services on holiday. Of course, first on the list of essential travel items, if heading abroad, should be your passport. Make sure that it’s not about to expire – some countries require at least six months remaining on your passport to allow you in – and take a copy of your passport details in case it gets lost and you need to apply for an emergency passport.
Some countries also require a visa, which you should print out and take with you, along with printouts of your flight tickets, holiday booking, and details of any extras you have booked such as excursions or a hire car. If hiring a car, you may also need an International Driving Permit. Whether you’re hiring a car or not, it’s worth taking your full driving licence as another form of identity. These travel items could become a necessity for your chances of successfully going abroad.
It goes without saying that any list of travel essentials includes money, so make sure that you have at least two different credit or debit cards – memorising both PIN numbers – and keep one in a safe place as an emergency backup. Some banks will charge for cash withdrawals overseas, so check how much you’re likely to be charged and consider applying for a card with zero withdrawal fees.
Remember that there may not be a cash point close to your accommodation, so take enough local currency to get you through the first few days – especially if you need to use local transport.
Your travel necessities should include a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which will give you access to free or reduced-cost medical care while in Europe, as well as full details of any medical conditions you have, including a record of any jabs and other medical documents that may help a local doctor should you fall ill.
If you take regular medication, pack enough in your hand luggage to last you more than the length of your holiday, and include a recent prescription and a letter from your GP explaining what the condition is and what you’re taking for it. If you take liquid medication or need extra medical equipment such as syringes, you will be required to prove why you need them to travel, at airport security.
The EHIC is vital for all European travellers, but it’s not a replacement for travel insurance – a must-have travel essential. In a medical emergency, EHIC won’t cover you for extras such as being airlifted from a mountain or flown back to the UK, as well as extra accommodation or transport costs for a family member should you need a long stay in hospital. So, it’s best to have your travel insurance in place well before you leave and take all documents with you.
Since it’s unlikely that you’ll get through your holiday without needing a painkiller or a plaster, a good first-aid kit is one of the most essential travel items to take with you. Include a small amount of things normally kept in your medicine cabinet at home, such as ibuprofen, indigestion tablets, plasters, antiseptic cream, cotton wool, bandages, anti-histamines for insect bites and minor allergic reactions, a pair of tweezers, travel sickness tablets, plus some safety pins and a pair of scissors.
If you’re going for a beach, cruise or pool-based holiday, you’ll hopefully have a lot of time on your hands, so taking enough reading material to last the full trip, such as books and magazines, is a travel essential. Then there are the electronic items such as mobile phones, e-readers, iPads, cameras, Fitbits and GoPros, all with their chargers and enough plug adapters to recharge a few at a time.
Last but not least
For your ultimate list of travel essentials, let’s not forget sun cream, aftersun, insect repellent, travel tissues, headphones, playing cards, toiletries such as shampoo and conditioner (in handy travel-sized bottles), toothpaste, clothes washing liquid and, for those melting ice cream moments, a packet or two of wet wipes.