Don’t pack an elephant when you travel, or at least the equivalent of one; in other words bulky and completely unnecessary items you will never use.

I went on holiday to Greece in August once. I’d never experienced really hot weather before, England not being famous for it’s sultry heat, so I packed one pair of shorts and three pairs of jeans. Needless to say, I wore the shorts every day and the jeans not at all!

This is typical of many people’s holiday packing experiences They only ever wear half of what they take with them, the trouble is, they don’t know beforehand which half it’s going to be.

So what should you pack?

This depends very much upon where you’re going. If you’re going on holiday somewhere which is known for warm, sunny weather, like Florida or Spain, then you can usually travel light.

Packing For Heat

For one week somewhere hot I would pack;

  • Four pairs of shorts/summer skirts
  • One pair of chinos
  • Seven light summer tops
  • One long sleeved top
  • One light jacket
  • One pair of comfortable sandals
  • One pair of comfortable walking shoes
  • One cotton sun hat

You may not wear all of that and you certainly won’t need more for a week. For two weeks just double up.

Packing For Variable Weather

It’s more problematic packing for a holiday destination that has variable weather, such as Scotland. Scotland is often cold, but can occasionally be warm. I went there once in August and only took short sleeved tops and sandals; I shivered for a whole week!

The wise traveller, going for one week in the summer anywhere where the weather can vary, should pack;

  • Seven summer tops
  • Two pairs of jeans or chinos
  • Two pairs of shorts/summer skirts
  • Two jumpers/hoodies
  • One light jacket
  • One raincoat
  • One pair of comfortable sandals
  • One pair of sturdy walking shoes
  • One cotton sun hat

If there should be a freak weather occurrence, such as a sudden heatwave or snowstorm, you can undoubtedly buy extra clothing; but usually you’re unlikely to need anything else. Really smart travellers take a mini clothes line and pegs, so they can wash clothes and hang them up to dry overnight in their hotel room.

Other Essential Kit

The only other essential items of kit, wherever you’re going are;

  • prescription medicines
  • headache tablets
  • travel-sized toiletries
  • sun block
  • sun glasses
  • and if you must, a mini hair dryer

You will only need one handbag and one rucksack or canvas-type bag to carry drinks, souvenirs, etc.

Naturally you won’t forget to take your

  • passport
  • tickets
  • driving licence
  • money/travellers cheques
  • identity card (if you have one)

and if you’re British travelling in Europe, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

That really is all you need to take. You won’t need a dinner jacket or evening dress, unless you’re going to a ball or an awards ceremony; you won’t need six pairs of shoes and six handbags; you won’t even need your entire medicine cabinet; as believe it or not, other countries have pharmacies and shops!

What About Entertainment?

For entertainment take one book or your kindle and if you’re like me, a notebook and pen for jotting down ideas or writing a journal. Believe me, you won’t need more than this as you’ll find plenty to do; sunbathing, seeing the sights and good old people-watching.

Now you know what to take, and more importantly what not to take, all you have to do is enjoy your holiday… and you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you don’t pack an elephant!

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