What, why and how to pack for a summer holiday (vacation) – Part 1
What, why and how to pack for a summer holiday (vacation) – Part 1

As I am sitting on my desk, I am both excited and a bit nervous writing this article. Excited, because it’s nearly time to jet off to France for my summer holiday (or vacation if you are one of my US readers). Nervous, because I’ve never published an article dealing with the whats, whys and hows of my holiday packing.

As you will see, the focus of this article is for the men among us. However, you ladies can just substitute your clothing and it works just as well (I hope).

Packing for holiday (long or short) is something that we all do at some point in the year. Hopefully you are reading this because you are going on your summer holiday and (the very wise and powerful) Mr Google sends you here to find some inspiration and advice about your packing.

Even though I tend to leave packing to the last minute, I still think that it’s important to be prepared and organised.

As they say: “Better safe than sorry.” After all, who wants to discover that they forgot to pack their designer swimming trunks a minute before they head of to the swimming pool (or beach)?

Depending on the journey, I normally divide my luggage into three parts: main luggage, hand luggage and wash bag. This time I am going on a summer holiday in France and that’s what I pack in my suitcase:

Main luggage

That’s my main suitcase and it’s normally for my clothes and shoes. I either overpack, underpack or the weather turns nasty and I have not allowed for a “rainy day” (or more). There’s also a great possibility to forget things too. I normally forget to pack flip flops and swimming trunks.

To make it easier for myself, I divide this section of my luggage into the type of clothing I am packing: jacket/coat, shirts, T-shirts, pull-overs/jumpers, trousers/jeans, shorts, shoes, accessories, underwear and socks.

It may look like a complicated system but it really isn’t. Trust me. The trick is to put your individual items of clothing into outfits that are suitable to wear on different occasions while on your summer holiday.

In my case, I try to have enough clothes to allow me to have at least a couple of different outfits for going out, sightseeing, shopping, swimming and sunbathing, lazing about in the hotel/villa etc. Here’s my breakdown:


For a summer holiday, I pack a light wind/rain proof coat and a smart jacket that I can wear on occasions that require a smarter look (think dinner at posh restaurant).


On average (and depending on the duration of my holiday), I pack four or five shirts. I take a variety of colours and styles to cover different occasions. As a rule, I always pack an Oxford shirt, a stripy shirt, a chequered shirt and a casual shirt.


You can never have enough T-shirts on a summer holiday. I normally pack most of my T-shirts because I can only wear them once and throw them in the wash. They are my main attire during the day and that’s why I need as many as I can take.


Even though it’s a summer holiday, you need to pack a jumper or two. It can get cooler in the evenings and you need to be prepared for that. I normally pack a jumper that I can wear in different situations.


My trousers packing is a bit like my shirts packing. I tend to pack four pairs on average: smart, casual, something versatile and a pair of jeans. I also pack an every-day pair or two. These are normally made from light fabrics, easy to wash/iron/dry while on holiday.


You can’t go on a summer holiday and not pack shorts. Ideally you should pack a pair for the beach/swimming pool, a pair for working out or every day and a pair for going out in.


If you are anything like me, you are probably going to spend as much time as you can by the swimming pool. That’s why not forgetting your flip flops is essential. You should also need a pair of trainers and a couple of pairs of shoes. I always pack a pair of desert boots too.


That’s the part of my luggage for belts, glasses, contact lenses, sunglasses, watch (if you wear one) and anything else that you need to complete your “summer holiday look”.


My approach to packing underwear and socks is to have at least one of each for each day. I normally end up packing two pairs of socks and underwear per day. It saves me worrying about having to wash them daily or running out of them.


The perfect combination is to have just enough holiday clothing with you. Too much and you will soon exceed your baggage allowance if flying; too little and you will spend more time than you planned washing and ironing – not what your holiday is for.

And there you have it: my guide to What, why and how to pack for a summer holiday (vacation) – Part 1. I hope there is something useful in it for you. It’s OK to forget to pack things for your holiday. Don’t stress over it, just buy a replacement when you get there. The important thing is to relax, have fun and enjoy yourself.

Please leave your feedback and tips on packing for summer holiday for other readers to see.

[quote_box_center]Don’t forget to read What, why and how to pack for a summer holiday (vacation) – Part 2 to see what I pack in my wash bag and hand luggage.[/quote_box_center]