5 most common mistakes people make when packing for a holiday

woman packing luggage making holiday packing mistake
Holiday packing mistakes are common even among the most seasoned traveller. (Getty Images)

One of the best things about going on holiday is the anticipation in the days leading up to your trip. Yet, this excitement can sometimes lead to packing mistakes.

Whether it’s failing to read the airline’s rules on cabin baggage or not packing a jumper for cooler evenings, even the most seasoned of travellers get caught out.

"I travel pretty much every month and I still managed to make a packing mistake on my most recent trip," Jessie Moore, travel expert and founder of the luxury travel blog Pocket Wanderings, tells Yahoo UK.

"I didn’t leave any allowance for bringing any gifts or holiday buys back, which ended up pushing my suitcase over the weight allowance."

woman carrying luggage
Not checking your airline's luggage restrictions is one common packing mistake. (Getty Images)

Holiday packing mistakes to avoid

1. Not allowing any room for holiday buys

As Moore found out on a recent holiday, not allowing room in her luggage for gifts or holiday buys meant that she had to pay extra for heavier luggage when flying home.

"Not just space but weight as well," she adds. "Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, leave some wriggle room just in case. You never know what might catch your eye."

2. Not streamlining your toiletries

While it can be tempting to take half of your bathroom cabinet with you on holiday (how else are we meant to keep up our 12-step skincare routine?), Moore says it’s important to stick to the basics.

"I’d recommend buying a few reusable empty travel-size containers and decanting your toiletries into those," she says. "It’s more cost effective and if you travel regularly then I’d recommend having a separate toiletries bag full of your travel-size toiletries, so you can grab and go."

3. Not making a packing list

"I really recommend making a packing list and saving it somewhere," Moore says. "Personally I have two: a standard packing list and a skiing packing list. When I think I’m done packing, I check my packing list and inevitably there is always something I’ve forgotten. Usually it’s an adaptor but my packing list saves me every time."

It could be worth having a summer and winter go-to packing list that has all the basics you will need for your trip, that way you will have the major stuff covered and all you need to think of are any small extras.

Business woman using smartphone while packing suitcase, getting ready for a work trip. Business and leisure travel.
Making a packing list is essential for not making a holiday packing mistake. (Getty Images)

4. Not checking the airline rules

Airline baggage rules differ from airline to airline, so it’s always important to check the size and weight limits of your baggage selection before you fly.

"Make sure you’re clued up on your airlines most up-to-date baggage regulations," Moore adds.

5. Not planning your outfits

"This may be more for the ladies as, from my experience, blokes seem to just throw in whatever and do just fine," Moore says.

"But on the whole, us women are often guilty of over packing and it’s usually because we haven’t planned our outfits."

Moore adds that, before a trip, she always lays out her outfits before packing so she knows exactly what she can wear and says it’s helpful so you don’t bring any additional clothing that doesn’t go with anything else.

woman walking on beach
Beach holiday destinations can often have chillier evenings. (Getty Images)

Additional packing tips

Consider your luggage allowance

The biggest element when it comes to packing for a holiday is how much space you have to pack things. Generally, when booking a flight you have the option to either take a backpack, a carry-on suitcase, or check in a bigger bag, or a combination of all three.

When travelling by train or car you are less limited to these options, but you should always try and choose how many bags you bring by how long you are planning to spend in your destination and what the weather will be like there.

"Generally for long weekend breaks I’ll take a carry-on suitcase. I personally prefer small cases over holdalls, as I can wheel them along instead of having to carry them," Moore says. "For a trip that’s five days or more, I’ll likely bring a larger checked suitcase."

Pack for changeable weather

If you’re going to a destination or several destinations where the weather varies or is likely to be hot during the day and cooler during the evening, or is known to have an afternoon rain shower, then it’s important to pack with layers.

"I’d recommend bringing two outerwear layers: one that will keep you warm and one that’s more lightweight but waterproof," Moore says. "Even if you’re expecting warm sunny weather, I always throw in a small umbrella. Maybe that’s the British in me but you can never be sure how the weather will behave."