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Packing list for vacation: The best way to prepare for your trip

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Whether it's a beach vacation or a city trip, a weekend getaway or a trip around the world: Some things are essential when you're away from home. A packing list for your vacation helps ensure that you always have the most important items and necessary documents with you.

To make sure you don't forget anything when packing and don't end up in precarious situations during your vacation, you can find our detailed packing list for your summer vacation or your next camping adventure here.

Packing list for vacation

A well-thought-out packing list is essential for a carefree vacation. The things you should definitely take with you will of course vary depending on the destination, duration, and time of year. A packing list for a family vacation is also different from one for a trip on your own. However, the following items are important in almost all cases:

Personal documents

  • Passport/identity card
    Check the validity in advance, especially when traveling outside the Schengen area.
  • National or international driving license
    If you are renting a car on vacation, you will need an international driving license outside the EU and EFTA states.
  • Travel documents
    These include flight tickets, hotel bookings, and car rental confirmations.
  • Vaccination certificate
    Before travelling abroad to tropical countries, be sure to find out in good time what vaccinations you need. You can find information on this on the healthytravel.ch website.


  • Cash
    Change some money into the currency of your destination.
  • Credit and debit cards
    Make sure that the cards can also be used abroad.
  • Emergency contact numbers
    Protect yourself in case your credit card is lost or stolen.

Toiletry bag

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    Pack everything you need for your daily oral hygiene – preferably in your hand luggage.
  • Shower gel and shampoo
    Many products are available in special, space-saving travel sizes.
  • Sunscreen
    Choose a protection factor adapted to your skin type and destination.
  • Contact lenses and solution
    If you wear contact lenses, these items are absolutely essential.
  • Earplugs
    If you are a light sleeper, earplugs can be useful – especially in noisy environments.
  • Mosquito spray
    The blood-sucking pests can be found almost everywhere in the world during the warm season. Mosquito spray should therefore always be on your checklist for summer vacations.
  • Contraception
    You should also not forget condoms and other contraceptives.
  • Hand cream
    High and low temperatures dry out the skin on your hands – you can prevent this with hand creams.
  • Lip balm
    The skin on the lips is particularly thin and sensitive, meaning lip balm is a must when it's hot or the air is dry.


  • Swimming gear
    With a swimsuit, bikini, and swimming trunks, you can enjoy your summer vacation whether on the beach or in the pool.
  • Light summer clothing
    Take T-shirts, shorts, and light dresses made of linen, cotton or other natural fibers with you for vacations in warmer climes.
  • Evening wear
    Also pack clothes for special occasions or elegant restaurants.
  • Suitable shoes
    Comfortable shoes are suitable for excursions and you should pack sandals for the beach.
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
    When making a packing list for your summer vacation, don't forget the right UV-protective clothing to protect yourself effectively against the sun.
  • Underwear
    Should not be missing from any vacation packing list.
  • Pajamas
    Especially when staying in hostels or camping, a sleeping bag should not be missing in addition to pajamas.
  • Hair ties and hair clips
    Essential for a simple braid or ponytail with long hair.

First-aid kit 

  • Medications
    You should always have regular medication as well as painkillers and fever-reducing medications with you.
  • Bandaging
    In addition to band-aids, this also includes bandages, quick bandages, scissors, and tweezers.
  • Disinfectant
    Even if the hygienic conditions are perfect, it is a good idea to pack disinfectant.


  • Cell phone and entertainment electronics
    Smartphones and the like are important for both communication and entertainment.
  • Charger
    Ideally, you should use chargers that are suitable for different charging cables.
  • Adapter
    Find out in advance whether your destination uses different types of outlets.
  • Camera
    If the performance of your cell phone camera leaves something to be desired, it's worth taking a camera on vacation.
  • Powerbank
    Especially during longer hikes without a power connection, it makes sense to pack a powerbank so that you can charge your cell phone if necessary.
  • Headphones
    Headphones are essential when traveling to be able to listen to music or watch series and films in a relaxed manner.
  • Airplane adapter for headphones
    If you are flying, it is best to find out in advance whether your headphones are compatible with the airplane connections.
  • Laptops
    A laptop is actually always worth having on vacation – for example, if you are planning a cozy movie night.

Other practical things

  • Rain protection
    This could be a small umbrella or a rain poncho, for example.
  • Backpack
    For day trips and when you're out and about, allowing you to carry the important things in one place.
  • Beach towel
    Your own beach towel is always important for the beach or pool, and can also be used as a shower towel or sports towel if necessary.
  • Waterproof bag
    At the beach, but also in the rain, you can protect your valuables with waterproof bags.
  • Laundry bag
    You can collect and store your dirty laundry here.
  • Headlamp or flashlight
    A flashlight is useful in remote areas and during power outages.
  • Address book and notebook
    Make a note of important information and addresses during your trip.
  • Books
    If you have to bridge long train journeys or long flight times, there is nothing better than a good book.
  • Teaser Image
    First-aid kit checklist

    An upset stomach or a bruised knee are particularly annoying on vacation. This makes it all the more important to have a well-packed first-aid kit with you. But what should it include?

    Read the blog

Which insurance policies should you check before you travel?

If you want to make sure that you are covered for all eventualities, it is important to check your insurance policies before you leave. 

The most important insurance during your vacation includes:

  • Travel insurance
    If an unexpected event occurs – such as a serious illness – so that you cannot go on your trip, you will be stuck with the costs in case of doubt. However, if you have taken out travel insurance, AXA will cover all cancellation costs incurred.
  • Legal protection insurance
    Personal legal protection supports you in all types of legal disputes – including traffic disputes while traveling. For example, AXA covers legal fees in criminal proceedings relating to the revocation of a driver's license. Conflicts arising from contracts with rental vehicles are also covered.
  • Rental car insurance
    For anyone planning to rent a car abroad, rental car insurance as a supplementary module to personal liability insurance is helpful. If problems occur, AXA will cover the costs – for example, in the event of damage to the bodywork, engine, etc.
  • Roadside assistance
    If you are involved in an accident or break down with a flat tire, the costs can quickly explode. For example, if you've traveled a long distance and your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, you will need to find last-minute accommodation. AXA’s additional roadside assistance module for car insurance saves you these costs. AXA not only covers the return of the car, but also any food and accommodation costs.

Things that are often forgotten: A packing list for your vacation can help

Despite the best preparation, it can easily happen that you forget certain things at home or simply don't have them on your radar when packing. Items that are often overlooked include chargers and adapters for electronic devices as well as travel adapters for countries that use different types of outlets. Hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and contact lens solution, or first aid supplies, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent also often don't find their way into the suitcase. Fortunately, you can easily buy these items at most destinations – even if you don't include them on your vacation packing list. 

It is more difficult with individual items, such as important medication that you have to take regularly. Clothing in the right size also falls into this category, especially if you need it for certain activities – such as hiking boots or swimming gear. Important documents such as travel insurance documents and copies of important personal documents – in case you lose your ID on vacation, for example – are also often forgotten items. 

Tips: Packing suitcases efficiently for vacation

A packing list for vacation is undoubtedly helpful. However, it is at least as important to do everything right when packing your suitcase. 

  1. Start packing your suitcase early
    Under time pressure, you are more likely to forget something. Therefore, start packing about two to three days before departure. This will give you enough time to check whether you have thought of everything you need. If necessary, you can buy any missing items or wash clothes.
  2. Only take what you really need with you
    Use a vacation packing list to decide which items are essential. If possible, choose items with several functions and only buy liquids once you have arrived at your destination. Also pack clothes that can be easily combined to create several outfits from a limited number of items. 
  3. Roll clothes instead of folding them
    Another tip for saving space with clothes is to roll them instead of folding them. This has the further advantage that your garments will not crease so easily. T-shirts, pants, and light sweaters are particularly suitable for rolling. By using packing cubes, you can also keep your suitcase tidy. 
  4. Fill the spaces inside and in between
    Make use of every available space by packing small items in the gaps. This can mean, for example, putting socks or underwear in the corners of the suitcase. You can also store smaller items such as chargers or jewelry inside your shoes. 
  5. Check your suitcase at the end
    Once you've packed everything, take another close look at your suitcase and the vacation checklist: Are all the must-haves for your vacation stowed away? Is there still enough space for any souvenirs and gifts? Sometimes it helps to change the arrangement of items to create more space or improve the weight distribution.

What you should ideally put in your hand luggage

You should also carry some items in your hand luggage rather than in your suitcase. This applies, in particular, to important documents such as passports, ID cards, and flight tickets, but also to cash and credit cards. If you need to access them at short notice or if your checked luggage gets lost , these items are better kept in your hand luggage. Valuables and electronic devices also belong in your hand luggage. This will prevent loss, theft, and damage. Consumer electronics, laptops, and the like are particularly useful if they are always at hand – so you can pass the time during your arrival and departure. 

Last but not least, you should also think of your hand luggage as an “emergency suitcase.” After all, it can always happen that you have to stay at the airport longer than expected or that – in the worst case – your suitcase gets lost. In addition to important medication and toiletries such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, pack snacks and a drink in your hand luggage. If possible, you should also carry a change of clothes with you, even if it's just an extra T-shirt and underwear, for example. 

Generally prohibited in luggage

Some items are not allowed in your hand luggage or suitcase, for example flammable substances. Depending on the destination and airline, pressurized containers with gases, sharp objects, and certain foods may also be subject to restrictions.

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