There’s not a lot that’s more exciting than going on holiday. The chance to explore different cultures, visit bustling cities and relaxing beaches makes me happier than anything. I was recently lucky enough to visit St Lucia for my honeymoon. And as I don’t get to travel as often as I’d like, I struggled with remembering the more important things to consider when it came to packing, particularly clothes, makeup and skincare. It’s so easy to think “oh I won’t need all that, I’ll only be going to the beach” etc. But your hair and skin will be acting totally differently when faced with hotter or colder climates. And as I found out, you will need things you didn’t think you would.
Here I’ve compiled a list of tips and advice for your travels, to make for a more comfortable and stress-free experience!
Invest in good quality footwear (and don’t forget to wear them in!).
When I was doing my holiday shopping, naturally one of my first stops was good old Primark. I didn’t want to spend loads on shoes that I wouldn’t wear again. So, I stocked up on sandals and flip flops ranging from 90p to £6 to take with me. Big mistake. One pair of sandals in particular completely butchered my feet on the FIRST DAY. No joke. Our room was at the top of the resort, so it was a bit of a climb down to get to everything else. And because I hadn’t worn them in, they rubbed all the skin off between my toes after about 5 minutes.
After that, I had to wear plasters with basically all of my other shoes after that. Even if you know you’re only going to be walking from your room to the beach, you will need comfortable shoes. Blisters and chapped feet are not a good look!
Accept that you will have to wear things more than once.
I’m the kind of person who will wear the same shirt/jeans for days on end when I’m at home. But when the prospect of going on holiday comes up, obviously I’m going to need at least 2 outfits per day right? That’s all well and good, but you need space in your suitcase for other things. So unless you have an unlimited luggage allowance and a nice strong man to carry them for you, it’s probably a good idea to prioritise. The best advice I can give here is to take clothes you know you can mix & match. You get many different looks and it saves space in your suitcase – winner. It’s also good to do this with swimwear, so it doesn’t look like you’re wearing the same one every day. Gross.
If you’re going to a hot climate, take an intensive hair conditioner.
After a couple of days of sunbathing and swimming, my hair was so dry and frizzy it was unbearable. The humidity wreaked havoc on my hair to the point where I felt like Monica in Barbados. I so wish I had taken an intensive hair conditioner as well as my normal conditioner, it would have saved my life.
Take a higher SPF suncream than you think you’ll need.
Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who always tan and never burn, PLEASE wear sunscreen WHENEVER. YOU. ARE. OUTSIDE! Get one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It’s always better to be too protected than to burn because your SPF coverage is too low. No one wants to look like a lobster. I love using The Body Shop’s Aloe SPF Lotion, as it contains SPF 15.
Take laundry bags.
There’s one thing we can all agree on here – having to do a shit ton of laundry after you’ve been on holiday sucks. There’s nothing I’d rather do less than have to sort out my suitcase and dirty washing when I’ve just got home. While you’re away, you don’t need any fancy bags for your laundry (but you can get some if you want!), you can just use plastic bags from the supermarket. I tend to take three different bags for my laundry – one for whites, one for colours, and one for darks. Then once I’ve gotten as much use as I can get out of a certain item, I’ll toss it in one of the laundry bags ready for home. Not only does this help keep things organised for the dreaded post-holiday wash, but it also keeps your suitcase tidy.
Take a hat.
Not only do they look great, they will protect your hair, face, and scalp from the sun. It’s bad enough when you get sunburn on your scalp, but when it starts to peel it looks like you have very bad dandruff.
Take insect repellent.
Another “better to be safe than sorry” one here, but not only are insect bites not the nicest thing to look at, they itch to high hell and back. Insect repellent stinks, but it works, and you can get one of those clicky things to help bites stop itching, too.
Take your own hairdryer.
……IF you use it regularly! The ones in hotels are usually complete pants. I usually let my hair air dry overnight, but I did find that I washed my hair a lot more than usual while on holiday so I did use the hotel’s hairdryer a few times, and honestly – I could blow better than that thing. Most hotels do have hairdryers in the room, but don’t rely on them having a decent one. So, if you blow dry your hair a lot, take your own.
Only take hair styling tools if you really need them.
This one is similar to the previous point, but aimed more towards straighteners and curling wands etc. I found that when on holiday my hair spend most of it’s time on the top of my head, and I only wore my hair down a couple of times. Before I went I weighed up whether to take my straighteners, where I can straighten and curl, or just my curling wand which I generally prefer. I rarely straighten my hair, so I took the wand instead, and I only used it a couple of times. Also there was no plug near the mirror so I had to guess most of the time! So, if you hate having your hair up, think about what styling appliances you’ll really need.
Cheap sunglasses don’t work – invest in a good pair.
Again, after telling my husband that I couldn’t possibly wear the same pair of sunglasses every day, I bought a few cheap pairs of sunglasses for £2 each from Primark, and they were absolute shite. My eyes are very sensitive to light, so I find that I need sunglasses quite a lot even on cloudy days, and when I wore my Primark ones on holiday I still found that I was squinting. After that I swapped to my better pairs, even a £20 pair from Sainsburys, and they were so much better. My favourite place for sunglasses is TK Maxx!
Take your proper skincare routine.
“I won’t need to take ALL these products right? It’s only 10 days, I can just take some face wipes and they’ll do the trick”. NO NO NO NO NO. No. If you don’t want to take all the bottles and pots with you, decant them into smaller, travel size containers with the amount you’ll need depending on how long you’re away for. (You can’t take more than 100ml in your hand luggage on the plane anyway).
I made this rookie mistake, and my skin felt absolutely horrific every day. I couldn’t wait to get home and put a face mask on and moisturise. It felt like the humidity had dried out my skin AND made it more oily. Awesome.
Take lots of moisturiser.
Both face and body. The hot weather will no doubt have some effect on your skin, and it feels so good to moisturise after a long day of swimming, sightseeing or whatever. My favourite body moisturiser is the Body Shop’s Body Yoghurts.
Even if you don’t burn, after-sun will help maintain your tan and avoid premature peeling.
If you’re going to be in 30+ degree climates, you’ll only need beach cover ups.
Because you will be too hot and sweaty and disgusting, and even just thinking about wearing anything else will make you hot. A nice, cool dress or playsuit for evenings will be fine, but during the day beach cover ups are the way to go. And they’re much easier putting on and taking off when you go for a swim.
Take thin maxi dresses for the sunburnt days.
Sunburn isn’t fun, so take a thin maxi dress and dresses with sleeves to give your skin a bit of a break if you’re sunburnt. Even if you aren’t sunburnt, it’s good to give your skin a break from the sun.
If you are sunburnt, Aloe Vera is your best friend.
Not much else I need to say about this one! It makes your skin really soft, too. I adore the Body Shop’s Aloe Night Cream.
Take a first aid kit.
Depending on what kind of shoes you are wearing (see #1), you’ll most likely need plasters, paracetamol for headaches etc. A first aid kit can be a real lifesaver. There’s no need to take an entire box of each thing, so just take a few of each.
Get a mani/pedi beforehand.
You don’t want to be worrying about your nail polish chipping and having to reapply every few days on holiday. It’s a much better idea to get a proper mani/pedi before you go away. I did mine using a UV machine and gel polishes, and my nails were pretty much bulletproof for the whole holiday. If you don’t trust yourself to do it, you can always get it done professionally.
Wear as little makeup as you can stand.
Face it (geddit?!) – you are going to get sweaty. You’re going to get a sweaty lip and face and it’s just not attractive. What makes it worse is if layers of makeup are running down your face, too. If you can’t bring yourself to go makeup free, wear as little makeup as you feel comfortable with. Not only will your skin thank you, it’s easier and less time consuming.
Buy good quality swimwear.
Another Primark story here – my husband’s swim shorts ripped in a rather intimate area. Spend a bit more and get some decent swimwear that you can mix and match, and wear again.
Take baby shampoo to wash your swimwear with.
When you think about the fact that when you’re on holiday, you will be wearing bikini bottoms more than once – that’s pretty gross right? I mean, you wouldn’t wear normal underwear more than once! Take some baby shampoo so you can hand wash your bikinis in the sink or bath.
Wax before you go.
Bit of an obvious one here, but shaving is such a ballache when you’re on holiday. One wax should last for your whole holiday, and it’ll leave your skin much less irritated. Also, you don’t know what kind of bathing facilities the hotel will have, so unless you’re good at contortion you don’t want to be messing around trying to shave your hoo-ha in a tiny shower cubicle.
Tan before you go.
If you have a nice, natural looking tan, you’ll feel better in all your clothes and bikinis, and you won’t feel the need to sit in the direct sun for ages and get sunburnt. BUT, do it a few days before you go so it has time to settle, you don’t want tan to be dripping off you in the pool! I’m loving Green People’s Natural Self Tan products at the moment!
I hope this has helped! What are your best holiday survival tips?