You’re about to embark on your dream Christmas holiday. You’ve booked the flights, the accommodation and the sightseeing for your ideal end-of-year wind-down. Now, it’s time to make that all-important, idiot-proof list to keep the chore of packing on track.
While there’s always the back-up option of buying what you need overseas, forgetting to pack certain items can add some serious cost and inconvenience to your holiday – or even spoil it completely. So what sort of stuff should you pack for your Christmas getaway?
Overall, your holiday style and destination will dictate the various items you must pack. But whatever sort of holiday you’re taking, it all starts with a comprehensive list made in plenty of time beforehand. Stick to the list and you’re on the way to the most important thing of all – enjoying yourself!
Travelling within Australia is a piece of cake, but travelling overseas requires much more preparation. Always ensure you’ve packed a valid passport, appropriate visas, an international driver’s license (if needed), and plenty of money in whichever currency and format you need (cash, travel money card, travel debit card, or credit card).
Check and check again that you have important travel documents at hand for any overseas travel – lose them, and you’ll be in for a serious headache. But here’s what to do if you do lose them.
Whether you’re going four-wheel driving in Australia or glamming it up in a 5-star resort overseas in Fiji, travel insurance is a must. It covers you for accidents, illness, lost possessions and much more, and it’s cheap in the overall scheme of holiday costs, so there’s no excuse for missing out.
Check out our article for more information on how to buy travel insurance, or compare your options on our website:
The table below displays a snapshot of travel insurance policies on Canstar’s database sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), with links to providers’ websites. Please note the products and Star Ratings displayed are based on a couple travelling to the New Zealand aged under 70.
First aid kit
You won’t need to perform any life-saving transplants, but bringing some basic first aid equipment can be hugely useful no matter where you’re going. A small bag containing some painkillers, medicine, band-aids, and disinfectant makes things much easier when you have any minor accidents or illnesses.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but you should also pack any medications you take regularly. Once overseas, various medicines that you can easily obtain in Australia may be limited to prescription only. Also ensure that you’re up to date with vaccinations for overseas – after all, prevention is much better than a cure.
Sunscreen, hats, insect repellent – you’ll need copious quantities of these protective items whether you’re camping with the kids or sunning at a singles resort. If you are taking the family on a camping holiday in particular, don’t forget hand sanitiser (because many toilets at campgrounds do not have hand basins) and baby wipes (useful for cleaning dirt from faces and hands of adults as well as kids).
Adapt or pay
For destinations outside Australia, you’ll almost certainly need power plug adaptors for your phone, laptop and any other devices. Make sure you buy them ahead of your trip instead of being forced to pay those crazy airport prices!
If you intend using electronic devices, make sure they are fully charged before you leave home. This is particularly important if you’re camping with the kids and the weather deteriorates. You can always use a portable battery as a charger in this instance.
Think you know what sort of clothes to pack for you and the family? Don’t predict the weather – check it. Depending on where you’re going, weather can either be your holiday’s best friend or biggest foe. The last thing you want is to have to buy expensive and bulky wet weather gear at your holiday destination when you thought all you would need were shorts and singlets because it’s a beach holiday.
Credit card or debit card
Whatever you do, make sure that you take more than one source of cash on your trip. Getting overseas and finding that your debit card or credit card won’t work, or that you’ve lost it, could be a serious issue. If you are heading overseas, compare credit cards and debit cards for overseas travel here. You can also compare travel money cards if you prefer to lock in your exchange rate before you leave (just watch out for fees and charges).
If you’re looking for a credit card with no currency conversion fee, you might want to consider one of the 0% conversion fee credit cards on Canstar’s database. You can see a snapshot of the ones with links to providers’ websites in the table below, sorted by annual fee.
Pack light and save
Overstuffing your suitcase is a big no-no if you’re flying out of Australia. If your airline says “23kg per bag”, they mean “23kg per bag”. Weigh your bags before you get to the airport and make sure you are within the restrictions – check our guide to the major airlines here. Otherwise you’ll be forced to cough up extra cash at the airport, post it home (which can be highly expensive), or even worse, have to say goodbye to that expensive guitar you bought in Spain.
Leave bag space for holiday purchases
While not technically a “must pack”, you will save money on the homeward journey if you devote room in your suitcase to things you will buy on holidays. It’s inevitable you will bring home more duty-free goods or holiday mementos than when you left. Making sure you have room now will save you excess baggage charges on the return trip.
One of everything
Most people carry far more camping equipment than they really need, says the NRMA. So if you’re heading off on a camping adventure, it’s recommended that you analyse your gear and just take one of everything. Essentials should include plenty of lighters and fire starters – a good fire can make any campsite comfortable. A couple of decent-sized tarps or plastic sheets and some spare lengths of rope will provide shade or rain protection when travelling on the road.
Multi-task your gear
Carry your sleeping bags and the few clothes you’re taking – remembering that laundromats are more popular than banks in the country these days – in soft bags. They can then double as pillows and soft packing during the day and be squeezed into awkward spaces in the car or 4WD.
There are plenty of things to take into account when packing for your Christmas getaway, whether it’s a quiet camping trip or a luxury overseas getaway. Checking off your list of all the essentials will mean a more relaxing and enjoyable holiday for the entire family – and will save you money as well!
If you’re on the hunt for travel insurance to cover you on your dream getaway, compare policies using Canstar’s star ratings: