18/07/2013 11:08 BST | Updated 17/09/2013 06:12 BST

First Holiday Abroad Without The Family? Here's What to Do and Pack Before Leaving...

It's becoming more and more common that teens and young adults head off to travel in peer groups without parental supervision when they're young - particularly before and after university. Many will seek sunshine and relaxation at affordable prices for their first trip away from their parents or guardians. It can be very easy to forget things whilst packing when the time comes therefore here are a few tips and ideas of things to pack. Though some may seem patronisingly obvious, it's always interesting to see and hear how many young tourists forget such essential items on their first solo trip abroad. So many forget to do little things like book holiday insurance, get money exchanged to the local currency, research where the nearest hospitals are etc. The lists below are merely suggestions of things to think of, especially if you've never packed for yourself alone, and may serve as some inspiration. I'm sure there are other things that you too would need for your holiday. So here is some information on things to do and things to pack before you even step foot in an airport:

What to do in advance:

  • Try to book your holiday in advance. It's better if you do so not too far from the fly out date, but not at the last minute either. If you're going somewhere new then you want to do a good deal of research on where you're jetting off to before you go. There are also plenty of things to sort out beforehand.
  • Make sure your passport is still valid and if you have to apply for a new passport then do it about a month before travelling unless you need more time on the passport before travelling so as to avoid any holiday rush. Some travel companies want you to have a certain matter of months on the passport before travelling so always check these things.
  • Sort out some decent travel insurance before you go to cover you in case of lost luggage, injury, cancellation fees etc. You can usually find it for a cheap price if you compare insurance rates online in advance.

  • If you're going somewhere in which the native language is different to yours try to brush up on a few basic phrases. Good phrases to learn are things like "How do I get to/find ______", "How much is this", "Please/Thank you" just to get you by. It's only polite to know at least a little bit of the language rather than expecting everyone to accommodate your native tongue. Why not look into some free basic language courses?
  • Make sure to change some money into that of the local currency. Go a little over budget just in case. Research where you're going and get a feel for the place and what there is to do there so you can budget for all the things you'll want to do whilst there.
  • Consider any location specific needs. Are you going somewhere hot? Then you may want to consider sun tan lotion, light clothing, an empty water bottle to fill whilst away to stay hydrated. Going somewhere cold? Make sure to bring lots of insulating clothing.
  • If you've never travelled before, try to do so in a group so that you can plan together and help each other out on your adventures.

What to pack:

Going somewhere warm?

  • Make sure to pack towels and swim wear. Also anything you or your family need to swim - goggles, floatation devices
  • Sunglasses and consider a sun hat to shade your eyes and face
  • Sun cream/sun tan lotion/burn lotion
  • Hair ties - if you have long hair, a simple hair tie can keep hair out of your face when you swim and minimise tangles.
  • Beach bag to carry your essentials
  • A good book
  • A camera to document your trip.
  • Currency for your destination
  • Guide book if your destination is new to you
  • A phrasebook or a list of good local phrases for the holiday
  • Hairbrush
  • Passport - obviously.
  • Phone and phone charger
  • Your travel insurance/travel details. A good thing to do is create a little folder of all the information that you need for the trip to stay organised. Perhaps even create a schedule of the trip to keep yourself on track.
  • Plasters
  • Travel adaptors to be able to use and charge your appliances
  • A plastic bag or two to put dirty laundry into so you can clean the dirty clothes once you return home
  • Bathroom items:

  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Face-wash
  • Moisturiser
  • Conditioner
  • Shaving gel/razor
  • Insect repellant/insect bite cream
  • Body wash
  • Perfume/cologne/body spray
  • Any of your usual hair care/styling products
  • Make up
  • Sun tan lotion/burn lotion/heat cooling spray
  • Paracetamol
  • Hair dryer or straighteners


  • Going somewhere warm? Consider packing beach wear and lots of light clothing with a few thinner cardigans/shawls in case the evenings are cold
  • Going somewhere cold? Make sure to bring layers to keep warm - include scarves and hats
  • Don't forget underwear and socks. Let me tell you that's a holiday ruiner right there.
  • Shoes - try to have a few different sets of shoes to suit your various needs. Maybe you'll want heels for a night out, flip flops for the beach, trainers for hiking etc.

Safe travels!

What are YOUR essential travel items?

Let me know in the comments section below.