Holiday packing list for Self Catering holidays

Ready for your self-catering cottage holiday? Here are some things to arrange before you set off and a list of items you might decide to bring…

To arrangepacking list

  • Arrange for pet and plant care. (or book a pet friendly cottage)
  • Stop routine deliveries.
  • Make your home seem lived-in while away by putting lights and a radio on timers
  • Turn down thermostat.
  • Empty refrigerator
  • Leave keys and itinerary with a friend.
  • Lock windows, garage, and doors.
  • Notify local police or neighbourhood watch of your absence

To gather and pack:

  • Guide books and maps
  • Passport and visa(s), Personal ID (Drivers license)
  • Student ID (for discount access to museums etc.)
  • Foreign currency of your destination country
  • Cash & Credit cards (foreign currencies?)
  • Coins for tolls
  • Travelers checks or ATM card
  • Insurance: Trip Cancellation/Medical
  • Photocopies of documentation
  • Birth Certificate (if necessary)
  • Marriage License (if necessary)
  • Tickets & itinerary
  • Hotel Reservations
  • Special Event Reservations
  • Paper printout of emergency contacts


  • Cell phone, charger, extra battery
  • (Video) Camera, charger, batteries, film, cords, etc.
  • iPod
  • Headphones
  • CD player & CDs
  • DVD player & DVDs
  • Laptop & cord & battery
  • Plug & voltage adaptors for foreign countries

Basic Essentials

  • Appropriate Luggage
  • Luggage Locks & ID Tags (Do NOT Lock checked baggage)
  • Passport/Money Carrier
  • Appropriate Clothing
  • Comfortable Footwear
  • Rain Protection
  • Small Flashlight & batteries
  • Travel Alarm Clock
  • Brimmed Hat or Visor
  • Eyeglasses, sunglasses & lens cleaner or contact lens preparations
  • Language Books
  • Reading Materials
  • Playing Cards/Games
  • Address Book
  • Maintenance Items
  • Mini Sewing Kit (place in checked baggage)
  • Scarf/Bandanna
  • Travel Iron or Steamer
  • Folding Scissors (place in checked baggage)
  • Laundry Bag
  • Food bars or emergency snack food


  • Comb/Brush
  • Toothbrush/Paste
  • Mouthwash
  • Dental Floss
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Vitamins
  • Medication
  • First Aid Kit
  • Aspirin/Pain Reliever
  • Cold/Sinus Medication
  • Diarrhea Medicine
  • Laxative
  • Insect Repellent
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Sunscreen
  • Motion Sickness Medicine
  • Personal Prescriptions
  • Nail clipper
  • Kleenex
  • Q-Tips
  • Blow Dryer
  • Deodorant
  • Lotions/Creams
  • Cologne
  • Lip balm
  • Shaving Cream, Razor & extra razor blades (or electric razor)
  • Towel/Washcloth
  • Earplugs
  • Plastic bags (if carry on, remember FAA limits on liquids & cremes)

Major Clothing

  • Dress clothes: dresses, suits, shirts, slacks, socks, ties/scarves,
  • Dress suit/sport coat
  • Dress shoes
  • Casual clothes:
  • Casual shoes
  • Belt(s)
  • Under wear: undergarments including t-shirts & under wear & bras etc.
  • PJ’s
  • Overcoat / rain coat / top coat
  • Umbrella
  • Sweater
  • Jeans
  • Winter dress gloves & scarf & hat
  • Hat
  • Exercise clothes (swimsuit, goggles, running clothes & shoes, gym workout clothes & shoes)

Sports related

  • golf
  • bicycling
  • tennis/squash/badminton
  • horse riding
  • climbing
  • canoo-ing
  • etc.

Study/Work Related

  • Books / magazines / bible
  • Work / school files & projects
  • Homework
  • Day-planner / PDA
  • Paper / notebook
  • Pens / pencils
  • Index cards
  • Calculator
  • Briefcase / backpack

We know that his list will never be complete but let know what we’ve missed that you always take on your holiday…as always leave a comment.

18 thoughts on “Holiday packing list for Self Catering holidays

  1. A ball of string! This may sound silly, but someone gave me this advice when I was a young back packer… A ball of string comes in very handy… from making impromptu washing lines to quick fixes and emergency repairs of things and it doesn’t take up much room at all.

  2. Safety pins are a must – can’t count the number of times they’ve come in useful, replacing missing/lost buttons, holding difficult curtains open (or closed), removing spells from fingers, emergency bracelet/watch strap repair…

  3. A good friend of mine always has a kitchen ‘goody box’ already to go….. This has kitchen essentials such as travel size salt and pepper; dried herbs and spices; tinfoil; stock cubes etc. There’s nothing more frustrating when the inspiration to cook strikes than not having familiar ingredients and kitchen gadgets to hand……

  4. As true coffee lover I take my own espresso machine and coffee to the holiday property. I just NEED my shot of espresso in the morning and unless we are in Italy where you can get the best coffee on the street corner, I’ll have to make it myself.

  5. Tea/Coffee, Milk, and Sugar because the first thing you want to do after a long drive is have a drink before unpacking. Also a general battery recharger as cameras, torch and if you have children possibly favourite toys run off batteries (all ours are rechargable). As dog owners, we always take a flea spray, as most places that have dog properties never think to spray them, and it only takes one infected dog along the way before the property is jumping!! We always spray properties on arrival.

  6. Thanks for checklist – lost my own comprehensive one when last PC crashed! One or two additions which I always find useful are sandwich bags, kitchen roll, foil, matches, gravy granules, j-cloth, carrier bags, torch, air freshener, and a bottle stopper.

  7. Dont forget any membership cards for National Trust; RSPB; RHS etc. So many places to see when you have your cottage holiday, you wouldn’t want to miss out now would you!

  8. Some good recommendations there (though I suspect packing the lot would easily tip you over Ryanair’s 15kg limit!)

    For any self-catering break I’d say taking salt & pepper and stock cubes is nigh-on essential.

  9. If you are vegetarian, taking a few cans of veg stuff is essential no matter which city breaks
    you are part off. I know people who have struggled in the past and i am sure will continue to in the future!

  10. Make a tiny kitchen pack by picking up sachets from fast food joints. Salt, pepper, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, milk, cutlery… it’s also easy to replenish as you go. A zip lock bag means that you can catch any leaks,

    The same thing can be done for toiletries when visiting hotels or you can collect the sample sachets from magazines, conditioner from hair dye packs, samples from department store beauty counters etc. You don’t really need soap *and* shampoo, shower gel can do both or even soap can be used for hair washing at a pinch. Shower gel or soap is also fine for washing up plates or clothes.

    You don’t need to take a towel on holiday, two flannels will suffice. One wet one to squee gee your wet body, and one dry one to dry off the remaining moisture from yourself afterwards.

  11. Very nice checklist. These seem to come in handy for all types of trips. A must have for everyone’s refrigerator.

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