Not sure what to pack for your UK travels? Use this article in conjunction with our UK packing list to ensure you have all your UK travel packing essentials.
To compliment our UK travel packing list we have put together this ‘shop’ of UK travel essentials which has literally everything we think you may need when visiting the UK.
Obviously, there will be things on this list that you already own so we are not suggesting you go out and buy new items! We simply want to ensure you have every base covered! (It is helpful to remember that there are also lots of great shops in the UK so if you forget something don’t panic!)
UK Travel Packing Essentials
- UK Travel Packing Essentials
- UK Travel Planning Products
- Best travel luggage
- Travel packing solutions
- Travel organisers
- Essentials for the plane journey
- Theft proof travel items
- Electronic items & accessories
- What to wear – how to blend in and avoid looking like a tourist!
- Practical things you will need!
- Travel books
- More practical UK travel planning tips and resources
UK Travel Planning Products
Our itinerary planners are the perfect companion for 9 popular UK destinations and include everything you need to know to plan your visit – what to see (and how long to spend at each attraction), best experiences, best viewpoints and recommended places to eat and drink.
⭐️ Click to buy
Guide to UK Train Travel
Are you are planning to travel the UK by train?If so our ebook is an essential purchase. Containing practical tips and advice to help you to plan your trip (including 12 done for you UK train itineraries) it has everything you need tp know to start planning your UK rail adventure.
⭐️ Click to buy
Best travel luggage
Things to consider when choosing luggage for your UK trip –
- Are you travelling to multiple destinations in the UK? If so what mode of transportation will you use?
- I highly recommend that you travel light. Pack clothes than can be layered.
- Leave room for all the souvenirs and presents you will be purchasing!
Travel packing solutions
I cannot recommend packing cubes enough. I was a late convert but boy do I always use them now! These are the perfect solution if you are travelling around the UK. Pack entire outfits in a separate packing cube – it saves time as you can leave the rest of your case undisturbed and just lift out the cube you need.
I also have one packing cube which I use for clothes I have worn so they are kept separate. This also makes it easy to lift them out if you need to get some washing done.
Staying organised is essential and it is so easy when travelling to misplace things, lose things or simply end up with paperwork and travel documents all over the place. We keep everything in an organiser. I do scan backups of our passport information, tickets and any other important information to my dropbox account but day to day we use an organiser to keep everything in one place and easily accessible.
There is nothing worse than arriving at your hotel after a long journey to then start scrabbling around looking for your passport or other necessary documentation.
Here are some great travel organisers to will keep all your important paperwork, itineraries and ID documents in one place.
Essentials for the plane journey
Travel bag for the plane
I pack my bag for the plane very carefully so I know where everything is. A great tip is to pack a smaller bag (I often use a packing cube for this) will all the essential things you will want on hand during the flight. This means you can put your bag in the overhead locker and not need to get up and down to rummage through it when you need something.
I keep my iPad, Kindle, a pen, notepad, earphones, chewing gum/sweets, any medications, eye mask, eyedrops and my toiletries (I pack travel size ones for on the plane) in this smaller bag. It makes life so much easier especially when you are in the window seat and you don’t have to disturb your travel companions to get those essential items.
I find sleeping on planes is easier for some people than for others. I tend to sleep for a few hours at a time but for me being as comfortable as possible means having my own pillow. There are lots of options to choose from (better than using a rolled-up jumper as I remember doing in the 1980s!)
Foot hammocks & inflatable foot rests
If you (like me) suffer from swollen feet and puffy ankles after a long flight I recommend purchasing one of these foot hammocks or inflatable footrests. An absolutely fantastic idea which will not only make the journey more comfortable but the first few days after you arrive at your destination (trying to squeeze swollen feet into shoes and boots is not what you need when you have so many places to see)
Theft proof travel items
When travelling it is easy to become flustered and stressed especially in a new city or country. At these times our ability to focus can be impacted. This is why pickpockets often hang around train stations and airports.
Similarly in tourist areas where you may be distracted by the sights and therefore not prepared or unsure what to do when approached by organised groups who may be looking for vulnerable targets.
We have experienced this in France (pickpockets rifled through my backpack but because everything of value was in my pickpocket-proof crossbody bag didn’t get anything)and Italy (scammed by a cab driver who tricked us by swapping a 20 Euro note for a 5 Euro note) and the UK is certainly no different.
Therefore plan ahead – purchase theft-proof bags and accessories. Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Leave valuables and passports in your hotel room safe. And stay aware especially in train stations and around busy tourist areas.
Theft proof bags
I NEVER travel without my theft-proof bags anywhere in the world and I highly recommend purchasing one or two for your trip.
It is better to be safe than sorry and using a theft-proof bag will give you some peace of mind (and protection) when travelling. Whilst I do not want to be alarmist it is important to understand that the UK is not free of crime.
Pickpockets and petty thieves are around and if you make yourself an easy target (an open purse/handbag or wallet in a back pocket) you may find yourself spending valuable holiday time replacing personal effects and credit cards plus dealing with insurance claims.
Electronic items & accessories
Don’t forget an adaptor as this will be something you will definitely need unless you are coming from one of the few countries with the same plugs as the UK. In England the power plugs and sockets are of type G. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Take a charging battery to ensure you can keep your phone and electronics charged especially if you have a day of travel.
Other items worth considering are a Kindle (save on weight allowances) and I love this phone and iPad holder which is perfect for on a plane or train.
What to wear – how to blend in and avoid looking like a tourist!
If you are wondering how to dress in the UK and what to pack clothes wise my suggestion is to think practically. Take clothes that can be layered (wherever the season) Don’t overpack – take a few pairs of jeans, T-shirts, long-sleeved tops, a jacket that will keep you warm (and dry!), comfortable shoes (pair of boots, sneakers) and a couple of scarves.
Think – casual and comfortable. Choose neutral colours – black, navy and add colour with your accessories and scarves. Avoid wearing anything with a Union Jack on it, football shirts (soccer), anything of political nature or combat gear.
Note – if you plan to visit somewhere a little posh (the Ritz for afternoon tea for example) you will need to be dressed smartly (no jeans, sneakers) so pack one ‘dressier’ outfit if that is something you plan to do!
There are lots of ideas in our UK packing guide so do check that out but here are some accessory ideas!
In addition to this website, you may wish to buy a travel guide book or two. We have lots of suggestions in our article about the best travel guides for UK travel too so do check that out.
More practical UK travel planning tips and resources
- Plan your trip – Follow our 10 steps to plan the UK vacation of your dreams
- Transport – Guide to UK transportation & how to get around
- Driving – Guide to renting a car in the UK
- Using your phone in the UK – Guide to all the options