The best thing about packing for a staycation is that you can pack whatever you want! It eases the stress and all the rules of international travel or just flying in general.
You have more flexibility in things you can bring and next thing you know you will have brought the kitchen sink. At least that’s what happens to me.
To make the packing process easier, I’ve put together a list of staycation must-haves. The essential staycation packing list includes anything that helps you enjoy your accommodation, their amenities and your surroundings. From comfy PJs, books, games, self-pampering, hiking boots and whatever fits your style of relaxation.
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I’m laying out all my favourite staycation essentials that I bring on trips.
These indoor items are picked specifically for the sole purpose to relax and unwind. Perfect for those spa weekend or a luxurious hotel break!
Even if you don’t have luxury accommodation by adding some of these items to any indoor staycation you can easily create your own sense of luxury for the fraction of the cost.
Books and Other Reading Material
In the chaos of our daily lives, we often struggle to find the time to curl up with a good read. I am so guilty of this! I have a ton of books that I just never get around to reading and my pile just grows.
Just setting that time aside in your staycation you’re bound to at least get one book of that reading list or dusty old book that’s been sitting on your bookshelf.
Make sure you bring a good supply of books or magazines to keep you entertained while you relax by the pool, chill on the couch or soak in the bubble bath.
For some travel recommendation, I’ve got a great list of books in how to cure wanderlust.
A Device Loaded with Audiobooks and Podcasts
Packing the kitchen sink is not everyone’s style so if you prefer to pack light and not carry around a hardcopy, you can download audiobooks onto a phone, tablet or kindle.
Apps like Audible, Scribd and Kobo allow you to sign up for a subscription service which lets you browse hundreds of thousands of titles.
Similarly, there are a ton of apps where you can listen to podcasts. Some of the most popular ones include RadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Spotify and Podbean.
The benefit of having audiobooks and podcasts is that you can listen to them on the go, whether it’s on a walk in the countryside, or lying back with a face mask.
Face Masks or Self-Pamper Kit
Speaking of face masks, in my opinion, these are an essential item on a staycation packing list.
Have it on while you soak in the bath or while you settle back with a glass of wine and your favourite show. In terms of packing, sheet masks are the best option as they’re light and individually wrapped, so you don’t have to worry about spillage or lugging around a chunky pot.
However, I do love my ‘Cup O’ Coffee‘ face and body mask so adding a bit of bulkiness to my luggage is worth it for this product.
Nugg has a fantastic range of face masks which come in easy to carry around packaging. The best part is that all their products are natural, contain no harmful chemicals, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly.
Bath Salts, Bath Bombs or Bubble Bath
Who doesn’t love bath products on a relaxing weekend? There is a sense of enjoyment watching a bath bomb fizzling in that warm water. By adding your favourite bath products this just levels up your staycation.
In most hotels, bath products are provided in the bathroom. However, these aren’t always of the best quality, especially if you have sensitive skin. Not to mention the environmental impact of them, as the little plastic bottles are thrown away and sent to landfill even if only a fraction is used.
Do double check that they have a bath! There is nothing more disappointing than rocking up to your accommodation for a relaxing weekend and the bathtub is missing!
Candles are another essential self-care ingredient. Candles are scientifically proven to help us relax, from the visual aspect of the soft flame to the different scents triggering our senses.
Try to find a candle with a scent known for its relaxing properties, such as lavender, vanilla or jasmine. But before you make a purchase, it’s worth finding out if your accommodation lets you have candles in your room.
Neom have a range of beautifully scented candles which are 100% natural. They have different purposes too – to help you sleep, help you relax and to boost your energy.
These 100% Soy Wax Candles from Pontie Wax are a great alternative option! Each candle is in a lovely glass jar with non-toxic vegetable-based soy wax. The candles will entice you with their fragrant essential oils.
A streaming device
If you’re tired after exploring all day, settling in front of the TV always seems like the most tempting thing to do. If your hotel or accommodation doesn’t have a smart TV then take a streaming device with you for instant access to Netflix, Now TV, Amazon Video and more. There are a lot of streaming devices out there, so it can get confusing when trying to choose the best one. I’ve picked out the top two:
Amazon Fire TV is a good all rounder, and there are tons of apps and channels to choose from. You can watch all your favourite shows from Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hayu, Prime Video etc in 4K. You can also use the Alexa controlled voice remote to switch channels and apps. Check it out here:
The Google Chromecast Ultra lets you stream TV, movies, music, sports and more directly from your phone to your TV. If your TV is 4K, then you can stream compatible shows and films in the same quality.
Board games are a popular and fun way to spend quality time with your friends and family. Whether you’re a board game nerd or going back to the classics like Scrabble, Bananagrams, Monopoly and Ludo, make sure you bring along some options for a cosy night in.
My latest favourite game is Dobble, it’s a light-hearted game that tests your speed, observation and reflexes. It is a race to find the one matching image between one card and another but they through you off by the different sizes and placed on any part of the card.
Loungewear is your new uniform this staycation. Unless you’re happy just chilling in a hotel robe, then comfy clothes are a must-have. Invest in a new pair of luxuriously comfortable pyjamas to lounge about and Netflix in. You don’t have to look too far either – the majority of your favourite high street brands are bound to have a loungewear section.
As a coffee lover, I need to start my morning with a good cup of coffee! The Aeropress is perfect for this as it’s light and compact. Pair it with a hand grinder and pack some of your favourite coffee beans, then you’re all set!
For nature lovers, there’s nothing better than planning a trip into the outdoors. If you’re a seasoned adventurer, then you’re probably well-versed on what to pack. But if you don’t take outdoorsy trips that often, or simply need a little reminder, then here are a few ideas on what to bring.
Swimming and Sun Essentials
Swim suits are a must if you are spending a weekend at the seaside, heading to a spa, or planning on using the hotel pool, a swimsuit is needed. Most fashion retailers have a lot more options during the lead up to summer, so you’ll probably find it easier to find something you like if you shop during this time.
Whether it’s summer or winter, sunscreen is a must. Although in winter the UVB rays are weaker, the UVA rays are just as strong and can cause damage. So if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, make sure you slather on sunscreen!
It’s very easy to find, and your local drugstore or chemist is bound to have it. Research has found that the ingredients in sunscreen, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, are damaging towards human health as well as coral reefs. There are quite a few eco-friendly, all-natural sunscreen brands on the market, such as Badger sunscreens, Life Basics and Blue Lizard.
Dyneema Cuben Fiber DCF Ultralight Waterproof Roll Top Dry Bag (mouth full!) is perfect for keeping whatever you need dry! The Dyneema material is lightweight, had high tear resistance and 15x stronger than steel. You won’t find anything else like it on the market.
Microfiber towels are brilliant for travelling, they are ultra-compact/lightweight, fast-drying and super absorbent. These towels not only have antibacterial ions but come in cute patterns!
A raincoat is always a sensible idea. They offer much better protection than an umbrella, and can withstand high winds.
Much like a raincoat, an umbrella is an essential item if you’re staycation is in the UK. If you’re not planning on doing any major outdoor activities, then an umbrella should suffice. If you don’t already have one, I’d recommend getting a compact, travel sized umbrella that fits inside your weekend bag.
Drinking flask or water bottle
We all know how important it is to stay hydrated when you’re out and about. When we’re travelling, we often buy tons of bottled water which isn’t at all good for the environment.
To stop this bad habit, it’s definitely worth buying a reusable water bottle that you can fill up with tap water before you head out for the day. You could also bring a flask if you want hot drinks on the go.
For water bottles, I recommend buying a reusable water bottler like the Super Sparrow Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (my go-to water bottle). Alternatively, as space is a premium then consider a collapsible bottle such as this one.
If you’re looking for a travel coffee mug, check out Ecoffee Cup. Their cups are made from natural fibre, corn starch and resin, and are completely environmentally friendly. Plus, they have products in a wide range of colours and designs.
It’s worth taking a pair of walking boots with you if you’re going to be spending time on walks and hikes outdoors. This way, you won’t have to worry about ruining your favourite shoes or having to do a deep clean! If you already have a favourite footwear brand, it’s worth checking if they do walking boots. Otherwise, some great outdoor brands are Regatta, Karrimor and Mountain Warehouse.
Going on staycation means that you can bring things that you usually can’t bring when travelling internationally – like a portable BBQ. This is a good idea if you’re staying in a self-catering accommodation with a garden. Disposable BBQs aren’t kind to the planet, and if you’re planning on doing a BBQ every night of staycation then it’s worth purchasing something a little sturdier. This one from Mountain Warehouse has foldable legs and a carry case, perfect for packing away in the car.
A picnic blanket is a fundamental item for a day out. There’s nothing worse than getting ready to have lunch and realising you’ve left the picnic blanket at home. Avoid a soggy bottom by taking one with you. If you don’t have one yet, I’d recommend getting one that’s waterproof, lightweight, portable and compact.
I love this waterproof backed picnic blanket in llama / alpaca print cotton from Annie Willows.
Picnic basket with accessories
A picnic blanket comes hand in hand with a picnic basket. If you’re planning several picnics during your staycation, why not invest in a basket that comes complete with accessories like plates and cutlery. It’s also worth purchasing one that comes with an insulated lining to keep your food warm and your drinks cool.
This Green Tweed Double Lidded Hamper comes with a matching blanket and built in cooler compartment! Perfect for a 2 person picnic.
Essential Travel Photography Gear
I get a lot of questions about what camera gear I use on my travels but with today’s technology phones capture a lot of our memories. For quick moments I still use my phone as my go-to camera. To up your photography game getting an app like Adobe Lightroom.
I must admit I love having my gro pro and Sony a6500. As someone that does travel photography and videos, it really ups the production value I can get.
The Sony A6600 (the new version of my camera) is great for photography and video. The best thing is having interchangeable lenses as well which you can adapt to the style you’re aiming for. With the kit lens, it does make for a small size camera making it perfect for carrying around on holiday without weighing your bag down.
If your staycation involves a lot of action like mountain biking, watersports and hiking, then you might be keen to capture footage of your adventures. The GoPro Hero 8 Black is designed for outdoor activities. This nifty little gadget offers 4K video and different video modes to get various shots, such as night lapse and live streaming.
Whether you’re going wildlife watching in nature, stargazing or attending a sports event on staycation, binoculars are really handy. When choosing the best binoculars, a few things I recommend taking into consideration are how waterproof they are, their anti-fogging properties and how hardy they’re built. The Nikon Prostaff 3S 10×42 is one of the best binoculars out there. It’s super robust and is designed to prevent moisture ingress. With a good zoom and image quality, the pricing suggests excellent value.
Here are some other items that are worth taking with you.
If you plan on exploring during the day, you’re going to need a day pack to carry your water bottle, suncream, snacks etc. It’s a good idea to use a bag that’s waterproof just to make sure your camera and phone are safe.
I personally rate Osprey bags, I’ve had mine for over five years and they are still going strong. They aren’t the trendiest items but they are extremely practical.
Here’s their ultra-light backpack range.
One of the worst things about any kind of holiday is the amount of dirty laundry that gradually piles up. Avoid getting dirty laundry mixed up with clean clothes by storing it in a laundry bag, such as this one reusable mesh laundry bag.
Wherever you are on holiday, music always makes it better. Whether you’re gathering round a campfire, lying on the beach or having a romantic dinner, music always sets the mood.
It’s now easier than ever to bring your music on the go with a huge range of portable speakers on the market.
The Anker Soundcore Mini is a great size for taking on your travels. But despite its size, it packs a punch when it comes to sound quality. As well as having an AUX function, it works with Bluetooth and micro SD support for endless audio options. Check it out here:
A roof box
If you’ve packed your car to the brim and still need to squeeze in that portable BBQ, then it might be worth investing in a roof box just for a little extra space. Some companies and retailers that I would recommend checking out are The Roof Box Company, Halfords and GO Outdoors.