Family Travel
Overpacking For Holidays

Overpacking For Holidays

Do you travel light or tend to over-prepare? We reveal the packing habits of UK holidaymakers, revealing the most popular items we like to cram in.


How do you tackle packing for holidays? Some of us will get started weeks in advance, while others will still be stuffing bits in as we walk out the door. From changeable weather forecasts to the length of our stay and the type of holiday, there’s a lot to factor in!


The majority of us do tend to overdo it, however. Here at Villa Plus, we found in a survey that more than 60% of Brits overpack for our holidays, while the rest of us prefer to travel with the bare minimum.

But what exactly are we cramming into our suitcases?

Our top overpacked items

Unsurprisingly the top thing we pile in is clothes, followed by shoes, toiletries, makeup and books. Just under 8% of holidaymakers go big with gadgets, while 6.6% admit to bringing too much food and drink from home. Handbags and hair accessories also make the list.


Of those items, we typically overpack with six unnecessary clothing items, five additional bits of food and drink and five extra makeup products. Four supplementary toiletries find their way into our bags, while three is the magic bonus number for our shoes, books and gadgets. We also admit to travelling with two handbags and two hair accessories that we don’t need.

Home comforts

Whereabouts in the world are you heading to next? Whilst trying new cuisines is a key part of many of our trips away, we still like to bring a few essentials from home.

The top items we take are Heinz tomato ketchup, vinegar and Hellmann’s mayonnaise; but we can’t miss out on our Cadbury’s chocolate and tea bags either.

Is there a gender divide?

Packing can lead to arguments, especially when it comes to who’s taking up more room in the suitcase. We found that women tend to be worse than men for overpacking, though more men will overdo it on clothing, books and gadgets.

While it’s good to be prepared for every situation, 39% of women travel with too many pairs of shoes, compared to 22% of men.

A battle of the ages

Does packing knowhow come with age? It certainly looks like it, with 75% of 18-to 24-year-olds overpacking for their holidays; the highest percentage of any age group to do so. The same group also regularly overestimate their reading speed, with 13% packing too many books.

Moving up the age range, 25-to 34-year-olds are the worst for overpacking toiletries, gadgets, handbags and food and drink items.

However, it seems the older we get the more outfit changes we like to make. Those aged between 34 and 55 consistently squeeze in surplus shoes, while 98% of the over 65s pack too many clothes.

Location, location, location  

Are you setting off on your travels from Leeds, Bristol or Edinburgh? There’s a good chance you could be overpacking – residents in these three cities cram more in than anywhere else in the UK. Those hailing from Nottingham and Sheffield aren’t far behind, with 70% and 71% respectively travelling heavy.

A city better known for its hills than its garments, Edinburgh is the worst offender for overpacking on clothing, tied with Belfast. Northern Ireland’s capital is also the worst for overdoing it on shoes, while those from Norwich are most prone to taking an extra handbag or two.

Pushing washbags and makeup bags to their very limit are Cardiff and Belfast, with Cardiff residents also fitting in unnecessary hairdryers and straighteners. Bristolians are the biggest readers, while those in Edinburgh can’t resist travelling with extra gadgets. Glaswegians are the most committed to their own tastes, with 14% overpacking food and drink items.


Do you overpack for your holidays, or prefer to leave room for souvenirs? Whatever your style, you’re sure to have a good time.

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