Holiday Essentials

The heat is on. That is, the stress to fit everything you need for your holiday into the luggage allowance restrictions. For those of us who are self catering with washing machines, it’s far less of a problem but there are still some essentials I can’t live without. Here is my list:

  1. Comfortable sandals with a back or strap-I’m a wanderer. While other holiday makers are rushing to reserve their sunbeds, I’m planning a morning’s adventure in my hire car. To even contemplate a whole day sweltering by the pool makes me come out in a hot sweat. But flip flops will never do. Apart from that painful thong piece of leather between toes, it’s illegal in parts of Spain to drive without a back in your shoes. When you think about it, it makes sense doesn’t it? But any driver caught shouldn’t pay the on-the-spot fine. Instead all official paperwork should be filled in at the police station because after all one man’s fine could very well be another man’s paella!
  2. A large yet light handbag-if you’re a driver abroad it’s compulsory to carry a wad of documents, then there’s the sun tan cream, tissues, phone, purse, credit cards, lip salve stick and all the items the rest of your party don’t want in their pockets. I always choose a large neutral coloured handbag from Accessorise as they are pretty strong. Top zips and internal zipped pockets are essential to reduce opportunities for pickpockets to invade your bag. However, I do have my eye on one of the Carbotti¬† bags for city breaks as no one wants to feel like a country bumpkin when perusing designer shops in Florence or Barcelona.
  3. Ear Plugs-it’s not the volume of noise that wakes me in some rented accommodation it’s just that noises are different. Whether it’s the hot water system, birds landing on the roof or the snores and snorts from others sharing the accommodation, a pair of earplugs can drown it all out for a good night’s sleep.
  4. Toilet Roll-Laugh all you like but I’m sorry. I’ve yet to find a country where the toilet roll matches up to the quality of Andrex or Kleenex Velvet. And if there’s none at your accommodation when you arrive late at night, by having just one roll in your case you become the holiday hero-for the first morning at least.
  5. A lightweight scarf-if you don’t cover up you may be refused entry. Many countries insist that to enter churches or other places of worship, covering the shoulders and cleavage is essential. Net scarves from Tesoros are superb for this occasion. (¬£6.95) They wrap up tightly into a small plastic bag (something else for your large handbag) or you can tie it stylishly around the handle of your handbag. At the entrance of your church flick it out, wrap it around your shoulders and voila. You are ready to go.
  6. Wet Wipes-perfect for sanitising the seat trays on your flight, discovered, in 2016, to be one of the dirtiest places on the plane. Until I can get to a supermarket, I use them for door handles and light switches as, regardless of the cleanliness of accommodation, I wonder how many maids regularly sanitise door handles and light switches.
  7. Factor 50 Sun Tan Lotion-we all dread the stickiness of sun tan lotion but, we’ve realised over the years, that the discomfort is preferable to long term skin damage. Gone are the days of Hawaiian tropic Factor 10 or, worse, olive oil. If you were a teenager in the 1970s you know exactly what I mean!
  8. A Packet of McVities Digestive Biscuits-holidays are all about over- indulging and trying the local cuisine. I’m an expert in cakes and pastries! But there are days when the over-indulgence is beginning to feel too much so all you dream about is a cup of tea and a digestive. Also really useful if anyone has a jippy tummy and delicious with cheese, of course.
  9. A Mosquito Plug-In-since becoming a “more mature lady” it seems that mosquitoes just love to feast off me, particularly at night. I’m sure you’ve all woken up with that deadly buzz in your ear and leaping about the room flapping sheets in the middle of the night. At least a plug-in deals with the problem during the night (if only the person sharing your room would keep the door closed) so you’ve only got to go to war with the little blighters during the day. Watch out for stagnant water-I’m thinking mini golf courses, in particular.
  10. Lavender Oil- a few drops on your pillow for a good sleep and an amazing cooling agent if your skin has accidentally burnt. Adding a few drops in your bath creates a spa-like aroma. Lavender oil can be expensive but you’re in luck. It’s half price at Holland and Barratt (¬£3.29)

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