Everything But the Kitchen Sink!

edited by Ola Fagbohun

According to research the average British holidaymaker crams their suitcase full of goods worth £1,572 – almost twice the cost of the actual break.


There’s no middle ground when it comes to packing a suitcase. Either you travel light or you pack everything bar the proverbial kitchen sink. If you happen to fall into the latter category then chances are you’re lugging round a suitcase with contents worth twice as much as your holiday.

over packingHow much are the contents of your suitcase worth?

It sounds a bit over the top but its true, according to research conducted by hotel and resort chain Holiday Inn, that the average British holidaymaker crams their suitcase full of goods worth £1,572 – almost twice the cost of the actual break.

Sun-seekers frequently pack digital cameras, mp3 players, mobile phones and electric shavers, boosting the value of their cases sky-high. And despite taking more than £600 worth of clothes, at least £142 worth of these stay in the suitcase unworn.

But its not just on long breaks that holidaymakers pack their cases to bursting point. The poll of 5,000 people reveals that even on a short breaks in the UK, people travel with suitcase contents worth at least £1,108.71 despite the actual break costing an average of £349.

Chris Hale from Holiday Inn says: “The findings of this poll are incredible, particularly considering Brits take nearly as much away for a long weekend as they do for a full 14-day holiday. We’ve seen a huge boom in the number of long weekends Brits enjoy in the UK, especially city breaks – the average family now takes four a year.”

Why do we over-pack?

But is there some sense to our over-packing tendencies? The study shows we try to pack in accordance with where we’re going.

When we go abroad, most of us pack clothes worth £618, while for a long weekend in this country we tend to take around £402 worth. On a long haul holiday, the average individual carries a selection of shoes to the value of £130, and about half that for a UK trip.

“Because people love their weekend escapes, they want to make sure they’ve got absolutely everything they need and maybe quite a few things they don’t,” says Hale. “It’s also a very British thing to be prepared for anything. Maybe it’s our unpredictable weather or something to do with growing up with the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.”

When you think about what the average holidaymaker packs into a suitcase it’s not hard to see why the content value mounts up. A whopping 76 per cent of us pack a phone worth £100 and a further 78 per cent won't leave home without a digital camera, worth, on average, £149."

Other gadgets to be included on a trip away from home include an mp3 player worth £159, an electric shaver worth £80 and hairdryers, straighteners or curling tongs worth £30.

More than half of us then take at least £50 of accessories, such as jewellery, scarves, sarongs, hats and evening bags, and 28 per cent of people even pack their favourite snacks.

And then the average suitcase itself is worth about £80.

Hale says: “A lot of planning goes into even short breaks. It takes an average of 29 days for Brits to book a holiday from when they first start browsing on the internet. Packing our bags seems to involve the same level of meticulous – and very British – planning. Mind you, all those extra pairs of shoes, the hair tongs and dryers, jewellery and accessories must weigh a tonne. Ah, but of course, it’s the chap who carries the bag – another great British tradition.”

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