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Staycations are on: These are the products the IndyBest team can’t travel without

Planning an overnight stay from 12 April? Trust us and make sure you’re armed with these essentials

Eva Waite-Taylor
Wednesday 07 April 2021 17:48 BST
<p>From raincoats to  games, get your packing list in order</p>

From raincoats to games, get your packing list in order

The countdown to 29 March was certainly an exciting one, as it signalled the first real stage of easing lockdown, when socialising outdoors in groups of six or two households was finally permitted. And now the arrival of 12 April fills us with even more hope.

According to the government's lockdown roadmap, on Monday 12 April, non-essential shops, gyms and hairdressers, as well as outdoor hospitality, will reopen. But that’s not all, because from this date we will once again be allowed to go on a staycation.

The rules stipulate that overnight stays in self-contained accommodation (for example, holiday cottages, apartments, caravan parks and campsites without shared indoor facilities) with those from the same household or support bubble, will be permitted. Hotels, hostels and holiday parks are expected to reopen on 17 May under the same rules.

After such an extensive period of time spent at home, if you’re anything like us, you can’t wait to break up the monotony and spread your wings. Holiday bookings have surged in the UK though, so if you’re yet to book, we’d recommend doing so ASAP to avoid disappointment.

If you have beat the crowds and secured your Airbnb, but are now unsure of what exactly to take with you (after all, it has been a while), we’d recommend consulting our staycation packing guide – detailing everything from the best weekend bags to great outdoor gear.

Read more:

And now, as a team, we’ve gone one step further. Having been lucky enough to go on a number of UK-wide holidays, we’ve discovered the true art of packing – and the dos (and inevitable don’ts) associated with it. As such, we feel equipped to recommend the essentials we simply cannot travel without.

From anti-sickness tablets and earplugs to handy travel pouches and rain jackets, these are the items the IndyBest team think you should be armed with, and which are sure to make your holiday a truly enjoyable experience.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Paravel foldable travel duffle bag


Tal Dekel Daks (Audience Lead)

An actual Mary Poppins bag, this is a lifesaver for any over-packer. Paravel’s travel fold-up bag has been favoured by travellers in the know for a few years now. It’s incredibly lightweight, it looks elegant, it somehow fits every souvenir you could possibly buy, and, best of all, it folds completely flat into a neat little pouch the size of a Kindle that will easily pop into any tote bag or slide smoothly over the handles of a carry-on suitcase. It’s brilliant. One Amazon shopper felt the same, saying: “Two weeks’ worth of stuff disappeared into its maw. Omg.” There’s also a handy small zipped hidden pocket inside for keeping your keys and passport within easy reach.

I’ve had the “safari green” version of the bag for three years now and it looks as new as the day I got it. There’s also a really fun bold “bebop red” for a bolder look. But, if you’re looking for something more affordable, look no further than H&M’s small weekend bag (£14.99,

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Rains jacket


Eva Waite-Taylor (Writer)

You simply can’t go on a British staycation without packing a trusty raincoat. For me, the only thing the unpredictable weather calls for is this functional-yet-stylish Rains jacket, which featured in our guide to the best women’s winter coats. It’s waterproof, windproof and hardwearing, yet lightweight, so it packs down to a small, compact size that won’t take up too much space. With so many colours to choose from, there’s something for every taste – while I love my taupe jacket, there’s also matte black, yellow and pink, to name just a few. It’s a hero piece on any staycation packing list.

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Anker powercore 5000 portable charger


Sarah Young (Writer)

Smartphones are the ultimate multitasker, capable of everything from taking snaps and videos to streaming music and helping you find directions. But, while their battery lives have improved over the years, you’ll certainly find peace of mind by carrying a portable charger to keep yours topped up.

This little power pack is my go-to as it’s slim, stylish, and shockingly powerful. Measuring an inch smaller than most smartphones, it fits neatly into pockets and teeny tiny handbags – but don’t let its size fool you. It’s ideal for a quick top-up no matter where you are, as it can provide two high-speed charges. And at less than £20, it won’t hurt your wallet either.

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Boots soft silicone earplugs


Suzie McCracken (Senior production journalist)

There’s nothing worse than arriving at your holiday accommodation to discover it’s above a pub with late opening hours, or that the upstairs neighbour loves to play Tracy Chapman albums on repeat at 3am, or that your corner of the campsite is right next to where the foxes rut each other all night (are these examples too specific?). I long ago learned that earplugs are the first thing to pack when heading on any kind of excursion. I find these silicone versions to be the most effective and the least annoying of all the ones I’ve tried, but there are plenty of different kinds recommended in our guide to best earplugs, should you prefer a different material.

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Kiehl's butterstick lip treatment SPF30


Daisy Lester (Production journalist)

Packing lightly is not my forte, so in order to provide more space for clothes and books, I usually thin down on beauty products. This Kiehl’s lip treatment is versatile enough to meet all your needs while away, and is often the only lip product I take with me. Boasting high SPF protection, a subtle yet noticeable rose tint and soothing ingredients that prevent any chapping, the coconut oil formula is super hydrating yet not sticky. From balmy beach days to weekends away in the unpredictable British climate, this will keep your lips protected, whatever the weather.

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Bananagrams word game


Eva Waite-Taylor (Writer)

On the theme of unpredictable weather, I urge you to pack a game that is bound to spark some healthy competition. Owing to my mum being an English teacher (an ultimate wordsmith), my family and I have spent many an evening playing Bananagrams – a modern take on Scrabble that involves building interconnected words, but at speed. The premise is simple – as opposed to accumulating points, the aim of the game is to be the first person to use all your letter tiles by forming words. Packing into a small, banana-shaped container, if you’re low on space, this is the game for you. For more ways to keep entertained, read our guide to the best family board games, where Bananagrams features.

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Stugeron tablets

anti sickness tablets

Lois Borny (Freelance)

Nothing ruins the wistful, movie-scene stares out of car windows like a niggling feeling you’re going to be ill. It’s a familiar scene – you’ve left the house ready to pootle along to your holiday destination before the day’s end, and within half an hour of bobbling along in the car, you’re hit with that inevitable wave of nausea. Though my aversion to travel has settled down over the years, these Stugeron tablets were a failsafe option for avoiding any mid-motorway mishaps, and I recommend them to anyone who still struggles to keep their breakfast down. Just pop the tablets two hours before setting off and you should be good to go. Be sure to chuck them in your luggage for the way back too.

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Elizabeth Scarlett African palmier natural everyday travel pouch


Emma Henderson (Editor)

When going on holidays or weekends away to my parent’s house was a regular thing (and is soon to be again), I always use these gorgeous pouches, which I think are a godsend. I love them for packing all the little annoying bits in suitcases or hand luggage that inevitably get lost – cables and portable chargers, anyone?

I also use them on long car journeys to keep things like lip balms with me and make sure they’re not packed away where I can’t get to them. But their usefulness doesn’t stop at travelling, as when you’re on holiday they’re also great to keep books, suncream and other poolside essentials together.

The designs are hand-drawn and then embroidered. Each is inspired by Elizabeth Scarlett’s love of travel, from turtles to pineapples and zebras. This African palmier was the first one I bought (I now have another one that’s since been discontinued) and have bought them as presents too. You can also get it monogrammed for an extra £14 so no one else claims it as their own, as I’m sure they will try! There’s also matching eye masks (£22, and cute coin purses (£14, available in matching patterns.

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MPow car phone holder


Eleanor Jones (Executive editor)

I didn’t pass my driving test until I turned 29 – a combination of lack of necessity thanks to living in London, and, frankly, being absolutely bloody terrified of operating a vehicle. When I went to pick up my first car (a bulky little 2011 Hyundai i10, in case you had visions of anything more sophisticated) I took this car phone holder with me to help me navigate the treacherous way home from the local garage, and it’s been firmly stuck to my windscreen ever since.

For context, I like having my phone’s sat-nav even when I’m just going to the local supermarket, so for any adventures further afield, clear visual instructions are even more crucial. This cradle holds my iPhone 11 firmly in place, with clever retractable feet at the bottom to prevent it from slipping down en route. Last summer it took me four hours to drive to the Devon coast and back again, and this year I’m hoping we might go even further afield. As for never getting lost, well, that’s another story – but that’s not the holder’s fault!

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