School Trip Packing Guide

Whether you’re on holiday or a school trip, there’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination and realising you’ve forgotten something important. From travel documents and tickets to spare pairs of socks, there’s a lot to remember to bring.

Add 30 children to the mix, some of whom may have never travelled without family before, and the need for thorough preparation becomes greater still.

We’ve put together this handy guide to packing for all types of school trips — so whether you’re headed on a day trip to London, or spending longer further afield, our packing checklist will have you packed and ready in no time.

Understanding the essentials for any school trip

There are some items that are must-haves for any school trip — regardless of length or location. Make sure these items are at the top of your checklist when you’re deciding what to pack and wear.

What to Bring on a School Trip

When you’re getting ready for a guided history tour, or packing your bag for a day discovering the geographic wonders of Iceland, make sure you have these essentials with you before heading out:

  • A backpack that is big enough to carry your everyday essentials, but not too big that it’ll be uncomfortable or laborious to carry
  • Medication that needs to be taken regularly or as needed, such as inhalers or antihistamines
  • Snacks! Even if you’re staying overnight with meals included, be sure to have something in your bag to keep you fuelled
  • Water is non-negotiable — keep a reusable water bottle with you at all times to stay hydrated throughout the day

Continue reading below for more extensive checklists for one-day trips and overnight stays, as well as tips for seasonal excursions and school trips abroad.

What to Wear on a School Trip

Comfort and practicality are the most important things to consider when picking outfits for school trips. Avoid bulky items if they aren’t absolutely necessary, as this can take up a lot of the limited packing space.

For the daytime, opt for simple clothes such as jeans, t-shirts, and trainers. An extra layer or two that can go in your bag will make sure you aren’t caught off guard by a change of weather or cold A/C indoors. Overnight trips might have evening entertainment or activities, so you might want to pack a couple of nicer outfits to change into after freshening up after a long day of exploring.

What to pack for a one-day school trip

Packing for a one-day school trip should be minimal as there is no overnight element to consider. A rucksack or backpack should provide enough space to hold everything you need for the day:

Snacks and hydration

Staying fueled and hydrated is essential for energy and well-being. Here are some snack and hydration options:

  • Water, ideally in a reusable bottle 
  • A sports drink or fruit juice
  • Fruit that can be eaten easily on the go, such as apples, oranges, or bananas

Educational tools and equipment

Maximise learning opportunities on your school trip by packing these educational tools and equipment:

  • Pens and pencils
  • Notepads or workbooks to document your trip
  • Camera or phone with a camera to capture memories and new discoveries

Personal items

Make sure all your everyday personal needs are met with these essential items:

  • Sensible walking shoes (no flip flops or heels)
  • A small amount of money for souvenirs
  • A warm jumper (even in summer, especially in the UK!)
  • A waterproof jacket
  • Sanitary products
  • Portable phone charger

What to pack for a week-long school trip

Be sure to tick off our one-day trip checklist to make sure you have everything you need for your daily activities and explorations throughout your longer residential trips. For overnight trips lasting up to a week, there will be a lot more to pack:


As creatures of habit, most of us have specific places in our bathrooms for toiletries and will place them right back after using them without a second thought. We suggest leaving a toiletry bag out somewhere you have to pass in the morning before you leave for your trip to remind you to pack these items:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Towel
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Contact lenses and solution (if applicable)
  • Medications (if applicable)


When it comes to clothes, try to bring a few layers and options for different activities and time of day:

  • Evening outfit(s)
  • Pyjamas
  • Clean clothes, socks, and underwear (plus spares)
  • Swimwear

Leisure and downtime items

Most trips do not plan activities for every waking minute - both students and teachers need some relaxation time. Make sure to pack something to do in the evenings or on long journeys. Avoid packing expensive items such as handheld consoles as these could get lost or broken.

Seasonal packing tips

If you’re heading out on a school trip when it’s very hot or very cold, it’s important to make sure you’ve got all the seasonal essentials to look after yourself when outside. Read our tips for summer and winter trips below to check you’re packing everything you need for the season.

Summer trips

Hot weather isn’t something we’re well accustomed to in the UK, and it’s easy to underestimate just how warm it can get when it does come around. Make sure to pack these items to protect your skin and enjoy school trips during warmer seasons:

  • Sun cream with high factor SPF
  • Sun hat/cap
  • Sunglasses
  • SPF lip balm
  • Insect repellent
  • Light layers you can take on and off
  • Swimming kit
  • Plastic bags for wet swimming kit
  • Scarf/throw to cover bare shoulders

Winter trips

School trips when it’s cold and wet often involve muddy walks to get to your destination. It’s wise to bring layers that can be easily removed when it's time to bring the learning inside, but keep you protected from the elements outside. Stay cosy and layer up for school trips during winter and colder seasons with our cold season checklist:

  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Scarf
  • Waterproof jacket & trousers
  • Wellies/walking boots
  • Spare socks
  • Layers and thermals
  • Plastic bags for wet items
  • Lip balm

Special considerations for school trips abroad

Not sure what to pack for a school trip abroad? A school trip to a different country is a fun and exciting way to learn about different countries and cultures. There are some specific items you need to have with you to make travelling and experiencing new places and cultures as easy as possible. Make sure you pack everything on our checklist for school trips abroad:

  • Passport
  • Travel documents (e.g. travel insurance, visas, boarding passes etc.)
  • A paper/PDF copy of your passport and travel documents
  • Small wallet/card holder for tickets
  • Plug adaptor specific to destination
  • Local currency
  • Clean clothes, socks & underwear for each day
  • Spare clothes, socks & underwear
  • Contact lenses/solution for each day (if applicable)
  • Medications for each day (if applicable)

Remember to bring everything home from school trips

Now that we’ve covered the packing checklists to help you get ready for your school trip, let’s cover the items that absolutely need to make it back home!

It’s common for students to accidentally leave things behind on school trips, either in hotels, on the coach, or even at airports. When travelling abroad, it becomes very tricky to recover misplaced items — and can even cause severe travel delays if someone’s passport goes missing.

Make regular checks when leaving locations and transport to remind everyone to keep their belongings with them. Check through this list to make sure everyone remembers these very important items:

  • Passport
  • Travel documents
  • Phone
  • Phone charger
  • Wallet or purse
  • ID, whether this is a school badge or other form of identification

Note: If you are flying, it can be a good idea for schools to organise lanyards with holders large enough to fit a passport and boarding pass. This helps to keep each pupil organised and can help to save some frantic searching at the gate.

Get even more prepared for your trip with our packing guide for teachers to cover all bases, such as first aid and travel delays.


Download these specific trip packing guides

One day trip
Overnight trip
Travelling abroad
Seasonal packing
Packing checklist for guided history tour

Ready for your next adventure?

Armed with these packing tips for every scenario, you're ready to embark on your next school trip with confidence. We organise a range of school trips to give students of all levels, including primary, secondary and sixth form. Contact us today to get a quote for your next learning experience.

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