Three UK uncovers truth about Brits’ holiday packing habits

Going on holiday? Don’t forget your phone charger!

Three UK uncovers truth about Brits’ holiday packing habits

  • Over a fifth of Brits say phone chargers are the most common item they forget to pack for a holiday
  • Two-thirds of parents with young children say that digital entertainment has been the saviour of long journeys and almost a fifth say they rely upon 4G/5G for last minute downloads
  • A fifth of women pack more than 50 items, compared to over a quarter of men who pack just 25 items or less

2 August 2022: Research from YouGov* commissioned by Three, the UK’s fastest 5G network**, has revealed the state of the nation’s holiday packing habits, as over a fifth (22%) of Brits say that a phone charger is the item most likely to be forgotten from their suitcase – which could be a costly blunder for parents of young children! The charger was followed by toiletries (19%) and sun protection (17%), meaning many holidaymakers will be caught short in more ways during their travels.

Today’s insights come at the start of the summer holidays, as many families prepare for their much-anticipated getaway and look for ways to ease the boredom of travelling for youngsters. Almost two-thirds (61%) of parents of young children (aged 4 and under) claimed that digital entertainment is the saviour for keeping kids occupied on long journeys, and nearly a quarter (24%) admitted to panic-downloading content at airports before they board the plane. Over a quarter (26%) of parents of young children also said that they had come to rely upon super-fast mobile connectivity for last minute downloads, suggesting that 5G connectivity is essential for making the start of their holiday as pain-free as possible.

Three also looked at gender trends, revealing a fifth (20%) of women admitted to packing more than 50 items for a holiday, compared to over a quarter of men (30%) who pack just 25 items or less, with women more likely to overpack tops (42%) and men more likely to overpack socks (30%).


Modern technology has played a huge part in changing our packing habits, as 55% of Brits say they used to pack a camera, compared to just 26% who still do today. Today only 3% of people said they would still pack CD players and 2% would pack portable DVD players, as these items have been replaced by smart devices.

Despite our phones becoming a one-stop-shop for all our entertainment needs, old-fashioned paperback books are still favoured by most Brits (54%), with women more likely to take them on holiday (63% – compared to 52% of men), whereas men are more likely to take music players (21% – compared to 14% of women).

When it comes to packing your phone ready for travel, people in Northern Ireland are the nation’s biggest digital packers***, as almost a third (29%) say that digital entertainment is the most essential part of packing for a holiday. Whilst over a third (37%) of Brits say they often fail to come prepared and end up downloading last-minute at the airport or train/bus station.


Music is the holiday maker for Brits, with 43% saying listening to music is their favourite thing to do whilst on holiday or a long journey, followed by watching films (33%) and reading ebooks/magazines (28%). When it comes to exploring new content, Northern Irish and East Midland-ers like to use their holiday time to watch or read new things (25% each).

When it comes to keeping the kids happy on holiday, a third (33%) of women are most worried about leaving behind their child’s favourite toy, while over a fifth of men (27%) are most worried about forgetting to pack a tablet with kid’s entertainment downloaded.

Half of parents (53%) with children under 18 say long journeys have been saved by having digital entertainment at the ready to keep their kids occupied.


With digital packing becoming increasingly essential for Brits to keep kids and themselves entertained on long journeys and during their holiday downtime, musician and father-of-three Matt Willis shares his experiences and top tips with Three to help the nation.

Matt Willis says: “As a parent, I know how hard it can be to keep kids entertained on long journeys! I’ve often found it a sanity saver to have a tablet with my kid’s favourite shows and games downloaded to keep them occupied, meaning my wife and I hear less bored moans of “Are we there yet?”, “I’m bored”, “can I have a snack”, “he did this, she did that” you get the picture. Having a strong internet connection like you get on Three is super useful for those last-minute downloads before setting off.”

Sharing his top tips for travelling with kids, Matt recommends…

  1. Pre-load a tablet with plenty of TV shows and games before a long journey to help keep the kids entertained. Even if you’ve only got a few minutes to spare, using a superfast 5G network like Three’s makes downloading a doddle.
  2. If you are flying, get on last minute or the kids are sitting in the seat for 45 mins before take-off and it can be quite stressful with people coming down with bags over head and so on. Pro tip, if there are 2 adults get one to go on early with the bags and the other to chill them out at the gate.
  3. Always pack wipes!
  4. Don’t forget to order a car seat with the car hire company… (🤦🏻‍♂️)
  5. Make sure you fully-charge your phone and devices the night before meaning you can keep yourself and the kids entertained for hours on end. Nothing worse than running out of battery with an hour to go on the flight home!

Matt’s top things to watch and download for you and the family.

  1. Bluey (for the kids)
  2. Bob’s Burgers (for older kids and for me)
  3. Heads Up (Game for the family)
  4. Minecraft (all 3 of mine enjoy this)
  5. My top podcasts, Huberman Lab, Joe Rogan, Armchair Experts
  6. The Witcher (for me and Emma)
  7. Grey’s Anatomy (for Emma)
  8. Raising Dion (for us all)
  9. Calm app for sleep stories and meditation
  10. Dopamine Nation audiobook

Andrew Foy, Director of New Products and Propositions at Three UK, said: “With Three’s super-fast 5G, British holidaymakers can download apps and entertainment at lightning speed, on-the-go – making it the perfect travel companion this summer. We understand that travelling with children can be stressful, but with 99% UK coverage our network’s got you covered. Helping you to create memories from the big moments, whilst easing life’s little pain points – Three’s 5G is there for you, when you need it most.”

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