What do I need to take?

If this is the first time you’ve booked a Canvas Holiday, you may be wondering what on earth you need to take with you. So we’ve put together this handy guide to try to answer some of your questions.

For the journey

packed carThe best thing about taking your own car is there are no restrictions on what you can pack – take whatever you need. Bags squash into the boot, and there’s plenty of room in the back for toys, games and a picnic!

If you are taking your own car, it is important you meet the legal requirements for any countries you are driving through. A GB sticker is compulsory when driving in Europe and you will also need headlight adaptors. There is more information about taking your car abroad in the FAQ section of our website. Don’t forget if you are travelling to France, it is now compulsory to carry a breathalyser kit in the car with you. These are inexpensive and can easily be purchased on line.

You should always contact your insurance company before you go to check you are insured to drive abroad and request a Green Card. Though not compulsory, they act as proof of insurance while you are abroad.


Camping is a laid back type of holiday, and there really are no rules when it comes to clothing. There’s no need to dress for dinner – even if you are eating out at the campsite restaurant you will find it is a relaxed affair and children are always welcome. Obviously if you are heading ‘off-site’ for dinner, you may want to make more of an effort!

We’d recommend packing a fleece or jumper as the evenings can sometimes get chilly, especially if you are travelling to the north of France or Holland, or in low season. You should also pack waterproof jackets, just in case (though hopefully you won’t need to take them out of the car!)

If you are staying in a tent, it’s also a good idea to bring some flip-fl ops for the shower block to avoid cramming damp toes into shoes and socks! They are also useful for the pool and beach as well.


Kids sleeping

Taking the car means you can pack what you need

All Canvas accommodation has pillows and blankets provided. If you book linen hire, you’ll get sheets, pillowcases and towels as well. If not, you may want to bring your own bedding with you – sleeping bags are a good option as they lie flat in the bottom of the boot or on the back seat.

If you’re heading south, consider bringing duvet covers which you can sleep inside. Thinner than sleeping bags, they only take up a small amount of space in your luggage.


If you have hired linen packs, you’ll get a towel per person (so a double pack has two towels). We also have beach towel packs to hire, which contain two large beach towels, or you can bring your own.

It’s a good idea to pack a couple of tea towels, and you may want to consider bringing an old towel to use as a bath mat (or hire our bath mat pack).

On the campsite

camping accommodation

Taking the car means you can pack what you need

Staying in a tent? Pack a torch for late night trips to the toilet blocks. They’re also useful for reading in bed after ‘lights out!’ A snazzy wash bag is also recommended – saves lugging your toiletries to the showers in a plastic bag!

Many holidaymakers like to bring bikes or scooters for the children – it’s an easy way for them to get around, and saves the cost of hiring them while you are away. Also pack a selection of their favourite books and toys. Family card games are also a good idea – Uno is a particular favourite in the Canvas office!

Mosquitoes can be an annoyance on some sites, so it’s worth packing insect repellent. Citronella candles are widely available and act as a good deterrent.

Finally, think about taking a plug adaptor. Most mobile homes have both UK and European sockets, but some are European only. If you’re staying in a tent, the plugs are European.

Out and about

We’d recommend packing a good map of the local area. You’ll find plenty of ideas on where to go and what to do in the Canvas reception on site, and also in your campsite guide, which you can download from the campsite pages on the website.

If you’re doing a lot of sightseeing while you’re away, you’ll need to pack comfy shoes for walking. If you’re planning on visiting any religious buildings please remember you may need to cover your head, shoulders and knees.

Finally, don’t forget your camera!

On the beach

beach holidays, canvas holidays

Taking the car means you can pack what you need

Beach shoes are a great idea for the children – they are usually widely available in resort if you don’t have them before you travel. It’s also a good idea to bring or buy fishing nets or crab lines – they will keep the children entertained for hours. And of course you can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned bucket and spade.

Food and drink

Part of the fun of a holiday abroad is trying out different food and drink, but if you’re taking the car, pack items like washing up liquid, salt, pepper and tea bags to save buying them. If you’ve got time, plan a stop off at the supermarket to buy the essentials en route to your campsite – although don’t forget the campsite shop will also stock most items you’ll need for your first night.

It’s a great idea to pack a picnic for the journey – you’ll have snacks on hand if you need them, plus plastic plates and bowls are useful for days out when you are away.

Have you got any essentials you wouldn’t travel without? Leave a comment below and help other holidaymakers out!


  1. Knives. While I would never wish to diss the magnificent array of equipment supplied with your luxury Canvas tent, the kitchen knives are about as good as you’d expect in any self catering accommodation, ie somewhat chocolate fireguard.

  2. A light for outside the tent. Our gas lamp was perfect. Fairy lights looked good too! Might take an extra camping table this year as you only get one table which if the weathers good stays outside.

  3. Pegs! Stops drying clothes blowing away. Also agree with taking your own bread knife. Also if you use a pedal bin at home, pack some of the bin bags, saves buying a new roll.

  4. Sharp knives, bigger mugs if you like a good cupfull and paper filters for the coffee pot. No need to take blankets as there are more than enough to make a camp on a rainy afternoon.

  5. If you have young children and babies make sure you take enough nappies and formula for your holiday. Both can be quite expensive and although formula alternatives can be found in France they tend to have a different taste and texture meaning your children may not like or drink them!

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