Press Release

4 August 2021

M&S Bank reveals the top holiday 'forget-me-lots'

More than three quarters of travellers, whether staycationing or heading abroad, always forget something when they go on holiday – with one in 10 even turning up at the airport without their passport or foreign currency.

A study of 2,000 adults found toiletries, phone chargers and travel adapters topped the list of the most commonly forgotten items.

While many have forgotten things where alternative replacements could usually be bought at their destination, albeit at extra cost and time, such as sun cream (23 per cent) and swimwear (19 per cent), nearly one in five have travelled without their prescription medicine.

The research, commissioned by M&S Bank, also found 17 per cent have left their prescription glasses at home, while one in five have forgotten their shoes.

The top reason for forgetting an essential holiday item was having too much to remember (40 per cent), while a third put it down to leaving the house in a rush.

The research found oversleeping (18 per cent), not planning ahead (25 per cent) and leaving someone else to pack for them (20 per cent) were also among the reasons for going away without essentials.

Paul Stokes, from currency and insurance provider, M&S Bank, said : “Whether you’re planning a staycation or a trip abroad, holidays are an exciting time, but understandably, this year more than ever, holidays will be extremely important to many of us.

“And even though many of us will have been thinking about our next holiday for quite some time, it’s still easy to forget certain things.

“It sounds simple but make a list of everything you intend to take or sort pre-trip – paying particular attention to your passport if traveling abroad, along with tickets, currency and insurance.”

The research also found that 43 per cent of adults want their holidays in 2021 to be perfect, but 55 per cent admitted that forgetting something is one of the biggest worries prior to taking a trip

More than half have even taken measures, such as setting reminders, writing lists and packing in advance, to help remember everything they need.

Despite this, 44 per cent of travellers have had to buy replacement items while they were away after leaving something at home, while 16 per cent have had to pay for extra nights’ accommodation when their travel plans have been disrupted after forgetting to purchase travel insurance.

Nearly half (46 per cent) have had to pay out after forgetting something for their holiday, with the cost of leaving things behind amounting to £641 for the average adult.

Research also found that despite ongoing disruption to travel over the last 16 months, half of those polled (48 per cent) plan to take a holiday this year, with 32 per cent planning to staycation in the UK.

However, two thirds (68 per cent) of those planning a staycation are opting not to insure their trip, despite nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of holidaymakers saying they have spent more than expected on purchasing their holiday this year.

Paul Stokes added: “Our research shows that many holidaymakers are actually planning to spend more on their holiday this year, and with the average staycation costing in the region of £1000 per person, they could be leaving themselves exposed to significant unexpected costs.

“Ensuring you have adequate insurance cover in place can help alleviate any worries, so more time can be spent enjoying that well-earned break.

“Wanting to make pre-holiday preparations as stress free as possible, holidaymakers can now order and collect their currency from more than 450 of our in-store collection points – while picking up holiday essentials such as sunscreen and swimsuits - in as little as 15 minutes.” 

Top 20 things Brits forget to take on holiday:

  1. Toiletries - 33 per cent
  2. Phone charger - 30 per cent
  3. Travel adaptor - 30 per cent
  4. Sunglasses - 26 per cent
  5. Suncream - 23 per cent
  6. General clothing - 21 per cent
  7. Headphones - 21 per cent
  8. Swimwear - 19 per cent
  9. Shoes - 18 per cent
  10. Underwear - 17 per cent
  11. Prescription medicine - 17 per cent
  12. Make-up - 17 per cent
  13. Prescription glasses - 13 per cent
  14. Books/e-reader - 13 per cent
  15. Guidebooks - 13 per cent
  16. Bank card - 13 per cent
  17. Passport - 12 per cent
  18. Travel insurance - 12 per cent
  19. Maps - 12 per cent
  20. Foreign currency - 11 per cent


For more information, please contact:

Emma Warburton:

Julia Harris:

About M&S Bank

M&S Bank (the trading name of Marks & Spencer Financial Services plc) launched in 2012 on the foundations of M&S Money, which was established in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer plc. In November 2004, HSBC bought 100 per cent of the share capital of Marks and Spencer Retail Financial Services Holdings Limited.

Today, M&S Bank operates as a joint venture arrangement between HSBC and Marks & Spencer, however, M&S Bank has its own banking licence and its own Board.

M&S Bank offers a broad range of financial products, including the M&S Credit Card, and a range of loans, savings and general insurance products, while its travel money service offers one of the widest ranges of currencies available on the high street. 


HSBC UK serves around 14.5 million customers in the UK and employs approximately 32,000 people. HSBC UK offers a complete range of personal, premier and private banking services including bank accounts and mortgages. It also provides commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates. HSBC UK is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc.

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