[Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links]
This post is coming quite a long time after our holiday to Tenerife in December last year, so apologies for that, first of all.
(And no, I have no idea what I’m apologising for, really, other: I mean, it’s not like there was a line of people all beating a path to my blog to say, “But what did you take on holiday with you, Amber, WHAT?!”) I don’t know about you, though, but any time I travel somewhere new, I spend ages beforehand searching for advice on what to pack, so, as we’ve visited Tenerife in December several times now, I figured I’d return the favour with a packing list of my own.
Tenerife in December
As it happens, Tenerife in December can be quite a tricky one to pack for, purely because you never really know quite what you’re going to get with the weather. Most of the guides you read will tell you the average daytime temperature is around 21 °C at that time of year, but we’ve found it to be pretty variable. Last year, we got really lucky, and most days were around 27 °C, but there have been times we’ve visited in December and found it much, much cooler. The local branches of ZARA and Mango (and there are a lot of them…) have done pretty well out of me on those years, let’s put it that way…
Regardless of the daytime temperature, though, it’s always much chillier in the evenings, and, of course, if you want to climb Mount Teide (Which you most definitely should…) you have to be prepared for the possibility of the summit being covered in snow, despite the fact that it’s still bikini weather back at sea level.
So, yeah: you basically have to pack for every possible weather condition, from blazing sunshine to knee-deep snow, is what I’m saying here. Tricky, huh? Well, I can’t tell you what the weather will be like in Tenerife in December, unfortunately, but I CAN tell you what I packed for our most recent trip: and here it is!
(Obvious-disclaimer-is-obvious, but as a lot of my clothes are now out of stock, I wasn’t always able to find the exact items, so some are just as close as I could get!)
On the plane…
Another dilemma I always have when travelling to Tenerife in December comes from the fact that you’re generally exchanging a very cold climate for a much warmer one, so you need to find a travel outfit that’ll work for both. My best advice here is to dress for the colder of the two climates, wear layers, so you can adjust your temperature if you need to, and wear your heaviest items to travel.
In this case, I wore jeans and a thick sweater (Which I removed as soon as we landed), layered over a t-shirt, and with a light, padded jacket on top. The jacket I have isn’t the exact one shown, but it’s very similar to it: I like it because it’s not too bulky to be a nuisance on the plane (I folded it up and stuffed it in my bag as soon as we boarded…), but it’s still quite warm. This is basically the outfit I’d have worn if we’d gone all the way up Teide (As it was, we only made it to the foot of the mountain this time…), and, as it’s made up of the warmest/heaviest items I was taking with me, it made sense to wear it rather than pack it.
As our weather was warmer than usual this time around, I actually only wore the jacket one more time during the holiday, and that was on the evening of the day I came down with a bad cold/some kind of virus. The rest of the time, it stayed in the hotel room, but I’m glad I took it anyway, because, as I said, you never really know with Tenerife in December: there have been years when I’ve gone out in the evening bundled up in a trench coat and chunky jumper, and STILL wanted to sit indoors, so some warm outerwear never goes amiss here. And, of course, I’m always REALLY glad of it when I land back in the UK!
(Oh, and I also wore the jeans and sweater to breakfast most mornings: I found it a bit of a struggle to get Max and I both ready on time, so I got into the habit of just throwing on something easy and warm (The early mornings are quite cool in December, and our hotel restaurant wasn’t the warmest…), and then changing when we got back to our room.)
Dresses & Skirts
I tried to pack as lightly as possible for this trip, because I was sharing a suitcase with Max, which have me much less space than usual. For these situations, I really like to pack dresses, because they roll up quite small, and don’t weight too much, so they don’t eat into my luggage allowance as much as some other items! I took four dresses, all of which were styles that could easily be dressed up or down as required – not that there’s much dressing up required when you’re travelling with an almost-one-year old, mind you! We did go out to some lovely restaurants with my brother and sister-in-law, who were there at the same time as us, but Tenerife in December is pretty relaxed, really, so I didn’t need anything too formal. Obviously this will depend on where you’re staying, and what you intend to do while you’re there, though!
Anyone who knows me well will no doubt be amazed to hear that I went on holiday with just three pairs of shoes and no high heels – and even more amazed to hear that I didn’t buy any more pairs while I was away, either. There was a time, you see, when I used to have to take a separate bag just for my shoes (Yes, really…), and then beg my husband to let me put the new pairs I’d bought in his suitcase for the return journey, but, sadly for me, those days are gone, my friends. Well, shoes are heavy and bulky, and, as I said, I just didn’t have the space for them this time, so I thought I was being really clever with my three pairs of carefully chosen flats.
Er, not so much, really. For one thing, I should really have broken those red flats in a bit before we left, because, OUCH. And for another, I really wish I’d remembered how uncomfortable the gold sandals can be after a few hours, because OUCH AGAIN. The upshot was that, no matter which shoes I left the hotel in, I normally came home in the sneakers, which I took to keeping in the car any time we went out. Fortunately, I’d packed clothes which worked with all three pairs of shoes, so it wasn’t the end of the world, but let this be a lesson to you, folks – just because the shoes are flat, it doesn’t mean they’ll be comfortable!
As for the rest, well, it all depends on the type of holiday you’re planning, really. In our case, this was our first foreign holiday with a baby: because of that, we knew we wouldn’t be spending much time relaxing by the pool (There’s not much “relaxing” to be done when you’re trying to stop an over-excited 11-month-old jumping into the water at every opportunity…), say, and, even if we had wanted to do that, I normally find the water temperature much too cold in December for me to want to swim in it, anyway. (This year was an exception, as it was hotter than usual, but the pools are normally fairly deserted in winter!) So I only took one swimsuit with me (Actually, I think I took two, but I only actually wore one…), but, of course, if you’re planning to spend a lot of time at the pool or beach, you’d probably want to take a few more!
The only other things I couldn’t have done without from this particular packing list are the jersey blazer and white shirt, both of which are what I class as packing essentials. I’ve had my white ZARA blazer for years now, and the cost-per-wear must be well into negative figures by now: even so, it’s still going strong, and still comes almost everywhere with me. I love this jacket because it never seems to crease, no matter how many times I squash it into a suitcase, or cram it into a holdall, but also because it’s one of those items that will instantly smarten up whatever outfit you wear with it, making it a really handy item to have with you on holiday.
As for the white shirt, meanwhile, it’s another one of those chameleon pieces which doesn’t take up much space in your suitcase, but works with tons of different outfits. I wear mine open over a swimsuit as a beach cover-up, knotted at the waist over dresses and skirts, tucked into jeans and trousers… you name it. My current favourite is one I was given as part of a FatFace collaboration a couple of years ago, and which I love because, like my faithful jersey blazer, it’s surprisingly crease-resistant – which is the holy grail of holiday clothes, really, isn’t it?
Now, I WAS going to end this post by promising to do another one of these next time I go on holiday, but I’ve actually just realised that, if I do, it’ll probably be an almost identical list, so instead I’m promising to try to track down at least a couple of different dresses for the next trip: there’s only so many times I can post photos of myself in that red dress, after all!