MOSQUITO nets, insect repellent, plug adaptors, diarrhoea pills.

These were among a vast shopping list of supplies I was asked to buy for my youngest daughter before she set off to backpack around India.

“Do you think I am taking enough, mum?” she asked me, as she crammed her rucksack full of essentials.

Personally, despite dressing in the same clothes almost every day, I would find it hard to live out of such a small bag of belongings for almost six weeks, especially in a country so far removed from our own, where I would not know exactly what to expect.

We British have a reputation for over-packing to go on holiday. The phrase ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ is often used to describe the amount of unnecessary stuff people take away.

I’m not too bad, but on a recent break in the UK I did insist on taking a hot water bottle, winter coat (neither of which I needed), packed lunch and tea (which could just as easily have been bought en route) plus tea bags and coffee (which, my husband stressed, could be bought at any supermarket in the country).

I don’t know why, but some of us are conditioned into believing that the things we use at home, the familiar things, are better than anything we can get elsewhere.

Last year I packed so much food for a short break to Amsterdam my husband went mad, but when we arrived it meant we did not have to spend time searching for a supermarket, and it saved us a fortune.

It goes without saying that I took my own tea bags, as anyone with an ounce of common sense surely does when leaving these shores.

I am not unusual in finding it hard to decide what to pack. According to a new survey, one on three of us take our favourite slippers on holiday and some even take a tea pot. Many also confessed to packing cutlery, their own pillow, tomato sauce and Marmite in the study by holiday firm Jet2Villas.

Childhood experiences have rubbed off on me. My family always holidayed in the UK, in self-catering cottages. My mum packed our small car to the ginnels. I am sure the kitchen sink was in there somewhere. She forgot nothing and when we unpacked at our destination it soon became ‘home from home’, with our own tablecloths, tea towels and bedding.

Women pack far more than men, previous studies have shown. The average woman packs around 150 items, ranging from skirts, tops and underwear to swimwear, high heels and pyjamas for a two-week holiday. Yet they wear just a third of it. Almost 80 per cent of women take extra items away with them, ‘just in case’.

One exception is my colleague, who takes only hand luggage on holiday, saving loads in baggage costs at airports.

I might try this next time we go abroad. I could easily do it if I took all my husband’s stuff out - he shouldn’t miss it because he doesn’t pack it.

More than half of women pack some or all of their partner's holiday suitcase for them, according to research by the comparison website Travelsupermarket. And almost ten per cent choose their clothes.

If I didn’t pack for my husband it would never get done. As we are about to leave for a holiday, he almost always asks: “Have you packed some boxer shorts for me?” to which I reply: “Obviously, and socks, shirts and jeans too,” (although, bizarrely, he doesn’t ask about those). He does manage to pack his own toothbrush.