Whether I’m packing to travel for a few days or a few weeks, I think I always manage to fall into the trap of last minute panic packing, so I end up stuffing my suitcase with 2 extra pairs of emergency socks and 3 more t-shirts “just in case“. So this year, instead of filling my bags with items that I had no real intention of wearing, I packed only hand luggage for a four week holiday. So if you’re like me and struggle to reduce your packing, here are a few tips…
1. Know the climate:
This one might seem obvious, but you can’t pack light if you don’t know what kind of weather to expect! There is absolutely no point in filling your luggage with thick and bulky clothing if you’ll be needing shorts and vest tops. So if you’re heading to somewhere hot for your holiday, please don’t pack that hoodie “because it might be colder than expected”. It won’t be cold, trust me.
2. Wear bulkier clothing to travel in:
If you’ve already completely disregarded rule number 1 because you “really need that grey mohair sweater with pink sequins…” then wear it to travel in. Don’t try and cram it into your case because you’re wasting valuable space. If you are going to travel in a jacket, I recommend wearing one with lots of pockets, so you can carry smaller items through security without needing to pack them away.
3. A capsule wardrobe:
One of the best things I did this year was form a sort of mini capsule wardrobe in my suitcase. Everything can be mixed, matched and interchanged because I stuck to basic patterns and a red and black colour scheme. This is particularly useful if you’re going on a longer holiday and want lots of different outfits without taking too much luggage.
I also decided to pack a small pouch full of accessories and jewellery. You’d be surprised how different an outfit can look with a pair of statement earrings, a floppy hat or layers of beaded necklaces. Accessorising is worth trying if you’re worried (like me) about “recycling” the same three outfits over the course of your holiday, but still want to pack light.
5. Check your airline guidelines:
Some airlines now allow you to take a small carry on bag along with your hand luggage suitcase. This gives you an extra cabin bag which is seriously useful. If you are allowed a handbag or backpack, my top tip is to fill it with everything that needs to be removed and put through security. My laptop, liquids and mobile were all in my handbag so I didn’t have to unzip my case to search for these items while worrying about underwear falling out in the middle of the airport.
I’ve always found that packets of pills and medications can take up a ridiculous amount of space in your suitcase, especially if you keep them in their boxes. You can buy little pill organiser boxes with the days of the week written over the compartments, and if you’re willing to sort out all the pills you’ll need for the time you’re away, this is a really handy trick for saving space.
7. Don’t pack books:
Books take up a masses of unnecessary space and if you’re like me, you’ll be getting through a few books per week. That results in a whole lot of wasted space. Puritan book lovers will probably hate that I’m suggesting this – I love the feel of paper too! – but a Kindle or similar device is the way forward if you’re going on holiday. You can store hundreds of books in one place and it takes up a fraction of the room.
8. Folding tips:
I’ve recently started rolling my t-shirts and putting together little underwear packs when I travel. I’ve found that both of these techniques save a lot of space and allow me to pack more items – which is never a bad thing. These “underwear packs” I mentioned are made by folding a bra in half and putting a pair of socks and pair of pants in the resulting “case” sort of thing. It saves so much room and they can be stacked in your luggage! I was a bit sceptical about rolling my tops, but I’ve done it a few times now and they aren’t creased when you take them out, so it’s now something I do naturally whenever I’m packing.
9. Know how much luggage you can take!
(Juju jelly shoes – £5 Office sale, RI trainers – £12 sale, Topshop sandals – £29, Grendha flip-flops)
A lot of airlines have size and weight limits for luggage. It’s worth researching how much you’re actually allowed to take because you might end up with a penalty cost if you exceed the weight limits – which no one wants just before a holiday. Case dimensions are also important, because if your bag exceeds the height limit you may have to pay extra to have it put in the hold if airline staff won’t let you store it in the overhead lockers… Again, not something you want to be worrying about.
10. Don’t waste money on mini toiletries
I never bother buying travel-sized versions of anything. To get through airport security, liquids and gels all have to be packed into a clear plastic bag which is about the size of a sandwich bag. By the time I’ve put my liquid makeup and perfume in there, there’s not really a lot of space for anything else. Once through security, I just buy the “normal” sized shampoos and conditioners either from Duty Free or from a supermarket when I get to my destination. Full sized products are also much better value for money.
I know it can be a bit boring to read through so many hints and tips from different bloggers about how to travel and how to pack, but I personally find these 10 ideas really useful and I hope you do too…
Song of Recommendation:
Lorde –> Tennis Court