I’m actually not known for packing light when I go away. You ask my friends when we head to the airport, I normally have my rather heavy suitcase and I may also have a little space in my husband’s case too. But that is normally down to having a great collection of summer clothes. I don’t want to leave any of them behind. It’s nice to have options…
But when we head away on a city break quite often we take hand-luggage only so I have to pack light. The first time I did this, I was heading away with friends and they told me tough luck they hadn’t booked any hold luggage so I was going to have to lump it. Of course, they were right, I only needed a small hand luggage bag for a short break and by optimising the space I had lots of room for my summer wardrobe, so here are my best packing tips.
Lay It Out
Don’t put anything in the suitcase until you have laid out on the table or bed everything you plan to take. That way you can’t be tempted to keep adding extra things in case you think you don’t have enough. Once you have it all laid out, sense check what you have. If you are going for 3 days, do you really need 5 jumpers? Anything you can’t pack until just before you leave, add to a list. That way you won’t forget to pack it.
I think this is the easiest way to save space. I’ve often taken half a dozen tops that don’t go with any of my shorts or skirts, later realising this. What a waste of space. Pair everything up. If you are going somewhere warm, take a couple of throw overs or cardigans which will go with multiple things. Don’t take one per outfit. The same goes for shoes. If you are going for a week, try and double or triple up on shoes. You won’t need a pair per day.
You can pair and roll socks into a ball and pop them inside the shoes you are taking. Fold your knickers small and you can lay them into the cups of your bras. Fold your nightwear tiny and pop it in the small spaces left by other things. It doesn’t matter if your nightwear is crumpled, does it? If you are taking chargers, take one or two wall blocks and then just take the cables. Most of the cables fit into the USB wall chargers anyway. Or if you really want to optimise space, buy a multi-USB charge block and you can charge several things at once. Don’t forget your plug adaptors!
Decant your toiletries
On most flights you’ll only be able to take liquids in containers of less than 100ml, so invest in a set of reusable bottles for your toiletries. That way you can decant your shower gel, shampoo and even your sun cream into smaller bottles and still take them with you. I suggest getting a set with different colour bottles so you can work out what’s what. Believe me when I say that white coloured toiletries are hard to tell apart after a long flight.
Pack your hand luggage intelligently. If you are taking hold luggage then take a few essentials in your hand luggage. I always carry a change of clothes – god forbid my main luggage should get lost then I have at least one outfit to change into. Especially if you’ve travelled from a cold place to a hot place or vice versa. No one wants to be the person wearing a jumper in 40 degrees. I always take a jumper, hoodie or big cardi. Even if I don’t end up wearing it, it can be useful as a pillow. Pack an empty reusable water bottle, you can get this filled at the airport once you get through security. Take a snack, something that doesn’t need refrigerating is ideal.
Travel Documents and Money
Make sure you keep your important documents (passport, insurance, hotel details) on you at all times, along with your money. I keep my travel documents in a plastic folder in the order I’m going to need them. Geek I know, but then I always have the right information to hand. I also always split my travel money between my husband and me, so if one of us loses our purse/wallet or we get pick-pocketed we have cash left on us. We try not to travel with too much cash for this reason. Most places will have cash points or will let you pay with cards these days. But be aware of card charges. Also if you are going off the beaten track, this may not be an option so always carry some cash.
What are your best packing tips? What do you always do when you are prepping for your holiday?
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