I always like the idea of travelling light but, quite honestly, I’m really not that good at it! But I’m getting better… I’ve learnt to get everything out that I MIGHT need and then put approximately half the stuff away again as I probably won’t use it/wear it! Packing is a big part of getting ready to go away, whether it is for your annual week in the sun or to go on a gap year… I’ve been considering how I pack and why I pack like I do for a while now so here are my tips for packing your case(s)/backpack:
- Get everything you may need out and then be ruthless – go through and put back anything you know you won’t really wear/use.
- Think carefully about what you are going to be doing on your trip and take the correct items. If you plan on spending a week laying on the beach or by the pool, don’t bother packing the hiking boots…
- Take items of clothing that you can mix and match to make lots of different outfits.
- One of the best space-saving tips I’ve learnt is to roll clothes rather than fold them – they take up much less space in your case/backpack. You can also pack small items inside shoes/boots if space is tight.
- Use travel organiser bags to keep your suitcase organised – it also makes it much easier to unpack when you arrive.
- Take travel sized products. There are various options here: to buy travel sized products (often pricey at the side of full-sized products); to buy empty plastic travel bottles and dispense your normal products into them (more economical) or; whenever you stay in a hotel, take the small products you find in the bathroom home with you to take on holiday (free!).
- If you are going as a couple or a family, don’t have one case each – spread your things out across the cases. This way, if one case goes missing you still have enough to survive on until it turns up (hopefully)!
- Check the weight of your cases before you leave home – I have several times had to re-pack cases at the check-in desk (extremely annoying for everyone behind me) or had to just pay up for excess baggage… don’t risk it!
- Remember, whilst hard cases are great for protecting your belongings, they are pretty heavy even when they are empty. If you think weight will be an issue, a soft, ultra-light case may be a better option.
- Going away with friends? Don’t all take a hairdryer, straighteners, curling tongues, etc – agree beforehand who will take what and share whilst you are there.
- Unless you are going out into the wilderness far from civilisation, you can always buy toiletries, etc at your destination. And, if you are travelling with babies/toddlers, you can often pre-order a baby pack to be waiting for you at your resort so you don’t have to pack enough nappies, wipes, etc to last the duration of your trip. We have done this several times and it has worked brilliantly!
- Pack small, high value items in your hand luggage rather than your case – they are safer with you.
- And, finally, don’t forget to pack any medication you need (and make sure you have enough for the duration of your trip) – as well as a copy of your prescription just in case! Whilst most common medicines are available worldwide, not everything will be so easy to source whilst you are away, particularly if you are somewhere remote. (Although it is also worth noting that in many countries you can purchase medications over the counter that you would need a prescription for in the UK – and it is often cheaper too!)
So these are my packing tips… do you have any to share?