Packing for holidays can be a bit of a stressful experience if you don’t go about it the right way. Crumpled clothing, leaking toiletries, leaving stuff behind and bringing stuff you never use are all common problems.
Here’s some handy advice to help get organised for your next holiday,
- Plan ahead. Begin washing and drying your holiday clothes the week before you go to avoid any last-minute rushing, or taking still-damp items with you that make the rest of your clothes smell.
- The right packaging is essential. If you’re going on a long journey by car or bus where luggage needs to be packed in, then a bag is more practical, while for holidays where you’re flying then staying in just the one place, a suitcase is ideal. Backpackers need a large, comfortable backpack. Whatever you’re using make sure it’s suitable for the weather conditions, can be carried without difficulty, and if possible has separate storage compartments for things like toiletries to minimise the damage to your clothes if something spills.
- Speaking of toiletries, find some small plastic containers you can decant your shampoo, conditioner, or perfume into. These will save you carrying a big bottle around which you would never get through in a fortnight’s holiday.
- For short holidays I will often pack everything I need into a large piece of hand luggage. I can wash lightly-soiled items in the hotel room sink, or sometimes use the in-house laundry service, and that way I get to skip the baggage reclaim and never risk losing my luggage.
- Be sensible with what you take. You won’t need high heels for a trekking trip in Andorra, and you won’t want swimming trunks for a Parisian city break in February. Write a list of what you consider essential items and then really give some thought to whether you need them all. You’d be surprised what you can live without.
- Folding clothes as you would to put them away in a drawer isn’t space-efficient. There are various approaches to packing, dependent on the type of bag being used. My preference, when using a suitcase, is to roll clothes from bottom up to make maximum use of space. With trousers, follow the line of the crease. Hang up as soon as you arrive at your hotel, or alternatively hang them in the bathroom while you take a hot shower to help remove any creases.
- Wear your heaviest pair of shoes for travel days to help with weight restrictions. Other shoes should be packed together heel to toe, soles outward. Put them in a plastic or fabric bag because who wants the rest of their clothes coming into contact with the residue from the streets you’ve been walking around. Fragile and valuable items such as watches and jewellery get wrapped in loo paper and put inside shoes for extra protection.
- Keep weather-dependent items, such as sun tan lotion, hat, anorak or small umbrella near the top of your suitcase for easy access.
- If you’re flying, and at all worried about the weight of your bag, check it before you go! Few things are more embarrassing than having to go through your suitcase discarding things at the front of the check-in line, where everyone queuing has nothing better to do than watch! You can now buy a tiny set of luggage scales to avoid having to pay the exorbitant excess charges imposed by many airlines.
- Get someone else to do it! After all you’ve got so many other things to think about, the last thing that you want to be doing is remembering whether you packed your toothbrush or not!
I know several friends in their late-twenties who still require their mums or partners to do their packing for them. People going on certain kinds of trips though, such as last minute singles holidays, don’t have that luxury, so hopefully these tips will come in handy to prevent stress or forgetting things!