Are you planning a holiday this year? Wherever in the world you travel, from a weekend city break to an exotic trans-Atlantic fortnight, ensuring you pack your suitcase efficiently can be key to getting the most from your trip. It doesn’t matter if you are a last minute packer or an organised packing pro, we have rounded up the best tips from travel bloggers and experts you simply must add to your summer holiday packing list…
For the Prepared…
For a lot of us packing for a trip is a last minute job we try desperately to fit into our busy lives. On average it takes a woman 85 minutes to pack for a holiday and that’s after 26 per cent spend between one and two weeks planning the contents of their suitcase. To cut down that time keep all your travel essentials in one place…
Abigail King, Travel Writer
The fastest way to travel packing sanity is to create a dedicated travel drawer. You can upgrade it to a cupboard or a certain suitcase if you wish but no less than a drawer will do for this vital space. In it, you will store everything you only need when you travel.
Complex? Perhaps not. Revolutionary? Try it and see.
In the old days, I stored my passport in my “important paperwork” section, my suntan lotion in my bathroom somewhere and my travel adaptors lost in a box of spare cables and other wiry things I’d kept, you know, just in case.
Yet why would I need to separate any of these things? When else am I going to use them? Now, into the travel drawer they go, along with travel insurance documents, money belts, small size toiletries, spare glasses cases and some sugar free chewing gum. Over the years, I’ve diversified into a business travel section, a snow sports suitcase and a beachy summer canvas bag complete with conservative cotton wraps for visiting temples and churches.
But the travel drawer remains the same. Not only does it save time packing but it helps with the unpacking too. Get home, empty out the laundry and everything else goes right into the travel drawer. Life – and sanity – reclaimed.
For the Fashionable…
Looking good on your holiday should never be compromised by your packing, too little suitcase space or not enough time to pack for every eventuality doesn’t need to stand in your way. From a month overseas to an impromptu week long escape closer to home, ensure that you stay stylish by keeping your clothes fresh with this helpful hint that will definitely end up on your holiday shopping list.
Kirsten Alana, Travel Photographer
I don’t like to “look like a traveller” when I am on the road, so I don’t subscribe to the theories about all the quick drying clothes and synthetic fabrics etc. Unless I was travelling for months on end without a break, it’s just unnecessary and those clothes are extraordinarily expensive.
However, I have one exception: I do pack undergarments made from Merino wool and other synthetics. My favourite brands are ExOfficio and Icebreaker. These don’t smell like other undergarments, and when they do take mere minutes to wash and dry. For any length trip I can pack 3 pairs and never need more. For my other clothes, I travel with carry on size bottles of Downy Wrinkle Release and Febreze for clothes. These items ensure that even when I can’t do laundry, I don’t show up anywhere smelly or dishevelled!
For the Over-packer…
Are you guilty of always over-packing? Don’t worry about it! A survey by Debenhams in 2013 found on average women tend to over-pack by two thirds when going abroad. However this over-packing usually leads to problems: 28 per cent of women said they have had to pay extra baggage charges because their case was too heavy and 13 per cent of those women said they lied to their partner about the weight of the case before heading to the airport! The following tip may seem daring but it may come in handy to avoid the extra baggage charges.
Paul Johnson, Travel Blogger
Before you leave for a trip, lay out all the clothes and belongings you plan to take, and take just half. Take only the bare essentials as it’s so much more comfortable to travel light. Have you ever been on a trip only to find you took something with you that you never even used? If you can answer ‘yes’ to that question, then it’s likely you could be taking a lot less with you. Take clothing that can serve multiple purposes and remember you can always get items laundered as you travel should you need.
Don’t take heavy bottles of toiletries if your accommodation supplies them or you can buy what you need at your destination. Think about how you could streamline what you carry – a Kindle, for example, is much easier than taking several books; maps can be downloaded to a portable device; even small things like boarding passes can often be managed through your smartphone. Every little bit helps!
For the Beauty Lovers…
For a woman, going on holiday without all your beauty essentials is a big no no. However over the years you’ve probably realised they can be quite space consuming and fitting all your make-up in one of those little plastic bags at security is a task in itself! Here’s a way you can take all your favourite beauty products without making any sacrifices…
Kate Pittam, Scott Dunn Travel
When packing make up and beauty essentials choose mini products rather than full size ones. By having your face wash, toner, moisturiser etc. in miniature bottles you will save precious space if you are trying to pack light.
You’ll find that most brands will give them to you for free when you buy your regular full size versions so you won’t have to pay extra for the convenience.
These samples sizes are also perfect for long flights when you want to keep your skin hydrated or when you are travelling with cabin luggage only and liquids need to be under 100ml.
For the Eco-friendly…
Like with most things, practise makes perfect. So the more you travel the more you learn about packing your bags efficiently. Toiletries are one of the biggest space set backs you will come across so this tip shows you how to overcome the problem and save the environment at the same time. It’s a win-win situation!
Claudia Tavani, Travel Blogger
In the early days of my backpacking career, my backpack used to be so heavy I could hardly lift it. Even though I tried to reduce the amount of clothes by trying to make sure that I could match the various outfits and counting on cheap laundry along the way, it always turned to be heavier than I wished it to because, as any proper girl, I carried so many toiletries.
That’s until I stumbled upon a lifesaver (almost) all-in-one product that not only can be used as a soap and body wash, but also works as a delicate shampoo that is easy on the skin and on my hair and is a great laundry bar. The bonus? It is also 100% eco-friendly, which means I don’t have a problem when I go to isolated places where protection of the environment is fully enforced. Any good organic or healthy food store will carry similar products, so just look around!
For the Precautious…
Anything can happen when you travel and it helps to be prepared for the worst case scenario just in case something goes wrong, and that doesn’t just mean ensure you have travel insurance. There are other ways to be make sure that you are prepared for common travel mishaps…
Victoria Brewood, Travel Blogger
I always pack a few essentials in my carry on just in case my checked luggage goes missing. If I’m going on a trip somewhere warm that might include some flip flops, a bikini, a sundress, spare underwear and a toothbrush and toothpaste. That way I’ll have at least something to wear while I’m waiting for my bags to arrive at the hotel! Thankfully my bags have only been delayed once on a trip to Las Vegas because I missed my connection but I was glad I’d put a dress in my carry on so I could hit the casino floor straight away!
For the Foodie…
One of the highlights of going on holiday or travelling has to be the new food to discover. With so many different varieties and traditions, it’s easy to want to take home all these new and exciting ingredients. Stuffing your bag with chocolates, pastries and other edible souvenirs is a must, however make sure you transport them home properly.
Adam Groffman, Travel Blogger
Always pack a linen bag for your dirty clothes — or in a cinch, make sure you grab some extra plastic bags. Plus, if you buy any edible souvenirs, you’ll want to use that to wrap up your product to prevent any leakage or spills. I learned this tip from a valuable experience—bringing home some authentic British chutney back to the USA, when I unpacked my suitcase I found my favourite pair of jeans sticky and strangely in the flavour of the very same chutney. From then on I just made sure all food products were always safely packed in protective packaging!
For the Organised…
Those who travel a lot whether it be for business or pleasure tend to have organised packing down, or at least they think they do. There are always ways to be even more organised when it comes to packing, from the order of your clothes in the suitcase to trips and tricks to squeeze even more in.
Monica Stott, Travel Blogger
My top packing tip is to use packing cubes. I love these little cubes as they keep everything compressed and organised and stop you from over-packing. I usually travel with 3-4 packing cubes and use one for tops, one for bottoms, one for underwear and keep one for dirty clothes. I then pack all of my smaller accessories and toiletries in the spaces between the packing cubes. They’re great if you’re travelling with just hand luggage too because everything remains organised in your bag and you don’t have clothes spilling out as you put your bag through security.
For the Adventurous…
If luxury hotels aren’t for you and you’re heading off into the wilderness or rainforest, things could get a little wet and muddy. Packing for an adventure holiday is a completely different exercise however make sure you remember these essential tips to ensure you’re prepared for the damp weather…
Ben and Charli Moore, Travel Bloggers
If you’re planning an adventurous escape in the great outdoors, take a couple of shower caps to put over the base of your hiking boots when you’re inside your tent. We learnt the hard way while on a 3 day canoe safari that muddy boots left outside your tent, even under the canopy entrance, can end up covered in morning dew and soaked through.
Carry matches in an old pill container and stick some sandpaper to the inside of the lid for a waterproof match box. We picked this tip up from a fellow hiker while traversing New Zealand’s Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Sometimes the warmth from a fire or a cup of hot tea can give you the boost you need to make it to camp, or to the end of the trail.
We also suggest that you decant your favourite hygiene products into straws – sealing both ends with a lighter – for a lightweight alternative to travel size plastic bottles. When you’re planning an adventure that includes carrying your supplies as you travel, the less weight you have to carry the more enjoyable your trip!
For the Sun-seekers…
Who doesn’t daydream of a white sandy beach, clear blue sky and tropical temperature from time-to-time? For those who love the guaranteed sunshine of hotter climates there are certain things that you will not want to forget to pack, as our next tip explains.
Anthony Bianco, Travel Blogger
If you’re going to a hot and humid destination, rejoice, because you’ll be able to get away with bringing less as there will be no bulky winter clothes to drag along. Depending on where you are going, bring some ultra-lightweight clothes to mix and match and you may get away with just carry on. Other things to add include sunglasses, refillable water bottle, mosquito repellent (especially in malaria areas), wide brimmed hat, sunscreen, and waterproof bag for storing wet clothes. You could probably get away with a pair of flip flops for your entire stay in some places!
Oh, and bring deodorant so you don’t have the whole place to yourself because no one wants to go within a 100 metre radius of your armpits! If for some reason you find yourself caught short, just buy the piece of clothing you need.
For the Practical…
A third of women buy new clothes every time they go away on a summer holiday. However with luggage restrictions getting smaller every year and more people opting to take only cabin size luggage it’s now harder to fit in all your clothes and essentials. It’s time to get creative with your outfits…
Christine Gray, Editor-in-chief of Luxury Travel Magazine
I always like to travel as light as possible so my best packing tip is to pack light. Pack items you can wear at least twice (or even 3 times). If you can’t get more than one wear from a piece of clothing, it shouldn’t go into your suitcase. Ask yourself, “Is this comfortable and durable enough to wear twice?” and “Can I use it to make at least two different outfits?” After asking these questions, I think you’ll find it easier and easier to pack appropriately. A few well-selected pieces can make multiple outfits which allow you to travel light.
For the Versatile…
Whether you’re going on a long trip around Europe or exploring new destinations such as Thailand, when travelling to somewhere you’ve never been before it’s important to research the climate and culture…
Iain Mallory, Interior Blogger
“Any fool can be uncomfortable” This quote is from my days in the military, and is as relevant to travellers as is it to soldiers. Packing correctly for the expected weather conditions and planned activities may not be a sexy tip, but to ensure a comfortable, enjoyable trip, it is essential.
Sun lotion may be more useful than a waterproof, and walking boots more suitable than a swimming costume. Some research into the climate at the time of the visit and the terrain could save a great deal of discomfort. November in Iceland is likely to be greatly different to Costa Rica for instance. This may seem obvious, but all too often I’ve witnessed tourists incorrectly equipped for the climate and/or activity. Then pack with versatility in mind, convertible trousers for men, and sarongs definitely seem to be a female traveller’s best friend. Trekking sandals can be worn in a variety of circumstances, and it’s always possible to pack light and buy some t-shirts in hot climates. Tailoring the contents of your luggage to suit the destination will ensure you are correctly equipped, and keep the weight down by avoiding unnecessary items. Not sexy, but savvy.
For the Backpackers…
Everyone is different which means everyone’s idea of a holiday is different too! Many young adults backpack around the world after finishing university but many are not 100% sure what to pack or how to go about it properly. This backpacking expert has the best tip for keeping all your belongings safe come rain or shine.
Justin Carmack, Travel Blogger
I use a backpack on my travels, so this packing tip might be geared towards backpackers mostly. My best tip is to use dry-sacks inside your bag. I use a 60 liter backpack, and everything inside is in different, water proof dry sacks. My clothes are in the biggest dry bag, which keeps them dry, plus it compresses down a ton, giving me more room. Everything else is in smaller drysack, also keeping them dry, and if soft, compressing them into smaller sizes.
I can literally drop my backpack in a river, and still have dry clothes inside, not to mention the electronics and things. I can’t think of anything more useful, other than the backpack itself, then my dry sacks. They keep my backpack organised, everything dry, and make it so I have more space.
Still struggling for space?
And if after all that you’re stuck for space in your expertly packed suitcase – don’t take a towel!
Sabrina Iovino of JustOneWayTicket.com says all hotels, even the cheaper hostels are offering towels. And if not you can always get one on the road. It takes too much space in your luggage!