Packing your suitcase for your holiday feels like a crucial point – you don’t want to forget anything! You start to think about all the ‘what ifs’ and ‘just in cases’ you might encounter on your trip and before you know it, half your wardrobe and a quarter of your dresser are bulging from the seams of your suitcase. But before you climb on top and start jumping up and down to get it closed, have a look at some of these clever strategies for saving space, packing light and arriving at your destination wrinkle-free and ready for anything.
Go easy on the clothing: Even if you happen to be travelling to somewhere cold. You’re on holidays after all and you really don’t need to worry about a new outfit for every day. Especially if you’re travelling somewhere cold – no one’s going to see what you’re wearing under your coat anyway! The winning formula allows for three tops to every one bottom because it’s easy to get away with repeating skirts or pants. Limit footwear to one pair of sneakers, one pair of casual shoes and one pair that can be worn for more formal occasions and try to keep them as versatile as possible.
Opt for wrinkle-repellers: Choose clothing that can survive travelling in the cramped space of a suitcase. Look for fabric blends that contain polyester, nylon or lycra – these can be pulled out of your suitcase still looking fresh after days of travelling. If you prefer more natural fibres, look for stretch cotton or wool. If possible, also try to pack clothing that features busy prints or textured fabrics as these are perfect for masking the look of the odd crease here and there.
Consider your carry-on: Aside from making full use of whatever allowance you’re given, there are some essentials that you should never leave out of your carry-on. In terms of comfort it’s a good idea to pack some layers or a blanket as airplane cabins often get chilly during flights. When it comes to convenience, pack your toothbrush and a day or two worth of any prescription medication on the off chance your luggage is delayed. Ladies may also like to pack a small stash of toiletries to freshen up but remember the restrictions on carrying liquids, gels and aerosols or your favourite product might get confiscated!
Tuck and roll: Depending on the size of your case, you may like to fold while others prefer to roll. Light cardigans, t-shirts and knits work well when rolled and this helps to maximise space. For garments that have a little more structure, such as trousers and blazers, fold these with care. You may even like to tuck some tissue paper between layers to provide some cushioning and minimise creases.
Use space efficiently: For anything that won’t crease or won’t matter if it does, pack these items in a separate cloth or plastic bag. Things like gym clothes, swimsuits and underwear can be bundled together in a bag, but make sure to squeeze out all the air, this will provide extra compression and will minimise the space they take up. This is also a great way to keep any dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes as you travel.
Arrange strategically and maximise space: Place heavy items such as footwear near the wheelbase and then layer soiled or non-crushable garments, rolled garments, folded clothes and bulky sweaters or jackets, leaving crushables until last. Use every nook and cranny, stuffing shoes with cables or underwear, tucking jewellery into a side pocket and snaking belts and ties around the perimeter of your bag.
It’s so easy when you’re at home packing to think you’re being clever by being ‘prepared’ and packing for all eventualities. Many people think by taking everything they need they’ll be saving money but picking up a tube of toothpaste at a local shop is far cheaper than picking up the tab for excess baggage at the airport. Spread out everything you want to take and pick up each item, asking yourself ‘will I REALLY use this?’ – not ‘will I use this at all?’ but ‘will I use this enough to justify hauling it around everywhere?’. Often it’s easier to buy something on your travels and give it away rather than carrying around the extra weight.
Pack for the best case scenario, not the worst, and buy anything else if the need arises. Think about what you absolutely need, rather than what might be handy. The world is getting smaller and there’s not much you won’t be able to buy wherever you’re going. Major hotels and tourist shops are the best place for finding personal items and if you can’t find an essential, consider how a whole country can live without it – maybe you can too. Besides, it’s always fun and interesting to pop into a local supermarket and see what’s on offer. When in doubt, leave it out. Pack simple, pack light.
In your travels you’ll meet two kinds of people – those who pack light and those who wish they had.