Travelling light for some people and choosing an outfit to wear on an evening out can be a time-consuming task. So, when faced with packing for a holiday, it’s unsurprising that they might be tempted to cram everything they own into their suitcase ‘just in case’ they miss the one thing they desperately need whilst abroad.
Whether you’re off on a last-minute city break, preparing for that backpacking adventure of a lifetime, or making a checklist for a family beach holiday, packing light is a skill that can take quite a few air-miles to master. But master it you must, especially if you want to avoid paying unexpected fines at check-in!
Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you pack like a pro. Read on for the ultimate guide to travelling light…
Make a list of what to take (then cross half of it off)
Lists are key to sensible holiday packing as you can take your time to decide what an essential item is and what can stand to be cut. Don’t make the mistake of packing an item of clothing you never wear at home – you won’t suddenly decide that it suits you on holiday. Just because you’re going backpacking, doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly embrace those harem pants if you’ve never been caught dead wearing them up until now. Stick to the key items you either need or love – analyse each item on the list and ask yourself honestly if you’ll use it enough to justify carrying it with you.
If you’re heading off to a destination with temperamental weather or hitting a variety of locations on your trip, consider strategically packing clothing that can be layered to adjust to different climates accordingly. Layers do an excellent job of keeping you warm and take up far less space than bulky jumpers. Don’t forget to bring a large scarf, too, which can double up as a blanket on a chilly plane or pillow on an uncomfortable car ride.
Roll your clothing
Despite the fact your clothing doesn’t decrease in mass no matter how you choose to pack it, it’s one of life’s little scientific quirks that they seem to take up significantly less space if you roll instead of fold. Push the bulkiest items into the corners of your bag to give it some structure and ensure the weight is evenly distributed; then fit all your tightly rolled items in as snugly as possible. You’ll be amazed at the space you’ll conserve.
Pick up travel-sized toiletries
Many hotels these days provide pocket-sized, complimentary toiletries such as soap and shampoo, so it could be worth calling ahead or checking their website to see whether you can leave yours at home. However, if you simply must take your own specific toiletries with you, remember there is a 100ml limit on liquids of any kind passing through airport security – anything of a greater volume must be stowed away safely in your checked-in luggage or left at home unless you want to see your favourite perfume or aftershave binned before you’ve even reached the gate.
If you’re planning on travelling regularly, why not purchase some re-fillable miniature bottles of your very own? Also, remember that sometimes it’s easier to pick up basic essentials like shower gel once you’ve arrived at your destination – local brands are most likely to be cost effective and you can always leave them behind when you fly home if space is tight in your luggage.
Wear bulky items on board
If you simply must take those chunky boots, trainers or a warm coat, it makes sense to wear them as you travel instead of adding more bulk to your suitcase. Just don’t follow in the footsteps of a passenger who reportedly, determined to avoid the excess baggage fee on a flight back from Glasgow, donned all his clothing at once and ended up in an ambulance due to over-heating. It’s simply not worth it.
And it’s not worth travelling without the protection of travel insurance, either. Don’t forget to add this task to your holiday checklist so that you can enjoy your trip with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re covered.