1. Make a list.
Do this before you start packing to help you plan what to take and ensure you don’t forget anything important. This is particularly useful if you’re also packing for other members of the family.
2. Plan your outfits ahead.
Think about how long you’ll be away for, the weather and the types of activities you’ll be doing. Pack items that you can mix and match – consider taking mainly black or neutral-coloured clothes that you can brighten up with jewellery and accessories.
If you’re agonizing over what to take, lay out all the outfits you’re considering taking on your bed – seeing everything together will allow you to identify and ditch anything you’re unlikely to wear. You’re more likely to regret packing too much than too little – especially if you usually end up buying a couple of items while you’re away.
Leave behind anything that creases easily – nobody wants to do ironing on holiday.
4. Rock ‘n’ roll.
Instead of folding your clothes, roll them into sausage-shapes – not only does this allow you to fit more in, it also helps to prevent creases.
5. Order, order.
Pack your suitcase in order of weight – put shoes in first, followed by heavier clothing such as jeans and jumpers (rolled), then lighter items like dresses, shirts and so on. Toiletries and other items then go on top as the toiletry bag often contains liquids and needs to be removed quickly for security screenings.
Use all available space. Tuck underwear, socks, hosiery, and any other smaller items, inside shoes. Not only does this maximise space, it will also help your shoes keep their shape!
6. What can you ditch?
Think about what you can leave behind or get hold of once you get there. For example, you can buy cheap flip-flops almost anywhere and most hotel rooms have hairdryers, shower gel, etc – check the hotel website to see what free facilities/products they have/offer.
7. Get a little bottle.
If you want to pack your usual toiletries from home, either buy miniature versions, or invest in reusable travel-sized containers to decant your products into. To be super-thrifty, collect the free samples of shampoo, shower gel etc that you get in magazines and save them to take with you – these are often luxury brands so you’ll get to pamper yourself too!
8. Don’t get heavy.
If you’re flying, be aware that maximum weight limits per suitcase are usually around 20kg for international flights – check your airline’s website. Use your bathroom scales to check luggage weight – if you’re planning to hit the shops at your destination, give yourself some leeway so your goodies don’t tip you over the weight allowance on the flight home.
Before flying, remember to check which items you are banned from taking, for example, nail clippers and lighters and, if travelling abroad, whether there are any restrictions on what you’re allowed to bring into your destination country.
9. Be a label queen.
If you’re flying, remember to label all bags and cases with your name and address. You could also tie a coloured scarf or hairband around your suitcase handle so it’s easy to spot on the luggage carousel.
10. Avoid spillages and breakages.
Ensure any liquids or lotions are securely closed and stored in a separate bag or section from your clothes. To be extra safe, double-bag them using zippable freezer bags (this is the kind of thing you can pack inside a shoe). Try to avoid packing anything delicate or fragile, but if you do, wrap them in your towel for protection.