HOW TO PACK LIGHTLY EVERY TIME YOU GO ON HOLIDAYS
After almost two years of Mister Weekender taking me around the world, you would think I’d have my packing techniques under control. Well, um, not exactly. But I realised it's less about my packing skills and more about the bag I was using. If you follow me on Snapchat (you can find me at ‘misterweekender’) I have been giving readers a behind the scenes look into life as a travel blogger. And most recently, I was given a new carry-on bag from the lovely team at Victorinox, which I shared to my utter delight on Snapchat. It’s white, minimalist and has four wheels, which means it is ridiculously good looking and functional.
Even though I am an over the top organiser, I often fail at packing. But not anymore because I am totally inspired to not only think properly about what I pack, but also learn to travel with just a carry-on bag. What a challenge!
Over the last few trips, I have been using my new carry-on bag and have instantly noticed many benefits. I completely avoid baggage fees, I don’t have to stress when I nervously wait for my bag to appear on a carousel hoping it didn't get lost (my worse nightmare), and I don’t have to drag around a big suitcase up and down stairs. I can breeze past other travellers and jump straight into a taxi. Hurrah!
But with this new approach, I have also experienced a few new learnings. So for those of you who, like me, struggle to with packing, here are a few step by step tips to show you how to pack lightly every time you go on holidays. And please feel free to add your own tips and advice in the comments section below. I love hearing what you guys have to say!
STEP ONE At least one week before you travel, open your carry-on bag and quickly check, is it regulation size like my carry-on from Victorinox? Then check the weather and culture of the destination/s you be visiting.
STEP TWO Think about what you wear at home and what you could possibly wear at the destination you are travelling to. Is it different to your home or will it be the same? Grab every item you think you might need and put them into the carry-on bag. Throw everything you could possibly want to wear whilst you’re travelling; skirts, pants, shoes, tops, accessories.
STEP THREE Once you have finished, then take everything out and lay it on your bed so you can see everything. Right away you will notice you have way more than you need.
STEP FOUR Sort the clothes into three piles – what you absolutely need to pack, what you maybe will wear and what you most likely won’t wear. Immediately eliminate the last pile. If you cannot commit to wearing something now, you won’t wear it on your travels. Trust me.
STEP FIVE Look at what you have left and gather your basics. This includes one pair of pants, two or three tee shirts, one pair of shorts, one skirt, one jumper or anorak, one day to night dress, and one or two seasonal items, such as a swimsuit or snow gear. These basics should be in a neutral colour palette such as black, white, grey, navy, khaki green, and denim.
STEP SIX Now it’s time to focus on shoes. These can weigh the most so I suggest to pack carefully! For the girls, you only need one pair of trainers, ballet flats or summer sandals, and a nice pair of heels if you have plans to go somewhere nice. For the guys, you only need one pair of trainers, flip flops and dress shoes, if you also have places to go somewhere nice.
STEP SEVEN Let’s look at your accessories. For the girls, you only need two bags. One which you can use during the day, I prefer a backpack, and one for the evening, I prefer my Celine Trio handbag which I received from my parents as a gift three years ago. For the guys, well you don’t usually use bags but if you want to, a backpack is the obvious choice. Then one hat, one pair of sunglasses and one watch.
STEP EIGHT Now the trick is to fit it all in your carry-on bag. And so goes the argument do you roll or fold? To be honest, I think rolling is better as you can roll clothes nice and tightly. But I honestly don’t think it matters which method you choose. Firstly, you need to place shoes and bulky items (like hair straighteners) in the bag first. Use the space of closed in shoes by placing toiletries in the shoes.
STEP NINE Fill the spaces in between with smaller items, like tee shirts, socks and underwear. Then layer bigger ticket items such as your anorak or day to night dress.
STEP TEN The top layer should consist of the layers you will need to access during your flight, such as pyjamas, a jumper, toothbrush/paste and your 100ml liquid bottles.
STEP ELEVEN Your passport, wallet and travel documents should be the easiest to get to and store. So these should be packed safely at the very top.
And now you’re ready! Safe travels!
Bonus Tip: I always take my laptop with me when I travel, but it can add some serious weight. So this is the little trick I use. Before I go to the check-in counter or before I am about to walk onto the plane, I hide my laptop in my pillow case on my long haul flights, or I wrap it up in a jacket or coat on my shorter flights. Also, if I am going somewhere warm and need to pack a couple of heavier coats, I wear one on the plane and carry the other in my hand.