Packing a suitcase can prove to be much more difficult than you would think. If you are traveling with a single hand luggage, it can even turn into a disaster. I broke a few bags and zippers in the process…
I once traveled for a month in England with only one hand luggage (what was I thinking ?!), and found myself stopped just before entering the plane, as I was requested to put my « bag into the other bag » ; this resulted in high stress, embarrassment, and sweat from trying desperately to close my really full suitcase in front of the whole queue, revealing the content of my bag to all those strangers in the process.
I have since then learnt my lesson, and can now pack like a pro. To avoid yourself some awkward situation at the airports, here are a few tips:
Don't Pack Every Single Item From Your Bathroom
Do you really need 5 different colours of lipstick, 3 deodorant and 2 bottles of shampoo? No, you don’t. If you travel for a long period of time, you probably should just buy your shampoo, shower gel and toothpaste once you have arrived at your destination, or at the airport. You are saving space in your suitcase for other items, like an extra jumper.
If you stay in a hotel that provides toiletries, just use them. It’s also a good idea to check if the hotel you are staying in has a hairdryer in the bedroom, so you don’t have to bring yours !
As for the beauty routine, just pack the minimum : nobody will notice if you are wearing the same lipstick every single day.
Going for a beach holiday? Buy your sun lotion at your destination!
Don't Pack More Clothes Than You Can Wear
Pack smart : only bring clothes that you can wear at least twice and that can be match with different items. It’s also a good idea to pack clothes that could be worn in different weather situation. Rumour has it that even Spain can be rainy in mid-August…
So how do you do it ? You free up some time on your agenda, and you make a list. Be prepared for every situation and time of the day, and try to make a list of outfits you can wear for each day of your stay, so you don’t end up with more clothes than you will wear.
Depending on where you are going, and the season, you might need some big jumpers that take three quarters of your suitcase straight away. Here’s my top tip for saving space: roll them. Unless you are bringing particularly fragile clothes (but really, is it a good idea for holiday ?), roll them up to save space in your suitcase ! Keep the biggest items like jumpers or jackets flat at the bottom of the suitcase, and roll your tops, trousers, skirts, and even underwear if you have to ; you will save a lot of space, and can take more items !
One last thing: don’t forget to prepare your clothes list a few days before you leave, so that you have time to wash and dry them if needed. Don’t think it is a good idea to bring something damp in a plastic bag because you can dry it once you’ve arrived: you don’t want your clothes to smell like an old skunk.
Don't Pack The Unnecessary Gadgets
Do you really need your laptop, your iPad and your kindle ? Unless you are going for a business trip, I highly doubt it. You will also need to bring the chargers and, in some cases, the adaptors, and that is a lot of space in your suitcase.
Leave all the unnecessary gadgets at home and only pack the essentials. Don’t forget: some essentials can also be bought while you’re there.
Don't Pack All Your Shoes
This is always my biggest problem when going on holiday : what shoes do I pack ? This is where you have to decide between comfort, practicality and fashion… Unless you have the best pair of trainers ever.
Beach holidays are the easy ones, you could literally walk bare feet all day and only wear shoes at night to go out (plus summer shoes are much more convenient than winter boots to fit in a suitcase).
Always wear your biggest pair of shoe (like boots or trainers) while traveling, to save up space in your bag.
Don't Pack Your Jewelry And Valuables
Don’t risk losing your jewelry, or getting them stolen : leave them safely at home. You don’t need to wear your most expensive necklace or watch while trekking in the nepalese mountain or chilling on a beach in Greece.
Luggage often get lost in transit, and thieves will be awaiting for their next opportunity to rob you... I admit, that sounds a bit dramatic, but you know it's true.
Legend for the cat picture: you probably shouldn't pack your cat either.