As our skies slowly start to become more prevalent with vapour trails this means the chance of actually getting away this year may be coming sooner than we think.
Most of us are probably going to take short breaks away for a week or a long weekend this summer. But, nearly all of us are going to take some form of carry-on luggage. Getting this right is so important as it can either make or break your short holiday.
Think before you pack
While the optimal bag and packing methods differ based on itineraries, budgets and more, there are some near-universal guidelines you can follow to make life convenient in the airport and the hotel room when you’re living out of a suitcase. Here’s a little secret: there’s actually an art to packing your back and it takes some thinking in advance.
- Know exactly what weight you’re allowed and then get packing. Once you’ve booked your flight and are aware of the correct dimensions of your hand luggage don’t try to “wing it” with a slightly larger one. It simply won’t work and you’ll be charged extra before you’ve even gone through security.
- Know what type of holiday you’re going on (beach, city break, adventure) and calculate the number of days and nights you’ll be away. Most importantly, check the weather forecast for when you’ll be there. All obvious in theory but with these changing times all are vital.
- Bring only what you’ll need, not what you think you may use just in case and not too many changes of clothes. You’re going for fun, enjoyment and relaxation so deciding what you’ll wear for each day is essential.
- Remember you’ve only got 10-12kg to play with. When packing your hand luggage note your type of bag: is it a 60:40,50:50 split, hard bag, soft duffel or overnight one?
- Fold or roll your clothes prior to packing once you’ve chosen them. This may sound a little over the top but this will save you space and help decrease the need for ironing once you get to your hotel. You’ve gone for a rest remember, not to do household chores.
Pack your carry-on bag wisely
Start with laying out everything you want to bring, then edit it down. Stuffing your suitcase as you go is tempting, but you’ll make better decisions if you see the full lineup in advance. A collection of basics like black pants, white jeans, neutral T-shirts and a denim jacket will do the job. These items are easy to mix and match and can be worn multiple times, so you won’t need to pack a brand-new outfit for each day.
Use one half of your bag for clothes, shirts, linen trousers, light jackets, underwear and delicate objects like sunglasses or jewellery. The soft clothes will act as a type of buffer and help protect them. The other half of the bag can be packed with your more robust items like shoes, trainers, sandals and toiletries. A rolled pair of socks in your packed trainers is a great space saver.
Make sure your toiletries are all the correct sizes and can be easily accessed when going through customs. Placing them near the top of your bag is a must.
I recommend keeping a separate toiletry kit for travelling – said Marie Kondo, author of ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.‘- Keeping a set of bathroom products already packed also ensures that you don’t forget a toothbrush or contact lens case that you might use the morning of takeoff. Keep these items in a small pouch or box in the corner of a cabinet or drawer for easy access when packing for a trip.
To streamline what you need, consider all-in-one options like BB creams, which combine foundation, moisturizer and sunblock. To prevent leakage, double up that plastic bag.
Also, do use the adjustable elastic straps on the insides of your hand luggage, there’s nothing worse than getting to your destination, opening up your bag to find out that everything’s been squashed after a day’s travelling. Last but not least, bring a bag for dirty laundry (it will save you from having to mix your clean and dirty clothes) and always leave a little bit of room for souvenirs. Add a book or magazine for the flight and downtime at the airport and tuck a few small, nonperishable snacks, such as energy bars or bags of carrots, for when you feel peckish.
How about packing cubes?
Probably the best solution for people who don’t have time and patience. Packing cubes will keep your clothes compressed and folded flat or neatly rolled, meaning no wrinkles. Once you’re settled in, you don’t have to rifle through your suitcase looking for that dinner outfit you thought you packed right on the top. You can just move the cubes directly into the drawers of your hotel’s dresser, unzip, and you’re set. Basically, they are small bags that function like a mini-luggage inside your luggage so that you can separate your charging cords from your socks and your socks from pants. They may vary in quality, price, and style but they are very useful as you can pack and unpack easily in a few minutes.
Finally, after you’ve closed your bag (easily), weigh it on your home scales, then have a quick practise picking it up and lifting it above your head as there’s nothing worse than someone unable to lift their carry-on luggage and put it in the stowage above their seat.