Most people are guilty of coming back from a holiday with half the contents of their suitcase un-worn – and even un-folded!
As many airlines now offer a range of fares dependent upon the weight of luggage, you can save money when you know the secrets to packing lightly.
Here we share some tips to help you lighten the load on your suitcase!
1. Clothing to Take
What are you planning on doing on holiday? Will you be lounging by the pool or on the beach? Or trekking and diving into water-activities? What about going out to swanky restaurants?
Firstly, make sure your outfits are specific to your plans, then lay them out in piles … and then cut the piles in half! It sounds drastic but invariably you will still have tried to take too much. If you are going on a seven day holiday it is highly unlikely you will need five pairs of socks! Instead consider the following:
- Colour code your clothing so that you can mix-and-match to make up a number of different outfits.
- Include a couple of scarves as these can ‘dress up’ all manner of basic clothing; over a plain dress for the evening, as a ‘cover-up’ on top of a swimsuit or bikini, or even as skin- protection when sitting in the sun.
- A larger pashmina-type scarf is useful not only as a piece of clothing but can also be used as a blanket or rolled up as a pillow on the ‘plane.
- A couple of dresses can be utilised for a variety of scenarios – perfect worn with a pair of flat shoes whilst wandering around the town in the daytime or fling on some flip-flops and worn to the beach over a bikini, or team up with some heels and a coloured scarf for a bit of evening glamour. Easy!
- Take a couple of white shirts…again, easy to dress up and also perfect for slinging over beach-gear or a pair of shorts. 100% cotton over-sized shirts are economical as well as easy to hand-wash and will dry quickly.
- Men should invest in some good quality white cotton T-shirts and over-shirts for exactly the same reasons – although perhaps not worn over a bikini!?
- Always pack a couple of swimsuits / bikinis – small, light and easily rolled into odd spaces in your case.
- For a fortnight’s holiday you probably only need five items of neutral or white trousers or skirts; these can be dressed up (or down) with different coloured tops, the aforementioned scarves and jewellery.
Remember to avoid dedicated “travel clothing”! These items are generally over-priced, unattractive and, basically, make you look like a traveller – which means you are more easily identified as such by those who might be out to swindle you. Simply – pack the clothes you would normally wear at home!
These deserve a paragraph all of their own! Not only do we tend to take too many pairs of shoes, they are also awkward to pack and add unnecessary weight. Try to limit your footwear to the following:
- One pair of flip-flops! They take up little space, are light and can be worn with all outfits and even double up as ‘house-shoes’ in the hotel.
- One pair of flat shoes that look good with trousers, shorts and a dress, but are also comfortable enough for sight-seeing or shopping in the local town.
- Trainers – consider whether, in all honesty, you really will use the hotel gym and if not then leave them at home! Alternatively, if these are your normal footwear for a day’s touring of the sights then obviously they are a key item. Wear your trainers for travelling as they are usually bulky.
- One pair of shoes appropriate for that swanky restaurant if you are convinced it will be on the agenda.
Remember to pack shoes and toiletries at the bottom of your suitcase – that is, at the short end where the wheels are. Not only is it easier to coordinate the rolling of the bag as you walk through the airport lounges but your carefully packed clothing will not be crushed!
3. Toiletries and medical supplies
This is another area in which we tend to over-indulge!
- Obviously any prescription medicine should be included – but it is recommended taking those in your carry-on or hand-bag.
- Contact lenses – always take a spare set and, again, pack in your carry-on bag.
- Use a see-through wash-bag as they are lightweight and it’s easy to check for items. Remember to make sure all beauty items are less than 50ml if you’re planning to take them onboard a flight.
- Do not take shampoo, conditioner and soap as a) they are heavy, cumbersome and can easily leak, b) hotels will provide these items and c) you can buy them locally.
- Do not take a hairdryer as they are bulky. Hotels provide hairdryers and, surely, being on holiday is all about letting your hair-down and drying it au naturel?!
So next time you find yourself sitting on top of your suitcase, trying to squeeze everything in, just remind yourself that you could end up paying to take things you won’t even use. Just think ‘lighten the load’.