Deciding not just what to take with you but also how to pack more efficiently takes trial, error and practice. Getting the correct balance between what you would like to take, what you will need and what you can fit within your luggage allowance takes organisation.
The first thing to remember is that you are not going to be able to take your existing wardrobe of clothes and shoes with you on holiday, unless you have your own jet or fly business/first class.
Airlines have strict weight restrictions for both hold and carry-on luggage, so you will have to think carefully about which items will make it into the available space. You will not have room for “one-off” outfits, every cosmetic or hair product that makes up your daily routine or your jewellery box!
A key fact is that many locations and cities have modern shopping malls making it easy to buy any forgotten items that you require.
Things To Take Into Consideration
Before you start packing it is essential to check your baggage allowance with the airline you are flying with, for both hold (checked-in) and carry-on luggage.
More and more airlines are weighing carry on luggage and are enforcing the strict guidelines which can result in you being requested to pay excess fees at the check in counter.
It is important if your journey involves multiple carriers to check the restrictions of each airline as these may differ. You will also be granted extra weight if flying business or first class. Search major airline baggage information here.
Careful consideration should be given to the climate of your intended destination and the weather at the time of your visit. Knowing this will be an important factor when packing. If you are headed to somewhere during their winter then you obviously do not need to pack summer clothes and vice versa.
Type Of Trip
What activities will you be participating in on your trip. Do your research and check whether you will need particular clothing such as hiking boots or waterproof jacket. If you are planning a meal at a special restaurant, check the dress code in case you need a tie or jacket.
Packing Know How
Once you have highlighted any particular clothing items you will need depending on weather and type of trip, it’s time to get seriously organised, and there are numerous ways to do this.
1. Use a Packing List
How can you expect yourself to pack efficiently if you randomly choose clothes and stuff them into your case. Organisation is the key to packing what you need, so that you will wear everything you take and not be left with unwanted and unworn clothes hogging valuable space in your suitcase.
Make a list of the days you will be away and what you plan to wear each day as a rough guide, then stick with this list. This is also valuable for not forgetting anything plus you can include a list for toiletries, electrical goods and other essential items.
2. Weigh your luggage
When you have chosen what you are taking, pack your case for a dummy run and use a set of luggage scales to weigh your luggage. Check the weight against the limits imposed by your airline and hence avoid any excess baggage charges.
If you are looking to replace your suitcases, there are several lightweight options on the market nowadays. Gone are the old style heavy suitcases that added kilos before you even placed an item inside them. The modern choices are as light as 2.3 kg for a large case. Be aware that the hard shell suitcases can add a few kilos of weight before packing plus they are usually more expensive.
3. Use Packing Cubes
It doesn’t take long for the inside of your suitcase to resemble a jumbled mess, especially once you start rummaging for a particular top which ends up being at the bottom of the case. The way around this problem and the beauty of being able to find anything you want with ease is to use packing cubes.
These come in a variety of sizes and colours, enabling you and other travelling companions to have your own coloured cubes. They enable you to organise items into separate categories, for example :
- Cube 1 – Trousers, leggings, shorts
- Cube 2 – Dresses and skirts
- Cube 3 – Gym gear
You simply take the required cube out of the suitcase, find the item of clothing you want, zip the cube back up and return to the case – simple and organised.
4. Roll Your Clothes
By rolling your clothes and packing them into packing cubes, you save space and clothes are less creased. Always pack light coloured clothes “inside out” to avoid getting any stains on them, and pack shoes either in a bag or cover the sole with a shower cap. A great space saver is to push socks and other small items into your boots.
Try and pack according to your itinerary to avoid rifling through all your clothes each time you are looking for something. So pack the clothes you need for the latter part of your trip in the bottom of the case first and then add items accordingly, finishing with clothes for the first day on the top of the pile.
Use the large zipped section in the top of the case to store your underwear.
5. Use Vacuum Compression Bags
If you don’t have packing cubes, roll your clothes and place in compression bags. As the air is squeezed out, the clothes take up much less space in your case. They are great for transporting your dirty laundry in during your trip and prevent mixing with the clean clothes in the suitcase.
6. Bring Empty Bin Bags
These can prove invaluable during your trip. They can be used for muddy boots, wet swimwear and dirty clothes so that they are kept away from clean items.
7. Pack to prevent leakages
While you are not held to the strict regulations regarding liquids as you are with carry on luggage, there are still strict regulations imposed by all airlines with regards to what you can pack in hold luggage. These include dangerous chemicals and a list of prohibited items, so be sure to check this list before packing.
Also be aware of bringing illegal foodstuffs into another country as this will result in a heavy fine at customs on arrival if you have not declared them and are found to be carrying them in your luggage.
I think most of us have suffered the dreaded moment when we unzip our case on arrival, only to discover with horror that a bottle of shampoo or the like has exploded and the contents leaked all over our clean clothes.
To prevent this from happening, remove the lid of each bottle, place a piece of cling film around the neck then replace the lid. You can then place them inside a ziplock bag and be confident that there will be no leaks.
8. Use Ziplock Bags To Stay Organised
Ziplock bags are great for keeping items separate but in a place that can be easily reached. Things like phone chargers, camera charges etc are better kept together so that they can be located easily and quickly, especially at airport security.
9. Keep Space For Purchases
If you like to shop at your destination and bring back a few new tops, souvenirs or presents, it is essential to leave some available space in your case so that you do not exceed the weight restrictions on your return leg.
Packing more efficiently results in taking only the items you will use, your case being organised and you being able to locate your clothes quicker and easier.
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