A study conducted by the Post Office revealed that 37 per cent of those going on holiday are disorganised when it comes to their packing. 55 per cent of women also find packing harder than men, which may be because over 30 per cent of women are also packing for men too!
As the sounds of, “Have I packed enough clothes?”, “Will 12 pairs of shoes be enough?”, “I’m over my baggage allowance – what am I going to take out?” and “Help! I can’t shut my suitcase”, start to resonate around your home, it’s time to take a deep breath.
To help take the stress out of your packing this year, we’ve put together a handy guide that will tell you everything you need to know about packing.
Before you start packing…
Before you start trying on your clothes to see what fits and you start organising what you do and don’t want to take, get yourself familiar with the luggage allowances of the airline you’re travelling with.
Each airline may allow different weights and suitcase sizes, both for checked luggage and cabin luggage. Familiarise yourself with the exact specifications so you know what you’ve got to work with from the start. There’s nothing worse than gleefully zipping up your suitcase to find that you’re 5kg over the allowance!
Top tip: Equip yourself with some luggage scales so you can weigh as you go! And don’t forget to pop these in your suitcase so you can check your case before your return journey home as all those gifts you’ve bought for everyone may push you over the limit coming back (at least this would give you an excuse to drink that bottle of wine you bought for your mum though…!).
It’s also worth checking the rules and regulations about what you can take in your hand luggage too. You’ll need to pack any liquids, pastes, creams and gels in clear plastic bags and these can’t be any more than 100ml per item. Travel minis are a great way to take toiletries with you without going over the limit, especially if you’re just taking hand luggage on holiday this year.
Top tip: Make sure you’ve packed all of these in clear bags before you get to the airport – there’s nothing worse than having to empty out all of the contents of your suitcase in front of many other frustrated holidaymakers! Pop these items into the front pocket of your suitcase so you can quickly grab them.
It’s a myth that having a designer suitcase will lead to upgraded travel (in fact, thieves are more likely to take an interest in it) so don’t spend a fortune on your case this year. Buy something that will suit your needs and the luggage restrictions of the airline you’re travelling with.
If you’re travelling with hand luggage only, a lightweight, compact case is ideal. Or, if you’re going long-distance, a case with a hard shell will be more suitable. However, these can add up to 4.3kg to your luggage weight, so be careful when filling these.
Always lock your suitcase, particularly if you’re checking it in. Having unlocked luggage could void your insurance if it was stolen or some of the contents were.
Top tip: If you’re travelling to America, it’s compulsory to have TSA-approved locks on cases.
Distinguish your case:
Make sure your luggage stands out from the crowd so you know it’s yours when it comes round on the carousel by adding a luggage strap or tag.
Arriving at your holiday destination to discover you’ve left something behind is one of the worst feelings so start compiling a list of things you want to take a couple of weeks before you jet off. You’ll be surprised at how much you remember during this time and by checking each of these items off as you pack, it’ll stop you forgetting any essentials. If you need some help, our handy travel checklist is perfect for getting you started.
While you may get excited packing clothes for your holiday, is it really necessary to take 10 different tops when you’re only going for a week? Try to cut down on your clothing by a third as this is the amount that most people over pack by. If you do this, you might be able to take an extra book with you instead (however, if you’re a pro-packer, you’ll have already transferred your holiday reading material onto your tablet!).
Top tip: Use vacuum packs to take all of the air out of your clothes so you can pack more into your case.
Avoid getting things dirty:
In order to avoid getting any stains on your clothes, pack shoes in carrier bags at the bottom of your case and place any light-coloured clothing inside out in your case. Pop a beach towel on the top too to protect your clothes underneath – it’ll help to pack things in tightly so there’s less movement…and fewer creases!
You’ve arrived on holiday and your luggage has arrived safely too… or at least that’s what you thought. Opening your case to find one of your toiletries has exploded over everything is a disaster you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
Top tip: Take the lids off your bottles of lotion etc. and place cling film over the top. Then, place the lid back on and tape it shut.
Leave some space:
Don’t forget that there may be amazing markets where you’re going, or there could be unbeatable deals in Duty Free, which means you’ll need a little bit of space in your suitcase to squeeze these items in. Always try to leave a bit of room for gifts and purchases that you make while on holiday.
Just in case:
When you travel abroad there’s always the worry that your suitcase may go astray – so it’s best to prepare for such eventualities, just in case. If you are travelling with someone else, divide up your clothes between two cases so you’ll both have clothes if one of the cases goes missing.
Or, pack a change of clothes and some essentials into your hand luggage so you won’t be left without anything when you arrive.
If your luggage does go amiss, most airlines will cover you for immediate essentials that you have to buy – but always check before you start splurging on new clothes! If you don’t get your suitcase back at all, most airlines should compensate you for this.
With all of these fabulous tips in place, you can now get into holiday mode during the packing process, rather than waiting until you’re sat in the airport lounge! Got any other tips? Share them with us on Twitter and Facebook.