Love it or loathe it, packing your suitcase is a necessary task if you want to go on holiday. If you’re a loather; the suitcase worries are real. You worry if you’ve packed enough clothes, if you’re over your baggage allowance, and more often than not if the suitcase will even shut! But, relax, take a deep breath; we’ve taken the stress out of your packing this year with handy holiday packing hacks.
1. Get some luggage scales
Before you start trying on clothes and organising what to take, get yourself familiar with the luggage allowances of the airline you’re travelling with.
Each airline will allow different weights and suitcase sizes, both for checked luggage and cabin luggage. Find out what yours is before you start packing. There’s nothing worse than gleefully zipping up your suitcase then realising you’re 5kg over your luggage 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.
2. Save on liquids with travel minis
It’s also worth checking the rules and regulations about what you can take in your hand luggage. You’ll need to pack any liquids, 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.
Top tip: Make sure you’ve packed all of these in clear bags before you get to the airport so you don’t have 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.
3. Pick a lightweight suitcase
The way cases are thrown around in baggage handling these days, it’s best not to spend a fortune on your case. 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 them.
4. 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!
Add a luggage strap or tag to your suitcase to distinguish it from other cases which look the same and to make sure it stands out from the crowd when it comes round the carousel.
6. Make a checklist
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 to get you started.
7. Keep your case secure with a lock
Always lock your suitcase, particularly if you’re checking it in. Having unlocked luggage can void your insurance if it gets stolen or any of the contents are taken.
Top tip: If you’re travelling to America, it’s compulsory to have TSA-approved locks on cases.
8. Pack light
While you may get excited packing clothes for your holiday, is it really necessary to take 15 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 fit in a 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.
9. Prevent toiletries leaking
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!
10. 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 trinkets that you may buy 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 handy hacks in place, you can now get into holiday mode during the packing process, rather than waiting until you’re sitting in the airport lounge!