By Rickie I love travel and after being on the go seven days a week, tend to run away from home just about every couple of months.
Having just come back from a week in Bruges & Brussels, I’ve (people) watched a lot of cases being wheeled about. Because the BF and I journeyed by Eurostar, I’m prone to thinking that everyone packed lightly as you have to carry on your own luggage on the euro train. The current rule on this most civilised way of travelling - where no-one asks you to lose half of your outfit before being waved through a scanner and to spill out your hand luggage onto a plastic tray for all to gawp at - is that ‘if you can lift it, you can take it.’ Of course there are some size restrictions but really, whatever you can tightly pack into your case, goes.
- The best tip I can give you is to buy some roll-up up vacuum bags. Firstly they save you so much space that you will wonder, as I did several years ago just how you managed without them all your life.
- Secondly all your clothes arrive organised rather than random socks running for freedom when you open your case.
- Finally, the bags protect your clothes from any spillages or rain, that is if you have a canvass bag and it’s being thrown about outside by airline staff while you watch helplessly from the plane. I recommend the ones from the storagefastic Lakeland Plastics (see photo top left)
These boots were made for walking
~~I should preface this by saying I’m not a big fan of the colour black.
- Choose footwear first then build your outfits around this. If, like me you do a lot of walking while discovering new places then comfy footwear is vital (I’m fine to walk around all day in 4” wedges but choose what’s good for you). If you’re taking brown shoes and say navy, (I’m trying to make this unisex!) then there’s no point in taking black jumpers or jackets as they won’t go with either! No need to be drably neural – although that is so much easier – but if you’re going to take the bright red pair, check how many outfits you can wear with them.
- Choose footwear that plans to last the extra walking or get your best shoes repaired just before you go.
How to remember everything
- Or just start making a list the first time you utter the words ‘I must remember to pack’, be that weeks before (holiday) or the morning before (business).
- Lay out your outfits on the bed and match up accessories/undies/socks/footwear for each. Have you got tops that can go with different colour bottoms, thus creating more outfits? Have you one or two warmer layers that go with almost everything, to pop over outfits during colder evenings or create more outfits?
- Now that you have your perfect mounds, pack them into those bags and start rolling out that excessive air. Pop your shoes into the case first, packing socks, adapter plugs or toiletries inside them and manoeuvre your bags to fit around them.
Top Tip: If you are taking two cases, separate everything so that if one case is delayed you still have everything you need for a couple of days; one or two outfits, some essential toiletries etc.
- Save all those sample toiletries and freebies you get all year, including all those you pick up from hotels. Can you live without your shampoo or daily shower gel for just one week?
- Of not, grab little travel bottles to pour your regular stuff into (Boots have a variety) and cut up some white address label stickers to label up what’s inside each one. Trust me, you will forget otherwise!
- On that subject, check if your hotel has a hairdryer and then just take that one hair appliance that will make the difference between a good or bad day.
Top Tip: Take some Fabreeze or similar clothes freshener. Spray on clothes you take off and leave overnight to freshen. Et voila, fresh jumpers and jeans for a second wear!
- Wear the heaviest footwear and clothes for travel, preferably layers which also means you’re comfortable in fierce air-con or extreme stuffiness.
- Dress in something you’ll wear again or on your journey back.
To Tip: Take half the underwear you need and hand-wash with some hotel soap before drying them out in the hotel room while you’re out the next day. Two minutes of this will save loads of luggage space. And less laundry to do when you return.
Forecast the future
- Check the five day weather forecast (or longer) the day before you go and pack accordingly. I once nearly went to San Francisco in the last days of October with a big coat expecting it to be winter but it was unseasonably warm and up to 25c! So I ditched the big winter coat and just took the autumn one saving me having to carry unnecessary weight.
- If there is even a minute chance of rain, take a folding brolly (or a big one if rain is a certainty) or a rain hat and mac that fold into almost nothing. You’ll be grateful to have if it does rain or you’ll have another layer for when you’re out in the evenings. Or just something to sit on in it in parks.
Top Tip: For a lovely welcome, make friends with the hotel before you go. You’ll be amazed at the difference in service you receive when you get there, plus they’ll give you insider knowledge including tips on cheap transport from the airport. Pop them a reminder the day before you travel to let them know your ETA too.