If your suitcase or bag is more than eight years old, the first trip you should take is to check out more modern luggage. The latest fabrics and plastics are much lighter, more durable and far easier to wheel or to carry than they've ever been.
Check the climate of your destination, and choose your clothing accordingly. Pack a careful array of mix-and-match items that can all be worn with each other, in easy wash and drip-dry fabrics, that don't need ironing.
Roll clothes instead of folding to take up less room and end up less creased. Even if you have a garment that needs an iron, most hotels will supply one. If they don't, either hang the item in a steamy bathroom or dampen it and then smooth it out and dry with a hairdryer which will have exactly the same effect.
Stuff small items, like socks, into shoes, or even hats to help them keep shape during transit and to make the most of space.
Take enough for a seven-day trip; anything more, be prepared to do some laundry.
Depending on the type of holiday you're taking, wear the good pair of walking shoes on the plane to avoid having to pack and carry them, and take a casual pair of shoes, a smart pair and trainers plus thongs or Crocs for the beach. Shoes can take up a lot of space so try to minimise the number of pairs.
Leave all heavy glass bottles at home. Decant your favourite shampoo, conditioner and any face and skin lotions into small plastic travel bottles and buy a sample size of toothpaste, and put all of them into a clear, resealable plastic pouch. Count out the number of pills or vitamins necessary for your time away, and put them into small empty plastic tubs.
Avoid the temptation to take tablets in case of constipation, loose bowels, stomach ache, dysentery, cream for bites and rashes, Band-Aids of all shapes and sizes, and a selection of bandages. Unless the final destination is in the middle of Antarctica, anything needed can be bought from a local pharmacy.
Technology has freed us these days from taking piles of airport paperbacks to read. Now a lightweight tablet or Kindle can be pre-loaded with any number of books - but don't forget your charger. Hopefully that will power up all the rest of your devices. Invest in a universal charger and cable that can keep everything fired up via the tablet.
Make sure your phone is pre-loaded with an app like Whatsapp, Viber or Skype for cheap, or free, calls. Talk to your travel friends and ask what they use.
Emergency baked beans a la Shane Warne are out, but if you have certain dietary needs, either check that they'll be available at your destination or pack some to take with you, bearing in mind that certain foodstuffs are not permitted to cross borders.
Want an upgrade? Who doesn't! You probably won't, but you will be in a better position if guys wear a collar a shirt and have a smart jacket handy. Women should equally look smart, with shoes rather than trainers. Only those expecting to be met by a posse of paparazzi at their destination should wear heels and plenty of eye make-up.
For any other travel, comfort is king, with loose clothing, shoes that can be easily untied or slipped off, and a casual jacket, wrap or pashmina to help if the temperature drops. If it's a long flight, put on compression socks too. On an airline that has a strict low baggage limit, wear a travel jacket with big pockets. It's amazing how much you can carry on your person.
Do you plan to shop? Of course you do! Leave some space in your suitcase then. Don't have it bursting at the zipper when you leave home, unless you want to throw away clothes as you buy more clothes. If you plan to shop a lot, then look at packing a big flexible sports bag that will fold down initially in your suitcase, but open up to fill with all your new purchases for the trip home.
Make sure you have enough baggage allowance and can check in more than 1 bag per son for the trip home though as extra baggage at check in will cost a fortune.
Don't forget the one, definite essential: travel insurance. Most people don't need it, but if you are in a situation where you do need it, this is one thing that you won't want to be thinking about at the time. Just bite the bullet and do it. It's worth the peace of mind.