Our Top Packing Tips
We've taken the time to assemble our top 20 (or thereabouts) packing tips for you.
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. For ladies, "layering" is your best friend.
#3 Roll t-shirts, dresses, underwear and bathers/swimmers instead of folding to take up less room and end up less creased. Fold pants, shorts and jeans though. 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. #4 Stuff small items, like socks, into shoes, or even hats to help them keep shape during transit and to make the most of space.
Pack your shoes (even thongs/sandals) into shoe bags so that they can go next to clothes if necessary.
#6 Take enough for a seven-day trip; anything more, be prepared to do some laundry. #7 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/sandals for the beach. Shoes can take up a lot of space so try to minimise the number of pairs.
#8 Even though hotels will have body wash, shampoo and conditioner, feel free to pack your favourite if you can't do without it, but don't pack heavy bottles and don't pack it in your carry on as you will not be able to take anything more than 100ml onto a plane. Are you the type of person who cleans out hotels of all their shampoos and conditioners befoer you leave? Are they sitting under your vanity in a cupboard never used? Why not look thoruhg them and take a few with you They're the perfect size.
Depening on where you are heading to, pack a small first aid kit with essentials like tablets for constipation, dysentery. A few different bandaid sizes. A compression bandage doesn't take up much space and the day you need one - you will need it immediately! On the other hand, you can usually get all of the above fairly quickly at any pharmacy, so make a judgement call.
#10 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. You can pick this up in Duty Free on the way out.
Make sure your phone is pre-loaded with an app like Whatsapp, Viber or Skype for cheap, or free, calls (whenever you are connected to wi-fi) . Talk to your travel friends and ask what they use.
#12 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.
#13 If you're expecting to be met by the paparazzi at your destination, wear 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.
#14 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 person for the trip home though as extra baggage at check in will cost a fortune.
#15 Once you've packed, take half the stuff out and take twice as much money as you feel you will need. You will always find clothes along the way that you would like to buy.
Don't pack anything "just in case". Everything needs to earn its place in your bag by being used regularly.
#17 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.
When you're packing for the dreaded trip home, roll everything - even your dirty t-shirts, shirts and shorts. Underwear and socks can stay in the laundry bag, but flatten the bag out as you pack it. You'll be amazed how well it all fits into the case (especially the corners).
Did we miss any?
Do you have a favourite travel tip that I missed here? Let me know.