Whether travelling for business, holidaying with family or attempting to maintain standards on your 'gap year' the stress and often inconvenience of packing is all too familiar.
Having recently returned from a wonderful trip around Italy with friends it became apparent that there are two types of people:
1. Those that can organise and maintain a perfectly packed suitcase wherever they are in the world.
2. Those with a more care free attitude who would be happy with throwing personal items together and hoping for the best.
Nothing can test your packing skills more than the rigorous scrutiny found at airport security or perhaps an over-itinerarised trip requiring frequent unpacking and repacking.
Over the years I have travelled both on my own and with various groups and companions, including children, so I'd like to think that I have now nailed the perfect packing routine and can be equipped and prepared for all situations whatever the location or accommodation.
1. Resist Temptation!
I used to think that 'more the merrier' applied to clothes, shoes, accessories etc and would pack for all weathers and possibilities regardless of where I was travelling to. It seems obvious but avoiding this makes it easier to organise what you are taking and therefore making what you do take justify its position in your luggage. Think about the weather, the activities you will be doing and the duration then make your packing list accordingly. Trying on outfits beforehand is a great way to plan and some people even take photos to remind them of their outfit options when away from home. A capsule wardrobe is key and will ensure all pieces can be worn more than once.
2. Bag it up!
Bags in bags... possibly the most important tip I can give for efficient packing. Whether you want to use travel pouches, cubes or bags being able to segment items is very important. Most people already keep their travel docs together for ease at the airport but don't stop there. Tech items like chargers should be kept together in a pouch, as can a medicine kit, underwear, accessories and I could go on ....even a bag for bags perhaps! This makes everything easy to find, to repack and will generally keep the suitcase more organised.
3. Roll with it!
I am a firm believer in the rolling method of clothes. Unlike folding, it reduces the creasing and can be more efficient regarding space - some people also add tissue paper between clothes.
4. Become a collector!
When it comes to toiletries don't be tempted to open all those freebies and sachets in magazines as soon as you see them but store them up as they are perfect for travel, particularly if just travelling with hand luggage. Also mini versions of makeup and lotions help keep the weight and space to minimum. Benefit do a great range of mini products perfect for looking great on any trip.
5. Plan Ahead!
My final tip is an essential life saver should your hand luggage be mislaid! Make copies of all essential documents from passports, to flight and accommodation details and keep them in another bag - this will save a lot of hassle if anything is lost or stolen.