Ever since we were given the responsibility of packing our own suitcases, Em and I have been known as over-packers. We would each have our own 15kg of luggage, but pack so many books, pairs of shoes, and tins of food (yes, once we took tins of food on a trip away so we wouldn’t have to eat out for lunch), that once the inevitable holiday shop had been done and it was time to go home, we’d always be over the weight limit.
Admittedly, we have got better recently. Last year, I went to Paris for three days and managed to fit all my clothes. accessories, technology and everything else into one backpack, which made me realise what a wasteful packer I used to be. I also realized that half the outfits I would pack in my suitcase, I wouldn’t even wear during my stay, and I know Em was the same. As frequent travelers, we’ve luckily picked up a few tips and tricks for how to pack more efficiently, but still bring all the essentials (i.e. the things that are going to make the future Insta shots). If you’re heading off anywhere in the next few weeks, this is definitely worth the read!
- Plan your outfits beforehand
How many times have you arrived at your hotel and opened your suitcase to discover you can’t wear half the clothes you’ve brought, because they’re not practical/not weather appropriate/uncomfortable/too boring/not going to go with anything else you’ve packed? Yep, us too. Luckily, our obsession with fashion has grown massively since we first started traveling abroad, so now we find it incredibly fun to plan our daily outfits together in advance (this also works well when planning our Insta shots, and colour coordinating our outfits for then). Having a clear idea of what you want to wear before your trip means you won’t be tempted to throw in that extra kaftan you picked up in the Primark sale last year just in case…
- Remember the essentials
Heavy and bulky as it is, if you’re going somewhere sunny, pack that sun cream. If you have ever been in the situation where you’ve ran out and had to buy some abroad, you’ll know that beachfront and touristy destinations sell sun cream at extortionate prices. The same goes for aftersun products, so if you’re traveling with a potential lobster (Brad burns every year), make sure you pack a small bottle of that, too. That said, be realistic with how much you actually need. There was a time when Em and I would take a bag full of sun creams of different protection levels, which seems crazy to think about now. What a waste of space! We usually get by with a bottle each, then take an extra one just in case someone runs out.
- You don’t need that many pairs of shoes… honest
Shoe packing is one of the most stressful things, in my opinion. Shoes are so clunky and bulky, and you can’t often bend them or flatten them like you can with other items of clothing. And when it comes down to it, how many pairs of shoes do I actually wear on a trip away? Normally two- one pair for the beach, and one pair for hiking. So why do I bother packing so many? If you’re asking yourself the same question, just don’t even bother packing more than two pairs. Forget about all the new flip flops you bought from New Look especially for your trip- they’re just going to rub your big toe anyway, and you’ll spend the rest of your trip wearing trainers.
- Wear/carry your bulky things
This is a genius travel hack that Em and I always follow to some extent on a trip away. The bulkiest thing we own, by far, is our camera, but we also wouldn’t dream of leaving it at home. So for that reason, instead of trying to cram it in the flight bag, risk putting it in the suitcase, or paying for extra baggage and bringing it in its own case, we simply hang the camera round our necks, and that’s where it stays for the journey. This is also great for preventing those moments of complete paranoia that sound something like oh my god I can’t remember where I put the camera, do you have the camera, it’s not in my…oh. Here it is. Another bulky travel item is the classic Instagrammer’s sunhat. Em and I take one of these with us to almost every sunny destination, not only for the Instagram shot (sunhats are one of the most versatile summer accessories out there), but also because we get the worst headaches in the warm weather without one. Wearing your sunhat at the airport might attract some funny looks, but who’s the real winner when you’ve got an extra chunk of space in your suitcase because of it?
- Roll your clothes
I don’t know how it works, but rolling your clothes gives you so much more space in your suitcase, as opposed to folding them. It’s like some sort of magic. Another good thing about rolling your clothes is that if they’re prone to creasing, they’re less likely to do so if they’re rolled.
- Don’t pack your entire cupboard of beauty products
Let’s face it: when you’re traveling, you’re not going to be thinking about applying oil to the ends of your hair, or topping up on your third layer of highlighter (unless you’re far more disciplined than we are). Em and I normally only bother with makeup in the evenings if we’re traveling to a hot destination, as the combination of sweaty skin and oily foundation just is not a desirable feeling. Whatever you do makeup-wise on holiday, try to keep your bigger products at home- and remember how much liquid you can take in your flight bag.
Are you prepping for a trip away soon? You might enjoy some of our other posts:
Our essential Barcelona travel guide- for the most Instagramable spots!
Take some inspiration from our travel bucket list
Why Scotland is the perfect place for a digital detox… and what I learnt from my time offline