Whether you’re the kind of traveller that needs to take 12 pairs of shoes on holiday with them, or has a tendency to buy too many souvenirs, there’s no need to get caught out at the airport counter with excess baggage. Here’s how to pack your bags like a pro, saving your suitcase zip as well as your budget.
1. Make a list
Toothbrush? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Mask and travel-sized hand sanitiser? Check. And you might want to consider pre-printing your boarding pass or using your phone to ensure your boarding is as contactless as possible. To ensure you’ve got all the essentials covered, download our holiday packing list.
2. Pack your clothes in the right order
Ever packed light clothes and found a stain on them when you arrived? You never have to encounter this problem again. Firstly, always make sure your light-coloured clothes are packed inside out, and secondly, use disposable hotel shower caps to cover the soles of your shoes. Genius.
3. Roll and vacuum pack your clothes
Don’t arrive at your holiday destination and be faced with a pile of ironing. To save space and stop creasing, roll your clothes instead of folding them, then place them in vacuum compression bags. To use these bags, put your clothes in, seal the bag, then squeeze the air out.
4. Cube your clothes
Another good packing solution is packing cubes: these do help separate your items and find things more quickly once you get there. You can find packing cubes on Amazon and other online shops.
5. Fill dead space
When it comes to packing, make use of every inch of suitcase space. Roll tops, underwear, socks and other small items, and stuff them into your shoes to make sure every possible space is filled.
6. Keep it fresh
It’s nice to keep your clothes smelling fresh, especially if you’re on a long trip. By taking a small bag of potpourri, fabric conditioner sheets, or scented drawer liners, you’ll keep your clothes smelling sweet throughout the trip.
7. Pack gadgets in ziplock bags
How do you usually organise all of your electronics, cables, those fiddly bits that take you ages to dig out at security? If you want to organise your packing, then get yourself a stash of ziplock bags. Phone charger, camera charger, adaptors, headphones: take extra plastic bags (the same ones you’d use for hand luggage liquids) and use them to store electrical items, things for the journey home (house keys, parking ticket, and car keys), medication and other loose accessories.
If you love a gadget, then you should check out our top travel accessories, too.
8. Pack make-up in cotton wool
To prevent your pressed powder or eye shadow from cracking during your travels, place a flat cotton wool pad in between the pressed powder and the lid.
9. Leave books at home
Save the space and weight for your holiday. Whether it’s a steamy romance novel, thrilling sci-fi or a dog-eared travel guide, download the ebook before your trip. That way you also don’t have to count on wifi to jump back into the story from your perfectly positioned beach chair. If you’re using an e-reader, make sure it has a water-resistant cover.
10. Pack valuables in empty bottles
To avoid the worst-case scenario of being robbed, it’s best to be inconspicuous: don’t flash cash or expensive jewelry. If you’re worried about valuable stuff in your hotel room, hide it in an empty suntan lotion container. You could also use empty lip balm containers to hide rolled-up notes. You could also consider getting travel insurance.
11. Avoid extra baggage fees by weighing your luggage
Make sure you weigh your bags on both legs of the journey to see how close you are to reaching the weight limit. If you’re close to the limit, consider wearing some of the heavier items or cutting down on what you pack in the first place.
12. Buy a lightweight suitcase
Buying the most expensive designer suitcase won’t get you an upgrade. It’s better all-round to be inconspicuous and go for a lightweight option. If you’re using a hardshell suitcase, this can add up to four kilos of weight before you’ve even started packing, so expensive isn’t always best.
13. Know your luggage limits
Baggage allowance varies from airline to airline. Make sure you’re aware of your limits before you reach the airport. Some, but not all carriers will allow you to check in two bags, and the weight allowance can vary. Make sure you understand the hand luggage allowance and avoid costly charges at the gate.
14. Spruce up your suitcase
Don’t be faced with an airport baggage carousel crisis where you’re searching for your luggage amid its identical neighbours. Label your suitcase with luggage tags and give it a bit of a makeover to help spot it in the crowd. Decorate it with ribbons, stickers or even colourful shoelaces so it’s instantly recognisable.
15. Make the most out of your hand luggage
No matter how well you decorate your suitcase, bags can go missing. Make sure all your valuables are in your hand luggage and always pack a spare change of clothes in your hand luggage too, just in case your checked bag is lost or delayed. Just familiarise yourself with these unusual items that are not allowed in your cabin bag.
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