Seven expert packing tips that will change the way you travel
Travel Tips & Advice
Packing can be a pain, but it doesn't have to be. Our Travel Editor shares his top tips for cracking your carry-on.
Love travel? Hate packing? Welcome to the club.
Cramming everything you need into a carry-on isn’t easy, but baggage charges and budget airlines have made it an essential skill for the savvy traveller.
Here are seven tips to pack like a pro.
1. Make a list
You’ll save time, stress and last-minute urges to pack that third pair of shoes. Keep the list within reach (e.g., inside your case), and edit it after trips.
2. Safety first
Photocopy or photograph your passport ID page. Give a copy to a friend or family member — it saves time and money in the event of loss or theft.
3. Wear the heavy stuff
It sounds obvious, but items like hiking boots and coats should be worn, not packed. As a general rule, if an item is bulky, wear it.
4. Plan your outfits
Map out each day or event, laying outfits on the bed or floor. Thinking visually helps you to spot items that double up or mix and match.
5. Save space
Rolling clothes, especially cottons, saves space and lessens your ironing at the other end. Stuffing small items like socks and chargers into shoes saves precious cubic inches, too. After arrival, hang shirts or creased items in the bathroom while you shower.
Remember, you can do laundry on holidays, too.
6. Bag it
Ziploc bags are good for cables, sunscreen and sprays (they prevent liquid spills). Pack a larger plastic bag to separate damp or dirty clothes. In a fix, use a disposable shower cap from your hotel.
7. Do a review
Chanel famously advised taking one thing off before leaving the house. When you return home, be honest about your bag. Review your list, and scratch anything that was surplus to requirements, making you leaner and meaner for the next trip.
Best Case Scenario
Do you have the best case for your travel needs?
I don’t recommend one brand over another, but some suitcases can weigh 3-4kg before you pack so much as a sock.
Depending on how much you travel, it makes sense to invest in a case that weighs less, therefore allowing you more wiggle room with its contents.
Cases that are both lightweight and durable can be pricey, of course, so check outlets like Argos and TK Maxx before you splash out in brand stores.
Weigh your case before you leave home, and leave at least 1kg for shopping.
It pays to know your airline and airport’s rules.
Different airlines not only have different cabin baggage weight allowances, but varying fees and exceptions for second items, too.
In airports, meanwhile, it’s now 10 years since EU Regulations on liquids and gels were introduced, yet tonnes continue to be binned at security lines every day.
My advice? Keep a second, small washbag permanently in your case. In it, keep travel toiletries of up to 100ml in size in a single, Ziploc bag.
Leave a note reminding yourself to remove sharp objects, too.