How to pack like a pro?

Woman trying to close a full suitcase

You're less than 24 hours away from setting off on holiday and everyone's asking you the same questions...."So? Have you packed yet?" You nod but you can't even remember where your suitcase is. Packed? Far from it!

Are you one of the many people who just can't face it? As if it wasn't bad enough trying to fit all your things into a suitcase that was too small to start with but now with the strict restrictions on weight and size it seems almost impossible. Just thinking about that moment in the airport when they weigh your luggage makes you break out in a cold sweat. Well, don't panic! We're here to solve your packing nightmare, just follow these easy tricks:

Tips to pack your checked baggage

Going for a long holiday and checking in luggage? At first glance it makes you feel less stressed but later the thoughts of weight restrictions kick in and the panic sets in again. Here you have a few handy tricks:

The most important... lists, lists and more lists. Start writing and rewriting them a few days before you start to pack. Every item you write down is one less you have to remember. Leave it on the kitchen table, stuck to the fridge or anywhere else at hand, that way it'll always be in reach when something springs to mind.

Next... the list again! Pay attention, this one is important. list EVERYTHING: passport, tickets, the lot! In moments of stress we often forget the most basic things. I'm sure it's happened to you. You've managed to get to your dream destination that you'd been saving up for all year only to open your case and remember that your camera is sat waiting for you on the kitchen counter. Frustrating huh?

We're not going to give you a list of items. Let's face it, every trip and every person is different. But here are two handy one size fits all tricks :

Tip #1: Pack more t-shirts than trousers. They usually take up less room and you can wear them several times.

Tip #2: Avoid patterned items. It makes life difficult when mixing and matching your clothes. Much easier and efficient to stick to block colours.

Once we've got our list it's time to collect all the items and lay them out. We suggest picking the largest room you have, that way you can see everything and check it's all there.

Open suitcase full of stuff

We've all heard of it but have any of us used it... the rolling technique? It is every packers lifesaver. But don't just roll them any old way follow this rule: lay all your clothes on top of each other, fold jumper and shirt sleeves and roll the items all together.

Do you need to look smart when you arrive at your destination? Here's a fabulous trick to turn up looking perfect. Put a belt through the collar of your shirts when packing, that way you arrive with them looking newly ironed.

Worried about your clothes staying fresh and avoiding the smell of dirty laundry on arrival, it's simple. Put some moisture absorbent sheets in your suitcase, you can buy them in any suitcase store. As for the return journey, make sure you have plenty of empty plastic bags to wrap those not so pleasant smelling items, you don't want to arrive home with post holiday blues and have to face a smelly suitcase!

What about your shoes I hear you cry... cover them with a shower cap or a plastic bag to protect the rest of your clothes and put them at the bottom of the suitcase close to the wheels. But first put any valuables inside them.

different kinds of cables and adapters

If there's one thing that drives us all mad it's trying to find a small item in a large suitcase. How can it seem so small when packing but so big when trying to locate a phone charger or your keys? Use cases.. put all your cables in one. That way instead of rooting around for one cable that feels exactly like the other two you only have to pull the case out.

And finally, if you still can't close your case, invest in some vacuum storage bags. They always work! But do not forget your journey home... make sure you have access to a vacuum cleaner to avoid any nasty last minute surprises.

Final tips:

It may sound obvious but it's worth taking into account: choose a light suitcase. Gone are the days when they weigh almost as much empty as they do full. The difference can be huge.

If you are still worried it may be worth investing in a luggage scale. They are cheap and easy to find.

It's worth remembering that if your suitcase is a standard suitcase the chances of recognising it at the airport may be pretty small. Get creative so you can spot it a mile away on the carousel. Ribbons, shoe laces, stickers.... almost anything will do!

What do you need to carry-on with you in your cabin luggage?

cabin luggage in an overhead compartment of a plane

Now we ease the nightmare that is your cabin luggage. Here's a list of the essentials:

  • Your passport
  • Your airline tickets
  • A book or anything that to keep you busy
  • A neck pillow to help you sleep during long journeys. An inflatable one is a must as it will save space.
  • A change of clothes (can be very useful, especially if your luggage gets lost)
  • A small deodorant, toothbrush and travel sized toothpaste tube to stay fresh
  • Something to nibble and a small and empty water bottle
  • A pack of tissues
  • Some painkillers (hopefully you won't have the occasion to use them)

Very important: remember not to carry-on more than 100ml liquid bottle or tubes in your cabin luggage. You’ll be asked to get rid of it if you do. Imaging kissing good bye to that expensive perfume you bought especially for your holidays.

So there you have it! Follow these tips and you'll find that, not only will you be less stressed, but you'll feel like a packing pro! But have we missed anything essential? Share your best kept packing secrets and help us all take the stress out of holidays, after all, they are there to be enjoyed.

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