There’s a multitude of helpful advice about the smartest and leanest ways of packing for holidays. But it wasn’t until Miss Sunshine (3) came for a sleepover with her carefully packed ‘Trunkie’ that I twigged that’s there’s basically just one rule: pack what’s important to you.
Her packing clearly identify her priorities. Array of soft toys for night time cuddles; choice of foot wear; just-in-case pull ups for night time. I especially loved that she packed food, just in case Marsie and Dude didn’t have any at their place.
There’s a lot to be gleaned from the ‘holiday’ packings of a small one. It’s interesting that after several sleepovers, the packing has reduced somewhat as she’s become more practised and relaxed about the whole process and worked out what’s absolutely key. (Shoe choices remain a priority, as does toothbrush and toothpaste, I’m pleased to say.) She’s also worked out Marsie and Dude do in fact have food at their house and are likely to share it with her so she won’t starve if she doesn’t bring her own.
That’s what happens. We evolve, and get better with working out what we need and what we don’t. Well, that’s the theory.
So, herewith my suggestions for sensible holiday packing. I wrote it for women, but guys – hell, if the shoe fits…
And lookey look, no long list of affiliate links to each separate suggestion!! Just tips. Just saying.
Think about where you’re going. Hardly rocket science, but think through the days. Somewhere tropical means it’s likely there’ll be lots of rain, so rubber thongs might be handy for the beach and puddles in sudden downpours. Won’t need them in Europe in autumn though. And you won’t need any sort of wool in Asia.
Coordinate, coordinate. Choose one basic colour, maybe black or navy, and make sure everything can go back to that. It means lots of matchy matchy stuff will be happening and it will seem you have heaps of outfits even with limited items. That helps with the ‘don’t take too much’ thing. The better you plan, the less you need. A colour-consultant-colleague would be screaming in anguish about the lack of colour, but that’s what accessories are for, and feature items, and scarves (see below).
Try on your stuff before you go It’s amazing how clothes can mysteriously shrink in the wardrobe between seasons (is that just me?). Make sure it all works together and omit items which want to star by themselves. Travel packing is about team play. Keep in mind layering for cooler days or dressing up for evenings.
Plan your travel outfit. Start with what you’ll be wearing on the way and put that aside. Comfy pants are a must, and layers as it gets hotter and colder. No, it’s not just you. Planes can do that too. Wear your heaviest comfy shoes to wear on the plane to lighten your load.
Take a scarf. My absolute must-have item. What a multitude of purposes it serves! Wrapped around your knees or neck, it keeps you warm, or snazzy; around your head or shoulders it keeps you appropriate in mosques; draped in the evening it makes you glam and gorgeous; and during the day it protects you from sunburn (unless you’re British in which case you’re likely to want to maximise your sun exposure and turn bright red and blistered to demonstrate you’ve been on holiday). You can even wrap it around your head as the locals do in Morocco and protect yourself from heatstroke in the Sahara. So versatile! Hell, go crazy – maybe take two! I like cotton longish ones – super versatile and easy to wash – rather than small silk ones that slip off.
Shoe choices. These things can overload your case, but are key to get right. If you’re going to walk a lot, take comfy walking shoes, and ones you’ve worn in. And do you really need those heels? Last trip I managed to take just flats. I am at peace with my vertically-challenged body, and a pair of pretty flats can look dressy. Just don’t take too many. Daughter Moo once tried to take 13 pairs of shoes to Hamilton Island for a week. With effort, I whittled her down to eight.
Pack clothes that are warm enough. This one’s sooo important. If you’re cold, you’re miserable, and likely everyone else will be too, because you’ll complain all the time, especially at your partner. Or again, is that just me? Personally I’d rather carry a jacket and not wear it rather than be cold. Just got myself a lightweight down one which ticks all the boxes for changing weather. Bliss bliss bliss.
Allow time to sort out your technology – and test it I swear it almost takes longer to pack all the techo things than the clothes things, just so you can stay ‘connected’ to all those things and people you’re trying to have a break from. Phone, laptop, tablet, chargers, spare batteries, camera, lenses, memory cards, USB, blah, blah, blah. Here’s my big hint: if you’re going to buy new gear just before you go (because you get the GST back as you’re leaving, remember?), allow yourself time to transfer your stuff and TEST IT WORKS before you go. Go into your apps and online accounts to check passwords etc from any new devices. Such a pain when you can’t access them from overseas if they require a phone connection for passwords and you’re relying on free wifi. Yep, I still do that.
Remove those gym clothes you packed. Who are you kidding? If you’re really dedicated and you do perchance get to the gym instead of cocktail hour, you can just wear the shorts and t-shirt already packed. The runners are okay – you’ll probably use them.
Store your travel bibs and bobs together. I’ve got a permanent little box of travel stuff ready to pull out and go when needed: travel purse, suitcase locks, adapters, plastic zip lock bags, sewing kit, mini shampoos and so on. Boom.
Do the Chanel thing – When you think you’re done, take something out (instead of off). Maybe that extra jumper, or that other black top that looks pretty much the same as the first one. It’s black. No one will see it’s dirty—#thebeautyofblack.
I’m sure I’m getting better all the time, but hell, it still takes a while.
What are your fave packing tips?