One of the best parts of a holiday for me is the excitement beforehand. I know not everyone gets this same level of elation, but I start looking forward to my time away from when I’m first searching for a destination, right up to the minute I step on that plane. I have a bit of a ritual with my friend, as well, that whenever one of us has a holiday in the pipeline, we book in a pre-holiday shopping trip. Even if we don’t buy anything, even if we don’t NEED anything, just looking at all the holiday stuff ups my enjoyment of the whole holiday process – and let’s face it, who doesn’t like to buy a couple of new bits for their time away?
With that in mind I thought I’d put together a little holiday special. Some tips on packing, followed by a roundup of travel ‘essentials’ – okay, I admit they aren’t essential but still nice to have!
They say that you learn from your mistakes and that’s definitely true for me when it comes to packing. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve packed heels I’ve never worn, had wet feet when it’s rained because all I have with me is flip-flops, and found my shampoo has leaked all over my suitcase contents on arrival. However, I think I’m somewhat of a pro now, so here’s my top 10 tips for keeping your packing stress-free…
- Most of us usually fall into one of two camps. There are those that pack weeks in advance, taking time to really think about what they’re going to be wearing and making sure everything is neat and ready. Then there’s the other camp, which largely rely on having time the night before to squeeze everything into their case, not having the time to iron or fold precisely and mostly just hoping for the best. Whatever camp you fall into, it’s no great secret that packing in advance is the best method, even if it’s just a day or two rather than the night before. This way it gives you time to go back to the contents and re-edit – you’ll almost always be able to find at least one item you’re probably not going to wear.
- Make a list of things you need to take. Obvious, right? But the times I’ve not bothered to do this I’ve nearly always forgotten something. I tend to make a list on my phone so I can add to it as I think of things.
- Roll your clothes – and if you have a ton of items to cram in, try some vacuum-pack bags (you don’t even have to vacuum them, you could just use them as clothes protectors). This rule applies for everything except jeans (which can be folded) and dresses or shirts, which crease easily – these I hang on wire hangers, pop one of those plastic covers from the dry cleaners on and hang up until the day I’m flying. Then I fold in half, pop in my case, and on arrival get them straight out and hang. It means less ironing.
- Packing cubes are great for keeping items organised in your case. They’re not going to save you any space, but they are better for keeping clothes wrinkle free, all your underwear or swimwear together and making unpacking a breeze. Check out Amazon for a huge range
- Pack any light-coloured items inside out so they don’t get any marks on them from darker items. Obvious really but not always something you think about when you’re packing in a rush.
- Pack your shoes first, around the edges, with the soles facing out. Then pack around them and make sure to stuff items into your shoes to make the most of every inch of space.
- Pop in some scented drawer liners to keep your clothes smelling fresh if you’re on a long trip. I like Sara Miller’s ones.
- Ziplock bags are great for storing gadgets and keeping them organised, without a tangle of cables.
- Stick to a colour palette. Two or three core colours (whether it’s monochrome, brights, neutrals, etc) will see you through and you can jazz them up with accessories. Colourful or patterned bags, jewellery and sunglasses are much cheaper to buy, so indulge in a few new ones before you go.
- Always pack a jacket and a pair of closed-in shoes. Just incase. There’s nothing worse than being cold if the weather takes a turn for the worst.
Now you’ve got your packing sorted, let’s skip to the fun bit – shopping! This is my roundup of some of the best travel essentials, from headphones and travel journals to sleep masks and beauty treatments for the plane. My favourites? The suitcase and the PJs!
1. Galli Cabin suitcase in Forest Green & Brushed Brass, from £49, Made. 2. Frances Prescott Tri-balm, £46, Cult Beauty. 3. Pioneer MS7BT Wireless Bluetooth headphones, £99, Urban Outfitters. 4. Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask, £22.50, Cult Beauty. 5. Raffia mini travel jewellery box, 12, Oliver Bonas. 6. Byron eye mask, £15, Desmond & Dempsey. 7. Bambi Spot satin pyjama set, £26, Topshop. 8. Colloquial passport holder, £9, Anthropologie. 9. Palm Trees make-up bag, £44, Amara. 10. Fujifilm Instax 9 Clear Lens Instant Camera, £60, Urban Outfitters. 11. Ultimate travel journal, £12, Paperchase. 12. Memories Travel Icons luggage tag, £6.50, Paperchase. 13. Hot Tub Club beach towel, £34, ban.do at Amara.