I’m going to get straight to the point, I’m rubbish at packing – packing like a professional is not something I am good at personally, hence I’ve been scouring the internet for tips, because I’m always amazed at how much stuff my friends can fit in their cases and yet their cases are still lighter than mine. I mean seriously, how the heck does that work?
With this in mind, I’ve been on a mission. I’m determined when I go on my summer holiday this year that 1) my case will easily come in under the set weight maximum, 2) I don’t take unnecessary toiletries – they alone can weigh over 5kg, 3) I have a mix and match holiday wardrobe.
If you know me you’re probably laughing right now. How will I reduce the number of pairs of shoes I NEED to take, how can I possibly wear the same item of clothing more than once and how will I survive without ALL my usual toiletries?
Those who know me really well will also know the story of having ALL my toiletries confiscated at Philadelphia airport. Thank the lord only one person, who knew me, saw my very dramatic, diva like reaction when security started removing all my hard earned face creams, perfumes and hair products from my soap bag. It wasn’t a pretty sight and the memory still brings me out in a cold sweat! I worked out they confiscated approximately £400 worth of products!!! Why it was taken off me is a whole other story – let’s just say myself and MD at the time, were very late for a flight and our luggage couldn’t be put in the hold.
Top 10 Packing Mistakes
1. Taking way too much make-up on holiday with you.
2. Overpacking – not leaving space for gifts, souvenirs or that fab pair of shoes you found at a local boutique!
3. Packing too many clothe and shoe options.
4. Not planning ahead – causes panic packing.
5. Packing liquids unprotected – could spell disaster!
6. Packing wrinkle prone clothes (only to find their is no iron at your destination).
7. Not knowing the dress laws in international countries.
8. Not understanding the dress code your destination calls for – St Tropez is very different to Ibiza!
9. Forgetting your adaptors.
10. Not decanting your liquids into smaller bottles – you won’t need 400ml of shampoo or shower gel.
So where’s the best place to start…
Choosing The Right Luggage
There will be two groups of people here, those who check their luggage into the hold and those who prefer to stick to the 10kg maximum, not pay the extra and take their case into the cabin. I personally could never see myself being able to limit my clothing etc down to 10kg for a week or more’s holiday, but it is possible if you are super efficient, organised and brilliant at putting co-ordinated outfits together. Oh and you could be a man, who simply needs a few t’shirts, a couple of pairs of shorts (which could even double as swim shorts) and a pair of flip flops! Great if you have a man in your life like this, you can use up his allowance too.
If your you are carrying your case/holdall on, it’s worth looking for a lightweight case, ideally with a front pocket, where you can stash your travel documents and up to 1 litre of toiletries (in up to 100ml bottles), this will give you easy access at security, without disturbing the rest of your belongings in your case and the 4 wheeled options are brilliantly easy to manoeuvre! ALWAYS CHECK THE SIZE OF THE CASE IS WITHIN THE AIRLINES REGULATIONS.
For those of you checking your luggage into the hold, you should look for a hard wearing case, preferably with a long guarantee, a good strong zip and if you are brave enough in a bright colour or pattern. How many times have you picked up somebody elses black case and had to put it back on the carousel? Alternatively you can tie a bright ribbon to one of the handles. Again, wheels are a must and 4 wheeled will make life easier. I personally like expandable cases with a pocket on the front where I can stow flat shoes, tea & coffee or magazines for the beach.
I’ve seen some good reviews of Tripp luggage and Debenhams currently have a fantastic sale on, with some luggage with up 81% off, now that is a great deal! The minimum appears to be 50% – oh I do love a bargain! Here’s the link to their luggage sale if you want to take a look Debenhams Luggage Sales.
If you want to be super organised you can get packing cubes, to keep everything in its right place, one for your underwear, one for your trousers, one for toiletries etc etc. You can find a good range on Amazon by following this link Suitcase Organisers. I’d also recommend putting your shoes in to shoe bags, one to protect them but also to protect your clothes.
How To Limit Your Make-up
Easy to say, not so easy to do. I reckon I’m the worlds worst at taking far too much make-up. So how do you ensure you only take what you really need?
1. Waterproof Mascara – you will probably find your favourite comes in a waterproof version, if not follow this link to see which come out on top in testing, courtesy of The Telegraph 10 Top Waterproof Mascaras.
2. Lip & Cheek Tint – is the way forward for minimising the contents of your holiday make-up bag. Cosmopolitan recommend the versatile 2-in-1 Becca Beach Tint and claim it’s a wonder product. The water-resistant crème stain comes in 8 shades and can be used on the lips and cheeks for a non-slip wash of colour. Worn alone it’s perfect for day when your face needs a bit of life. Come night layer it with other makeup for intensity and longevity. For more product reviews take a look at these by The Gloss Report Lip and Cheek Tint Review, interestingly Becca Beach gets 12/10!! I think I may be ordering some!
3. Tinted Face SPF or Tinted Moisturiser with SPF – if you feel you need a little more coverage during the day, it’s definitely worth investing in a product which doubles as a sun protector and of course you can wear it in the evening too! (It’s amazing what I am learning). A couple of suggestions:-
- Boots Triple Protection Tinted Moisturiser – 5-Star UVA technology, SPF15, patent-oxidant complex – to give your skin advanced protection from the sun and environment. It also contains Hyaluronic acid, to provide 24-hour moisturisation, optical blurrers and vitamin A and E, all in a lightweight creamy texture to leave skin looking and feeling radiant. Find out more and buy yours HERE. This is my personal favourite, I wear it most days, unless I need a little extra cover.
- Bare Minerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen, recommended by Cosmopolitan, this sunscreen also acts as a light cover-up and is especially good for sensitive skin. It comes in light, medium or tan shades and gives a glow without clogging your pores or making your face greasy. If you fancy giving it a go it’s currently discounted from £25 to £19 (bargain) follow the link to buy or find out more Bare Minerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen.
4. Lipstick – I’ve already mentioned the lip and cheek stain, which you could also use for the evenings but if you like to change it up at night why not try a long wearing lipstick, like LipInfinity by Max Factor or Maybeline Super Stay 24 Colour. Most brands now do long wear lipsticks and they are seriously worth investing in.
5. Evening Make-up – bearing in mind you are going to have a bit of a glow if your’re on a sunshine holiday, you really don’t need too much make-up, but if like me you don’t feel quite dressed with out a bit of shadow, why not invest in a neutral or golden pallet, which will have a few colours for you to play with. Then if you are an eyeliner wearer that should be the only other piece of make-up you need!~
6. My top tip would be to invest some time and money before your hols and treat yourself to 3D brows (shape & tint) – see my review of Celebrity Definition Brows, plus an eyelash lift and tint or extensions, more on the lift and tint here and last but most importantly get your nails done, I’d recommend Bio Gels or Shellac, which should last you all the way through your holiday and longer. Go for the same colour on fingers and toes and buy a small bottle of the matching varnish, just in case you need to touch any up.
On to the big one – how to pack professionally. How many of you bring home outfits you haven’t worn and pairs of shoes which just stayed in your case – GUILTY AS CHARGED YOUR HONOUR! Here’s a few tips on what you can do to prevent this…
1. Mix & Match Summer Capsule Wardrobe
2. Decant Liquids
3. Plan Ahead
4. Buy Airside
How To Plan Your Summer Holiday Capsule Wardrobe
The first thing to do is plan your capsule wardrobe. Lay everything out on a bed, then start whittling it down by putting together the items which match. Then work out what you are going to wear each day. DON’T LEAVE IT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. Make a list and work your way through it. Stick to 3 or 4 tops per bottom and try to stick to one colour palette.
Think about which items can be mixed and matched and dressed up or down by changing the accessories (shoes/jewellery/bag). A great little tip is to wear an item once and first for an evening outfit and then a second wear dressed down for a day time outfit. Also try and choose a bag which can double as your cabin luggage bag and a beach bag. You should then only need one or two small evening bags which will easily fit in your case or cabin bag. Something like this might go very nicely with your metallic shoes too:-
Shoes (My Nemesis)
This year I’m going to get a grip! I’ve been known to take 12 pairs of shoes/flip flops away with me on an 8 day holiday – which I know is ridiculous and no I didn’t wear them all!
During my indepth research online, I have come across a few suggestions on how to keep the numbers down, number one really makes sense to me, as they should go with everything, especially if you have kept to a single palette capsule wardobe (see more on that next).
1. Stick to metallic footwear! Gold and silver go with everything and can glam up an outfit, especially when teamed with fabulous accessories.
2. If you’re not a metallic kinda gal, then the next tip would be one pair of wedges for evenings out, a pair of flat strappy or bejewelled sandals for day and night and a pair of flip flops or comfy sandals for the beach or strolling around.
Here are some visual ideas from Pinterest for holiday capsule wardobes, which may give you some inspiration, or you can search on Pinterest or Google to find more visuals in colours and styles which will suit you personally…
Of course you could make it really easy for yourself and get an expert stylist to create your Summer Capsule Wardrobe for you. You may have seen our article on Colour & Body Shape Analysis, created especially for Life Begins At by Maria from Looking Stylish, well you can also get a personalised holiday capsule wardrobe, to suit varying budgets and styles. Click this Looking Stylish Link to find out more. Here’s a couple of examples created for other clients:-
A last point on your holiday wardrobe, don’t forget to think about your underwear! I’ve always found the best colour to take is nude, although I do take loads of white and black too and guess what? I hardly ever wear them! Which means this year I’m going to take nude bra and knickers and one white bra (with removable straps) a couple of pairs of white knickers and as I’ve had my colour analysis done, I shouldn’t be wearing black (only perhaps away from my face) so I shouldn’t need any black underwear!
If you are staying in an apartment or villa, the likelihood is you’ll have a washing machine, so it’s worth packing a few capsules then you can reduce the amount of underwear and clothes even more, you can just bung them in the washer for a quick wash!
Tackling Your Toiletries
The key advice here is DON’T TAKE FULL SIZE BOTTLES, they massively increase the weight of your case and it’s highly unlikely you will use it all, meaning you will either leave it behind (waste of money) or carry it back home with you (waste of space and weight allowance).
I have invested in travel bottles in the past and still have a number of these which I use for most trips, whether it be a weekend away or a two week holiday. I also keep any sample bottles or small beauty product containers once they are used up and then simply decant some of my usual full size products into them,
You can get travel bottles from so many places now, I just did a quick search on Google and came up with a couple of highly rated options, but have a search to see what suits you. A lot of the bottles I’ve bought previously have been hard plastic, making them very difficult to get the product out, which is why I particularly love these…
The other suggestion would be to pre-order your sun cream, after sun and insect repellent from Boots at the airport once you are through Passport Control, becaue once you’re through security liquid limits don’t matter just double check with the airline you are flying with as some only allow one carrier bag to be taken on the plan!
Also, when ordering please make sure you select the airside branch and not landside and you must also select the correct terminal, whether that be north or south, 1,2,3,4 or 5 etc. It might also be worth setting yourself a reminder to collect them, especially if you’ve got an early flight and are a bit sleepy, or if like me you need a couple of stiff drinks to be able to get on the plane! Try and order a couple of days before your trip to make sure your order is ready for collection – alternatively just buy it once you are through!
For any toiletries you are packing here’s a couple of tips:-
1. If you are checking your luggage into the hold and your toiletries are in your suitcase, make sure you have wrapped any that may leak in a plastic bag or two – you don’t want to have your capsule wardrobe covered in shampoo!
2. For cabin luggage make sure you know the rules for your particular airline. Up to a max of 100ml per item and a total of 1 litre, stored in a clear plastic bag. I know the likes of Easy Jet only allow a certain size bag too, much to my annoyance when they made me put all my bits and pieces in a smaller bag than I’d packed them in and told me it had to close (luckily my friend was travelling very light so I put my overload into hers).
3. Have your clear plastic bag handy, keep it in the front of your travel bag or on the top.
How To Pack
Now you know what you’re taking in which bag it’s time to get packing like a professional. The following advice appeared on a number of sites I looked at, so I’ve decided this is the way forward, even though it sounds counter-intuitive to me, I will be seeing how well it works later this year! Thanks to Style At Every Age for this great bit of advice:-
Another couple of packing tips:
- Put socks, pants, chargers and underwear into shoes or hats.
- For delicate or more likely to crease items or any clothes which you will need to hang, put them in a plastic dry cleaning bag – which amazingly helps to stop creases as the clothes tend to move against the plastic which prevents them being still for too long and thus reducing creases! You can also use them in between layers in the case.
- Try packing your shoes around the edge of the case once you’ve packed everything else.
- Wear your heaviest shoes to the airport and have a pair of flip flops handy in your hand luggage to you can change into them if need be (makes sense to me).
- If using a soap bag, put the soap bag at the bottom of the suitcase (i.e. the bottom when the case is upright), which will stop it crushing your clothes.
- Think about what time of day or night you are going to arrive. It’s not always possible to get straight into your accommodation and you might want to leave your bags and go to the beach or pool, so have what you will need on the top of your case, likewise if its a late flight you may just want to go straight to bed, so have your night clothes handy.
- If you do have to leave your clothes in a case for a while, hang any which are creased in the bathroom with a hot shower running, the steam will help some of the creases drop out.
- Travelling with someone else? Why not split each others clothes across two cases, just in case one gets lost.
- Last but not least, put a spare top, underwear and shorts/skirt in your hand luggage – you may be grateful of them should your flight be delayed, spill something or just want to freshen up before you can get into your case.
If you follow all this advice (alright some of it), you will hopefully end up with a case as perfectly packed as this!
I’m not off on my hols until September but if I remember I will take a photo of my finished case and share it with you on Facebook, with a little update on whether I managed to control my packing problems! For all of you who have got holidays booked, have a wonderful time and do let us know if you followed any of the tips.