Packing your bag for a holiday, short break or even for a business trip can be a real chore. Add in packing for others, such as children and partners and you can soon be tearing your hair out in frustration.
There you are; balancing choosing the items you want to take with getting them all into the case without squashing and creasing your favourite clothes. Let alone worrying about what you have forgotten and will your case be within your baggage allowance.
Read our top tips to make packing stress free.
It is vital that you know your hand baggage allowance and hold baggage allowances before you even start planning. Don’t forget that allowance for infants can vary from this so it is vital that you check out what you can take for your baby as well. Pick baggage that is light and sturdy for the job and ensure you maximise the weight allowance as much as the size of the bag.
Make a list (or find and print one from the internet) – separate this into clothing (have a good think about the things you will be doing while you are away), toiletries, gadgets and accessories, books and guides, medicines and any other item you are going to need.
Assemble all the items you are going to need on your list and get ruthless. Most people travel away with far too many clothes, shoes and gadgets and gizmos that they end up not using or needing. So you end up carting weight around which is not only heavy but adds to your carbon footprint. Now get ruthless and remove everything that is not essential.
You can buy every day items at your destination, wash clothes or use laundry services while you are away. Don’t even bother including those items ‘just in case’. You are unlikely to use them.
Once ready, it’s time to pack. There are three main techniques, folding, rolling and bundling. Here we demonstrate a combination of bundling and folding for best results. Line up things into bundles. Pack shoes (stuffed with things lie socks and tights) around the edges or bottom of your bag and wrapped in plastic bags. Pile up items such as underwear, shirts and tops into rectangle shaped bundles by folding them with those items that crease the most at the top. Place these into the case and get a flat surface to then lay items such as dresses, trousers and jackets on top. These should be laid flat so they stick out over the edge of the case and place shirts on top of them. Then place any delicate items on top of those and fold the lose edges over on to the top. Some people using tissue lining paper between layers.
Items such as toiletries should be packed tightly together into plastic sealable bags to prevent leakage. Try and ensure you decant from large bottles into smaller bottles that have enough for your trip. These take up less space and will weigh far less.
Books and guides should be placed around the outside of the case before putting your clothes in. Gadgets should be placed carefully in your bag, wrapped in other items to help prevent any damage if your case is dropped.
Plan to wear your heaviest and most bulky items.
Hand luggage should contain a change of clothes as well as basic toiletries should your checked in bag go astray.
Weigh your bags before you leave for the airport and ensure you are not over the limits. If you are and you cannot remove items to either wear or to place in your pockets, it will be cheaper to pre-book extra baggage on line rather than at the airport.
And don’t forget to get a good lock for your case as well as something to help identify it such as stickers or a ribbon. Bear in mind that some destinations you are not allowed to have locked cases such as the USA.
Place all travel documents into your hand luggage along with any essential medicines. If you are traveling with your baby ensure you have enough nappies, baby food and other items for the length of your journey as well as things to entertain both children and your self.
Remember that if you buy things at the airport you may not be able to take these on board without placing them into your existing hand luggage so be sure to have room for those duty free treats, books, magazines and gifts.
Is this all too much hassle? The why not consider traveling hand luggage only? We share our tips with you in our guide.
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The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides valuable up-to-date travel advice for British citizens abroad. It is the best resource for reliable safety and security information. You can also find other important details, such as local laws, passport information and visa requirements. Stay safe abroad – check the FCDO before you travel.