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Planning Retirement Online

Packing for a holiday

Most of us have seen it...couples and families struggling at an airport carousel or a train station with so much luggage they can hardly move.

The key to good packing is planning. Making lists of the sort of clothes you need for the weather and events you will encounter on your holiday is a really good start. Too many of us simply go into our bedroom and start pulling out the items we think we would like to take. With a serious list to follow, making the right selection becomes a lot easier.

Another good tip is to lay all the clothes out on the bed that you want to take with you...and then be ruthless and get rid of at least a third.

The top eight tips for packing are generally thought to be:

  1. Invest in a good suitcase. When you are travelling by air baggage is not always handled with the care we would like; a good suitcase will give proper protection.

  2. Identify your baggage. Make sure you have some clear identification on your luggage…it is all too easy to pick up a look alike case from the carousel or even worse for someone else to accidently pick up your bag.

  3. Check out the weather in your destination carefully and pack accordingly. Holiday brochures will always show beautiful blue skies and sunny days; but it can get really cold in Australia for instance. In our European summer even the Mediterranean can suffer periods of grey very wet days. This doesn’t mean fill the suitcase with clothes for every option; but items such as an umbrella and summer jackets or sweaters don’t take up too much room and may come in very handy.

  4. Easy wash! It isn’t difficult to rinse out a few undies, shirts or a simple dress while you are away. Today you can buy small travel detergent and freshening up clothes while you are away and this means you can travel with less items.

  5. Roll up rather than fold your clothes. This will save deep creases in your clothes but even better, rolling ensures minimum airspace between the layers and you will be surprised how much more you can fit into a suitcase. Vacuum compression bags can be useful too…. most generally just squeeze the air out so are simple and easy to use.

  6. Take a chance with your appearance. Holidays aren’t generally the time to dress to impress so consider how you can streamline your daily routine. If you can save baggage space by not taking your curling tongs, or by investing in a one product shampoo and conditioner; a small bar of soap instead of a large bottle of bodywash; a comfortable pair of day shoes that will just about carry you into the evening as well, you can save so much space and weight too. Valuable jewellery or watches are also a serious mistake unless you are attending a serious formal function. Invest in a cheap holiday watch, or rely on your mobile; for women, buy a few items of cheap fun jewellery rather than taking your favourite pieces.

  7. Minimalise hand baggage. When flying, the recent trend has been to take as much hand luggage as possible and if you are travelling without hold luggage then that makes sense. But if you are packing a suitcase for the hold, then don’t put lots of duplicate items into your hand luggage in case your luggage gets lost; just one easy change of clothes is enough. These days luggage tracking is a high tech super efficient business in its own right and most reputable tour companies and airlines work with luggage tracking and delivery companies that have all the details on computer and can track and delivery any lost luggage often by the following day. Travelling with light hand luggage makes check in, waiting for the gate to be called, and getting onto the aircraft so much easier and pleasant.

  8. Apart from medication, don’t stress about forgetting something important. There are pharmacies and clothes shops everywhere these days...even in remote destinations, so buying the items you need won’t be impossible.

  9. Invest in a microfibre simple towel. Most accommodation provides towels, but many of us like to take a beach towel on holiday. If so, then microfibre towels are very absorbent but lightweight and take up much less space and are lighter than conventional towels.

  10. Lock your luggage. Theft from baggage in transit is not a major problem for British holidaymakers but never the less it makes sense to lock bags. Use a TSA approved lock when travelling to America (Travel Sentry Approved). These locks can be opened by authorized security officers for inspection and this can save the bags being broken open.  Recently we have read of a 3D printer that can now be used to unlock YSA approved padlocks. However, with most holiday suitcases containing nothing more than clothes, sunscreen and other personal items, it is hardly worthwhile to use this high technology to try and break into a case. There are hundreds of TSA padlocks available on internet sites.

With planned, clever packing, travel can be a lot less stressful …and who needs stress when going on holiday!


There are lots of additional packing tips on line…British Airways have a general video on packing, click here to view.


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