Vacation is a hallowed happening that we look forward to for months before we actually experience it.
But somehow we always end up under a mountain of clothes the night before, clutching three pairs of high-heeled wedges and muttering between sobs of “but you never know who we might meet on holiday!”
Put down the unsuitable footwear, stop trying to close your case by sitting on it, and pour yourself a glass of wine.
Packing doesn’t have to be so difficult. Follow this easy breezy guide to filling up your suitcase that will have you feeling zen before you’ve even reached your destination.
Pick a Great Case
A good workman never blames his tools, so start by picking a well-designed suitcase. Try to choose one that has plenty of pockets and zips to allow you to separate your belongings, which will make it a million times easier to find things once you arrive. One with four wheels is also a blessing as you won’t be dragging all your earthly possessions behind you around airports and cobbled streets. Colourful is also wise so you can find it on the conveyor belt, but a bright ribbon tied onto a black case will do the trick if not.
Plan Your Outfits
It might sound a little bit anal to plan out your outfits for the whole trip, but you’ll be thankful later when you can just throw on a pre-approved ensemble when you wake up late and are rushing to get out and about. Throwing in random clean shirts just for the sake of it will only pave the way for an anything-goes approach in which you reach your hostel to discover you have five crop tops and absolutely no pants.
Don’t Have a Fashion Overhaul
If you’ve never worn a fedora or a poncho before, might we suggest that you don’t try it now when you’re working with a strict baggage allowance. Unless you have a proven vacation alter-ego who throws all their normal fashion rules out the window, stick to a wardrobe that you feel comfortable with and avoid carting around items that you’ll never end up wearing.
Pack items you can wear more than once so you can cut down on wasted space. If you’re going somewhere hot, inquire about the laundry situation at your accommodation or take some travel hand wash so you rinse through items you might want to wear more than once, or frequent use articles like bikinis. Jewellery, which takes up much less room than shoes or dresses, can transform an outfit that you plan on wearing more than once.
Don’t Fill to Capacity
Just because you can fit several more items in your case does not mean that you should. Your checked baggage allowance is not a target you must aim for, and if you’re moving around while you’re away, repacking your case every couple of days is bound to make you miserable. Besides, you know what plenty of room in your suitcase means? Shopping.
“Greece is always sunny, right?” does not count as a thorough weather review ahead of your trip. Sheer positive thinking won’t change the fact that it’s raining most of next week and all you have are hot pants. Sure, it blows that they’re predicting cooler temperatures during the week of your vacation, but you know what else sucks? Catching a cold whilst you’re sightseeing because you were too stubborn to pack a light jacket.
Split Up Items
If you’re travelling with a friend or SO, put some of your belongings in their case and vice versa. That way if your airline loses your baggage or your bag is stolen, you’ll still have some of your items while you get things sorted out. But always keep items you would hate to lose (devices, jewellery or passports) in your hand luggage in case a bag goes missing.
Easy Access Items
Have stuff ready to go on top of your case in an easy to reach bag, or in a zip/mesh section so you can head straight out to beach/bar/bed when you get to your accommodation. Not having to hunt for your flip-flops, clutch or contact lenses case will really keep your mood up when you’re running on empty after a long or stressful flight over.
Even if your case doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, you can keep things in order with dividers to separate your underwear and other garments. Eagle Creek do some really great Pack-it Cubes, which help to keep things neat and tidy, and they have organizers in some of their sets that allow you to keep dress shirts and other items relatively crease-free and easy to find. These are particularly handy if you have a backpack or holdall where items are less visible.
It’s 2016, and there’s really not much Lonely Planet left out there. So unless you’re heading to the Amazon or a remote village in Outer Mongolia, chances are you’re going to come across a chemist if you forgot toothpaste or an electronics store if you realize you left your battery at home. Take a deep breath, zip up that case, and enjoy your well-earned trip.