There’s been a lot of talk this year about travelling light. Really light.
Could you contemplate your main summer holiday with just one carry on bag? Yep – that’s 56 x 45 x 25cm No big case in the hold, just hand baggage.
The idea is that you fill it with a very small pile of carefully chosen clothes that between them make up a few different outfits.
I agree that it’s simpler, less hassle at the airport, no hanging around baggage reclaim, and it’ll save you a chunk of money. But where’s the fun in having to wear the same outfit every other evening!
To be honest I’d rather pay the money, wait in baggage reclaim, heave my case to the apartment – and enjoy all my lovely things!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very organised packer. None of this chuck it all in at the last minute malarkey. I once went on holiday with someone who threw dirty clothes into their case, intending to wash them when we got there. Also the same person forgot their passport, which we had to drive back for! Needless to say we’ve never shared a holiday since!
There’s plenty of areas you can shortcut on and make your luggage a little lighter.
- Little bottles. Take travel sized toiletries. When you reach your destination visit the supermarket and buy large shampoo, conditioner and shower gel to last the whole holiday. That way you travel home even lighter than you arrived. This might not work if you’re heading to a remote Polynesian island but you’ll find most brands in most countries.
- Plan your outfits. If you know me at all, you will not be surprised that I write a holiday list (about 3 weeks before we leave). Work out your outfits carefully. If you just dump pile of holiday clothes in the case you’ll end up with mismatched tops and skirts that don’t go with anything else. Laugh if you like but I always do a “spreadsheet” to match skirts with tops, with a bag, with shoes and with jewellery. Honestly, it works. Most of us only get 2 weeks in the sun so we need to get it right.
- Wash your smalls. There’s usually a washing machine or laundry room in your apartment and most hotels have a laundry service. It won’t kill you to put a few undies through and hang them out to dry in the sunshine. That way you’ll get away with 8-10 pairs of “you know whats” instead of 14/15. At the end of the holiday I always put everything (yes everything) through the wash. This means you’re packing all your clothes away clean and you’ll have nothing to do until you need to iron it for next summer.
- Time to read. Treat yourself to a Kindle, or load books onto your tablet instead of packing a pile of paperbacks. I know this one makes complete sense but I struggle immensely. So if you’re ok with digital words then go for it, but if you love the smell and feel of books like me, you’ll find space for them. Here’s a few ideas of what to read.
There’s also a good few things you should never compromise on. After all, what could be worse than spending large chunks of your holiday wishing you’d brought this and that.
- Getting through the airport – Get yourself a travel wallet. It’s the best way to coast through the airport. I use mine to keep my passport, boarding passes and VIP lounge pass (yes indeed) all together. You can also shove in your car hire papers or onward travel tickets. When you’ve arrived it’s also useful for day trips to keep all your passes and tickets together.
- Stand out – make sure your luggage stands out from the crowd. Try colourful luggage tags or distinctive style cases to help you pick them out on the carousel.
- Keep blogging – There’s not many places I go without my trusty MacBook (and don’t forget the charger). I can keep in touch with most things on the iphone but for actual typing a keyboard is essential. And for me travel blogging isn’t really work, it’s a great way to record our adventures.
- Create memories. It used to just be a camera with spare battery. Now it’s a camera, 3 spare batteries, 2 lenses and a tripod. It’s my hobby and travelling is a great way to create content for the months ahead. The tripod fits in the big case and the camera bag goes in my hand luggage so I can keep a careful eye on it through the journey.
- Stay safe. We all have essential medication and vitamins to keep us going. I always take a (small) first aid kit with us everywhere. Plasters, antiseptic cream, gaviscon, bug spray.
- Stay protected. Don’t compromise on sun protection. You might be tempted to just buy some cheap suncream when you get there but (a) it’ll be expensive and (b) you won’t have the same choice. I’ll be taking a large tube of Tropic Mineral Sun Protection. Factor 50
- Write a little every day. Take a few moments over breakfast or by the pool to write down what you did the day before. When you’re having fun it’s easy to forget where you went and which restaurants you ate in. For a while I’ve kept a holiday journal. It’s just a handful of words, but you’ll appreciate looking back at it in a few years time and recalling those memories with a smile.
I’m counting down the days until our Catalan adventure. My list is written, my outfits are planned, my books are selected and I have bought the perfect journal to record our adventure.
Are you all set for your next holiday?