Having done my fair share of international travel, I consider myself to be a bit of hot shot when it comes to packing a suitcase. My initial trips were marred by badly packed luggage but as I got more experience and my trips became more complex, I quickly learned the benefit of packing frugally and smart. Regardless of whether you’re going abroad or opting for a staycation, travelling for work or pleasure, here are my best packing tips for stress free travel.
Plan your outfits to prevent over packing
To prevent over packing, be ruthless with the number of outfits you take. Just as fashion stylists advise you to create a capsule wardrobe based on your lifestyle, aim to create a ‘capsule suitcase’ based on the reason for your trip, taking into consideration the length of your stay and the weather at your destination. Select items which work together to make multiple outfits which cross over from day to night. For example, a sari for the beach can double as a wrap for the evening. For work, consider one dark jacket that can make a smart suit for daytime and can be glammed up with a silk top and jeans for evening drinks. Shoes take up a lot of space, so wear your comfiest, bulkiest pair whilst travelling and pack sandals with a bit of glitz which will work on the beach and at the restaurant. Wraps and sari’s are a must because they can turn a day dress into an evening dazzler. They also fold infinitesimally small, allowing you to indulge yourself by packing a little selection.
When I say consider the weather, I mean really think about the temperature. In the past I have made the mistake of packing dresses for Europe suited to summer in St Ives not St Tropez!
How to organise a suitcase
Lay everything that you want to pack out on the floor or bed. Place the heaviest items at the bottom of the case, (the bottom is the section closest to the wheels). Fold or roll clothes as you prefer but try to group larger clothes together in outfits so they are easy to find. Place shoes down the gaps at the side and place underwear inside them; as well as making the most of available space, this also helps to maintain the shoe’s shape. Wrap liquids in plastic bags to save your entire case from spillages and if taking liquids in carry-on luggage, make sure you take no more than the maximum limit of 100ml per item and no more than a litre in total. These should be placed in a sealable plastic bag, full guidelines are available here. Make sure you have the bag to hand at the airport.
Organise garments with packing cubes
Packing cubes make organising and protecting your clothes so much easier. Use them to separate larger bulky items or put outfits together. Having cubes in a range of sizes means you can keep small garments and accessories together making them easier to find. Separating items in packing cubes also helps to protect delicate garments from being snagged by zips, shoe or belt buckles. Packing cubes help to compress items making it easier to close your suitcase and ensure that everything stays in place. This is especially useful if you have to open you case at any point during the journey.
I have found packing cubes so useful that I have added them to my clothes care range here. I wanted to ensure that mine were made from a light fabric to allow clothes to breath and ensure odours do not accumulate inside. They also have a transparent mesh lid so its easy to see what is packed inside; simple but so important for saving time. Our set includes three different sizes which fit together into a carry-on suitcase.
To add a touch of luxury to my suitcase, I like to include one of our May Chang drawer sachet and hanging ovals in my case. These are perfectly compact and keep clothes smelling gorgeous during transit and they can be popped in to draws or hung in wardrobes when you get to your destination. The scent is designed to deter clothes moths, so they also provide protection in storage away from home and help to improve hotel wardrobes that might not meet your standards!
To fold or to roll clothes?
Rolling clothes can help make more of the small space available. To reduce creasing, I like to roll items that crease more easily around bulkier items that crease less; a bit like a Swiss roll. However, you simply can’t avoid some creasing, so I always pack a hand held steamer because they are perfect for any type of fabric, even the most delicate, and they are small enough for a carry-on suitcase. We supply a super steamer which comes with a water bottle adapter so you only need to pack the compact steaming unit. For advice on how to steam clothes see our blog here.
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