Do you enjoy packing for the holidays? Most people don’t, as it can seem like an endless task and not only that but you are never sure whether you have everything or not, so I wanted to create a list of loads of packing tips that can really help make things easier for you this summer, or indeed for any holiday you go on from now on.
I’ve grouped these packing tips into categories to make it easier to read through, and to help you find the relevant tips that much more quickly. There are packing tips for: –
- planning your packing
- childrens clothes
- entertainment items
- fitness / swimming items
- general items
- packing itself!
- and one last tip at the end that’s my favourite!
I really hope that they help you to get packed in a more stress free way this year.
So without further ado – let’s get going shall we!…
10 PACKING TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR PACKING
- How long are you going for? You will need to pack a lot of the same stuff whether you are going for a day or a month – i.e. clothes/toiletries/entertainment/documents and money/medical – but the quantities will be different. Knowing how many days you need to pack for will help when it comes to knowing how much of everything you need, so you don’t over – or under – pack.
- Check what the temperature/culture etc.. is of where you are going – and then you can pack accordingly (if you need to cover up more where you are going then you need to know before you pack 10 bikinis). It’s always worth checking just before you go as well in case the place you are going is currently having some unseasonal weather.
- What space will you have available? Are you flying? do you want to just carry on or have other luggage, are you taking the car? etc…. get to grips with the space first and you will then know what you are working with
- Write a checklist of everything you will need. This will help you to understand what you will be packing, and also hopefully ensure you don’t find something that needs washing/dry cleaning/mending etc… at the last minute. Add categories such as clothes, toiletries, entertainment, underwear, swimming/fitness, shoes, food etc….
- Get the whole family involved in packing – it’s not just one persons job, and they will then also see what constraints there are on what you can take etc…
- Keep your checklist next to your bag as you pack – and cross out each item – that way you will know what’s left to add (this is especially useful when you are using things right up to the last minute such as toothbrushes).
- Keep your checklist inside your suitcase – and circle what you used when you get back – this will give you a much better idea of what to pack the next time and you will start to make life easier and easier the more you go away
- Plan what you are going to wear and need while traveling – it is often best to wear layers so you can be comfortable whatever the temperature (especially useful if you are going for a hot to a cold country), and if you are traveling overnight you may need your toiletries close to hand rather than in your main suitcase. If you are flying then you may want to consider wearing your heavier clothes (jeans for example) as these won’t count towards your baggage weight.
- Are you carrying your luggage far? Use a suitcase** with wheels whenever possible as they are just easier to move around
- Don’t leave things until the last minute – start buying what you need as soon as possible before you go (at least 3 weeks) as this will save last minute emergencies
10 PACKING TIPS FOR PAPERWORK & INFO
- Pack all your paperwork and documentation into a plastic ziplock bag** so it’s more water proof and easy to keep everything together – keep in your hand luggage for safety
- Ensure all documentation (including passports) are not out of date
- Where possible – scan your travel documents and keep somewhere like Dropbox so you can access copies if you need to when you are away
- Ensure all important numbers you may need are in your phone (insurance, medical, emergency number of your local area etc…)
- Check with your mobile provider what fees there are for making and taking calls or texts abroad and ensure you are on the best deal.
- Think about taking a plan of what you want to do and local things to do – Lonely Planet have great guides that you can read before you go and highlight what you want to see/do to make the most of your trip – you could also highlight where you have been while you are there so you can remember when you get back everything that you did
- Talk to people who have been to where you are going and/or look online as to whats local to you so you know more about where you are going to beforehand.
- Pack your house key somewhere safe and out of the way – in a zip within your hand luggage or handbag is the safest as it will always be with you when traveling
- Pack medical information in your wallet so that in an emergency someone can read it and know of your medical history (allergies etc…)
- Pack a credit card so that you can access cash when you are away, pack it somewhere other than your wallet/purse so that you have access to money if your wallet/purse gets stolen.
10 PACKING TIPS FOR CLOTHES
- Look at the weather forecast for where you are going – and pack accordingly – no point taking 3 pairs of jeans when its going to be 35 degrees everyday!
- Choose a colour and stick mostly to this or neutrals that will match the colour – this makes your clothing very easy to mix and match and you will pack less. You can make up a lot more outfits this way while still feeling like you aren’t wearing the same thing day in, day out.
- Lay out all the clothes you want to take, and make outfits for each day/evening etc…. – make sure you have an outfit for an evening meal out, for the beach, for a shopping day in a town etc…. Actually seeing the outfits and making them up will show whether you will actually use everything you plan to take.
- Consider packing hand wash and washing items when you are out there – really good for cutting down on underwear and day wear
- Clothes tend to crease less if rolled rather than be folded
- If you prefer to fold clothes, then fold in twos or threes – that way there will be some padding on each fold and there will be less creases
- Pack clothes that can be used in several ways i.e. a dress can be dressed up for evening and down for daytime, trousers can be rolled up for a different look
- Utilise accessories and jewellery to make outfits look different so you can pack less
- When packing shoes ensure they are ones you wear often and are comfortable – you will be walking a lot on holiday. Generally a neutral or metallic coloured sandal will work well for dressing up or down and will go with most outfits
- Pack a scarf – it can dress up an outfit, be worn as a wrap on a chilly evening, protect your skin in the sun, work as something to sit on etc….
10 PACKING TIPS FOR CHILDRENS CLOTHES
- Think layers when you pack – you can add a layer when they are cold (a long sleeved t-shirt under a short sleeved t-shirt works well), then take a layer off when it gets dirty. You’ll also have more outfits!
- Children will tend to live in their swim suits most of the time so don’t over pack clothes for them!
- Pack items that are easy to wash and wear – and that will dry quickly
- Sun dresses are easy and lightweight for little girls – and quick to throw on over a swimsuit. Remember to have dresses with short sleeves to protect their little shoulders.
- Don’t forget a sun hat to keep them safe
- Pack a pair of shoes that are easy for them to take on and off, and are waterproof – Crocs are a great idea for holidays
- Sunglasses are a good idea for little eyes
- Look at protective clothes for children – you can get spf swimsuit** and other clothes which would be ideal
- Pack a small lightweight bag for them to carry bits when you are away – when you are out for a meal or for the day then they can have their colouring/toys etc… with them
- As with adults clothes – pick one main colour and stick to it – that way you will have more flexibility with outfits – very useful when they dirty clothes a lot more quickly than adults
10 PACKING TIPS FOR TOILETRIES
- Always pack toiletries in plastic bags, just in case they split when in transit
- Choose toiletries that are roughly the size you will need when away – then you don’t have to carry them back and you aren’t carrying weight when not absolutely necessary
- Travel light wherever possible – minimise makeup by using a tinted moisturiser rather than separate moisturiser and foundation, for example
- If you have expensive products then consider decanting what you need into plastic travel bottles** – this is also useful when going through airport security which is worth keeping in mind
- Use scented body lotion rather than taking perfume as this is less likely to spill – perfumes usually do a matching body lotion so you can get the same fragrance if you prefer as well
- Use products that are multi functional to save space – i.e. shampoo with conditioner, shower gel with moisturiser
- Use a Hang up wash bag** as this is easier to manage when away – it can hang on the back of any shower door wherever you are washing
- Check about whether there’s a hair dryer where you are going as this saves loads of space
- Always carry anti bacterial hand gel as you will need it most days
- Always take the essentials such as nail clippers, tweezers in your toiletry bag as you can guarantee you will need them at some point, and not always for what they were intended!
10 PACKING TIPS FOR ENTERTAINMENT ITEMS
- Consider investing in a Kindle** or ipad ** for books as you can take literally hundreds for little extra weight and bulk in your bag
- Childrens books weigh a lot so consider getting one longer book to read to younger children each night – make it a tradition to read at least one book on holiday each year. You can also get some books loaded on the kindle for them as well.
- If you want to take board games then put all the pieces into a plastic zip lock bag and make a scan of the board itself as this will be easier to carry around and you won’t mind it getting damaged as much
- A pack of cards is a simple and easy thing to pack – and can while away many hours!
- Plan what you want to read when away, its great to look forward to a good book that you simply don’t have the time to get through at home – and ensure you have it with you!
- Printout puzzles/colouring in/lists of things to spot etc... and create a folder for the kids to carry in their backpack – much more lightweight than lots of books
- Don’t pack outdoor toys as you can get cheap beach toys when you are out there
- If you know you have lots of traveling to do, and are traveling with kids, then load a variety of games onto your phone, ipad etc… and take a backpack of their favourite things so they can have different things going on – they will be less likely to get bored then
- With children, ipads ** can house films – which are a great way to keep them entertained on long journeys – you could also download a couple of films for you just in case of really bad weather, or (hopefully not!) you are ill and have to stay in bed when you are away
- Remember that you will have so much to entertain when you are away – new places to explore, things to see and do – so if anything, pack little in terms of entertainment – you want to know you are on holiday and not have your head stuck in a book or electronic device at all times!
10 PACKING TIPS FOR FITNESS / SWIMMING ITEMS
- Pack at least 2 swimsuits – 1 for wearing, and 1 for drying – you can also use a swimsuit as a top if you’re a little more creative!
- If you like doing fitness when away, consider swimming more rather than taking lots of extra kit
- Consider the heat when you go away – you may love your morning run but it may just be too hot so you won’t use your kit – so you may prefer walking or yoga etc…
- Avoid taking trainers by making your fitness more weights and exercises rather than cardio – you can use your body weight for many great exercises tat would be easy to do wherever you are (push ups, situps etc…)
- Consider taking some waterproof shoes such as flip flops so that walking around between swimming is easier, and also for use in communal showers
- Consider towels as you may need more showers etc… when you are doing any fitness, or you may not be able to take your towel from youe accomodation to the beach – you may want to pack a lightweight towel just for these eventualities
- If you swim a lot on holiday, why not pack some protection for your hair with swim specific shampoo
- Pack UV protected clothing for sports and/or swimming is ideal if you are out in the sun a lot
- Fitness kit will smell of sweat especially in hot climates – so ensure you pack a plastic bag for your dirty washing to separate from the clean
- If you can, pack a gym bag and keep these items separate from the rest of your clothes
10 PACKING TIPS FOR GENERAL ITEMS
- Ensure you have an adapter for wherever you are going so you can charge your phone/ipad etc…
- Earplugs are an easy win – as they take up so little room – but you just don’t know where you are staying and what the noise is like at night.
- Take a beach bag as this will be useful for shopping, general day to day use, picnics etc… – they are large but take up little room in a suitcase, easy to carry, and lightweight
- You will usually have some great ideas on your holidays – its when we relax that we think overview rather than details – so remember to pack a notepad and pen
- If you have space pack one pillow protector for each member of the family to save sleeping on old and possibly dirty pillows – they take up very little room and are lightweight
- Create a mini sewing kit** or buy a travel one – there’s nothing worse than not being able to wear clothes due to something that can easily be mended. A needle and some invisible thread (this works for any coloured garment) should suffice
- Think about whether you need to take special foods etc…. – if you drink a certain type of tea or coffee you may decide its worth taking some of this, or if you have food allergies you may need to pack items you can eat wherever you are
- Take a Travel First Aid Kit** – this will come in handy for falls etc… – add in any medical information for you and your family in case you need a hospital visit when away (check your insurance etc..)
- Don’t take too much – you can always buy when you are there – most places especially tourist places, cater well for everyone. For example – you may be able to buy nappies at a supermarket next door to where you are staying which would save loads of space in your suitcase.
- Pack a travel speaker** for your ipod or phone so that you can listen to music in your holiday home
10 PACKING TIPS FOR, WELL, PACKING!
- Consider which way your suitcase or bag will be held, and put the heavier items at the bottom and the lighter items at the top. This will stop your bag from toppling over, and also make things crease less.
- Take a large plastic bag ready for your dirty laundry – so you can separate everything easily (and if you do use a launderette or hand wash when you’re away it’s easier to grab and go
- Start packing at least a week ahead of your holiday – you will have time to wash or buy things if needed
- Check things off your list as you pack them – that way you will know exactly whats left to pack. This is really useful if like me you tend to use the same toiletries on the day of departure, that way you can ensure everything gets into the bag.
- Put underwear and smaller items into shoes etc.. to save space – use every space available and you will get more into the bag
- Ensure any breakable items are enclosed by softer items i.e. my daughters night light is always taken on holiday with us, but we wrap it in one of her jumpers so it doesn’t break the plastic casing.
- If you are making a stopover for a night, or you know what you will need first when you arrive, try and pack those items last so that they are the first you get to when you open the bag
- Don’t slip in extra stuff if you have extra room – edit as you pack – you can save some room for souvenirs!
- Try and ensure that everything of a similar genre is contained in a bag or plastic container i.e. shoes in a bag will stop clothes getting dirty
- Don’t let the rest of the family take things out of the bags once you start packing – or you will never know what you still need to add – ideally pack in a spare room out of the way
10 PACKING TIPS FOR FLYING
- Ensure you know your airline restrictions on baggage size and weight and write them down. and make sure your bags all comply.
- Use as light a suitcase as you can to save weight here – you can then take more!
- Do a “test” pack and weigh your bag – then you’ll know roughly whether you are OK for weight restrictions (if you have digital scales take a measure of you standing on it, and then one with you holding the bag which will give you a rough guide as to the weight of the bag, or you can get a scales specifically for this job HERE**).
- Ensure you lock your bag to make it as secure as possible
- Make sure your bag is easily identifiable – add ribbon or something to make it stand out on the carousel
- Label all bags really well (inside and out) with your name and a contact number and details of your flight and destination – don’t put your address on as if it gets into the wrong hands they will have too much information!
- Don’t pack per person, pack a little of everyone persons clothes into each suitcase, then if one suitcase goes astray everyone will at least have things to wear.
- Always use your carry on bag for medication, jewellery etc… – keep with you precious or valuable items (valuable for your health or valuable in money)
- Pack your hand luggage so that its really easy to find what you need. Backpacks are great as they are easy to carry and have lots of compartments so you can have specific items in each – great when you need to grab something half way through a flight.
- If you are hiring a car at the other end of the flight, then ensure it will be big enough for your passengers AND all your luggage
Here’s the very last of my 101 packing tips:-
Write down what you absolutely cannot leave behind (medication is the main one) and simply ensure you have this when you leave. You can always buy everything else when you are there.
– it really isn’t the end of the world if you forget most things – so relax a little.