Hands up if youâve got a long haul summer holiday coming up!?
Oooh you lucky thing, I hope youâre jetting off somewhere fabulous!
As your departure date gets closer Iâm sure youâre going to start thinking about packing so Iâm here today to share my tips.
I used to be terrible at packing and would pretty much take everything I owned AND the kitchen sink. Of course, Iâd arrive and wear a tiny fraction of the clothes and bags and shoes and jewellery Iâd dragged half way across the globe with me. Iâd always regret lugging so much stuff with me and would vow to pack lighter next year. Only I never would!
While I was backpacking through Asia and Australia I learned a lot during those two years. Of course, I learned a lot of philosophical things like living in the moment and appreciating the little things in life. But one of the main things I learned was how to pack for long haul travel.
Make a packing list
Before you even begin packing, make yourself a list. This will ensure you donât forget anything but, more importantly, itâll mean you donât over pack. Itâs all too easy to think, âIâll just squeeze in this top and these shoes and this necklaceâ, and before you know it youâre packing every possession you own!
Get an enormous suitcase and share it
With so many airlines charging to check-in baggage, it makes sense to get as much bang for your buck and squeeze as much into that weight allowance as you can. I usually recommend taking hand luggage only but when youâre travelling long-haul youâre probably be going away for longer and will need more stuff.
So share a suitcase with whoever youâre travelling with and take a side each. But make sure you weigh it before you leave the house so check youâre not over the weight limit for your airline. Take a look at Matalanâs luggage collection for some good mahoosive suitcase options.
Use packing cubes
Packing cubes are great space savers. Iâm not even sure why but you end up with so much extra space when you use them. And if youâre sharing your suitcase with your partner or your kids it makes it much easier to separate everyoneâs stuff.
Use your hand luggage allowance too
Just because youâre checking in luggage it doesnât mean you canât maximise your hand luggage too! If youâve got items you couldnât squeeze in your main luggage then pop them in your hand luggage. Keep aside bulky things like bigger clothes for your hand luggage as it makes it easier when youâre going through security. If your bag is filled with jumpers and jeans then itâs unlikely it will get searched but if you have toiletries and lots of little bits and bobs then theyâre more likely to want to look inside.
Take lots of tops but barely any bottoms
My top tip for packing light is to leave all the shorts/skirts/trousers/jeans at home and just take 1 or 2 options. I usually take my favourite denim cuts off and travel in a pair of leggings and thatâs pretty much it. No one notices/cares if youâre wearing the same jeans everyday if you have lots of different tops and accessories. And itâs much better to get one REALLY nice pair of jeans or shorts than 4-5 cheaper options.
Remember, theyâll have everything there
No matter where youâre going in the whole world, as long as they have people, they will have all the stuff you need. So donât worry too much about taking EVERYTHING because you can get it all when you arrive.
Only take your favourites
Donât take your âsecond favouriteâ things because youâll never use or wear them. Letâs say you have 4 bikinis and 2 are your favourites and the other 2 are just OK. Youâre never going to wear the 2 OK ones so just stick with your 2 favourites!
Leave some space
I know itâs tough to leave a little bit of free space in your case but do this to leave room for souvenirs, gifts andâ¦presents for yourself!
Wrap your cables up with hair bobbles
Avoid your cables getting into a tangled mess by wrapping them up neatly and securing them in place with bobbles. This also means you wonât be rummaging through your case looking for a stray bobble when you arrive.
Buy an international plug adaptor with USB points
Most of our gadgets can be charged via USB these days so all you really need is one adaptor with loads of USB points. Buy an international adaptor so you can use it anywhere and youâll never need to worry about having the correct adaptor for the country youâre in.
Take a sarong instead of a towel
Leave the bulky beach towel at home and take a thin, lightweight sarong instead. Itâs just as good if youâre lying on it on the beach and itâll dry you off too. Itâs easier to pack in your suitcase and you wonât need to lug a big towel to the beach everyday.
All you really need is your credit card and passport
And remember, all you actually need is your credit card and your passport. Remember this when youâre stressing and worrying youâve forgotten something. As long as you leave the house with these two items then nothing can really go wrong. OK, maybe youâll want your phone too!
Do you have any more travel packing tips to add to the list?
Read more packing tips
This post was written in collaboration with Matalan.