Packing it in!

Ah yes! The days before luggage restrictions!Packing is a bit of an art form. You’re either a natural, or you’re not. I confess to not being the world’s best packer. I start off with my empty suitcase yawning in front of me, huge and cavernous – loads of room! With careless ease, I place clothes and shoes inside – and then suddenly… it’s full! At which point I discover I haven’t got in half of what I need to take, so pull it all out and start again… after about the fourth attempt I am hot and bothered and end up cramming everything in and have to ask Richard to lean on the suitcase lid as I battle to secure it! Oh dear, Joanna, must try harder.

Like a lot of art forms you can, of course, train yourself to improve your skills and I was intrigued to read a How it should be done…list of ‘top packing tips’ online. Some of them are so very sensible (and obvious!) I can’t think why I hadn’t used them before! Anyway, here’s my selection of the best ones that I hope you might find useful…

  • If you can manage with a carry-on, do it. Try taking half of the things you need and twice the money. You can make buying a few new items a fun part of the adventure.
  • Pack a sleeping mask and earplugs. These can be very handy on a plane, train or in your hotel room.
  • Capitalise on empty suitcase space and roll your clothes, instead of folding them. Stuff socks, underwear, and accessories inside your shoes.
  • Keep a sarong or pashmina in your carry-on. They can be used as a blanket on the plane, a scarf, or a shawl on an evening out.
  • … how it is more often done!Kitchen sandwich bags can be used to hold your accessories, vacuum pack bags can be space savers, and bin bags have multiple uses (laundry bag, shoe covers).
  • If you are travelling as a couple, it is a good idea to split your clothes between two suitcases on the off chance one of them gets lost during the flight.
  • Bring a multi-socket extension lead. Although newer hotels have USB ports in rooms, it’s best to have an extra outlet to charge all of your electronics at once. This is very important if you need to work on your laptop or phone, as I often do, and (thankfully!) one of the tasks I leave to Richard!
  • Make photocopies before leaving home. If you’re travelling out of the country, make two photocopies of your passport.
  • Use your smartphone to take pictures of your car in the airport’s car park and do the same for your luggage and its contents in case it gets lost. So simple – and something I will definitely be doing… no more wandering around Bristol airport car parks at 3am wondering where we left the car!
3 replies
  1. Tina Dorr says:

    I always roll our clothes now, find it so much better and less creasing. The hand rolling vacuum bags are a boon too for underwear etc.

  2. Susan R says:

    Thanks Joanna – happy to say when I did a lot of travelling I did follow most on the list. I've always split the clothes into two cases and always put a change of undies and a toothbrush in my hand luggage just in case it all went missing – luckily nothing ever did. When we were in Egypt many years ago we met a man who took all his oldest clothes with him and then dispose of anything he didn't want to wash or take home. When we were all on the coach to go to the airport a steward from the boat we had been travelling down the Nile on rushed to give him back his old sandals that he thought he'd put in the bin accidently! (He then had to dispose of them at the airport as he didn't have the heart to say he'd dumped them!)
    These days you will find me on the allotment and not waiting in an airport – but I would love another big holiday one day when we are not tied to a one man business and my hubby is retired. Happy holidays to you and all who are going places this summer.

  3. Jenney says:

    I don't travel abroad much these days but although I did know most of the tips – wonderful place the Internet – I shall be using the take a photo of car and luggage tip especially when parking and then travelling by train. Thanks for all the interesting and varied items on the blog. J x


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