Packing Light for Your Holiday
After travelling on business, using low cost airlines (who charge for the air you breathe, never mind checked luggage) and undertaking a multitude of European motorcycle tours, I have got packing light down to an art form. The need to take only carry-on or when limited to packing space (motorcycle panniers) has honed my packing and removed the need for the kitchen sink. There is nothing more frustrating than lugging around things you are never actually going to use. I also dislike sitting in a baggage claim area watching battered bags go round and round on a conveyor belt. By the time you’ve picked up your suitcase, I’m in a taxi heading for my sunshine.
This holiday I need to pack for three weeks, but, because we are touring, we are only taking backpacks. So I thought I would share with you how I do it.
This is the biggest bane when taking carry-on. Believe it or not, its now ten years since the change in security rules dictated the amount of liquids you could take on board. The current rules are:
- Each liquid you carry must be in its own container of no more than 100ml (3.4 ounces).
- All liquids should be carried in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag of up to 20cm x 20cm (8in x 8in) with a total capacity of up to a litre (approximately one quart).
- You must be able to completely close the bag and be able to fit it in your hand baggage.
- The bag of liquids must be taken out of other hand baggage to be screened separately.
This is a big issue for a woman. Not only do we have to think about all the ablutions we need for normal, fragrant, day to day life, but there is also our make-up bag to think about! how on earth are you going to carry all that necessary stuff on board with such meagre restrictions? obviously the rules were written by a man.
I have very sensitive skin, therefore I cannot use just any old products, so this is where I have to be savvy. I am taking with me what I need and I am buying in the airport what I know I can buy that suits my skin type.
I have swapped my liquid foundation for a mineral foundation which I bought here. As I am in a hot country the mineral foundation will not slide off my face and will allow my skin to breathe, and as it’s a powder it will not be subject to the plastic bag rule. I am likely to back this up with bronzer for a little extra umph, especially as my tan develops. I will have a liquid addition in the form of a concealer stick, but not just any old concealer stick! So that’s 1 item in my plastic (isn’t that a swear word now?) bag so far.
I am taking this lovely Daniel Sandler fluid blusher which in fact is a multi purpose product. I use it on my cheeks, my lips and my eyelids, it gives a lovely subtle colour and glow. I will support this with a lip liner, which again, not being liquid will not need to be in a plastic bag. So far 2 items.
Item 3 will be my mascara, this could equally be purchased after security, but as I have a half used one, I am happy to take it with a view to finishing it whilst on holiday. The only other item I would carry in my limited make-up bag would be an eyeliner. I have a couple of good old fashioned pencil liners which of course take up little space and do not need to go in the plastic bag.
So there you have it, my makeup bag is sorted.
Shampoo, conditioner, hair product, sunscreen, toothpaste, deodorant – these I will buy at the airport, after security.
Mosquito spray. I have opted for the wristbands this time, I purchased them from Amazon and they got good reviews. If anyone is going to get bitten it is me, guaranteed, so I am relying on all those people on Amazon extolling the virtues of the band, otherwise it will be a rather itchy holiday.
Perfume, face cream and body cream- my lovely daughter bought me some travel size L’Occitane for Christmas so these will be going with me.
As you can see from that list, my toiletries are going to be limited to necessities only (yes mascara is a necessity) and will take up very little space.
This is where I am ruthless. I will wear on the plane the heaviest items for two reasons:
- Air planes are cold
- less bulk taking up space in my backpack
The key to good packing is a capsule wardrobe. Choose a colour palette so everything can mix and match and you will never be bored or have the same look twice.
Ladies, don’t be put off by the trainers in the list below. It may sound less-than-glamorous to be wearing trainers, but my beautiful friend Charlotte (who travels extensively) always has trainers on, in almost every Facebook holiday photo she posts, and yet she looks amazing, ALL the time. Trust me when I say, you want your feet to be comfortable. On a trip to Tokyo I took what I thought were sensible flats (ballet shoes anyone) only to find that after walking ALL DAY in an un-cushioned sole my feet were actually falling off, honest. To add insult to injury, European women are hard pressed to find sizes to fit in Asian countries as we are much bigger built, so I ended up buying a pair of men’s (unflattering) trainers for the remainder of the holiday, yak! take some nice Nike’s with you, your feet with love you for it (other brands are available).
This will be my packing list:
- Three pairs of knickers (one on, two clean) I pretty much wash my underwear in the shower with me every evening and leave to dry overnight so I always have clean underwear.
- Two bra’s (one sports and one normal)
- Bikini x 3 – well I don’t want every photo by the pool to look the same
- Trainers, sandals and flip flops – Trainers will be worn on the plane
- Two dresses (one short, one long), a long skirt which doubles as a dress (Multifunction from French Connection) lightweight trousers and two pairs of shorts.
- Seven tops (1 worn on the plane) and two long sleeve cotton shirts
- A lightweight jacket (worn on the plane)
- A cover up for the beach
- A lightweight pack away rain jacket
As I am off to Thailand and most things are relatively cheap I don’t plan on taking my Raybans. Our tour, which will include activities such as jungle trekking and quad biking, poses a real risk of losing or breaking my expensive glasses, so I will be buying some cheaper glasses there, that way if they do get damaged I won’t be too upset.
When packing your clothes don’t forget to roll rather than fold, and use the space in your shoes to pack away your smalls. I shan’t go into it in great detail, this video gives you the best example of how to pack. Trust me when I say that rolling uses so much less space than folding.
This is where the bulk of my backpack items sit. I would not fly all that way without a camera and we recently bought a reasonable Nikon with this holiday in mind. I will also have my i-phone for the times when a big camera is just too inconvenient and my i-pad (for editing photos). With these items comes the needs for chargers, plugs and leads. Then there is a handful of final few bits and bobs, books, hair grips, razor etc.
And there you have it. Of course it’s much simpler when you are going somewhere warm as the thickness of the clothes you need is much diminished. For me, I actually run a capsule wardrobe at home anyway, so mixing and matching and not having a mahusive amount of clothes comes naturally. Trust me though, you really don’t need as much as you think you do, don’t be tempted to panic at the end and throw a load more stuff in ‘just in case’. If you have forgotten something? providing you aren’t in the middle of the desert, there is always going to be an opportunity to buy it.
Do you have any packing advice?