With baggage weight limits now being reduced by many airlines, and so much charged for anything extra, it’s become more important than ever to pack wisely, and to travel as lightly as possible.
If your suitcase or bag is more than eight years old, the first trip you should take is to check out more modern luggage. The latest fabrics and plastics are much lighter, more durable and far easier to wheel or to carry than they’ve ever been. Many include good ideas for better packing, with separate compartments, expandable sides, strong zippers, easy-to-manoeuvre wheels and longer handles.
Aim for both stylish and functional luggage, bearing in mind what you’ll use it most for. Would a soft holdall that can be squashed into the boot of a car, for instance, be more useful than a rigid case? Also bear in mind the size, especially for carry-on bags. A good short-trip travel bag should always be within the size limits set by airlines for cabin baggage, either a total dimension of 105cm for domestic travel on or 115cm for an overseas business trip.
2. TAKE A SMALL DAY-BAG TOO
A lightweight smaller bag is also a necessity, either a little shoulder day-pack or a bag with a strap that can be worn across the body, for going out at your destination. Avoid a bag with wheels as this will limit where you’ll be able to walk – up and down stairs or across cobblestones – and can quickly become a nuisance.
Check the climate of your destination, and choose your clothing accordingly. Pack a careful array of mix-and-match items that can all be worn with each other, in easy wash and drip-dry fabrics, that don’t need ironing. Also consider investing in a couple of tops made of lightweight wool that wicks away moisture and resists odour so they can be worn again and again without washing.
Roll clothes instead of folding to take up less room and end up less creased. Even if you have a garment that needs an iron, most hotels will supply one. If they don’t, either hang the item in a steamy bathroom or dampen it and then smooth it out and dry with a hairdryer which will have exactly the same effect.
Stuff small items, like socks, into shoes, to make the most of space and, if you’re going away for a while and really do need a lot of clothes for all weathers, consider buying a compression bag, either an automatic one, or one that works off a vacuum cleaner, to suck out all the air before putting into a suitcase.
Depending on the type of holiday you’re taking, wear the good pair of walking shoes on the plane to avoid having to pack and carry them, and take a casual pair of shoes, a smart pair and trainers plus thongs or Crocs for the beach.
Shoes can take up a lot of space so try to minimize the number of pairs. Make sure the ones you bring are comfortable and sturdy enough for plenty of strolls, and never bring new shoes you haven’t yet worn in, especially if they’re intended for walking.
5. HOW TO DRESS FOR TRAVEL
If you’re travelling by plane and hoping for an upgrade, men should always wear a collar with a shirt and have a smart jacket handy. Women should equally look smart, with shoes rather than trainers.
For any other travel, comfort is king, with loose clothing, shoes that can be easily untied or slipped off, and a casual jacket, wrap to help if the temperature drops. If it’s a long flight, put on compression socks too. On an airline that has a strict low baggage limit, wear a travel jacket with big pockets. It’s amazing how much you can carry on your person.