If you’re the sort of person who hotfoots it into the airport only to find the suitcase you’re clumsily dragging behind you is grossly overweight, and then realises, once on vacation, that not only do you have nothing to wear, but what you have packed is covered in the sticky excretions of an exploded shampoo bottle, then read on…
First, the basics: before you start packing, decide if you will put luggage in the hold or just take carry-on. If you’ve settled on the latter, it’s vital you use your limited space, and ensure your case or bag adheres to airline regulations.
Baggage allowance varies between carriers, so make sure you check your airline’s weight policy. As a general rule, you’re allowed one personal item (such as a handbag) and a carry-on piece of luggage that weights up to 7 kilograms and is no more than 114 centimetres long. When choosing luggage, bear in mind that a hard case is sturdier but it does limit how much you can cram in, and so might not be the best for holiday shopaholics.
To ensure you pack absolutely everything you need, give in to your inner pedant and write a packing list (some websites even offer printable lists with suggested essentials). Be honest with yourself about what you actually need, and to avoid hefty airport baggage penalties, weigh what you’re taking before you leave the house.
If you plan to land and head straight out to find the party, the last thing you need is a pile of creased garments, so always roll your clothes rather than folding them. If weight isn’t an issue but bulkiness might be, put your rolled items in vacuum bags that you can seal and deflate. Avoid stains by packing light-coloured items inside out, and put plastic hotel shower caps over the soles of your shoes to keep dirt from rubbing onto other garments. The truly fashion conscious might want to invest in a travel iron, such as the Steamfast SF-717. It costs about $40 and is the size of a computer mouse.
When it comes to travel anxiety, there is nothing quite like the horror of realising, at 39,000 feet, that somewhere in the hold beneath you an entire tube of sun cream is seeping into your new holiday wardrobe. Save yourself the stress, and space, by buying cheaper toiletries when you arrive or wrapping items in plastic wrap before packing.
If travelling internationally with just carry-on, be mindful of the 100-millitre volume limit on liquids and gels. Most pharmacies sell clear vanity bags with individual bottles to decant products into. Alternatively, you can treat yourself to a ready-made kit such as Aesop’s Boston washbag ($75), which contains a dreamy array of unisex delights such as Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser, body balm, and even mouthwash.
As a rule, zip slider bags are your best friend when travelling. Use one just for wires and phone chargers, another for your passport and documents, and another for important medications.
Finally, don’t weigh yourself down with holiday reading. Invest instead in an e-reader that can carry the equivalent of a plane-load of paper books in one tiny little tablet.
Follow these steps properly and you might just find yourself starting to relax from the minute you hit the duty-free lounge.
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