If there is one thing that experienced travellers will be inclined to advise you on, aside from which landmarks to see and what customs you should abide to, it is what to pack when preparing to travel.
Of course, the type of trip you are making will influence what you should pack. For instance, those who are heading out for six months backpacking in southeast Asia will obviously have to consider the practicalities of lugging around a rucksack, so perhaps luxury items such as body lotion and high heels are best left behind.
However, if you are planning a week away in a cosmopolitan city such as London, then we have some advice that you may want to pay attention to when it comes to packing your suitcase.
Planning is key
Being organised and prepared is an absolute must when you begin thinking about which outfits you want to bring with you on your trip and the first thing to do is check your luggage allowance.
Whether you are flying or taking a train or coach, you must check what you are allowed to bring with you before you do anything else. Some airlines include a suitcase as well as hand luggage in the ticket price, while others will charge you for checking one in – make sure you know what the rules are for you and then double check what the weight allowance is. Trust us, you do not want to be that person at the airport literally airing your pants in public as you try your best to remove some items in a bid to avoid a £40 charge.
Once you know what your allowance is, the fun can really begin. Think of it as though you have two pieces to pack for – your suitcase and your hand luggage – and write a list of the things you want to put in each. For example, the first things you might want to (really should) put on the suitcase list is ‘underwear’ and ‘toothbrush’, while your hand luggage list will read something along the lines of ‘money’ and ‘passport’.
When it comes to flying with your hand luggage, be wary about the prohibited items and liquid allowances as you will only have to give them up at security. Anyone who wants to take a moisturiser onboard in a bid to tackle the stale cabin air that seems to really do its best to make your skin dry, either buy a travel sized one or invest in some empty travelling bottles and fill one up.
Once you have completed your list, get the items out on your bed and check them off one by one. You may suddenly look at your list and realise that seven pairs of jeans for a three day trip is a bit excessive and decide to put four back into your drawer – there is nothing wrong with a bit of elimination when it comes to packing!
Once you have purged through all of your belongings, place them inside your suitcase and make sure that you can zip it up with ease. Do not try and cram things in, if you have to get someone to sit on top of your case while you try to close it then our advice is to purge again – should it break during your trip you will only resent having to splash out on a brand new case!
Plan your outfits by looking at the weather forecast for your destination. However, be aware that if you are visiting London that the weather can be unpredictable. Bring an umbrella just in case and a comfy pair of walking shoes for when you are moving between landmarks.
It is always best to be over prepared when it comes to deciding what clothes to bring (of course, should luggage allowance permit it), so if you aren’t too sure whether or not you need to bring a thermal vest for example, then go ahead and bring it as you never know how cold you may feel in the hotel.
Pack like a pro
There are a few sneaky tips that the well-travelled are aware of and we are now going to impart the knowledge to you.
While rolling up your socks and placing them inside your shoes is no secret, it does save a lot of space and is worth doing when you next find yourself going on a trip.
Should you have a few evening occasions planned during your holiday and will be wanting to bring a number of earrings and rings with you, buying a pill organizer and placing each pair inside a compartment is a great little way of taking them with you. If you are super organised and have your outfits for each day planned, why not pop the accessories into the allocated day?
If you can, try and roll your clothes rather than folding them as you can really create more room for yourself. Obviously this won’t be possible for all clothes as some may crease when rolled, but it is worth doing for t shirts and such.
Should you realise that your favourite pair of shoes are a bit grubby with the soles covered in dirt, then grab a cheap shower cap and stick the shoes in. Honestly, it may sound crazy but it really works.
When packing it is important to also think about what you will need to back on your way home. Perhaps you are planning a trip to Oxford Street and have a good few hours in your itinerary to spend at the flagship Topshop? If so then you might want to consider leaving a bit of room for your journey home.
Bear in mind that you may also pick up a number of souvenirs, so it is best practice to ensure you have the space left to do so.
Whatever way you decide to pack, if you are planning a trip to London there is one thing we can guarantee – you will have the time of your life. With so many museums, theatres, landmarks and amazing restaurants and bars to visit, packing will probably be the last thing on your mind!