Hands up if you’re guilty of taking too much stuff on holiday and never wearing half of it? My hand flies up immediately. The excuse of “I need to pack for every eventuality” is unfortunately of no use now, especially when it comes to my family holidays, as I now know the sort of activities we will be doing and what clothing etc. is appropriate to take with me. However, I still am not the most efficient person when it comes to packing, and will no doubt be the one loaded up with too many bags. If anything, this post is just as much for my benefit, as it will hopefully be for yours.
My mum tells me that me her mum (my grandma) would always say to lay out everything you want to take with you, and then half it. Not a bad idea. I don’t about you, but in my household, we tend to choose self-catered accommodation on holiday, which these days usually means having access to a washing machine. If that’s not the case and you’re staying in a hotel or camping, whatever it may be, stick a bottle of travel wash in your bag, and this saves you having to take extra pairs of socks or pack that emergency t-shirt. Reducing luggage size already.
Of course, we all have a different idea of what going on holiday is about. Some people like to head to a resort on some tropical island and sunbathe, some like to create more of an adventure, travelling around and seeing the sights. For my family and I, we are quite happy in Cornwall or Devon, spending our time doing coastal walks, bodyboarding and eating the local ice cream! This is what I have learnt from said experiences.
There’s not much point in taking ridiculously fancy clothes. It’s good to take more basic clothing that you can dress up or down. For example, a plain t-shirt can be worn with walking trousers and boots for a cliff path hike, or with a nice skirt and jewellery for a meal out. After all, a few items of jewellery take up a lot less space than a pile of tops.
Packing is naturally weather dependent. A waterproof coat is always a good idea but try to get one that is foldable and lightweight. For hot places (including the UK at the moment), items such as jeans and hoodies are perhaps unnecessary and take up too much space. Check the weather forecast first thought just in case. Nevertheless, for a summer break, cropped jeans and lighter cardigans are more realistic and summery.
Shorts, skirts, and summer dresses should be heading into the suitcase, although keep the number to a minimum. Rather than packing random items just because you like them, think in terms of outfits and what clothes go with each other. You can then wear the same outfit on more than one day, therefore halving the amount of stuff crammed into your bags.
Moving onto shoes, a real pain as they fill up the space quickly! This year, I am opting for walking boots, for the days when we will no doubt go on some pre-planned ramble of 5 or 6 miles, as well as trainers for shorter walks. I am then taking my converse-style shoes for more casual days out, whether that’s shopping or visiting towns and villages. Finally, two pairs of sandals. One older pair for the beach and walking, which will double up as a flip flop replacement, and a smarter pair for dining out etc. I honestly don’t see myself needing to take any more than this.
I guess that’s the clothing side of things covered. In terms of toiletries and makeup, again be ruthless. There’s a lot of travel versions available these days, so there’s no need to drag massive bottles of shampoo and conditioner with you. In places like Boots, you can usually get 3 for 2 on travel minis, so stock up on those for the holibobs. With makeup, there’s no need to take an entire vanity case, as tempted as you may be. I never bother with eyeshadow or anything like that. A bit of mascara and some tinted lip balm will do the trick!
Remember, minimalism is key when it comes to packing. It’s taken me a long time to realise it but I’m finally there! Even just flying to Dublin for 24 hours and only taking a small rucksack made me realise how much easier is it is when you pack light.
Let’s see if I manage to stick my packing goals on this year’s holiday! Let me know how you get on with yours!