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How to pack for a holiday

Car Rental Holiday

I learned the very hard way about how to pack! I went travelling for a few months and thought that what I needed was all I could fit into my bag within the allowable airline weight (35 kilos!). What I failed to consider was the fact that I actually had to carry all this stuff when I got there. BIG mistake!! So unless you are arriving and being whisked away into a resort with a strong bellboy, it’s a good idea to plan for your holiday packing!

What not to do…

The number one packing mistake that people make is simply packing too much. No one needs ten pairs of shoes for a week away! By planning your holiday wardrobe, you can have a lighter suitcase and look great for all those photo opportunities!

Remember, when you are on holidays, it might be a break from the norm, but you are still you. So dress in clothes that suit your shape and wear colours that suit your skin tone. Unfortunately, a few days in the sun does not shift those unwanted pounds or help anyone look good in the brightest colours known to man!

And finally, we don’t need to change clothes five times a day – it is okay to wear the same outfit more than once!!

The Essentials…

There are few places in the world where you cannot buy things locally, so really, the most important things in your bag are your travel documents. Once you have your passport, visa (if required), travel insurance (never leave home without it) and any flight or travel information and access to money, you are ready to go!

If you are going anywhere unusual or off the beaten track, you may need to check that your bank card/credit card will work there and you should tell your bank so they don’t stop your card because of what they think are suspicious transactions, when really, you are having the time of your life! This is only necessary for somewhere unusual, my bank card didn’t work in Peru, Bolivia and Lebabon, but I think all banks are different, so call them and check it out.

My other travel essentials are a good book, my travel journal, my iPhone (for music and to remain connected to the world!), travel plugs/converters, my camera, any chargers for electronic devices and insect repellent (I seem to be very tasty all manner of bugs and insects, so I am never without it!).

Check out the climate and the culture…

Before you pack, you need to think about where you going, what you will be doing, for how long and what the local culture is like. Beach and sun holidays need less bulky items than for example a ski holiday or anywhere cold. Remember, you don’t want to stand out or dress in a way that is inappropriate to the destination, so Google it before you go and check out how the locals are dressed when you arrive. If you are not sure, then pack a ‘safety’ item such as a cardigan or pashmina in a neutral colour that you can put over everything if you are in a conservative area.

Your basic wardrobe…

No matter where you are going, the same principles apply. I always start with the basics and then add to this to create outfits. I invariably have a few plain colour tops or tee shirts that I can mix and match or dress up or down, a white shirt, jeans, a LBD and flip flops.

Infuse with colour…

You can then start adding some colour with summer dresses, a few skirts, a funky scarf, a great bikini, a sarong. Make sure your colourful items are things that can be mixed and matched. You are now ready to start creating basic outfits…

Release your inner Goddess (with accessories!)…

To ensure all your outfits make a statement, accessorise! And the great thing is that you can make each outfit seem new by adding a belt to a dress, a funky chain over a string top, a cute clutch or dressy flip flops over a summer dress and some great earrings to dress up your outfits.

Packing your bag…

Always layout your clothes out before you pack them into your bag. This is a really important step in the process and the single biggest thing that will help you with a great holiday wardrobe. Decide on your outfits and if something doesn’t match – don’t pack it! This will save you space and also means you can spend more time enjoying your holiday, not deciding what to wear – you will be effortlessly fabulous!

Once you have decided on what you want to bring, you now need to put them into your bag in such a way that they don’t resemble a jumble of wrinkly things when you take them out!!

Start with the longer items at the bottom, like jeans or trousers. Place them flat in your bag with the legs hanging out over the side (leave them like this). Then you can start layering in heavier items such as shoes, sweater, etc. Place sandals or heels (in plastic bag) into the bottom of the case, so they won’t squash all your neatly ironed clothes. Next, fold swimsuit, cardigan/ pashmina. On top of these, place your sun dresses laid flat. Then, cotton tee shirts or anything like a silk shirt on top of the dresses. Underwear should be put into the pockets or lid on the case, belts can be rolled and placed in any remaining pockets. Lastly, a jacket if you need one. Then you fold those jeans/trousers legs that have been hanging over the side of the case on top of everything you have packed so far.

Now you can add any electrical goods you have, and lastly, your toiletries. You want these on top because you want to be able to access them easily when you arrive, if you want to freshen up or just grab your toothbrush before you go to bed.

You now have a beautifully packed bag with pre-decided outfits, and yes, your bag is smaller but don’t panic, you have everything to need to look great on your trip.

I hope you found this useful. Happy packing & enjoy your holiday, wherever it may be.

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