The clocks have gone forward. The evenings are getting longer – if no less rainy. It’s time to start thinking about your holiday. The likelihood is, you booked it not long after you got back last year, so the most important thing now, is to start thinking about what to what… and how to pack.
With our summer holidays firmly in the front of our minds, here at Store First, we’ve decided to put together a list of, what we think are, the most useful holiday packing tips.
Don’t take wrapped gifts
If you’re visiting family or friends who live abroad for a birthday or Christmas, don’t take their gifts pre-wrapped. If you have these items in your checked luggage and your bags are opened for inspection, then your presents are likely to be unwrapped by the inspectors. It might make a little bit of extra work for you, but take the gifts unwrapped, store them securely within your luggage, and buy wrapping paper once you reach your destination.
Avoid taking things you’d hate to lose
If you can avoid taking things that you’d be really loathe to part with. Or at the very least, take these things in your hand luggage. Your checked luggage probably won’t get lost or stolen, but if it does and has something irreplaceable in it, you’ll be devastated. If you can’t fit these things in your hand luggage, try to do without them for 10 days to make sure they don’t get lost.
Split belongings between checked bags
If you’re travelling as a couple, or a family, then don’t just take a bag each. This will leave you open to being without any of your things should one bag get lost. When you’re packing, store some of each traveller’s things in each bag you take. This way, even should a bag get lost, no one is left without any clothes for the duration of the holiday.
Be mindful of the weight limits
Most airlines have a weight limit for checked luggage, of circa 20kg. Be aware of this and try not to overpack; some airlines charge as much as £10 per kg above this limit.
One way to try to get around the baggage weight limit, is to wear your heaviest items during travel.
Also, when you’re packing, use all of the storage space available within your suitcase, but don’t overpack.
By wearing the heaviest clothes you’re planning to take, particularly if you have a pair of boots, then you can remove as much as 2kg from your luggage.
This might seem obvious, but only take the things you need. The chances are you’re going to mostly be wearing swimwear anyway, so there’s no need to try to store enough changes of clothes for a mobile fashion show in your suitcase. You’ll probably never wear most of them and they’ll just make packing and carrying your suitcase more difficult than it needs to be.
The same goes for shoes. How many pairs can you really wear during a two-week beach holiday?
Roll, don’t fold
When you’re packing your suitcase and trying to squeeze as much in as possible – we know most people will ignore the previous tip – you’ll save space by rolling your clothes. In addition to this, by storing your clothes rolled up, rather than folded, you decrease the chance of your things being massively creased when you come to unpack and wear them.
Once you’ve packed the main bulk of your luggage, store underwear in gaps, store rolled up socks inside your shoes, fill anything that’s hollow with other things. Make the most of whatever space is available to you in this fashion and you will be able to pack more things in less space.
Remove creases on arrival
Ok, so this isn’t really a holiday packing tip. It’s more of an unpacking tip. However, one simple way to remove creases from your clothes after you remove them from storage in your suitcases, is to hang them in a steamy bathroom.
Once they’re damp, pull the creases out gently. If this doesn’t work, most hotels will have irons that you can use for free, or even cheap laundry services.
Don’t be surprised if your jeans come back with creases ironed down the front of the legs, though.
Don’t pack what you can buy
Save yourself the effort of measuring out – and spilling most of – your bathroom liquids. Toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo, deodorant and other toiletries can all be bought, probably more cheaply than here, once you reach your destination or resort.
By doing this, you save space, save weight and save yourself the expense of buying overpriced travel sized bottles.
Lock your bags
This won’t help you save space. However, it will help you to make your luggage less inviting to thieves.
Make sure, though, that your locks meet the relevant guidelines for the country you’re visiting. America in particular has a set of rules you need to adhere to.
Another reason to make sure you lock your luggage: unlocked luggage can void your travel insurance.
Use lightweight suitcases
Good quality luggage can be a touch more expensive than their less durable counterparts, but over time, they will prove to be worth it.
By ensuring that you get high quality, lightweight luggage, you not only increase the number of belongings that you can stuff into them, you also gain better designed suitcases that often have internal storage compartments and segments that will allow you to be more economical with the space you have to play with.
Better quality luggage will also last you far longer, costing you less in the long run. A good quality suitcase should last you around ten years. So the initial cost spread across the ten years, compared with suitcases that need replacing more regularly, makes perfect sense for a multitude of reasons. They will also generally have better wheels and carrying handles to make moving them to and from the airport a less daunting task.
Label your suitcases
Not only the luggage label on the outside of the case, as it isn’t difficult to remove a luggage label from a suitcase, if that’s what you want to do. Also, put a label inside your luggage with your destination and flight details on it.
Check in on time
Ok, again, this isn’t really a packing tip, but it is pretty important nonetheless.
If you arrive late to check-in, chances are that you will still scrape onto the plane. However, sometimes, your luggage won’t.
Don’t leave yourself stuck in the airport at your destination waiting for luggage that got left behind because of your tardiness. Not only will this provide an unwelcome few hours in an airport, instead of on the beach, it also increases the chances of you and your luggage never being reunited.
Wherever you’re going, whatever you’re taking with you, however you choose to store your things in your suitcase, we hope you have a great holiday this summer. We’ll see you again on the other side.