Holiday packing tips

Caroline Cassidy

We've all been there - the bulging suitcase, the double and triple checking of passports and tickets and the umming and ahhing about what's allowed in the hand luggage. Packing for your holiday can turn into a stressful couple of hours and, with so many airlines now putting a sizeable dent in your wallet for overweight baggage, doing it right is essential.

holiday packing tips
holiday packing tips

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Check out our guide to what to take, how to pack it and beat suitcase stress this summer.

What to take
Obviously, it's ultimately down to you but we Brits have a tendency to err on the side of caution, even if we're going somewhere that guarantees wall-to-wall sunshine. While you don't want to head off with just a summer dress or shorts and a pair of flip flops, warm winter jumpers and three pairs of jeans is probably overdoing it if you're heading for the beach.

The easiest way to start is to lay everything out on the bed. Now is not the time to ponder every possible combination your wardrobe will allow - as a general rule, if you take three tops for each pair of trousers, shorts or skirt, you'll have plenty to keep you going.

Ladies can save serious space by taking limited make-up (you'll look gorgeous with that sun-kissed tan anyway) and, unless you're heading off into the wilderness, the chances you will be able to buy essentials toiletries abroad.

How to pack
If you're not doing it already, roll, don't fold. Your clothes will crease less, it's quick and easy and will give you a good idea of what space is left as you go. Larger items like jeans and dresses can be used to wrap around smaller items, while underwear and swimwear, skimpy or not, will happily stow inside shoes.

The number one rule for holiday packing though, is to put anything with the potential to leak into a plastic bag or wash bag and seal it tight. Arriving on holiday to find most of your freshly washed clothes are covered in suntan lotion or shampoo can really take the edge off that first night abroad.

To check in or not to check in?
Avoid an airport repacking nightmare by doing a thorough check on what's allowed in your hand luggage. Remember that electrical items will have to be screened separately so are best packed in the suitcase and pack liquids, where possible, in your hand luggage along with anything pointy and sharp. Of course, essential equipment that you may need during your flight, such as inhalers or baby food, and any liquids bought in the airport will be fine. Do remember to check with your airline whether there is a size and number of bags limit on your hand luggage.

Obviously keep passports, tickets and boarding passes with you at all times - that way you can check and recheck to your heart's content.

And lastly...
It really is worth investing in a pair of luggage scales and get small, portable ones to take with you. Checking your airline's luggage allowance and weighing your bags before you leave home will save you having to air your fresh, clean underwear in an emergency airport repack and means you won't get stung by those hefty overweight charges. And if you plan on doing any shopping while you're away, a quick check before you leave you return home is essential.