How to drop the extra baggage
A few tips on travelling light
I have a favourite airport pastime I’ll call Superior Packer. I play it while queuing for bag drop with no more productive means to occupy yourself. The way to win is simple: move through the airport with greater ease than I. Show up for a week-long trip with no more than a handbag and a single wheeled carry-on, and you’ve earned my instant respect. Turn up lumbered with a wheeled cart piled high with XL cases and travel-worn duffles, and – well, let’s just say I can’t help but get a little judgy.
It’s irresistible – even if you’re the kind of woman who packs more pairs of shoes than there are days of holiday (defensible: I wore them all). The fact that there are so many of us languishing in queues and so few of them gliding straight through to security points to the obvious: it’s difficult to get packing right. And it’s important to develop a coherent packing strategy.Jacqueline Kennedy had one. The First Lady’s packing list for her November 1963 trip to Dallas (the one during which President John F. Kennedy was assassinated) recently resurfaced. It’s a handwritten itinerary of every official event, with notes about outfits and accessories in the margins.
Writer Joan Didion kept a list, legendary for its minimalist nature (2 skirts; 2 jerseys or leotards; 1 pullover sweater; 2 pair shoes; stockings; bra; nightgown; robe; slippers; cigarettes; bourbon ... ) taped inside her wardrobe door during her most intense reporting years.A woman with credibility in this area is founder of a luggage company, Jen Rubio. She vows she can pack for a two-week trip in a carry-on case. “I’ve gone from winter climates to the beach, to hiking trips, to factory trips, all in one carry-on,” she boasts.
Rubio is a fan of packing cubes – using these to divide items by category (one for tops, one for skirts and trousers, etc) or different destinations. She insists that folding takes up less space and makes it easier to compress the contents of her case.
The fold-versus-roll debate can be divisive. Thyra Opoku Adjei, a cabin-crew member with a top airline, packs a suitcase more than 150 times a year for work. She rolls – “it takes less space and avoids creases” – and recommends creating outfit-burritos to save time when getting ready at the hotel. Expert packers like Adjei know to make the most of spatial voids, packing pants, socks and jewellery inside shoes, and shoes inside individual dust bags, to avoid dirtying your clothes.Indre Rockefeller, co-founder of Paravel suitcase range, advocates hanging everything you’re planning to pack on a rolling rack or in a clear section of your wardrobe. That way, “you can see it all together and organise by category”, she says.
“If you do that final review once everything is off the hangers and folded into neat little piles, it’s just too tempting to throw it all in.”
Whatever makes the cut, it’s well worth the five extra minutes of packing time to try everything on before it earns a spot in your final lineup – this is in the name of saving you the grief of reaching your destination and realising that something doesn’t fit.
Enough about how to pack – what about what to pack?
For Rubio, it’s all about multifunctionality. She always packs her black dress, as she can wear it on the plane (layered under a jersey), out for a swanky dinner or to a work interview, with a blazer. “It fits me, I love it and it works for so many different occasions.”I have a colleague who insists that poor packing is a symptom of poor wardrobe organisation, but I’d venture that it’s more a matter of lack of focus. It’s important to know your itinerary.
Dresses are an obvious and easy shortcut. Carmen Borgonovo, co-founder of a fashion label, admits she has an advantage in the form of her dress-focussed fashion brand. “You don’t want to have to think about your outfits,” she says. “You just want to be easy and effortless.”
If travelling as a family, spread items across the cases – if one goes missing, no one will be left stewing while everyone else is dressing for dinner.
Most packing wisdom comes from at one point having gotten it wrong. Ben Gillenwater developed the PackPoint travel packing list app after leaving one too many important items behind during business trips. The free app generates packing lists based on your destination, the weather, activities and special events planned for your trip. It’s been downloaded four million times since it launched in 2013, simply because even the most fluent list-makers are fallible. “If you make a new packing list every time, you still have to remember everything and you can still forget something basic,” he says.Thankfully there’s always airport duty free that can take care of some of the most easily forgotten: dental care products, along with deodorants, shampoos, painkillers, tissues and facial cleaners.
But let’s say you’re thorough. Comprehensive, even. You haven’t forgotten anything, and you have the case to prove it. If you do end up being the sole holiday-maker in your party checking a bag, go easy on yourself.
Here’s a easy list to help:
Pack your undies and socks into your shoes. Not only does it save space, but also helps shoes keep their shape.
Rolling clothes takes less space and avoids creases. Rolling whole outfits together means it is quicker to get ready when you arrive at the hotel.
Tie towels tight with belts to avoid them using up too much space.
Use a clear toiletries bag which can also be used through security for the liquids’ screen.
Pack shoes into separate bags to avoid them marking your clothes.
Leave your travel plugs in your suitcase even when you get home. Then you can never forget them.
Start with your shoes and leave any T-shirts to last. Rolled, they can fit any gaps.
Pack multi-purpose clothes. ie. scarves that can double up as a sarong on the beach or an emergency towel.
Always leave the shoes you’ll wear on the journey home in the hotel safe with your passport. It means you’ll never leave your passport behind.
– © The Daily Telegraph..