4 Tips For Stress-free, Efficient Packing For Your Summer Holiday

Senior couple holding suitcase on the beach

Courtesy of Cath Kidston

The anticipation of a holiday abroad is unrivalled. You count down the days until you put your out of office status on, buy brand new swimwear and beach cover-ups, and stock up on your SPF.

But if there’s one part of the process that isn’t our favourite, it’s packing. What if we forget something important? How will we fit everything into our suitcase? Will we have enough outfits to last the whole holiday?

Here, Cath Kidson have some tips for packing your travel bags to make it as easy and stress-free as possible – leaving you with plenty of time and headspace to get excited for your trip.

Keep your essentials in your carry-on

Cropped photo of a senior Caucasian female passenger placing her bag on the conveyor belt;

Pic: Shutterstock

If you’re checking in a bag as well as taking a carry-on, make sure you keep your all-important items in the latter. This mitigates the risk of you losing something especially important should your main luggage get lost. It also means you’ll have some essentials until you’re able to stock up again. That means you should keep the following in your hand luggage:

  • any medication you need
  • your phone charger
  • skincare essentials like lip balm
  • wet wipes
  • ID documents
  • a light change of clothes
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • entertainment, like a tablet, book, or headphones

If you’re travelling light and only taking hand luggage on your trip, slot a small tote bag into your carry-all or small suitcase with the essentials separated out for easy access. When you get on the plane, store your main hand luggage away and keep that one handy.

Think outfits, not individual pieces

Mature couple enjoying a day at the coast walking away from the camera hand in hand past a small boat harbour;

Pic: Shutterstock

What is it about a holiday that makes us want to pack way more clothes than we’ll ever need? But if you want to keep your luggage light and your packing stress-free, it’s important to only take what you’ll need. Visualise the outfits you can put together from a few simple but beautiful separates.

When it comes to cover-ups for the beach and poolside lounging, you’ll only need a couple that you can rotate throughout your holiday. The same goes for swimwear – chances are, you’ll be rinsing this off each day anyway.

For evenings and daytime outings, build a core collection of outfits that you can wear and rotate individual pieces around. One pair each of trainers, sandals, and a dressier shoe will complement a range of outfits, and take separates that you can mix and match. Dresses can be worn a couple of times and look brand new with a simple switch-up in shoes or accessories. A casual and a dressier top can both look great with lightweight trousers, skirts, or shorts. Putting thought into how you’ll style each item of clothing means you won’t pack too many then arrive not knowing how to put them together.

Space-saving packing hacks

Young woman try to close the overfilled suitcase in the room.;

Pic: Shutterstock

Whether you’re just taking a carry-on or you’ve gone for an additional luggage check-in, packing optimally will save you space, stress, and from aching arms. Many of us now know that rolling up our clothes gives us much more room to play with than folding them, and some have even taken this hack further to incorporate an entire outfit into one neat little roll. You could even take it beyond that and pop your rolled up clothes into a vacuum bag to save even more space!

Roll up smaller items of clothing, like socks and underwear, into your shoes to save some extra space. You could also use your socks to cover your essential toiletries and keep them tightly packed together, then slip them into your shoes.

It’s all about thinking how you can combine items of your luggage to make sure you’ve got enough room for everything. And if there’s a little wiggle room, you can fit in some treats from duty free or gifts for your loved ones on the way back.

Keep your items safe from spillages

Hands up if you’ve ever ended up like Ross from Friends after a shampoo-related disaster in your luggage. “It’s all over everything!”

Well, it needn’t be.

For liquid or cream items that have screw-top lids, simply cover the top of the pot or bottle with some clingfilm and screw the lid over that. It’ll keep all the good stuff inside your packaging, protecting your clothes and saving your valuable moisturiser and conditioners from going to waste.

For added protection, you can store electricals and delicate clothing in clear ziplock bags – then, if you get your tablet out mid-flight, you can still use it within its protective covering to keep any nasties from the plane away from it.

In the lead-up to your holiday, you want to be as relaxed as possible. And running around trying to cram items into your overstuffed suitcase or worrying about shampoo leakages is anything but relaxing. With these tips, you can pack quickly and efficiently and be sure that your luggage will arrive home in tip-top condition.

Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!