I don’t think any of us love packing. It’s one of those things that just has to be done if you plan on going on holiday and actually want to take things!
But one thing is for sure, it’s not as bad as unpacking.. How many of you are guilty of leaving that suitcase full of dirty holiday clothes in the corner of your room just a little bit longer than needed because you don’t really want to face the fact your holiday is over and it’s back to reality! Am I right?
When it comes to packing, I am one of those people who has to check everything 500 times then still sit in the taxi on the way to the airport consumed by anxiety and that dredded feeling in your stomach where you think you’ve forgotten something. The funny thing is, most of what you actually take on holiday, you don’t really need to take. We go for a week yet pack more clothes than we’d normally wear in a month! I don’t know why, we just do..
But I’m here to talk about those essentials. The things you really need to pack and some nifty things I’ve picked up along my travels that have made my packing routine much simpler.
Let’s start with the most crucial bag you will ever pack.. HAND LUGGAGE
This is the bag that you really do need to think twice about what you’re putting in it. I’m going to assume you know nothing about packing for a flight and state what most would call the obvious.
- No sharp objects. Leave your nail scissors behind, put away your kitchen knives and leave out your samurai sword because they ain’t getting through.
- All your liquids need to be in containers smaller than 100ml. So don’t think you can take a 200ml half full bottle of suncream.. It doesn’t work like that. And don’t pack that massive bottle of shampoo, you can buy it out there. If you want to take a drink, pack an empty bottle and get it filled at the airport.
- Keep your electricals within easy reach. A lot of the airports now ask that you remove laptops, tablets, cameras and sometimes even chargers. Most importantly, if you’re taking a portable battery pack make sure it’s in your hand luggage and NOT your checked in bag. I’ve seen the safety videos and you don’t want to know what can happen if you leave these in your cabin bag.
So what to put in your hand luggage?
Of course you don’t need to pack everything that I do but here is my list of things I never fly without!
- Passport.. You won’t get very far without it.
- Mobile.. Because who travels without a phone?
- Documents.. Boarding passes/Insurance/Hotel confirmation/Visa/Tickets
- Headphones.. Noise cancelling preferably
- Tablet.. For movies, music and games on those long flights
- Sweets.. They can help with reducing the chance of those painful ear pops!
- Purse.. Currency and cards. Always keep these valuables in your hand luggage
- Book..If you’re like me and want to lose yourself up in the air
- Liquids.. Lip balm, moisturiser, spray, hand sanitizer and sun cream are normally what I like to fly with
- Hair clip.. Because sometimes hair can be very frustrating!
- Notebook & pen.. I feel inspired when I’m in the air and sometimes want to get my feelings down on paper
- Gadgets.. Phone chargers, travel adapters and all those leads you might need
- Pillow.. Because sometimes you just want to sleep..
Do you have a document wallet? I have two! One I always take away with me. The other I only take if I’m going for longer than a few days and I have a good baggage allowance. They are so handy and I can’t recommend a better way to keep everything safe in one place and remind you not to forget anything!
This one featured above I bought at one of my fave shops in Spain. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the shop but I know there is one in Barcelona Airport too! You can get them most places and they are not expensive. The items in mine are possibly the most important things I’ll take with me on my trip! So of course I never let it out of my sight.
Then we have the bigger bulkier document holders like this one..
This one is great for storing all your printed documents, confirmation emails and I even bung any magnets I buy in here along the way.
That pretty much sums up the key ingredients that make up your hand baggage.
I’m not going to tell you what to stick in your suitcase as it depends on too many things including yourself, where you are going, the weather and how long you are staying there.
But what I will say is, get yourself one of these nifty devices! I bought this back in 2013 from T J Maxx in Boston and I still use it. It has been a life saver, especially for staying in hostels.
All my liquids go in the clear part and my bits and bobs go in the other part. Hairbrush, toothbrush, butterfly clip, face wipes and all sorts I keep in here. If you stick all your toiletries loose in your bag, you’re crazy! You probably have a toiletries bag at least, but this one is a game changer. Just a simple hook attached to it makes such a big difference when you find yourself in a shared bathroom with nowhere to put things. I have used this bag on every trip I’ve taken and as they come apart from each other, often ill just travel with the small case that has the hook attached. You can buy these in most beauty stores and they really do come in handy especially when backpacking, camping or staying in places you might just not want to put your items on the floor..
I’ve chosen to write this piece now whilst packing for my next trip abroad tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll refer back to this again when it comes to packing my hand luggage in future! I hope you find this useful and if you enjoyed reading please drop me a comment below 🙂 Is there anything I’ve missed off my packing list? What can you not travel without?