A 12 Step Plan to Packing for Your Holidays

Introduction: A 12 Step Plan to Packing for Your Holidays

About: I'm a travel writer who enjoys backpacking round Europe and seeing new sights!

Sometimes going on holiday can feel so stressful that you need a holiday afterwards. And of all the stressful things that you have to go through in order to get on holiday, perhaps the most stressful of all of them is doing the packing. However with a few common (and not so common) sense tips, you can not only make packing a relatively straight forward exercise, but you can also make sure you can get to the things you need while you’re on the move without having your suitcase explode everywhere.

Step 1: Where Are You Going, What Do You Need?

Always be prepared. Where are you going? What’s the weather going to be like? What activities are you going to be taking part in? The first thing you need to prepare for is the weather. Not just whether it’s hot or cold- if it’s going to be hot is going to be a dry heat, or hot and humid? If it’s cold will you need to dress for rain or snow? If it’s variable, will your clothes layer neatly to allow you to adapt to changing climes?

Step 2: Check Your Itinerary

While spontaneity is important, to pack as effectively as possible it’s a good idea to know at least what the high points of your trip are going to be in terms of how many changes of clothes you’ll need, how much cash to take with you, and even what toiletries you’ll need. However, and this might sound counter-intuitive, it’s best to pack not enough rather than too much. Wherever you’re going there’s a good chance that there will be shops, so if you’re missing any essentials you can pick them up on the way. On the other and, if you pack too much, you’re going to be carrying a lot of unnecessary weight, while leaving less room for gifts and souvenirs!

Step 3: Pack the Big and Heavy Stuff First

Your large and heavy items of clothing should form a base at the bottom of your bag. Smaller items go on top, with the smallest at the very top. This will make fishing through your bag to find exactly the right thing that little bit easier.

Step 4: Layering Is Your Friend

We’ve mentioned it before but it bears repeating now. Pack a number of lightweight layers, these are good for both hot weather, and for wrapping yourself up in cold weather, trapping lots of nice warm air between the layers.

Step 5: Roll or Fold Your Clothes, Never Both

This depends on your priorities. If you want to pack as much stuff as you can into your bag but aren’t fussed how heavy it is (possibly because you’re not the one who’ll be carrying it and you have no conscience) roll up your clothes into tight cylinders so they take up that absolute minimum of space. Alternatively, just fold them for a bag that’s a bit easier to carry.

Step 6: Use All Your Storage Space, Including Inside Your Shoes

If you’re packing extra shoes, you can use the insides as somewhere to store socks, trinkets or toothbrushes while still only using the absolute minimum of packing space.

Step 7: And Keep Your Shoes Wrapped Up

Put your shoes in a plastic shopping bag, or even your shower cap so that you can use them without worrying about getting dirt all over your other clothes when you pack them again.

Step 8: T-Shirt Dividers

Of course, even at this stage, your bag is at risk of becoming a mismatched hubbub of crammed together miscellany. To make things a little more organised, fold some brightly coloured shirts or t-shirts, and use them to make out dividers between the different sections of your bag.

Step 9: Pad Your Fragile Items

Big items at the bottom, smaller items at the top, fragile items in the middle. If you’re packing anything breakable you want to have as many layers of nice soft clothing as possible between it and anything you’re going to drop the bag onto.

Step 10: Formal Clothes Go on Top

Aside from your smaller items, any of your slightly posher gear should go on top of the back so your can get it out and iron or hang it as soon as your reach your destination, so you can be sure to look your swellest later.

Step 11: Cram Underwear in Anywhere It Will Go

No matter how tightly packed your bag is, the chances are there will be some gaps, cracks and slots where you can squeeze your underwear in!

Step 12: Make a List

Finally, keep a list of everything your packing – to make sure you don’t leave anything behind when you leave!

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