Clothes so creased they’d pass for abstract origami; a tangle of electrical cords that could stump a professional puzzler; socks that may or may not have been worn in the preceding days; and an errant tube of toothpaste that has deposited its minty freshness over pretty much everything you own.
If any of that rings a bell, you’ve probably experienced the dizzying lows of arriving at a new destination with poorly packed luggage – and sworn to yourself that one day you’ll finally get around to mastering that oh-so vital of travel skills.
Well, people, that day is here. We’re going to run through five tips that will take your luggage game from horror-show to polished-perfection. And it’ll cost you next to nothing.
So, if you’re sick of checking in like you packed during a house fire, read on for our top tips.
Pack for a trip, not for a new life
On an average holiday, you’ll need three pairs of footwear: sandals, trainers, and some smart shoes for the evenings. That’s all. Similarly with clothes, think about how many days you’ll be away and the climate. Hot and humid beach town? Several t-shirts. European city break in November? A warmer jacket. If in doubt, plan your outfits for day and evening wear and then just take exactly those items.
Tape up liquids, gels and creams
Baggage handlers are not known for their delicate touches. That means perfumes, deodorants, moisturisers and shampoos can all lose their tops as they’re flung from conveyer belts to transporters to holds and back again. Wrap those lids in sticky tape, however, and the contents will stay firmly where they’re supposed to be. For extra vigilance, pack up all bottles and tubs in a secure plastic food container. Problem solved!
A laundry bag lifesaver
Clothes get stinky. And those stinky clothes must be quarantined from your nice, clean clothes. Sticking a scrunched-up plastic bag in your luggage takes next-to no extra space but gives you a handy laundry bag to keep everything separate while you seek out a washing machine.
Learn to fold, roll or bundle clothes
There are many techniques for keeping your clothes crease-free and maximising the number of items you can cram in your luggage. And the debate certainly rages on about which is best. But whether you favour folding, rolling or bundling, it’s worth taking five minutes to see how the experts go about it.
Despite your best efforts, if you have to pull everything out of your luggage in order to get at one item, you’re not going to repack with the care and attention your items deserve. Using modular packing, essentially grouping together bundles of items and giving them their own dedicated bag, means you can extract what’s on top and reach what’s below.
Doing it on the cheap? Plastic bags work just fine. Pro tip, if you’re travelling for a limited time, you can bundle individual outfits, so your ‘hitting the town’ shirt and trousers are always at hand.