The art of packing the perfect suitcase is something that is easily achievable. To simplify the process, we have 10 tips to make it as effortless as possible. Trust us: if you follow these rules you’ll never have a holiday-wardrobe meltdown again, no matter how late you leave your packing.
I spent years dumping the entire contents of my summer wardrobe into a suitcase and ending up with an odd mishmash of pieces. I now follow this systematic, fool-proof way of organising and packing, which really reduces the stress of travelling. This method can be used on short trips or long haul; this time I am packing for our family’s summer holiday. It’s usually somewhere sunny, where I need a mix of semi-smart pieces for the evening and a lot of attire for running after the kids/sitting by the pool.
First you need to start with the perfect suitcase and, when it comes to luggage, practicality is key. Away suitcases are brilliant because not only do they look chic, they are also huge inside. You seem to be able to fit more in than the average hard case and it doesn’t weigh a tonne when empty. They also have separate compartments, a handy built-in lock and they’re easy to roll along.
We like to start with our hero pieces first: those wow items that make an outfit feel a bit special. This trip I decided to base a lot around my new sale find, these For Restless Sleepers silk trousers, which are bold and scream summer holidays. Then I add my old Aquazurra red pompom sandals and Three Graces khaki linen dress.
It is really useful to lay everything out on your bed. That way you can see what you have at one time and if it looks too much, it probably is. Try to put everything in piles – shoes, t-shirts, etc – as that way you can gauge if you have overdone one section compared to another.
Beauty-wise, it is very easy to get carried away. I usually try to pack travel-size items, but not this time as I am going away for a while. I now pack a large shampoo that doubles up as a body wash, to save on space. I tend to leave any excess beauty bits at home, but always pack a good body scrub and moisturiser.
When packing, try to really think about evening and day and pack pieces that can double up for both. The good thing about dresses with sleeves is they can still be cool, but hide skin from the worst of the sun, and in the evening if it gets cooler they can be warmer than a sleeveless version. Pack a fabric spray so you can get at least two wears out of dry-clean pieces.
Always pack your shoes at the bottom and preferably in duster bags so they don’t make the rest of your clothes dirty. With slides and sandals, slot them into one another so you don’t end up wasting space. Footwear is usually where people come undone, you never need to pack more than five pairs on any given holiday (you can always wear an extra pair, the heaviest, on the plane).
After packing your shoes we recommend packing any pieces that don’t really crease (or you aren’t concerned about creasing) into your beach bag to save space and to stop it getting squashed. Then turn it on its side and continue packing. This can also work with smaller items under a beach hat.
When it comes to underwear, keep it simple – count how many nights you are away and add a couple more to be on the safe side. We love Bodas lingerie as it washes really well, and the nudes are excellent under sheer or white pieces. Pack your smalls into a bag so they are easy to unpack and stay together – it’s a nice touch to add a lavender sachet in with them as it will make your whole case smell dreamy.
Accessories are a great way to maximise your outfits and they take up very little room. Raffia always looks good on a beach holiday, as do gold hoops, which make you look like you’ve made an effort when you’ve made very little. Keep it safe in a jewellery roll; we’d always advise travelling without your most expensive pieces.
Lastly, layer your more delicate pieces on top at the last minute. Some people use the roll technique, but we find this only really works with short pieces, and that maxi dresses and skirts need to laid flat. Once you arrive we recommend unpacking and hanging things in your bathroom so that the steam can help take out the creases.
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