As a pretty frequent traveller, I’ve got packing down to a fine art, but I have to admit I learnt from the best – Mummy is the queen of capsule packing. I think a little preparation is key, although I promise it doesn’t have to take long at all. This is one of my most requested posts from friends that I travel with, who are convinced I have some kind of Mary Poppins vortex in the bottom of my Tumi cabin bag, so here are some of my tips, and then all the pieces that will be going in my dream suitcase this summer.
This is key. For all of my trips I think about where I’ll be travelling to, what kind of styles I should be wearing and what the weather will be like. Whether it’s one of my many trips to Ibiza where I know the drill inside out, a trip to Qatar that requires a slightly more conservative style of dress, or a city break with the opportunity to dress up, I check the weather and then think about the type of look I’m going for. We all have our own sense of style, but it’s fun to mix it up a little bit on holiday. Get into the spirit of things with a Dolce Vita inspired look in Italy, festival glam at Coachella, or señorita style in Spain.
When I’m going away I want to spend my time at the destination, not hanging around an airport, so I try to pack just hand luggage on all but the longest of trips so I can breeze through passport control and get straight to the hotel. I also have a justified fear of losing my checked luggage after traveling home from Spain shortly after my 18th birthday with a suitcase stuffed with super special presents for it never to arrive…ever… For some people hand luggage just isn’t do-able, but try these tips and you might just be able to squeeze everything in! Go for smart luggage which maximises space. I love my Tumi suitcase and it’s multiple compartments, and if I need to use a soft sided weekend bag, I have a brilliant one from Brics that folds down to almost nothing. I’ll also take a handbag to carry my camera, laptop and liquids. If you’re heading to the sunshine, use your beach bag to save space in your suitcase.
The key to space saving is to think about what your plans are on the trip and to choose your outfits in advance. Yes, it’s great to have separate tops, skirts and shorts that you can mix and match, but often you’ll end up with so many pieces that you never wear as they just don’t really go with anything else you’ve packed. I also think you can maximise what you take this way as you’ll have space for all the pieces you really want to wear, instead of bulking up on things you won’t. Think about what pieces you can wear in different ways – such as a simple swimsuit as a top, or a slip dress as a skirt – and also take a few pieces that you’ll wear more than once, particularly when it comes to shoes and bags. Don’t forget some fab jewellery to jazz up an outfit. It takes up next to no space and can really transform a look. I’m loving statement earrings at the moment, and I always wear a stack of skinny long necklaces or body chains on the beach.
Ok so this is generally the deciding factor of whether I take hand luggage or a checked bag, and I get it, airport liquid restrictions are annoying and it’s just not that easy to squeeze your bathroom into one small plastic bag… I love to take travel miniatures of my favourite products, and to think about what I’ll really need when I’m away. Is your face really going fall apart if you don’t use a serum, moisturiser, eye cream, SPF and facial mist for one weekend? Try and cut down to a moisturiser SPF for day and a really good night cream for the evening. Throw in your mascara, foundation and a mini toothpaste, but switch to a stick deodorant and lipstick instead of gloss, which can both go in your normal bag. Pick up a new plastic bag when you’re next at the airport so you can pack your liquids at home instead of trying to stuff them all in when you get to security. You’ll know they fit and it’s much less stressful.
Smart packing can save SO much space and it really is one of the best tricks for maximising what you can take. Some people like to roll their clothes but I think that creates more creases so I fold each item as few times as possible to fit the size of my case. There’s generally a bit of space at the bottom of your case where the handle mechanism slides into the bag, so start by filling those spaces with small items like tops, slip dresses or swimwear to create a flat surface for the rest of your larger items. I like to put something heavy, like a beaded dress or jacket, at the top of the pile of clothes to weight everything down, and I always use the clip straps to keep everything in place. In the top side of my bag, I place shoes together at the base of the suitcase and I fit smaller objects like chargers and adapters and velcro rollers between them to fill the gaps.
I always like to look pretty smart when I travel, but I also want to be comfortable and cosy – aeroplanes can be freezing! – so I generally wear chic neutrals in natural fabrics. I nearly always take a lightweight oversized scarf which I tie to my bag to save space. I’ll wrap up in it on the plane, wear it as a sarong for lunch, and lie on it at the beach.
This is probably the only time I splash out and wear colour… at the beach! I love to layer up the jewels too. Think long skinny gold necklaces and pendants and stackable bangles, and make sure you wear a really good SPF with UVA and UVB protection (for ageing and burning protection). Fun sunglasses and a cute beach bag are also always on my list of holiday essentials.
For that overcast day, or when the beach just gets a little bit too much, get out and explore the city. I love a linen dress or shirt with shorts, and a basket bag to pick up some souvenirs. We travel so much that we’ve decided to try and start picking up something up along the way to bring back the memories. Small homewares are generally the easiest to find, like the sweetest embroidered linen napkins we bought in South Africa earlier this year.
I love getting dressed up in the evenings on holiday. For me, it’s a super nice opportunity to get out my favourite dresses. I love floaty numbers in pastel shades, but I’m also loving small prints this season. I’ll be mixing and matching dresses, bags and shoes from the options below.
A good bag, a fabulous piece of jewellery, or some killer sunglasses can make a look on holiday, particularly if you’re like me and you live in simple slip dresses. I also can’t resist a good sunhat. Oversized for riviera glamour, or grosgrain trimmed for that chic retro style.
Tanned, golden skin is the key to holiday beauty and these products will give you that effortless glow. Start with a good sun cream for long days in the sun (I love Nuxe and Vichy, as well as a good sun hat and a linen shirt for the midday sun). For evenings I love a bronzey, glowy look, which is synonymous with Charlotte Tilbury. I’m pretty much addicted to Flawless Filter and the new eye palette in Exaggereyes, with a slick of Legendary Lashes Volume 2 and lipstick in Penelope Pink.
Where are you off to on holiday this year? I’ll be spending lots of time in Ibiza,
but there’s always time for a little trip to Mykonos and maybe France…