Holiday Hacks for Those Who Like to Travel Light

Heading off on holiday is always exciting, especially when the skies are as dreary as they are this time of year. For many people planning their next big break, the only thing putting a dampener on the pre-holiday excitement is the thought of packing. Sticking to a simple list of the bare essentials isn’t everybody’s thing, but if you can master it you’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress when it comes to getting away.

There are tons of ways to pack effectively, whether you’re planning a weekend city break or a week on the beach, all without impacting your style. Save yourself the queue for the airport carousel by fine-tuning the art of packing hand-luggage only. Not sure where to start? Here are a few useful tips and tricks.

Choosing the right bag

While on the outside you can be as expressive as you like, you definitely want to ensure that your bag has enough space within to store what you’ll be bringing. That means lots of inner pouches and pockets, but really you just want the most effective use of space.

Think of your travel bag as a 3D jigsaw. The good thing about going hand-luggage only is that you can’t really over-pack, but consider whether you really need the biggest possible bag you can take onto the plane. Whatever you go for, make use of zips and straps that can expand the bag to make room for souvenirs, and compartments where you can separate shoes, clothes and accessories.
Count on that capsule wardrobe

While being strict in packing the essentials, it’s worth following advice on holiday capsule wardrobe ideas. These are outfits with components to mix and match with over the course of the week, so that from just a few items of clothing, whole new outfits can be made each day. And as they always say, it’s best to roll rather than fold your clothes when you’re packing, to save space.

You can even go a step further and plan your wardrobe for each day you’re out there. Everybody is guilty of coming home from holidays with whole outfits that never got worn, so get things out and think “When am I going to wear this?”. If you’ve got more outfits than days and nights out, it’s time to weed a few things out.

Arrange items by weight

As a general rule, you’re going to want your heaviest bits and pieces at the bottom of the bag, almost like a foundation you can build around. Don’t be shy in cramming socks and undies between one item and another too.
Take only the essentials

This is where we all slip up. The big question always is, how do you quantify what is and isn’t an essential? It’s always less than you think, and in this area it’s worth taking a few cues from advice given to backpackers. These kinds of travellers are used to making the contents of one backpack last for months, and it’s astonishing how little you can get away with if you really think about it.

One thing to keep in mind is that you can pick up many of the most essential bits and pieces once you’re at your destination anyway. Unless you’re going to deepest, darkest Peruvian rainforests, you’re likely to be able to grab a bottle of shampoo and some suncream on arrival, thus saving room in your bag and avoiding the dreaded debacle of fitting all your liquids into 100ml bottles.

Which holiday essentials do you refuse to leave home without?