Having spent the past week in Germany for work, I found myself spending half of the weekend doing laundry, unpacking and packing again for another business trip this week. And let me be honest, I hated every second of it.
Over the years however, I have developed a few techniques to pack way lighter than I used to, and to reduce the time I spend (read waste) doing it.
First and foremost, the luggage. I have tried all sorts, and for the past few years this is what I have decided works best for me.
SHORT TRIP (up to 4 days)
Soft shell Samsonite cabin-size-approved trolley. Much better than the hard shell one, as this expands, and on average is lighter, meaning you can put more clothes in. I chose Samsonite for the exceptional quality and their never ending guarantee. If traveling with 1 piece of hand-luggage only I tend to bring the minimum in terms of toiletries and buy as much as I can at the airport after security or at destination.
Longchamp folding bag. If you are a girl, this is a life saver. I am currently using my third one. There isn’t any better travel bag. It expands to an unthinkable size and the zip never breaks. This can be your day bag when traveling, but also your hand-luggage if you decide to check in your trolley on the way back.
LONGER TRIP (more than 5 days)
My go to luggage is this Eastpak soft trolley. The interior is divided into two separate zipped compartments, which really helps when closing the external zip. Once again, I picked this trolley because of the very low weight, and the potential to expand (yes.. I do tend to shop a bit when I am away).
My go to beauty case is a hanging and folding one with transparent compartments I bought at Primark (for £3) a couple of years ago. I love it because you can see all the products you have, and you can keep it packed and hanging on the bathroom door, so that your sink area doesn’t end up a mess. This is something similar you can find online. I usually tend to keep this packed, so that whenever I need to travel I don’t need to re-assemble it from scratch.
HOW TO PACK
Decide in advance what you are going to wear – this is key- and lay everything on your bed. If you have some extra time, take a picture of all the outfits you are going to take with you with your phone. You won’t have a ‘I don’t have anything to wear moment’, and if you are traveling with your boyfriend/husband he is going to be so impressed that you can get ready faster than him.
If away on business, to make things easier, I have 5/6 trusted outfits, I call them my ‘uniforms’, that I can put together very quickly in neutral colours (black and white) if I am packing in a rush, and I can just personalize with more colourful accessories. The best way to pack your clothes is by rolling them up, so that they barely crease.
Save a checklist of what you need to pack by category on the notes on your phone, I always take a quick look after I finished my packing, in case I am forgetting anything important. The few times I didn’t, I ended up forgetting my knickers and my PJs. Just a note of warning, if you forget your knickers, no shop at Heathrow terminal 5 sells underwear (yes, I had that problem a couple of times).
I tend to withdraw money at destination with my debit card, rather than being charged extortionate change fees at the airport. I also keep an emergency credit card in a second wallet (which I use when I get to my destination for the different currency) in my handbag, in case I lose or forget my main wallet (which I did, last week on my way to Germany). I always check the exchange rate before leaving, and write it down on my phone.
No matter how amazing hotel I am going or not going to stay at, I always bring a few porridge mono portion sachets for breakfast. If you ask the staff nicely, they are happy to cook it for you. This is another life saver for me, as I do travel a lot, and I don’t really like to stuff my face every morning with tempting pastries, waffles and pancakes.
Of course, as you probably know by now, I tend to write a comprehensive list of where I want to eat at my destination, and try to book where possible. This is another thing boyfriends love, as there is no discussion on where to go or who should book and do the research. Unless of course they are as passionate as you, but it has never been my case ;).
ON THE PLANE
First and foremost, as soon as check in opens, rush to do it, as you can choose a better seat, and won’t end up sitting by the toilets or in the middle seat of a middle 4 seat row. Sometimes if the plane is not full, airlines such as Virgin Atlantic allow you to buy better seats in flight (for £50 or so). When I want to sleep on the plane this is my trusted routine. I take a couple of melatonin tablets before boarding the plane, I drink a glass of wine with dinner, and by dessert I am ready to sleep. I wear a mask and earplugs (some airlines do provide a mask in economy – BA, Virgin Atantic – some others – such as KLM – don’t, so you may want to bring your own. Same applies to toothpaste and toothbrush. Earplugs are normally provided in business class only.
Last but not least, safety is important. I always let my family know my flight numbers and destination addresses, and I always text before taking off and just after landing, no matter what time this happens. I always keep with me at all times my travel and medical insurance details, in case I need them urgently and never leave my hotel – particularly if on my own – without a form of ID (even a driving licence would do).
P.S. This is not a sponsored post, and the brands and the items I have shared I have paid for in full.