In Resources on 24/03/17

Luggage and Packing

Personally I don’t believe in packing light, I tried it once and it was a disaster.  That said, many of us use only a fraction of what we take on holiday, so smart packing is the name of the game.

Samsonite wheely backpack. A black backpack with pull up handle and several pockets


Three key pieces will cover you for pretty much every trip:

Hand luggage

I absolutely love my Samsonite wheely backpack, it goes on pretty much every trip with me.  It saves me carrying weight through miles of airport walkways and city centres.  It’s not cheap, but they last years and are worth every penny.  This backpack is also great for work or overnight trips.

Mini-break suitcase

Pick one that fits the budget airlines size limits (55cm x 40cm x 20cm).  I’ve had my Samsonite weekend suitcase for years and it’s still going strong.

1-4 week suitcase

I have a large Tripp suitcase.  They come with a 5 year guarantee so if they break (which mine have) they are replaced free of charge.  I’d recommend no more than 80L capacity, any more than that and you’ll likely go over the weight limit.

A suitcase with rolled clothes inside


I prefer comfort over glamour – comfortable, versatile clothing made of natural fibres.  If I’ll have easy access to a washing machine I pack for 4 days and do a wash while I’m away.

Double check the  weather forecast before you go.  I once packed an autumn wardrobe for a mini-break to New York, but the last minute forecast was for crazy hot weather, I had a frantic five minutes before I left for the airport swapping winter coats for summer tops.  And keep in mind while days may be hot, evenings and air conditioned restaurants may be cold.

When it comes to fitting it all in, roll rather than fold, and pack anything delicate in the middle.

Hand luggage packing list

The following easily into my Samsonite wheely backpack, with room to spare:

  • Print-out of all travel documents
  • Cash, cards, passport
  • All valuables
  • Phone and laptop (check the latest rules on technology in hand luggage before you go)
  • Laptop & phone chargers, international plug adapter (some planes have personal power sockets)
  • Power bank
  • Refillable water bottle (empty it before security, fill it up in departures)
  • Healthy snacks
  • Book
  • Journal
  • Bikini/t-shirt/shorts in case of lost luggage
  • Scarf/sarong for warmth on the flight, can also be used as a beach towel
  • Essential medications

Check-in luggage packing list

I pack a capsule wardrobe as below, with extra clothing depending on the climate or occasion:

  • Black jeans
  • 2 Shorts
  • Skirt/dress
  • 3 T-shirts
  • 2 Vest tops
  • Linen shirt
  • Smart top
  • Cardigan (for formal/cool evening wear)
  • Hoodie
  • Flip flops/sandals
  • Deck shoes
  • Converse trainers
  • Bras, pants, socks

Non clothing:

  • Towel (unless staying in a resort)
  • Beach bag or day backpack
  • Pocket rain jacket
  • Travel toiletries. I use refillable 100ml containers so I can carry these in my hand luggage for mini-breaks. Find some with screw lids so they won’t spill in transit
  • Non-essential medical kit; plasters, antibacterial cream, Imodium, antibiotics

And don’t forget to check your luggage is covered by insurance.  If you add up the replacement value of a small suitcase it can easily top £1000.

Happy travels!