The tickets are booked, the accommodation is ready… You’re about to go on holiday.
We bet you’re excited, eagerly counting down the days until you can pack up the car or head to the airport on your way to the next destination. Maybe it’s a beachy resort and you have a weekend of swimming and reading by the pool ahead of you. Maybe it’s a cosy stay in the country. Perhaps you’re off to another big city for a few days of dining out and art gallery perusing.
Whatever you have planned, a minibreak can present a new set of issues: how to pack your suitcase so that you can get the most out of a small amount of space? How do you ensure that you’re taking pieces that will be worn over and over again, and won’t languish in the bottom of the bag untouched?
Here are few tips on suitcase packing, for anyone lucky enough to be heading out on a trip in the coming months.
Check the weather forecastThe last thing you want to do is pack for the wrong climate and be caught off guard. Always check the weather forecast before planning your suitcase. We’ve all been in a situation where we thought it might be cold, but have been surprised by a heatwave. Or the opposite, and need to borrow someone else’s jacket all weekend to keep warm. If you’ve consulted the weather forecast before you travel, you can avoid the panic tourist shopping spree, which can end up with you purchasing something that you don’t actually love, all because you weren’t prepared when you were packing.
Whatever you do, don’t overpackEasier said than done, we know. But we guarantee you – you have too many things in your suitcase right now. We’re all guilty of occasionally being a little over-ambitious with our packing and throwing too many pairs of shoes, or too many dresses into our bags. The best thing to do is to make a list of what you think you need, based on the places you are visiting and what you will be doing there, and packing from that. Before you head off, refine the list down and remove anything that feels extraneous. The bottom line is that you don’t need as much as you think you do, and you really don’t need that fancy dress for the cosy weekend away in the country. Pack less, and pack smarter.
Go for hardworking wardrobe staplesIt’s tempting to try out new outfits on holidays, but the most seasoned packers know that you should fill your suitcase with tried and tested staples that go the distance. When going away for a long weekend, you’re going to want to take with you the items that you know work, and that work with each other. The jacket that works with both a slip dress and a pair of jeans. The sandals that can be dressed up and dressed down. The loungewear set that can double up for a Sunday brunch. When you don’t have a lot of space in your suitcase, everything you pack has to be able to be worn on multiple occasions.
Smart separates and effortless dressesIf you want to get the most out of your suitcase, with maximum outfit combinations with the minimum number of items, you need to lean heavily on separates and dresses. We love to go for a combination of mix-and-match separates and hardworking, effortless dresses that can be styled both casually as well as elevated for going out to dinner in the evening. Make sure that the separates you go for are classic and timeless, easily styled both up and down, and pick outerwear that can work with both your T-shirts and jeans and your dressier options. A loose shirt is a great choice here, perfect for wearing buttoned-up as a top and open over a dress as an extra layer if the weather turns cold.
Accessories are your best friendOne way to add a point of difference to an outfit you’ve worn already on your holiday is switching up your accessories – plus, they don’t take up too much space in your suitcase. Pack a few different pairs of earrings and big, chunky gold chain necklaces to rotate throughout the weekend. You’d be surprised by how much a new pair of earrings can make an outfit feel completely changed and reinvigorated.
But don’t overpack when it comes to shoesWe’ve often found that shoes are the category where we completely lose the plot when it comes to packing. First of all, they take up so much space (and weight). And second of all, there can be a tendency to try and squeeze just one more pair into the bag, when the reality is that you really only need one pair of shoes for a weekend away – two, if you’re battling inclement weather and want to take some sneakers. A great pair of sandals, like our favourites from A. Emery, are your long weekend MVP when it comes to staying on top of not overpacking. If you’re going somewhere wintery, though, you really only need a pair of gorgeous ankle boots, staple white sneakers or luxurious leather loafers.
Get acquainted with the Marie Kondo fold
This is one of our biggest game changes when it comes to packing. There are lots of videos online, many of which reference how to make this fold work for different sizes of suitcases. We love to follow the Marie Kondo fold when packing for a long weekend way. And another trick? We break up our suitcase into compartments, creating sections using old shoe boxes. You don’t need to invest in fancy packing cubes, all you need are some old shoe boxes that you fit snugly into your bag and that you can pack directly into. These make everything easy to find within your suitcase, in addition to maximising space. How did we live so long without this hack?