Do you pack everything but the kitchen sink? Or, so little that you now have a sizeable collection of toothbrushes, combs, and sunglasses? No matter your style—over-stuffer or under-stuffer—one thing is certain: packing is an art. And who better to teach you that art than those who travel for a living? Here are some of the best packing secrets from those in the know, our Monarch cabin crew:
Get a Good Set of Wheels
Nothing is worse than trying to haul a clunky broken down bag around the airport that you want to throw down a flight of stairs. Opt for a nice set of luggage with wheels sturdy enough to handle all terrain. But check the airline carry-on sizing before you buy – If you’re strategic enough, you might not even have to check your bags.
If you do plan to check your bag, consider choosing a bright colour or a unique pattern. Everyone will be looking for their standard black roller, while you will quickly sport your neon orange one as soon as it plops onto the baggage turnstile. Who’s laughing now?
Watch the Weather
Even before you start packing, check the weather. A classic symptom of over-packers is to pack for all possible weather conditions. Most travel guides will offer projected weather patterns by month, and an online weather search a few days before you leave will tell you whether to pack those short shorts or cram in the layers.
Timing, Timing, Timing
Whether you’re on holiday for three days or three weeks, it helps to pre-plan packing. Not the morning of, or even the night before, but a day or two before departure. Packing in haste is the easiest way to over-pack or overlook things.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Making a list of things to pack is a great to avoid forgetting the obvious, and it’s always the obvious – the bathing suit for the beach holiday, the toothbrush or hairbrush, the sunscreen or deodorant – which does get forgotten! In a digital age, why not keep a packing list saved on your computer or your phone? You can even print it out and take it with you so everything, plus a few extra souvenirs, makes it back home.
Remember: The bare essentials—clothing wise—amounts to a small load of laundry; after all, it’s easier to do a quick load of laundry than to pay for taxis wherever your bag travels!
Stuff socks and glasses in shoes and wedge shoes at the bottom of the bag, where the handle of the luggage can waste room.
Rolling clothes and using Space Bags will also help save room and squeeze out the air, and most hotels have irons so you won’t need to worry about wrinkles on arrival.
If all else fails, follow Head of Pilot Training Martin Dudley’s advice: Sit on it!
With all the space you’ve saved rolling your clothes, why not add in an emergency kit? Travel comes with a bit of stress so avoid it by being fully prepared for every scenario. Pack copies of your passport, banking and credit cards, phone numbers, and emergency numbers. Tuck it away in your luggage with a few extra bank notes and some spare change, just in case. Email it to yourself too.
Martin Dudley never leaves home without his torch- not a bad idea if you’re arriving at night, especially if you’re staying at a flat or villa instead of a hotel.
Travel Must Haves
You will never regret carrying hand sanitiser, a packet of tissues, or a bottle of over-the-counter pain relief, but Cabin Crew member Jayne Alger also recommends bringing Evian face spray and hand cream; they are great ways to refresh yourself after a long flight.
She also suggests packing several zip lock bags. In addition to saving you time in the security queue, a good zip lock bag can be a life-saver when packing your wet bathing suit or a pair of dirt-crusted shoes.
For protection against spills, cover any shampoo bottles with a sheet of cellophane before screwing on the cap and toss in a few scented dryer sheets to keep your luggage, and its contents, fresh!
What do you pack on holiday? Our globe-trotting customers shared What’s in their Suitcase, with some surprising results!