© Arnel Hasanovic/ Unsplash
The art of packing is one that remains a mystery to many of us. Everyone will at some point have struggled to pack their belongings away, no matter the circumstances.
There are so many different types of packing: packing for a holiday (and then there are subcategories for all the different types of holidays!), packing to go away to university, and packing up your life's belongings as you move to a new home.
Including all of the above categories would make for an extensive Do's and Don'ts, so we're going to limit ourselves to packing for your holiday, following our similar guides on being a tourist and travelling by rail and plane.
You would think that packing could be a smooth process, but even for those of us trying to fold our clothes neatly, it just doesn't always go to plan. I try my best to fold all my clothes very neatly following Marie Kondo's method, but I think there's a disconnect between my brain's expectations and what my hands actually do.
So let's see how we can make sense of packing...
Do make sure you have the right kind of baggage appropriate for your holiday. Let's take backpacking: it's in the name, folks. If you're travelling around Southeast Asia for a few months, it's probably easier to have a rucksack rather than a wheelie suitcase.
Don't pack too much. This is something most of us have probably done, myself included and I fully acknowledge it. You let your head give in to your hundred different 'what-if' scenarios and fret that you won't be adequately prepared if your trip to Croatia suddenly experiences a random snowstorm. Granted, climate change continues to surprise us with unseasonal weather phenomena, but I think you'll survive even if you don't have your parka.
Do see if you can get away with packing the minimum. If you're off on a quick weekend city visit, maybe a small backpack might be sufficient. One pair of shoes, a few outfits, and toiletries are usually more than enough for a weekend away.
Do write down what you're planning on packing before hand. It helps you compartmentalise and jot down the things you're likely to forget when packing. Your adaptor will thank you for this.
Don't throw things into your suitcase/backpack willy-nilly. I know sometimes it feels like packing orderly won't make a difference, but you are more likely to fit more into your suitcase if you have a system.
Do take a small bag for dirty clothes or shoes if you're packing two pairs. Especially ideal if you get caught out in the rain and switch shoes.
Do decide whether folding or rolling works better for your circumstances. It's not a 'one size fits all' scenario and can be really helpful to see whether your clothes fit better when rolled or folded. Or mix both methods!
Don't put your heaviest clothing in your suitcase if possible. It's always easier to just wear the heaviest items if you think you're nearing your bag's weight limit.
Do see what you can buy at your destination to save on packing lots of stuff or conversely, look up what might be better to bring along. This usually applies to sun cream and other toiletries, or to renting specific equipment such as skis.
Don't jam everything into your hand luggage if you do have checked luggage. It is so much nicer to get through an airport unladen by a huge bag or suitcase. You can just wander about without feeling like you're extra bulky. Special exceptions apply for parents (especially of infants and toddlers), of course.
If you're limited on space, do think about wearing something versatile. I am a self-proclaimed dungaree enthusiast, as my all my nearest and dearest know, and the beauty of dungarees is that you can just pack multiple tops and wear them with the dungarees. They're also useful for being the 'heavy' item to wear when travelling and are comfortable to boot! What's not to love?!
© Sunnylife/ Asos
Don't pack unnecessary things like a speaker or a very extra looking inflatable flamingo. Yeah, it will look great on the 'Gram but do you really need it? It seems illogical seeing shops at home sell these kinds of things when not everyone is going to drive to their summer holiday destination. Would you really pack an inflatable flamingo in your luggage?
Do check whether you can wash your clothes when going away on a longer trip. If you're backpacking, it might be worth staying in a hostel or AirBnb with a washing machine so you don't have to pack a month's worth of clothes.
Finally, do what works best for you, even if it contradicts any of the above. If you have any recommendations or tips, please let us know in the comments.