Do you hate packing as much as I do? For me it feels like grappling with a 3D puzzle. First there is projecting myself into the future and imagining what I will need in an unknown, or fairly unknown situation. Then there are weather and temperature variables. Will it be hot? Cold? Wet? Posh? Relaxed? School's out for some and traditional holiday time is upon us. This might sound odd but I would almost prefer to stay at home rather than go through the agony of packing. However, I am off tomorrow on a caravan holiday in Dorset and the black cloud of packing gloom has been circling above my head for some days now. An additional factor is that, as I get older, I really don't want to lug a heavy suitcase up and down stairs so I am planning (PLANNING - ME?!!) to travel light.
Mine is a caravan holiday so I won't need anything smart but I think what I have to say goes for most holidays. I am not a fan of the capsule wardrobe - far too restrictive. Holidays are different, though, and here I think it definitely comes into its own. Depending on how long you are going away for, plan on taking no more than 8 - 10 items (excluding the bikini, the walking, riding, yoga (or whatever you may be needing for holiday activities) gear. For a week's holiday your wardrobe should fit in a carry-on sized case with no difficulty. (If you are flying the advantages are obvious except you do need to be careful with your toiletries and keep bottles under 100ml.) Resist putting extra pieces in, "just in case". You don't need them! (How often have you come back from holiday with unworn clothes?) The fear is "I won't have enough stuff" but trust me, you will! For a week or even two you will need:
- 2 pairs of trousers (or one pair of shorts and one of trousers) If jeans are one choice, wear them to travel as they are bulky to pack. If you are flying many hours maybe leave jeans behind. Sweat pants will be more comfortable on a long haul flight.
- 1 skirt (or another pair of trousers if you don't wear skirts)
- 1 dress (or a smarter top if you don't wear dresses)
- 1 cardigan, sweater or wrap
- 2 long-sleeved tops
- 2 or 3 sleeveless or short-sleeved tops (these can go under the long sleeved tops if it is cold)
- Underwear, nightwear, socks, toiletries. Take a few accessories including at least one scarf
There is no need to take more than 3 pairs of shoes including the ones you travel in which should be the heaviest. Do make sure they are all comfortable, particularly if you are going to be doing a lot of walking on possibly uneven surfaces. You can pack shoes round the edge of the suitcase - probably stuffed with knickers and tights/socks if you are short of space.
Essential to a capsule wardrobe is the concept of streamlining your colours. Choose your colour combinations carefully. If you know what colours suit you, choose combinations in your best neutrals e.g. navy and cream or black and grey, or brown and olive green. Neutrals make less of an impact than colourful items and if you add a coloured scarf one day and an interesting necklace another, nobody will notice you are wearing basically the same outfit. Tops can be in your best colours or a mixture of colours and neutrals. Another feature of the capsule wardrobe is that each top should be able to go with each bottom. Out of the above 9 or 10 items, you should be able then to make about 30 different outfits and I am betting you won't bother - you will, like me, home in on your favourites and wear the same things two or three times.
Choose fabrics which don't crease. Test them if you are not sure by scrunching them up and seeing if they spring back without marks and creases. Your favourite linen is probably best left behind unless you know there is going to be an iron and you don't mind spending your holiday ironing!
Before you start packing TRY ALL THE CLOTHES ON. It is no good taking clothes you haven't worn in a while only to find they don't fit or even that they don't make you feel good.
ROLLING OR FOLDING?
I have never mastered the rolling technique although many swear by this and I have seen amazing videos of such packing. I prefer to lay clothes flat in the suitcase and fold as necessary (i.e. as little as possible). The only way which really doesn't work is to throw stuff into the case any-old-how like they do in films. It will take up more space and come out more creased.
Hmmm. Now I have written this I am not feeling so daunted by the packing I am about to do. Follow your own guidelines Hilary! If you have packing tips I would love to hear about them. This blog is definitely the blind leading partially sighted. I claim no expertise - except in creating colour combinations. If you would like help with choosing your best colours book a session with me. You can talk to me about the particular holiday you are planning during the free "Discovery Chat". My number is 07932 599210.