If it’s been a while since you went on holiday, or you’ve just treated yourself to a new wardrobe of summer wear ahead of your vacation or staycation, you might be wondering how best to pack your suitcase. For some, packing is an enjoyable part of the pre-holiday experience, but for others it can signal a stressful start. If packing doesn’t hold much excitement for you or you just want to make sure you arrive with as few creases in your clothes as possible, here are some top clothes packing tips to prevent you from falling out with your suitcase.

Choosing your luggage

Before you even think about folding up your clothes, you need to find the right luggage to suit your trip. With so many options available, from the traditional suitcase to backpacks, weekend bags and holdalls, how do you know which to choose?

It’s easy. Ask yourself three questions:

  • Where are you going?
  • For how long?
  • How are you getting there?

If you are going on a holiday that involves you being separated from your luggage – such as travelling by plane, coach or boat, you’ll probably want to invest in a hard shell suitcase to protect your belongings in transit.  If there’s going to be a lot of walking in between connections – such as getting on and off a train or plane, choose a case with four wheels as they are easier to manoeuvre, especially if the case is large and heavy.

If you’re going on a staycation or travelling by car, it might be better to opt for softer luggage such as holdalls or weekend bags as you’ll be packing them into the boot yourself. You’ll probably find it easier to fill the space with lots of different sized bags rather than one or two large cases which don’t make great use of the available space or allow for any odd shaped items such as sports gear. 

If you’re a frequent traveller, it makes sense to invest in better quality luggage, with different styles of case or bag to suit different trips. Remember to check the size and weight of each item of luggage so you can make sure it complies with any restrictions, to avoid paying excess baggage.

If you’re prone to overpacking and like to maximise every cubic millimetre of space, it may be better to use a hard suitcase as when it’s full, it is full and you won’t be able to stuff any extra items in.

Once you’ve chosen the ideal luggage for your trip, it’s time to select your holiday clothing and start packing. 

Choosing your holiday clothing

1.Do a ruthless pre-pack

Before you’re tempted to drop anything into your suitcase, make sure you do the ‘pre-pack’. This is where you commandeer the spare bedroom, dining room table, or any available surface to lay out all the clothes you want to take with you on your holiday. Once it’s all visible in one place you’ll probably realise you have far more than you need, so don’t be afraid to be ruthless in cutting down the items. If you are only taking things just in case, the reality is that you probably won’t need them and could buy them when you get there if the need did arise. 

2.Choose your summer wear wisely

Think about where you are going. Will it be hot? Could it rain? Will there be washing facilities? Will I need sensible footwear? Answering these questions will help you to pick the right clothing for your trip. You might have just invested in a new wardrobe of summer wear, but if your trip is a sporting one, or you’ll need to do a lot of walking, you’ll be grateful for some practical items and flat, comfortable shoes. On the other hand, if you’re going on a cruise, staying in a 5-star hotel, or attending a wedding you may need to add occasion wear to your packing list.

If you want to avoid ironing whilst you’re on vacation or don’t want to look like a crisp packet, opt for fabrics that resist wrinkles such as knits, wools and cottons.

3.Co-ordinate to reduce excess baggage

Ordinarily you will probably wear some items of clothing more than once before you wash them and this is no different on holiday. If you take every item with the aim of only wearing it once you’ll be setting yourself up for a hefty excess baggage bill. Instead, choose:

  • Items of clothing that coordinate with each other so you can mix and match your outfits.
  • Clothing that can be easily washed, hand washed or rinsed for easy re-use.
  • Shoes that can be styled with more than one outfit.
  • Go-to accessories that bring together a number of outfits.

Summer wear packing tips

So, you’ve chosen your luggage and laid out all the clothing and accessories you want to take with you on your summer holiday, now it’s time to get them packed! 

As a quick rule, it’s best to roll soft items and fold thicker, stiffer fabrics:

  • Items to roll – underwear, jeans, t-shirts, knitwear and cotton trousers. These should go at the bottom of the suitcase or bag.
  • Items to fold – cotton shirts, blazers, smart trousers, skirts. These should go on top of rolled items and be stacked on top of one another, alternating waists and hems/collars so you don’t have all the thick parts at one end of your case.

If you’re taking an elegant dress to wear for evenings out or a special occasion, follow these top tips:

  • Make sure the dress is ironed before you pack.
  • Use tissue paper to lay on the back of the dress or in between folds to help prevent creases.
  • Fold the dress (with the tissue paper on) to a size that fits your suitcase or bag.
  • Pack other items first and create a flat layer upon which to lay your folded dress.
  • As soon as you arrive hang up your dress or spread it out on a clean, flat surface.

Belts can be laid around the perimeter of your case or bag to fill in the gaps and take up as little space as possible.

If you’ll be living out of a suitcase, or travelling to multiple destinations, remember to put the items you’ll need first at the top of your bag, so you don’t have to unpack everything to find your pyjamas!

Shoe packing tips

Shoes are bulky, heavy items that can take up a lot of space within your luggage, but by being creative you can make use of the inside of your shoes. Stuff items such as socks, rolled underwear, sunglasses or phone chargers inside your shoes to maximise all available space and keep these items safe. Even if they look clean, wrapping shoes up in a clean bag before packing them will make sure they don’t mark your clothes.

If you’re a shoe-aholic and tempted to take too many pairs, try to adhere to the rule of three. Pack three pairs of shoes only – one pair of loafers, sandals or espadrilles, one pair of trainers, deck shoes or comfortable walking shoes and one pair of smart shoes for evening or occasion wear.

By following these clothes packing tips you’ll make light work of your travel preparation and can get into the holiday mood as soon as you get your suitcase out. Happy travels!

Roxtons is an independent retailer offering an international collection of women and men’s wear, including heavenly accessories and footwear and a curated collection of unique lifestyle products sourced from around the world. Check out their website roxtons.co.uk.

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