Packing for a Holiday: How not to do it (advice from a serial overpacker)

Packing for a Holiday without overpacking

Hello, My name is Mel, and I’m a serial overpacker 🙋‍♀️

Seriously, if there was a 12 step program for over packers I’d be the first to sign up. Anyone that has ever travelled with me can attest to my desire to pack a stupid amount of crap for work trips and general holidays (not backpacking).

Exhibit A: Pre SXSW weekend in New Orleans. Sent 4kgs (!!) of stuff back within 24 hours of landing.

Exhibit B: Most recent overseas gig for me (10 weeks) took 30kgs(!) of stuff with me…at least a third of the clothing wasn’t worn.

I’ve realised that my packing failures come down to two main issues: Vanity and general daftness. So, with this in mind, I’ll share with you some revelations I’ve had recently on packing for a holiday (or working holiday):

  • You do not need DAY and NIGHT options for every single day you are away. (Unless you are a member of the Kardashian family or something equally as grim)
  • You can in fact buy toiletries in every single country on the planet.
  • Dragging a suitcase (that weighs similar to a hypothetical corpse) through the London / New York tube system is completely soul-destroying (even more so in Summer)
  • Paying for additional luggage at the airport sucks! Obviously the money can better spent having an extra fabulous time on your holiday.
  • You can wash your clothing at your destination – Laundry is universal!

So, with the above in mind here are my handy hints for better packing for your trip after years of packing far too much, and realising I can no longer charm the staff at the airport check-in desks. Learn from my mistakes people!:

  1. Look at the weather, this will usually inform you of what to pack.
  2. Make a list, then halve it. (If you are going for more than a week – realistically you only really need a week’s worth of clothing.
  3. Shoes! You don’t need to pack as many pairs of shoes that you think you should.
  4. Check out this great article from Lonely Planet, it inspired me to sort out my packing (but then I mostly ignored it…..I never learn!🤦‍♀️
  5. Take things that pack small. For example the good old “Parka in a Pocket” when folded into its pouch fits right into your hand.
  6. Roll your clothes, even better use packing cubes!
  7. Toiletries: You definitely don’t need full-size toiletries, use travel size versions if on a short trip, if visiting a place for a long period, buy larger versions on arrival at your destination these can always be purchased on arrival.

Finally, the most important tip of them all:

If you have to sit on your suitcase to get it closed – you have packed too much shit. Open and reassess of what you actually need.**

**this was written not long after sitting on my suitcase attempting to close it.