Well, my new suitcase arrived last week, so it’ll come as no surprise that I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what to put in it.
Every trip is different, obviously, and they all come with different packing requirements. There are some items, however, that I never fail to take with me, no matter where I’m going, or what time of year it is, and they are…
I know some people loathe them, and just can’t imagine how they could possibly ever be comfortable, but a pair of worn-in jeans are probably my number one packing must – I literally don’t travel anywhere without them. (Actually, when I say I pack them, I don’t really: I normally wear them on the plane…) Why? Well, jeans are basically my “just in case” item: if I’m travelling somewhere hot, I might not need them, but I’m a big believer in being prepared – not just for unexpectedly cold weather, but for anything else the trip might throw at me, that I won’t want to wear a bathing suit and shorts for.
I’ve worn my jeans to climb mountains, to go horse-riding and to hike through forests, and while no, they might not be exactly the ideal clothing for any of those situations, they’ll do in a pinch – and it’s not like I’m going to pack jodhpurs and hiking boots, just on the off-chance, is it?
02. A thick sweater
Again, a thick sweater or lightweight jacket is not only essential for the always-freezing aircraft cabin, but I almost always end up wearing one during the trip, too – even when I’m travelling somewhere hot, and in the height of summer. Well, the weather at my destination may be tropical, but the aircon inside restaurants, shops and other public places normally isn’t, so not only do I put a thick sweater in my luggage, I normally take it everywhere I go once I arrive, too.
If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m SO not a sneaker girl. I still always pack a pair (or some similarly “sensible” shoes) for every trip, though, because again, you just never know what you’re going to end up doing: and if I can’t do it in stilettos, I’ll be glad I brought those hated sneakers.
04. A swimsuit
This is an obvious one if you’re going on a beach holiday, but even if I’m going somewhere I don’t expect to be swimming, I’ve learned the hard way to always pack a swimsuit anyway: because if I don’t, I can practically guarantee I’ll need one…
05. A small cross-body bag
I always take a large carry-on onto the plane with me, but I don’t always want to haul it around with me at my destination, so I try to remember a smaller, cross-body bag, that’s large enough to hold my daily essentials, not not large enough to make me feel like a pack-mule when I’m out sightseeing or whatever. To save space in my luggage, I stuff the smaller bag with lingerie or other small items, and then add anything vaguely fragile, to stop it getting damaged in transit.
And some things I’m trying to wean myself off packing, meanwhile…
Tons of makeup and toiletries
I have a really bad habit of panicking while I’m packing my makeup etc, and convincing myself I MUST bring EVERYTHING – even stuff I don’t use often at home, let alone while I’m away. Most of this goes totally un-unused: I’m sure I’m not the only one who tends to wear less makeup on holiday anyway, so I’m trying to force myself to pack light this year: we’ll see how that goes.
I ALWAYS bring a couple of sets of workout gear, in the mistaken belief that I’ll be out there every morning, running along the beach, or pounding the pavement. The fact that I end up doing this maybe once on each trip (twice if I’m feeling very motivated), should be enough to convince me to leave this stuff at home, but I always think THIS trip is going to be the one I return from feeling fitter than when I left. It’s not going to happen, is it?
Every pair of shoes I own
OK, maybe not quite EVERY pair: I’m taking a suitcase, after all, not a shipping container. I do have a tendency to over-pack on the shoe front, and as habits, go, it’s proving a hard one to break. Well, can you imagine the horror of discovering you don’t have the right shoes for that dress you want to wear tonight? Exactly. That said, when I travel, I normally end up wearing the same two or three pairs of shoes on rotation, so why I insist on taking all the rest, I will never know. No, literally: I will never know, but I’ll probably keep on doing it anyway, won’t I?