Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to pack for a holiday

After all these years of travelling, I think I've finally cracked the "what to pack" mystery.

I actually planned out what I would wear every single day.  I drew up a grid for day and night wear for every single day.  I'm a Virgo hence the anal retentiveness.  :)  I then planned my outfits in detail as in I wrote out everything from my undies to my accessories for each day.  I didn't plan it out for the entire month, I simply planned it for about 10 days' worth and assumed I would repeat the outfits for the month.  I took the list with me to UK and stuck to it.  That was the most important bit.  No sense making a plan if you don't stick to it.

This is how you do it:

Decide on a "uniform"   For me, it was jeans and layered tops.  From experience, I knew that dresses would be out for me in the UK unless it's very, very warm as we would be visiting Scotland as well and I always freeze there.  I took simple, colourful tops and dressed them up with accessories.  So I packed 2 pairs of jeans, 6 tops and 4 Uniqlo bra-tops that worked as both undies and bottom layers.  This combination was all I wore for a month.
If yours is a wrap dress and knee high boots, then pack stuff to match that core uniform you'll be wearing most of the time.

Think about your holiday activities   What are you going to do?  Lots of sightseeing?  Very little formal nights out?  Beach?  Catching up with family and friends?  Why pack the LBD if all you're doing is lazing at the beach?  No sense packing super high heels if you're doing a lot of walking and sightseeing.  I knew we were doing the beach and mostly casual outings of shopping and catching up with friends so I left the formal dresses and shoes at home.  Instead, I packed my Radley suede boots that are comfy and lovely and don't kill me after pushing a kid in a stroller all day long.

Watch the weather  It said "summer"  but the weather forecast was rain, rain and more rain.  So I packed boots and a leather jacket instead of my cork wedges and linen jacket.  Thank god.  Pack for the weather you'll be facing, not the weather you want on your holiday.

Accessories  They don't take up much space so bring them on!  They can change an outfit and people won't notice you're wearing the same yellow top from last week, they'll just notice the different necklace.  Scarves, belts, necklaces... I packed them all and switched them around all through the holiday.

Doing holiday shopping?  Chances are you'll be buying something on your holiday.  This trip, I was targeting shoes.  So I knew I had to pack as lightly as I could since shoes are bulky.  I also knew that we always buy tons of sausages and pate and freeze them to pack back to KL.  That's another bulky buy that I had to take into account for the trip back.   If you know you're heading to the H&M sales on your holiday to stock up on clothes, pack less clothing for the trip there.

Laundry  Can you do laundry on your trip?  If so, you can pack less.  You don't have to wash every single item every day.  Unless it's sock and undies... those I insist on washing every day, I find it so icky to wear them more than once.

STICK TO THE PLAN  So important that I'm saying it twice.  I did and I found that I didn't wear the same combination or even wear similar combinations too close to each other (none of that "Didn't you wear this yesterday?" comments!).  Even if the laundry took longer than I expected to dry, I didn't run out of things to wear.  And more importantly, I didn't look like a tourist ie wearing a linen jacket and shivering while every Liverpudlian around me is snug in their showerproof coats and boots.

I've spent countless holidays where I've over-packed or under-packed or packed unnecessary items.  It was so annoying as I usually share a suitcase with Connor and space is a premium.  I first tried this out when we went to Pangkor Laut and it worked so well I repeated it for our UK trip.

Needless to say, I'll be sticking to this formula for all future trips!

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