Essential holiday packing tips!

Everyone loves going on holiday but there's a special kind of stress that goes hand in hand with packing a suitcase and getting through an airport smoothly.

We at The Personalised Gift Shop think that your holiday fun should begin the minute you leave home, so we have put together some sure-fire ways to reduce holiday packing stress!

Find out your luggage weight and size restrictions

Each airline is different when it comes to restrictions on weight and size of luggage. So, rather than hoping and praying you're under the weight limit and that your hand luggage will fit in the overhead storage, find out what your weight and baggage size limits are way in advance.

Invest in a set of scales too. These don’t have to be fancy luggage scales if you’ve got a friend that is able to give you a hand. Just stand on the scale, record your body weight (urgh, we know) and then stand on it again whilst holding your luggage – if you can see the number whilst doing all this great, but if not, get your friend to jot it down for you. Then just take your body weight away from the overall weight and hey-presto you know you’re under (or over) the restrictions.

Both of these steps will be vital in ensuring you don't have to lighten your luggage at the check-in desk or cough up extra cash. Knowing that you won't be waiting with bated breath as the scales settle at the check-in desk will make your packing worries melt away and you mind wander to happier thoughts, like those beaches.

Be strict when packing

Be honest with us now – how many times have you found yourself packing that outfit, several extra bikinis or a pair of shoes you're “pretty sure” you will wear, only for them to not escape your suitcase for your entire holiday?

Yes, we thought so because we have done it too! It doesn't matter how many times you let yourself take away that outfit, if you have nicer things to wear or you don't feel happy in it, you just won't wear it!

Make sure you pack only things you know you will wear on holiday and leave all the 'maybe' outfits at home.

Roll or fold?

Well, this one always seems to come down to opinion. You're bound to know someone who is a rolling convert and can't believe they ever used to fold their clothes to go on holiday. But then you'll find just as many people who still believe folding is the way forward.

We think it's worth trying both ways and then committing to the method you find most efficient. Rolling is thought to be the best crease-eliminating method, but you don't want to find your method of rolling has just introduced a whole new set of creases you wouldn't have had if you'd have stuck with folding.

Whether you're rolling or folding, find your favourite packing style and stick with it. Just promise us you won't start bundling and stuffing your clothes in your suitcase – that's just a recipe for a crease-filled disaster!

Think about where you’re going, no really, stop and think

If you're going somewhere with guaranteed sun then you might think about simply packing 'beachy' things and some nice outfits for evening.

But don't forget to think outside the box – might you end up going on an excursion that requires lots of walking? Somewhere cooler in the evening where you might need a jacket? Explore the likely possibilities and make sure you have something appropriate.

If possible try packing items of clothing that can double-up in their function. Kimonos can be great for this – throw it over a bikini in the day and then at night you can put it over a top and pair of trousers for that extra layer against any sea breezes.

Also, check local information to find out temperatures and general weather a couple of weeks before you leave so that you can be prepared.

Pack heavy things by your wheels

Walking through the terminal can be more taxing than you think with a suitcase in tow, and who knows how far you've got to walk to your bus transfer and the hotel itself when you reach your destination.

Packing your shoes and other heavier items (bottles of sun cream and toiletries) by the wheels makes your case more manageable and less likely to topple over when you leave it to stand. It might seem over the top now, but when you're making your way through the airport you will thank your past self for packing so well!

Make your holiday luggage easy to spot

When the suitcases are slowly being herded around the carousel, it can be frustrating to spot what you think is your suitcase from afar, only to shuffle your way to the front and discover that case isn't yours at all.

A colourful ribbon or case strap around your luggage gives you that extra indication it is yours and saves you having to track a potential suitcase around the carousel just in case it is yours!

Do you really need a designer suitcase?

Sure, they look much nicer than the sea of plain cases in the airport, and chances are with a big price tag it will be of high quality too. But think about how attractive a designer suitcase looks to a thief.

The average suitcase-stealer will see a brand suitcase and assume it will be full of designer goods too. Having a non-branded suitcase is much more likely to keep your belongings safe and off the radar of potential baggage thieves.

Avoid packing your heaviest items

If you're taking a pair of boots or shoes with you, wear them to travel so that they don't take up essential suitcase weight! Other items to think about are jackets and jumpers – if you feel you need to take them, wear them to go and free up as much packing space as possible.

Don't stuff your suitcase to the brim

You're bound to find at least one souvenir on your trip and if you've overstuffed your suitcase, there will be no room to get everything back home!

Another reason for not overfilling your suitcase is to ensure there are no creases from squashed clothes or unfortunate explosions from sun cream or toothpaste tubes that were designed to expel their contents when squeezed. It's just not worth packing so much stuff that you end up creasing everything, exploding some things and not allowing for room to bring anything back!

Don't pack anything too precious in your suitcase

Having an irreplaceable piece of jewellery, an expensive camera or another sentimental item you think you just couldn't live without lost along with your suitcase is just a recipe for heartbreak on your holiday.

What's more, the possibility of your suitcase going astray with your precious items inside is enough to make you stressed out to the max before your plane has even left the ground. Don't risk it – either leave super-precious items at home or carry them with you in your hand luggage.

Prevent toiletries and sun cream leaks

Use ziplock bags to secure shampoo bottles, sun creams and perfume inside. The last thing you want is to open your suitcase and discover sun cream has been oozing over your favourite top for the duration of the trip.

A good alternative to the ziplock bag is plastic lunch box – a clean and clear lunch box is perfect – you can tightly seal everything inside and can double check the contents without needing to lift the lid.

Choose your holiday shoes carefully

This is particularly important if they are new shoes or a pair you haven't walked a long way in. Even if you think they will be comfortable a soft-looking pair of shoes can turn on you and become your worst nightmare just 10 minutes after you put them on. The last thing you want is blisters on the first day of your holiday simply because you chose a pair of shoes you wouldn't normally wear.

This links back to taking what you need. Revert to some trusty shoes you know are comfy and won't cause you trouble!

Lists are your friends

Make a list of things you need to take with you. This way you're much less likely to stuff unnecessary items into your case AND you will be sure to have every essential with you.

As long as you've got every item on your 'need' list you will be fine. We suggest you start with:

Medication
Money in the right currency
Passport
Plane Tickets and any printed hotel information
Undies
Shorts (& Skirts)
Trousers
Tops
Shoes
Swimwear
Towel
Toiletries & Haircare
Sun cream
Phone charger

Keep a list from this year's trip for the future

Did you find yourself thinking “Why didn't I bring that?!” or “Next time I mustn't bother packing these!” If you did, make sure you write it down in a little notepad. When you get home, keep the notepad in your empty suitcase so that your notes are there for the next time you pack.

We tend to forget a lot of the thoughts we have while on holiday, so having everything written down for next time reinforces the fact you definitely don't need that extra pair of shoes!

What are your top tips for packing to go on holiday? Let us know!

If you're about to jet off on holiday or you know someone who is, why not take a look at our full range of Personalised Gifts – you might find something useful and quirky for your next adventure!