Holiday Packing Tips: How To Travel Like a Pro

Got a beach holiday coming up? Chuck some bikinis, sandals, sunscreen and your cutest summer dresses into a suitcase and you’re set. Off skiing for a week or to explore a chilly city? The general rule of thumb will be layers, layers, layers. But what are you meant to pack if you’re hopping between both warm and cold countries on one trip, and how are you meant to fit it all into one measly suitcase?! Hopefully these holiday packing tips will help answer that question!

In a matter of days I’ll be sitting on a 13-hour flight about to begin a two-month tour of Australia, Fiji, Singapore and Hong Kong. This trip stems from six years of daydreaming and five years of saving; I’m still pinching myself in utter disbelief that I’m about to spend a couple of months exploring countries my soul has yearned to visit for so long.

Hopping from climate to climate this summer? These holiday packing tips should help!

It’s not often one finds themselves with an opportunity to up sticks and ignore ~normal adult life~ for a while so Jacob and I jumped at it, keen to use these summer months to tick as many cities off our bucket lists as we could.

While warm weather was initially one of our top priorities, it soon dawned on us that if we wanted to get a proper taste of Australia we’d need to put up with some slightly less pleasant temperatures. Now, their winter is not like our winter in the UK but Google tells us it can still get pretty chilly in Melbourne and Sydney, the first few cities we’re due to visit. So, we’ll be hopping from 30 degrees sunshine in Singapore to single-digit temps in southern Australia, then back to the high twenties in Fiji onwards!

So, with (almost all) the boring admin out of the way I’ve been focusing on the fun but perhaps even more stressful part – the tRaVeL wArDrObE 😱👠👙✈️🌏

I’m not naturally a minimalist – I need options and I need lots of them. Cutting down my outfit choices to fit inside a suitcase is a painful process but one that’s necessary to avoid excess baggage fines at the airport (and leave enough space for extra gems and souvenirs I pick up along the way 😏).

Whether you’re off on your summer hols and have no idea where to start or, like me, you’re struggling to pack for multiple climates, hopefully these holiday packing tips will help make it all a little more bearable…

1. Roll ‘em up

I’ve tried folding, I’ve tried laying things out flat and I’ve tried stuffing them into every corner available but the clothes packing technique I’m convinced is the best – in terms of maximising space to take even more stuff with you – is rolling! 🌯

One of my favourite holiday packing tips - roll, roll, roll!

One of the simplest holiday packing tips I’ve picked up, rolling your clothes and stacking them on top of each other in your case saves space and is more likely to prevent wrinkles and creases (if you roll ‘em right, that is).

Having little clothes-sausages rolled up next to one another – as opposed to folded in piles – also makes it easier to see where things are so you won’t have to throw all your clothes out of your case in exasperation when you can’t find that cute crop top you really want to wear for dins one night. 

2. Put a sock in it

Socks ain’t just for feet – they’re great little multitasking tools and are the centrepiece in one of my favourite holiday packing tips.

  • Stuff them into shoes to keep them stiff and avoid a squashed pair of booties when you unpack.
  • If you’ve got glass bottles of perfume or can’t bear to leave your fragile travel candle at home, slip them into thick socks for an extra layer of protection during transit.
  • They work as great transporters for other delicate little bits and pieces – necklaces, big earrings, hair grips and ties, safety pins, plasters, keys, the list goes on…
  • Travelling with different types of currency but don’t want to bring lots of wallets you know you won’t use? Stick cash into socks to separate them out (and help disguise your money if someone decides to rifle through your bags!).

Stick fragile objects into socks for extra protection during transit3. Use packing cubes to organise your suitcase

If you want to take your organisation game to the next level, pick up some packing cubes. Separate your socks from your undies, vests from your t-shirts and shorts from your skirts with a couple of handy suitcase organisers. If you’re staying put in a hotel / hostel / Airbnb for a while, just transfer your packing cubes straight to the chest of drawers or whatever storage you have available in your accommodation.

If you like the idea of sectioning off your stuff but don’t want to invest in special suitcase cubes, just grab a load of plastic bags and separate your clothes and accessories that way. 

Another great holiday packing tip? Stuff a black bin bag in the pocket of your suitcase – if you ever find yourself standing in the torrential rain with your luggage, pop the bin bag over your case and protect it from getting soaked. Covering up your case also deters any wondering hands from going through the pockets when you’re standing around in airports or waiting for transport.

And when it comes to picking your outfits…

Possibly one of the more challenging holiday packing tips, make sure the clothes you pick can adapt to different climates and occasions4. Think about adaptability

Does that dress look great with bare legs and a pair of thick black tights if the weather gets chilly? Could you layer up with an extra jumper or two instead of bringing a bulky coat? Will you overheat in those black skinny jeans if you travel to a warmer country or would it be more comfortable to wear a baggier, straight-leg or flared pair instead (extra air flow ‘n that)? Does that mini skirt work with both comfy trainers and a pair of sky-high heels?

You’ve got limited space (and probably limited time if you’re leaving packing until the last minute like me) so opt for clothing that can be dressed up or down, layered when it gets chilly and look good with lots of other pieces in your suitcase.

5. Opt for a neutral colour palette

It’s not just about picking clothes that take you from day to night or hot to cold – if they don’t compliment each other then mixing and matching is going to be a challenge.

Try limiting your travel wardrobe to a handful of neutral tones and one or two bright colours. Bringing pieces that look great with lots of other items means it will be longer until you need to start repeating outfits. For my adventure this summer I’m sticking with black (of course), grey, white, pastel pink and red for that pop of colour.

6. You really don’t need all those shoes

My shoes reflect my mood – if I’m feeling sassy ‘n confident I’ll go for some chunky heeled boots; a more relaxed day calls for Vans or Converses, and I’ll wear strappy sandals or heels when I feel like channelling a summery vibe.

Although we’re off to some huuuumid places I can’t bear to leave my boots at home. Thankfully they’re pretty easy to dress up for drinks or dinner in the city, and I’ll wear them on plane journeys to save weight in my luggage. 

For day-to-day exploring I’ll bring my Vans and for the hiking we’ve got planned in Fiji and Aus, I’ve got my running trainers. Just a pair of super light slip-ons or strappy sandals for the beach / pool (I’ve still not decided which 😆) and I’m all set!

Pick your shoes carefully when you're packing for your holiday!7. Layer up on the plane

It doesn’t matter whether you’re landing in a hot or cold country – if you’re bringing a bulky coat or heavy jacket / jumper with you, wear it on the plane.

It can get chilly on long flights and coats work as excellent blanket / pillow alternatives if the airline is too stingey to pass them out.

8. Pick your makeup wisely

Pick your makeup wiselyOne of the most challenging holiday packing tips for me to follow, I often can’t help but take a “just in case” stance when it comes to picking which cosmetics to bring with me on my travels. This year, however, I’m determined to be super strict on myself.

Face: I tend to wear foundation every day so I’ll be bringing a couple of bottles with me. My recent fake tanning frenzy meant I needed to get some darker shades so I did a panic-purchase in Boots and went for Rimmel London’s Lasting Finish Foundation. I’ll be bringing Benefit’s Hoola Lite for bronzing and Rimmel’s Insta Duo Contour Stick for contouring. I’ll also be taking two highlighters with me – one liquid (which can be mixed with foundation for a really beautiful dewy look) and the other a powder that I can keep in my bag.

Eyes: Whether you’re going away for a week or a month, you shouldn’t need any more than two eyeshadow palettes – one for neutral shades, the other for brighter fun colours. I’m not really one for a vibrant blue or green eye so I’ll be taking Urban Decay’s Naked Heat palette for summery day looks and for the perfect smokey bronze eye, I’ll use my new MAC Mischief Minx palette (one of the best sets I own atm). I can’t leave the house without lashings of mascara on so I’m also bringing a couple tubes of Maybelline’s Lash Sensational Mascara – one normal and one waterproof for those days spent in the sea. 

Brows: I’ve stuck to the same routine for years and can’t see it changing anytime soon. I’ve tried pomades and pencils but since getting MAC’s Eyeshadow in Coquette brushed over my brows by my makeup artist pal back in 2015, I’ve not turned back. I use an Eco Tools slanted brush to apply the powder, similar here.

Lips: As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m not a big lipstick-wearer. I love how a bright pink or coral or red lip can transform an outfit but I’m often just not brave enough to rock such vibrant colours and gravitate towards a smokey eye instead. However, I’m certain there will be evenings when I won’t have the energy to blend and buff and build an eyeshadow look – and lipstick will be the perfect lazy alternative. I’ll be bringing five lip products with me – a pinky nude cream (NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Cream in Abu Dhabi), a deep red (MAC Lipstick Matte in Diva), a hot red (Rimmel London’s Fire Starter – my absolute favourite), a universal lip liner (I like Rimmel’s Moisture Renew Lip Liner) and a gloss (probably Benefit’s Dandelion lip gloss).

Pick your makeup wisely!

Stick “holiday packing tips” into Google and you’ll probably find lots more hacks and advice for fitting as much as you can into a tiny suitcase but hopefully my ramblings above provided a little bit of inspo!

Whether you’re off on holiday or enjoying what your home country has to offer this summer, I hope you all have a lush one 🌞🌄🕶