Packing hand luggage and making sure your carry-on bag will get you past the airline rules and take you through your holiday is quite a challenge. But the lighter you travel, the less time spent unpacking and repacking, and the more time for happy times at your destination (which for us foodies means more time to eat). Yes, it’s hard and it does take some organization, but it’s cheaper, good for your back, and more practical. Here are 13 tips to make it easier for you.Take a compact extra bag: Whether you’re allowed an extra bag or you can only take one piece of luggage on board you need something that can easily hold documents, tablet and phone, money, and fragile items like eyewear. I opt for a small beautiful Sardinian fabric rucksack that can easily go into my case, or a bright pink Swiss laptop bag with great compartments.
Ditch your usual handbag: It’s likely to be bulky, and set up for urban work life. Decant what you need into something smaller. Fabric is way lighter than leather. I even leave behind my big leather London wallet and switch to a tiny leather purse for UK coins, a pretty Cath Kidston purse for holiday coins, and a tiny compact fabric wallet for notes. I only take the cards I need.
Pick one basic bag for daily to eve essentials: This small faux-leather metallic bag carried my money, phone and glasses from morning coffee to beach to food shopping, as well as walking and eating out. I wore it cross-body, or popped into another bag. If the airline only allows one piece of luggage this is easy to pop into my case’s side compartment. I don’t want to scream traveller or tourist which is why I prefer pretty to travel-version. And when travelling light I find that loving every item makes the experience of limited choice fun.
Take canvas/nylon bags for beach, walks and food shopping: If they are ultra-thin they take up no space and are so handy for groceries, water, spur of the moment buys and emergencies. Forget those bulky beach bags and thick canvas shoppers. You can also use these to create compartments in a larger base bag.
Underpack: Rather than aiming to fill up you max allowance, aim to underpack, especially if you’re a foodie on the move. You’ll be grateful for having space for food that you buy. My traveller friends move from one location to another with a mini kitchen system. But you might also appreciate the space for essential toiletries bought at the airport or locally.
Do a basic toiletries shop at the airport: It’s worth researching the price of essentials at your destination, and whether you can get to a supermarket when you arrive. In some destinations the price of sun cream and basic toiletries can amount to what you might have paid to check in your luggage. So it pays to be savvy.
Pack solid toiletries and choose multi-taskers: I love the brand Lush not just for it’s fun eco-ethos but also for the great solid ranges like shampoo bars, conditioner and massage bars that make great body moisturizers. You can pack anything solid so bear that in mind for deodorant too.
Leave your beauty routine behind: We tend to get hooked on our specific routines at home but these needn’t be regimes. Take a holiday from these routines too. Shower gel can double up as shampoo and clothes washing liquid, conditioner can double up as shaving cream and body moisturizer.
Let go of your rules: You might never use wipes at home but they’re a godsend for travelling and hopefully you’ll barely be wearing make-up anyway.
Even bankers leave their make-up behind: Yes really! I was surprised to discover that a friend who travels regularly all over Europe on business not only takes her luggage on board but is a superb minimal packer down to leaving most of her make-up behind. Her essentials are mascara, lipstick, and tinted moisturizer samples.