Hand Luggage Packing - How To Pack Smart and Light

18 July

I'm not one to blow my own trumpet, but due to frequently travelling for work with only hand luggage and more recently, my four day trip to Barcelona, I've become a bit of a dab hand at packing my life into one bag.

And as you know, I love my clothes, so I couldn't bear to sacrifice style in the name of practicality. However, there are a few tips I have stumbled on for packing as little as possible for a mini trip.

Only bring one pair of shoes

So. Yeah. Let's get this one out of the way first, because it might sound a bit radical. But, do you need more than one pair of shoes for a few days? Fair enough if you're going on a hiking holiday but will be going out for dinner in the evening, but you'll probably catch me selling my slogan tee collection before you catch me willingly going hiking.

But I try to stick to one pair of shoes, for trips that are less than a week long, anyway. For work trips I tend to bring a smart pair of ballet flats or loafers (comfy but formal) and when we went to Barcelona I took my embroidered ASOS sandals. My boyfriend, on the other hand, took three pairs of shoes and couldn't fit things like, you know, his toothbrush in his bag.

Basically, shoes that are comfy but not scruffy are your best friend, because they can adapt to any situation. And they're the kind of shoes we like.

Roll, don't fold

Rolling your clothes in your bag/suitcase means that they don't get creased and leaves more space in your bag for that extra pair of shoes you decided to bring at the last minute.

I don't have anything else to say about this tip, but this section looked too short so here's another sentence to make it look more substantial.

Mix and match

This is where being one of those sensible people with an "interchangeable wardrobe" would come in handy. Bring one or two skirts/trousers and a few tops that go with them. Sadly, I am not one of those people.

On holiday I might pack a pair of denim shorts and a floral wrap skirt as well as a few plain t-shirts, so that everything goes together and can be dressed up or down depending on what I'm doing.

For a work trip, which is usually two or three days for me, I'll usually take three dresses or a black skirt and three blouses. I don't usually get changed if we go out for dinner because, to be honest, nobody would notice either way so it's a waste of space in my bag.

Only bring essentials and pack multipurpose products where possible

This might seem like obvious advice, but only bring what you actually need. Do you need a 32 shade eyeshadow palette? Or could you get away with using highlight in your inner corner and along your brow bone? Do you have a lipstick that could double up as cream blush? If you're taking your work laptop, do you really need your iPad too?

It sounds daft, but loads of my friends will bring everything but the kitchen sink with them and then complain about having too much luggage. Strip everything back and keep it simple.

And that's the takeaway here, really. Take it back to basics and consider what you really need with you and what will prevent you from having and airport meltdown when your bag bursts open.

What are your tips for packing light?

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