Once you have your flights and hotels booked and have remembered exactly which super safe place you stashed your passports in after last year’s getaway, it is time to start thinking about what you are going to take with you.

Read on for our list of the best and most efficient things to pack no matter where in the world you are getting away to this year. Whether you are a sun worshipper, a continent hopper or a snow seeker try out these tips and tricks to get your packing down to a fine art.

*On some occasions, we earn revenue from content. This commercial content is compiled via expert opinion. Clicking on certain hyperlinks within this article will redirect you to a 3rd party.

The Basics

We are all guilty of packing much more than we need when it comes to holidays – does anyone else feel the need to pack enough underwear so that you could wear three pairs a day and still have some spares?

Cumnock Chronicle: Get ready to go Credit: PixabayGet ready to go Credit: Pixabay

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when packing minimally is that 4 of an item is the most that you will need when you have access to washing facilities (don’t forget that you can handwash items in a hotel sink too).

Look up packing lists, and you can easily get overwhelmed. Before you dive into all the details, remember that what you need can be easily broken down into six categories:

  • Clothes – we will get to those shortly
  • Toiletries - Toothbrush and toothpaste, makeup, deodorant moisturiser, shampoo etc.
  • Country/holiday specific items – e.g. sun block, insect repellent, snorkel, skis  
  • Medication – top tip: take prescribed medication in its official bottles to show you are legally allowed to carry it.
  • Entertainment – books, devices (don’t forget the chargers), toys for little ones
  • Travel documents and currency – you are not going to get far without these!

Tricks to Pack Like a Pro

Before you start pulling all your favourite clothes out of your wardrobe and throwing them into the nearest suitcase, take a moment to try these packing hacks that will save you space and help you get the most out of even the smallest bag.

Cumnock Chronicle: What will you take? Credit: Lum, PixabayWhat will you take? Credit: Lum, Pixabay

  • Roll don’t fold- Not only will you fit much more, it helps stop clothes from wrinkling for fuss-free unpacking
  • Use your shoes- Stuff shoes and boots with small items like socks, underwear and even toiletries to make use of that otherwise unused space
  • Protect makeup with cotton wool- Cracked and spilt powders can quickly cause major stains not to mention annoyance. Slip a cotton wool pad between the makeup and the lid to prevent any breaks.
  • Keep a change of clothes in your carry on – There’s nothing worse than losing your carefully packed luggage, but should the worst happen you will have a bit of a backup. Throw in a swimsuit if you are going somewhere sunny too.
  • Vacuum pack – If space is tight invest in vacuum bags* that will cut down the space that items take up dramatically. Look for ones where you can ‘roll’ the air out in case you don’t have access to a hoover for the trip home.

What to take to sunny spots

If you are hitting the beach or looking to soak up the rays on a sun holiday* keeping cool and looking stylish are often top of the list.

While it’s tempting to take only shorts and skimpy t-shirts don’t forget to take some long sleeved options in both tops and bottoms- they are ideal for protecting you or giving you a break from the sun, not to mention thwarting annoying insect bites.

Cumnock Chronicle: Hit the beach Credit: Pexels, PixabayHit the beach Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

A well-packed suitcase should have:

  • Shorts/skirts
  • Day tops
  • Swimsuit*
  • Beach or pool cover-ups – sarongs, kaftans or a t-shirt you don’t mind getting wet.
  • Long sleeved top
  • Long sleeved trousers – linen based items are ideal for keeping cool but giving you plenty of coverage.
  • Something to keep you warm – when the sun goes down the temperature can drop quickly, so a lightweight jacket or a silk pashmina is a must have item to keep you warm while on evening strolls or when you’re out for dinner.
  • Flip flops or sandals
  • Evening outfits – if you are hitting the pubs and clubs, be sure to bring some outfits that make you feel fabulous

The big one to remember when heading away to soak up some sun is, of course, to bring plenty of sunblock with you!

Remember to apply it to ALL exposed skin; nothing will set you apart from the crowd quite like having sunburn in the exact pattern of that funky nettop that you thought would be the ideal way to keep cool.

Getaways to colder climes

Get smart when you’re packing for cold weather and give serious thought to what you can wear rather than pack. Large jackets, chunky scarfs and heavy boots take up so much space in a suitcase that you are better off wearing them while travelling instead and just popping your coat in the overhead bin.

Cumnock Chronicle: Be prepared fro colder weather Credit: Stock Snap, PixabayBe prepared fro colder weather Credit: Stock Snap, Pixabay

Make sure to pack:

  • Trousers
  • Tops and cardigans that can be layered if temperatures drop
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Scarf
  • Fleece
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Shoes with good grip
  • Thick tights (if you are bringing dresses or skirts)
  • Thermal leggings*
  • Thermal Tops

Thermals are a life saver when it comes to making the most of limited packing space. A thermal vest and long johns will instantly transform almost any outfit into one fit for colder climes with minimum fuss.

Weekend Adventures


Make the most of a long weekend with a trip away from your usual haunts. When it comes to packing for short term trips less is more.

Cumnock Chronicle: Where will your weekend take you? Credit: Roger Yo Santos Dias, PixabayWhere will your weekend take you? Credit: Roger Yo Santos Dias, Pixabay

Being away for only a few days means you can easily plan out what you are going to wear on each day. It is also the best way to ensure you don’t overpack.

Make sure to pack:

  • Pair of trousers you can wear all weekend
  • Dressy top for going out
  • Comfy pair of smart looking shoes (only bring an extra pair of shoes if you can spare the space)
  • Colourful accessory or two to jazz up a neutral outfit (also a good way to take an outfit from day to night if space is short)
  • Top for each day you are there
  • Cardigan/ jumper (use these to layer if you are heading somewhere with the potential to be chilly)

If you are looking to save space when packing for a weekend getaway bear in mind that basic toiletries are often available at hotels. Alternatively, get your hands on refillable travel size bottles* so you only end up taking what you need instead of that massive sized bottle of shampoo!

Time to enjoy your holiday

Now that you have your packing planned out it’s time to get back to the serious business of deciding what you are going to get up to during your next adventure!

Cumnock Chronicle: Get out there and see the world Credit: Hans, PixabayGet out there and see the world Credit: Hans, Pixabay

Will you be heading out to tick off sightseeing spots (if so be sure to throw some blister plasters into your bag just in case), or is it going to be all about taking some rest and relaxation on this trip?

However you decide to spend your getaway, follow these packing tips, and you will be perfectly prepared!