Stress-free travel starts with savvy packing and thanks to the tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years as a travel blogger I feel like I’ve got it down to a fine art. So much so that when National Express got in touch and asked for my packing hacks I was more than happy to share what I’ve learnt in order for your next trip to be a total breeze!
// PRE-TRIP PREPARATION //
We all know the saying ‘in failing to prepare, you prepare to fail’. I’m sure this relates to the fact that you can get in holiday mode early by hitting the shops in your pre-trip preparations!
Local bargain shops are especially great for cheap travel-related or even versatile products that can be used in ways you may not have thought of. For example, cheap pill holders are fab for storing earrings, rings or chains in each compartment – keeping your bling in brilliant order. Contact lens cases are perfect to squirt just enough foundation/eye cream for a short trip, just don’t forget and place your actual lenses in them overnight!
Save travel-sized products that come free with magazines, in hotels, or ask for samples at your local beauty counter. These not only give you more room in your 100ml plastic bag but are also a great way to try out a new product. Multi-use products are the perfect space saver.
// PACK IT IN //
Now it’s time to pack! With carry-on hand luggage it’s vital that you use every tiny bit of space to its advantage to save you money avoiding having to check in your case at the airport.
Think about where you pack items. For example, your laptop or any electrical items need to be somewhere so they can be removed in one swift movement going through airport security. You don’t want to be that person holding everyone up when rummaging for your gadgets.
I’ve learnt this next tip the hard way – If you’re arriving at your destination at night make sure your toiletries bag and pyjamas are near the top so you can check-in and get some sleep. No more wasting time flinging every item out of your case around your room to get what you need when you’re exhausted!
Are you a roller, folder, squisher or squasher? How you pack is important as it’s best to be a mix of all four. Try to create an even layer by overlapping your clothes then folding over. Get rolling smaller items and stuff ’em into every nook and cranny. Make use of your shoes and squeeze whatever you can inside, including breakable items in your socks to give them a bit of extra padded protection.
As hard as it might be you should try and leave some space. I know you’ll want to fill every inch but think of the things you’ll inevitably pick up along the way. However, one thing that should be on every packing list is a tote bag or carrier bag for you to put your dirty washing in – you’ll thank me later!
Now it’s time to be realistic – pack your bag, despair at how much you still need to get in, unpack and try again, each time leaving more things out. Be brutal and be honest with yourself as we all take way more than we actually use. You don’t need to weigh yourself down with things that you can easily (and sometimes for a cheaper price) buy abroad. Remember – shops exist outside of home too!
// TRAVEL DAY //
Wear your heavier items to travel in to save on space in your case but also to give you some warm layers for the chilly aeroplane air. Have a pen in your hand luggage for passing time writing your travel journal, jotting down ideas or just to save time going through customs. Don’t forget your toothpaste in your clear plastic bag and enjoy your trip!
You’ve followed the above tips, your carry-on case is on point and you’re buzzing with that holiday feeling – all that’s left is to get to the airport. Another great tip is to jump on a National Express coach (that way you get to ditch the pricey airport parking fees too!) as not only does it take you direct to all the major UK airports (incl. Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton) but prices start from as little as a bargainous £5! Getting the coach also offers a whole host of extras too, including on-board VUER that showcases films, news, kids shows and all the best from NOW TV, comfy leather seats and charging points too. The driver will even help you load your luggage on and off the coach, as you can have 2 x 20kg suitcases and 1 hand luggage per person it’s an offer I’d definitely take up!
Check out the below vlog to see some of these tips in action!
You may also want to have a read of this post full of other nifty travel packing hacks. Have you got any packing tips that your swear by? If so, comment, send me a tweet or facebook message! Happy travels!