Packing is high up on the list of chores that I would 110% rather not do. It features much higher than hanging up washing, and just slightly lower than mopping the floor or putting clean sheets on a super king sized duvet (alone).
But fear not, babies, for I am here to guide you through the dreaded chore. With holiday season fast approaching, I am going to tell you my own personally designed Pamela Violets ultimate guide to packing. I am going to tell you what you should be taking, and what you definitely should not be taking.
I will also give you some tips on how to actually make it fit – logistically. I mean, I wouldn’t classify myself as an expert who could write a novel on the subject, but in byline of work where I am basically a professional wanderer and long-time nomad, I’d say I’m pretty okay at it. The tricks that I have picked up, are merely corrective results from rookie packing errors. Like the time my expensive purple shampoo burst all over my suitcase, staining EVERYTHING that touched. (Yeah, those stains never did come out by the way…).
Pamela Violets Pro Packing Tip 1:
First things first, CHECK THE WEATHER. This will take you two seconds and is absolutely vital. Lack of preparation is what leads to fashion failings and downfalls. How will you ever be able to explore if you only brought flip flops when the weather requires boots??? You will A) look like a massive tit, and B) not enjoy the day to its maximum potential due to worrying about part A. I also have a very lightweight, compact umbrella that accompanies me on every trip. You’d be surprised at the amount of countries that have weird freak showers, even in the height of their best seasons. And don’t even get me started on the number of times I have flashed people my pants whilst wearing cute sundress. Yes, the forecast might have said sun, but I had clearly overlooked the wind warnings.
Pamela Violets Pro Packing Tip 2:
When something is a chore, it is easy to get frustrated and when that happens, your bound to forget items or throw items in to the suitcase that you’re going to regret in order just to get the chore over with. What I suggest here, is to first of all, put on a good playlist. (I’ve compiled for you my Athens Adventure soundtrack which you can listen to here if you like) and make yourself a sunny drink – I’m thinking Aperol Spritz is the way to go, no? After you’ve checked the weather, grab a pen and paper. Write down each day and underneath each day, do a little doodle or note of what the weather is due to be like. Then, plan what an outfit for each day, dependent on your itinerary. This is really useful if you already have some activities planned on specific days, because I am not being funny, but you’re hardly going to wear a sundress if you’re going a three mile hike, or a mini skirt if you’re going to a theme park. This helps you be more practical with your packing. Next!
Pamela Violets Pro Packing Tip 3:
Choose a colour scheme or wardrobe theme that you can mix and match throughout the trip; something like a capsule wardrobe. There is zero point in taking a pair of sparkly sequinned trousers that will literally not match anything else you’ve packed. If you stick to a colour palette for example, one hand bag and one jacket will match everything. By packing two tops for one pair of trousers, and by adding some accessories such as earrings and necklaces, scarves etc, you can make the outfits look very different. Packing a few accessories takes up hardly any space but really helps make an outfit look different if you’re forced to wear something twice. I also tend to take some clothes that can be layered up too; like a little shirt and a loose fitting vest.
Pamela Violets Pro Packing Tip 4:
Packing cosmetics and make up is a huge headache for us girls when it comes to vaycay. So I’ll tell you what I pack. I try to take products that have minimal liquids on holiday. I use a foundation stick or powder foundation instead of a liquid one and products like Clinque’s Chubby Sticks or the NARS Multiple are a space saving Godsend for the simple reason that they do the job of lipglosses/lipsticks/blusher’s all in one whilst saving that precious liquid space for more important things. I buy small bottles and decant my favourite products into them. Try Muji, and Daiso for inexpensive and varied sizeable options with all sorts of useful lids. I literally put everything into small bottles, including make up remover, body sprays, face creams, and body lotion and they always come with little stickers so you don’t get confused and end up moisturising your face with shampoo or something. It’s also a great idea to check ahead with your host regarding what facilities are available at the hotel – a lot of Air BnB’s even offer hair straighteners nowadays. Once you’ve decanted everything into mini bottles, it’s a good idea to immediately pack them into a clear back in order to avoid being that person who holds up the security queue while they scramble around the suitcase looking for liquids. (insert eye-rolling emoji here).
Pamela Violets Pro Packing Tip 5:
Roll your clothes instead of folding them. I don’t know why it works, but it really stops wrinkles. And if you take it out the case, and it’s still a bit wrinkly, you can turn on the shower for five mins before you get in, and leave the outfit hanging on a the back of the bathroom door. The steam combined with the weight of the item should help pull the wrinkles out. Also, hang your clothes in a wardrobe if possible.
Pamela Violets Pro Packing Tip 6:
Invest in a lightweight luggage set. If all you’re allowed is 15kilos, do you really want to waste half of that on the original case weight alone? Exactly. Think of the shoes!!!
Pamela Violets Pro Packing Tip 7 (shoe specific):
I am actually going to do a full footwear section because I feel that footwear is the most important aspect of packing. Call me biased or whatever – I probably am since I have a terrible weakness when it comes to shoe shopping, but it’s the one area that I really struggle with when it comes to packing. I just CANNOT choose. Most days in normal life, I decide my outfit based on the shoes I want to wear that day. So, limiting myself to just a measly few pairs when packing really feels like a tremendous task. I allow myself to take THREE pairs. One for travelling in, one smarter pair for any nice dinners etc, and one pair for day wear.
Shoes tend to weigh the heaviest, so by wearing the heaviest/bulkiest ones traveling, you’ll free up more space in the case. On any given trip, it’s a good idea to take a comfy (preferably waterproof) pair of shoes, and I usually wear this pair traveling. Be realistic, while UGGS might be comfy on the plane, if you’re heading to a country averaging a forecast of 26 degrees Celsius, are UGGS really a justifiable choice of footwear solely for six hours of in air comfort? Nah. Thought not.
Never, EVER, waste space by taking shoes that you’ve never worn before, or that are not tried and tested, comfortable. If they cripple you, you won’t wear them for the rest of the trip – eliminating some of your capsule wardrobe outfit choices, and forcing you to look like a fanny when you inevitably wear your Max 97′ trainers with a beautiful dress to a posh restaurant.
It’s also a good idea to pack shoes in some kind of shoe bag before chucking them into your case. It’ll protect them from any leakages or damage to the leather. This is important especially if you have really delicate or light coloured clothes in your suitcase, in order to stop dirty marks or damage. If you’re not posh enough to have one, that’s fine – use a dust bag, plastic bag,or just improvise but just make sure you wrap them in something!
PACKING ESSENTIALS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER:
- Worldwide adaptor. Expensive but worth it. You can even buy adaptors that have a slot for USB cables which is ideal since the majority of our chargeable now use USB cables. It’s not always enough just to bring the charger you think will be most widely used in that specific country, as some hotels are sneaky or try to be modern by opting to implement what they consider more widely used power outlets, such as US sockets in their rooms despite being based in Europe (very confusing).
- An extra long charging cable for your phone; most places are stingy and place the sockets a mile away from the bed in order to put you off using surplus electricity.
- A lightweight, compact classic umbrella that easily fits in a handbag.
- Use an old moisturiser tub to keep your jewellery in.
- Toiletry bags that hang on the back of the bathroom door are great too – mostly because they open up to lay flat if you’re really pushed for space.
- A bright coloured lipstick and a pair of sunglasses. Both to detract from jet lag tiredness and holiday hangovers. They will instantly make you look more alive than you feel.
- A folding tote bag. These come in really handy! Especially if you really just CANNOT make that last item fit in the suitcase for whatever reason, on the way home.
MY ATHENS SUITCASE:
Colour theme. – black, white, cream, red, blue, grey, pink
- Leather Jacket (from Zara)
- Mensy-fit grey trousers (from Topshop)
- Plain round neck tshirt (from Monki)
- Oversized blue striped shirt (from Zara)
- Oversized slouchy long sleeved t-shirt (from ASOS)
- Slouchy red denim/linen dunagrees (from Monki)
- Loose fitting grey vest (from H&M)
- Fitted chino trousers (from Zara)
- White sundress (from Zara).
- Stripey pink and blue linen dress (from GAP)
- Black CDG Play Converse (from Dover Street Market)
- Black leather slider sandals (from Topshop)
- Cerise pink suede sandals (from Mango) these are cute too (Topshop)
- Straw circle bag (from Pull & Bear)
- Orange/red croc bag (from YSL)
- Oversized sunglasses (from Polaroid)
- Black and gold leather belt (vintage)
- Statement arrings x2 (both from H&M)
- Bracelets x2
- x2 socks
- x5 sets of underwear (nudes/blacks/pretty)
I was in Athens for four nights, and required x2 travelling outfits, one nice dinner outfit, and three day time outfits. I wore every single thing that I packed which is the aim of the game! The first two days were forecast rain, and the rest of the days were forecast to be sunny which mean that the suitcase had to accommodate a wider variety of outfits. These particular converse are my go to for walking around cities in wet weather. While they still look like regular Chuck Taylors (ie go with everything), they have a thicker sole which keeps your feet dry! Win-win situation.
MAKING IT FIT:
The actual logistics of fitting everything into a cabin sized baggage poses all kind of stress. But listen, in four years, I’ve yet to leave something behind due to it’s inability to fit. Here’s my how to:
- Roll belts, socks, underwear and charger cables and plugs into small tiny things, and jam them into the inside of your shoes, or if the crevices in-between heel gaps.
- Roll up clothes, because they somehow also manage to fit more clothes when packed this way.
- If packing a bag inside the case, do not leave the inside of the bag empty. Utilise the space by filling it too, with toiletries, umbrellas etc.
- Most airlines allow a cabin bag AND a handbag for women. So utilise this as well. Don’t go taking a miniature sized clutch for God’s sake! Take a decent sized bag incase you buy anything on your trip or in Duty Free.
- If you’re really pushed for space, wear the jacket that you packed and layer up if you are about to be hit hard with heavy weight luggage charges. Do as Heidi did. I do realise that this isn’t ideal when faced with a summer climate that has soaring temperatures but either suck it up, or pay up. The choice is yours, babies!
- Really consider how essential some items really are before packing it. I mean, sometimes it’s quite the unideal situation to go without your three different types of hairbrush that you’d normally use for a blow dry, but do you really need all three for a four day trip? Or could you survive without, just this one time?
And lastly, this is my final piece of wisdom with regards to packing. We are all so guilty of freaking out if our outfits are not 100% how we envisioned them when packing. We freak out and throw tantrums when our hair is not sitting the way we want it to, or feel frustrated if we have packed one pair of shoes over another – when the other ones which were left at home in the wardrobe would have matched better. However guilty we all may be of this, it’s always good to remember that despite wanting to look good, at the end of the day, we will cherish and remember the memories of the place and the adventures we had, long before we remember which shoes we wore, and that is the most important thing of all.
SO at the end of the day, if it’s 26 degrees outside and you look like a tit, well go ahead and look like a tit anyway. Just try to enjoy the experience and laugh about it later. And at absolute worst, if you’re a tourist in the city that you’re lucky enough to be visiting, then the chances are that no-one knows you anyway, and who cares what a bunch of strangers who you’ll never see again, think anyway.
Happy packing babies. I hope this helps even just one of you pack with ease for your upcoming holiday!
NB: It’s worth mentioning that some of the links to the listed items in my suitcase aren’t the exact items that I have. This is because some of my stuff was purchased last season or a while ago and is no longer available on the website; however, I’ve tried to find you the next best thing and have added a link to the next closest item!