Here are my 12 Top Packing Tips to remember before you embark on your next group tour.
1. Choose the lightest, most durable suitcase you can find with 4 wheels for easy manoeuvrability and do what the Italians do and chose a lovely bright colour – so much easier to spot on the carousel.
2. Before you start packing check the baggage policy of all the airlines you’re flying with. Not just the international leg but any other smaller or budget airlines you might be using for short haul flights. Don’t get caught with an overweight bag or discover at check-in that your ticket price didn’t include check-in luggage. You might be allowed 30kg on your long haul flight but only 16kg on short haul links.
3. Make a list of everything you think you need to take with you. Set it out on the bed or the floor and then reduce it by 1/3. Don’t carry things you only think you might wear – stick with your comfortable favourites. You can always buy something extra – charity stores are great for this purpose and you won’t need to feel guilty if you abandon the item before coming home.
4. Roll or fold? – the juries out on this one. If you roll you’ll fit more in but folding clothes together will probably result in less creasing. Be aware that many traditional and character hotels around the world do not provide or permit in-room ironing as it’s a fire hazard and laundry services can be slow and expensive.
5. Colour co-ordinate. Stick with two colours, ie, navy and white for summer and black and white for winter and pack scarves to add colour. This way you won’t need to pack half a dozen pairs of shoes of various colours to match outfits. Are you listening ladies?
6. Wear your walking shoes on the plane – they’re bound to be the heaviest item although it can be a hassle at check-in when you have to remove them at security.
7. Only pack enough underwear for 7 days and wash as you go. I find the hotel shampoo the best option.
8. Decant toiletries into small plastic bottles or buy travel size items.
9. Always pack a sarong which can double as a shawl/skirt/dress or cover-up.
10. Pack for layers – these days you can never be sure what the weather will do. 11. Never check essential or valuable items carry them with you and that includes any medications you might need. Stuff happens and you don’t want to be caught short.
12. If your luggage doesn’t turn up remember to keep your cool and always be polite. Chances are your luggage will arrive and be delivered to your hotel so much faster if you remember that the person behind the counter wasn’t personally responsible for the problem and probably really does want to help.