Packing – who has mastered the art?


Travelling – what to take and what to leave at home.

I travel to the USA and Australia  quite often, and sometimes to other wonderful locations. I should be good at packing but I am not!! Well I seem to take too much and or forget things. I had fun buying a hair brush in Istanbul because I left mine in NZ !  I’ve read all about how one should roll your clothes and  about expensive compartment systems and so forth. Do they really work? I think rolling is good, less creases. Anyway read on for some excellent tips that will help you pack sensibly.

Please add in the comment box your favourite tips.

Choosing a suitcase.

Soft-shell cases aren’t particularly weatherproof and are vulnerable to being sliced open by thieves if in off beat countries. Hard cases come in various materials, ( including human beings 🙂 ) suggest you avoid plastic, they break.  By and large  you get what you pay for. The well-known brands have life time warranties. Concealed zips deter the slick thief who can open a zip with a pencil in 5 seconds flat! Combination locks take 5 minutes to open I am told. Seriously I can even open a zipper. 

4 wheels are fabulous, you can push or pull with little pressure, a dream in large airports where you walk for several k’s. Spend the money, you won’t regret it. My Delsey case arrived with one wheel bashed in; once I opened it we popped it back out and it was good as new. My small Samosonite 55cm  for the overhead locker weighs 1.8 kg’s empty.   packing

The best rule I’ve heard for a one bag trip is the “1-2-3-4-5-6 rule”, and it’s usually good enough for longer trips. 1 hat, 2 pair of shoes, 3 of pants, 4 shirts, 5 of socks, 6 of underwear – the trouble is I always add one more of something!! Or try following this simple formula. Pack three tops for every bottom. Generally, pants and skirts take up more room than shirts, avoid heavy denim etc.

So here  am packing once more for 3 weeks in the USA, summer temperatures, time at the lake and some city time. I know of one woman who travels with a different outfit for every day and she takes two check in cases; I can’t manage that by myself through airports etc. I haven’t seen a gorgeous porter or even an ugly one in years, so I only take what I can carry. Maybe a husband would be useful. ( smile)

This new luggage called a Barracuda is being tested currently  and I think it has many merits.. watch the video and see what you think. It has a USB port, what next?



I wonder what everyone else travels with??  I take one hard case and one carry on case very light weight thanks to Samsonite. The small one is for my beloved camera, a jacket and book, medication and anything else I might need in flight.I always have a pair of knickers in the carry on too because if you arrive at a destination minus your luggage you will be pleased to have a spare pair! I always have my chargers in my carry on luggage as they were once stolen from my check in luggage about 3 years ago in the USA.   😦    We think taken by the very people who check the bags. The TSA lock was not damaged, however  my case was in transit for several hours at the Denver Airport. I suggest you pack your chargers in your hand luggage too as I have read that it is a popular item to steal !!

I have included beach/boat shoes, my best sandals, and one pair of walking shoes. and I wear one!  I’d love to pack more shoes but I think I can manage?.  Four pairs of trou’, one shorts, one togs, sun glasses, umpteen tops, 2 pr pj’s, one merino jacket for cool summer evenings, one pashmina wrap.  And of course underwear! The later take up no space. I buy quick drying knickers from Jockey, ideal for travelling. One small hand bag as well as my online Tumi travel bag. Check out the Tumi range.  I always take a lingerie bag for worn undies.  2-3 walk shoe soxs and a sunhat? That’s a toughie, I don’t want my best sunhat ruined by folding and the floppy hats make me look like an Australian drover! Pack your socks/underwear/small-items inside your shoes.  I also pop an alternative pendant or bracelet inside my shoes.

Leave the Bling at Home

Leave pricey watches and jewellery  behind. If you aren’t prepared to lose it, don’t pack it. Buy a cheap Swatch for traveling and costume jewellery for show, mind you in some countries I wear my expensive watch and rings; America and Australia are fine. But I didn’t take them to India and Istanbul or Tibet. Sometimes discretion is wiser.

Air compression plastic bags are miraculous and make sense.  Squeezing air out of clothes, giving you more room in the suitcase. your clothes look like vacuum packed meat, well not quite!  Giant Ziploc bags work, too. Just roll them tight. – See more.

I love these foundation  brushes with a lid. brush

First I looked at my bulging toilet bag – it was full of free samples that have been around the world several times! They went into the draw at home!! Now I have plenty of space.The makeup case is a  zip affair, small so that is fine. On the plane I have a brush  ( see photo ) with a secure lid so I put foundation onto  that for a touch up on the flight, a lippy and that’s me for the flight!! Easy really.The airlines supply toothbrushes and moisturizer usually. Remember don’t wear perfume when flying out of consideration to the passenger next to you. Some folks have allergies to perfume. See my earlier blogs on travel.

Shoes can get pretty dirty after a week of traveling. Put your dirty shoes inside the free hotel shower caps.  Toward the end of your vacation, your suitcase will probably be filled with dirty clothes. I like this American tip;  put a dryer anti static sheet in the bag with all of your dirty clothes, it’ll keep them smelling fresh and keep them all from clinging together.

packing 2

I take a small shampoo and conditioner stolen from hotels somewhere  on my travels. Your hair is going to survive and your luggage will have room for those new shoes you just had to buy!! A brush, comb and styling brush, hair mouse, deodorant,  lip balm, tooth brush from supermarket that is motorised, small toothpaste tube from my dentist, (they often have samples just ask),  throat lozengers, eye drops just in case, bongela, just in case, lots of ‘just in case’ items. Paw Paw cream ( fixes everything ), wet ones, makeup remover Mircrolette , (well travelling can give you constipation!!)  , panadol or similar, razor, Sudafed just in case, Orajel for cold sores, (just in case), small scissors, a band-aid, pressure point foam pad for blisters, just in case. And a few pills and potions from my friendly GP.

Take a slimmer wallet — Buy a very compact wallet traveling, instead of your normal one. It frees up space in your purse. Makes room for the camera perhaps. You won’t need your library card or shopper loyalty cards on vacation — just an ID and a few credit cards should cover it.

Long journeys are great for catching up on the reading pile. Instead of packing heavy magazines, tear out the articles that you want to read.  Vanity Fair and Vogue now weigh 95  % less. Alternately, take magazines that you can leave behind, shedding weight as you go. Of course, you could just load up the iPad with books and articles. (What? You are still addicted to paper., surely not.)

I leave NZ with 5-6 presents wrapped for family and friends; plus pineapple lumps and jet planes, this makes room for shopping space on the return! This almost fills the suitcase but not quite so do I pop in my best black jacket just in case? Another pair of walk shoes just for fun? I need to read my own advise.


I need my phone charger, iPad charger, two camera chargers, spare batteries and a torch –  really? Yes really, power cuts do happen. Charge all phones, cameras, iPads, and laptops before getting to an airport. If you do get delayed you can at least read your mail. Carry the adapter for your destination in your hand luggage, a multi-plug version is the best. You can buy all sorts of adaptor plugs  do your research and buy the best you can afford. Take a double plug if  you have phones and cameras to recharge.

So now I am ready to go… I have a travel scale to check the weight.. excess baggage charges are rather high and undesirable. Check and double-check, make lists, remember to read the lists and so forth! Remember your passport.

Au revoir and  don’t panic: you don’t even need tickets these days 🙂

Here is my previous blog on travel etiquette. all coloured words should be links.