I recently had the pleasure of joining Sunwing Vacations on a trip to the amazing Royalton Riviera Cancun in Mexico. It was nothing short of spectacular and you’ll be able to read my review shortly on YummyMummyClub. Where I failed huge on this trip though was in the packing.
The issue was that four days before we were supposed to leave for Mexico, I was just arriving home from a trip to Florida. I then had four days to catch up on a mountain of work, get the laundry done and pack the family up again. Needless to say, two hours before we were supposed to leave the house, I was throwing anything I could find in my suitcase in a classic example of panic packing. Thankfully, Sunwing has a very generous complimentary checked baggage policy and I wasn’t further stressed trying to fit everything in a carry on. I knew that I had 20kg of weight plus an additional 10kg because we had upgraded to Elite Plus, but did I really need 30kg of stuff?
As a fairly seasoned traveller, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I did indeed lug 30kg of gear to Mexico for a beach holiday. That’s roughly the weight of my 10 year old by the way and there’s nothing fun about trying to pick that kid up anymore. All of this is to say that I want you to learn from my mistakes. I hereby present to you a little guidance to make your next trip a little easier. The do as I say, not as I do guide.
Packing Tips for Airline Travel
Avoid panic packing
Obviously this tops the list. There is no way you can think straight when you are stressing about getting a little sleep before your 6am flight or trying to find your favourite shirt two hours before departure. Panic causes over packing and not only can this be expensive on some airlines, it’s also a major inconvenience to you. Lists are your friends. When I have extra moments of clarity, I like to do up a mock itinerary for the week and write down what I could wear to each event. Also make sure you pack your list in your suitcase to help when you’re packing up to come home.
For tips on how to pack your carry-on, check out this handy infographic.
Pick up a luggage scale to avoid extra costs at the airport. Also take a hard look at your luggage. If it’s old, it’s probably heavy. Consider investing in ultra light luggage, like the iLite Xtreme from American Tourister. Make sure you bring a tape measure with you and double check the dimensions of your carry on to size dimensions on your carrier’s website.
Use the 3:1 Formula
Here’s a math equation you’ll love. 3 tops + 1 bottom = 4 different outfits. Smart right. Choose a neutral coloured bottom and match with three different coloured tops. Bottoms tend to stay cleaner than tops and you can definitely wear more than once. By changing the top you change the entire look of the outfit.
Think about Colour Schemes
Hot pink is my power colour. So when I pack, just about everything is worked around that colour. Therefore I don’t pack my neon yellow shorts if you see what I’m saying. Take a hard look at what you’re bringing. If you have one outfit that needs a different pair of shoes than all the other outfits or can’t be paired with anything else you’re bringing, consider leaving it behind.
Take Versatile Outfits to Reduce Weight
I love outfits that can be worn many ways. Anything reversible for the kids is a major win in my book—one item, two looks. I’m also really loving the 4-in-1 dresses currently available at stores like The Gap. These can be worn as a maxi skirt, a shorter skirt when rolled at the waist or pulled higher for a strapless dress. Super smart.
Watch the Liquids You Pack
First and foremost, leave the shampoo and conditioner at home. Unless you have some seriously special hair products, there is no need to cart that with you. I haven’t been to a resort yet that didn’t have complimentary shampoo, conditioner and soap in the room. If you do insist on bringing it, make sure it’s wrapped tightly in a waterproof bag and it’s safely stowed in the luggage you’re checking or you’ll lost it at security. Make sure that anything you plan to carry on the plane with you does not exceed 100 ml combined and that it is contained in one plastic (medium Ziploc) bag. I always make sure I have three items on me for the plane; hand sanitizer, face spray and hand lotion.
Make Sure the Things You Can’t Replace Easily Are Always With You
Whenever we leave the house for a trip, we always stop in the driveway while I triple check that I have our passports and our medication in my purse. If I forgot to pack anything else I could easily replace it with a credit card when we arrived at our destination, but things like passports, medication, contact lenses and eyeglasses are not easily replaced. Keep them on your person at all times while travelling so you never have to worry about it.
Just because you can buy things you’ve forgotten when you’re away, doesn’t mean it’s going to be cheap. Things like sunblock and baby formula can be extremely expensive at a resort area so be sure to think ahead to your needs and pack it in your checked luggage.
Don’t Fold, Roll
Ask 100 different travel experts the best way to pack and you’ll likely get 100 different answers. My favourite though is rolling. It decreases the amount of space a garment takes up in a bag while ensuring that your clothes are wrinkle free when you arrive. Honestly, who wants to iron on vacation?