SUITCASE PACKING: Mastering an Annual Chore

When you go home from a party at 5 in the morning, the sun is already rising. The chirping of birds and the laughter of children wakes you up. The sun welcomes you and wishes you a good day when you sit down on your lounge chair in the garden. The tan you’ve been trying to achieve is starting to show, and the idea that school and work are (almost) done, for now, puts a cheeky smile on your face. Yes, you have guessed right:

IT IS SUMMER!

The fact that I have no more school books in my room and the fact that I only have one class left to say goodbye to everyone in my class and have a little speech from my mentor marks a new part of 2017 for me. And that feeling of freedom and happiness and hot days and cold drinks also lets me know that something else is getting closer with every day that passes: holiday.

With holiday comes another “issue” however. Some people enjoy it, some people despise it. I’m talking about suitcase packing. Some people find it very stressful to do, some of us tend to overpack – like, uhhh, me? – and others just put it off for so long they have to hurry in the end and get anxious about it. But no worries! For the ones of you that have decided to reference the internet, I am here to give you a step-by-step description on how to pack your suitcase efficiently and quickly. Also, I’m trying to make it a little bit more fun 😉 and there is a little list of tips and tricks and hacks to make suitcase packing even easier.

STEP ONE: THE SIZE OF YOUR SUITCASE

Alright, sit down for a minute, because we’re starting off with something you need to think about. The size of your suitcase is a crucial part of the suitcase packing process, because this determines how much you can take with you, blah blah blah, etc etc etc. And there are some things you need to take into consideration before deciding on your suitcase.

First of all: the duration of your holiday. This one’s quite important, because if you’re going away for just a weekend, citytripping for example, you obviously take a smaller suitcase with you than when you’re going for three or four weeks.

Second: the number of people you’re sharing a suitcase with. This summer, I’m lucky enough to go on two holidays. I’m going to the south part of France for three weeks with my family and I’m going to London with three friends – yayyyy – for a week. On my family holiday, I have a suitcase all to myself and don’t need to think about anyone else while packing my suitcase. However, when I’m going to London, we’ll all be sharing a suitcase together for logical reasons. Of course, this influences the size of our suitcase.

Third: your type of transport. This may seem like a silly one, but reaaaaally think about it for a sec. Some people go on holiday by car, which means you can’t have a suitcase that’s too big, because otherwise, it won’t all fit in the trunk. If you’re travelling by plane, there’s two different scenario’s: your suitcase is going in the hold of the aeroplane, which means it can be quite big, or you’re taking it with you in the cabin, which means it needs to be a lot smaller. And if you’re interrailing, you need to take everything with you all the time, which means a smaller, more compact suitcase would suffice. Long story short: your type of transport matters.

I’m packing for my family holiday in this blog post, which means if we do this properly: 1) I will be away for two-and-a-half weeks, 2) I won’t be sharing the suitcase with anyone, 3) I’ll be travelling by car.

By adding these points and statements together, I decided to take this small, white/orange suitcase.

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STEP TWO: THE STUFF YOU’LL TAKE WITH YOU

This one, we will have to split up into multiple categories, because there are so many different things you can and need to pack, and every single one of them has different guidelines and different tips and tricks in terms of how much, what kind, etc. The first one we will discuss is one of the most obvious ones: clothes.

CLOTHES

There are different factors that influence the amount and the type of clothing you need to bring with you on holiday, and I’m breaking them down for you to spare you the trouble. I’m also giving you an example of how I, personally, think about what I’m packing. Consider it a a step-to-step guide – as I promised at the beginning.

First: your location. If you’re going to a cold country, you need to pack warmer winter clothes. However, if you’re going to a warmer country, shorts and dresses are more the type of clothing items you need to bring. And also if you’re not too certain about the weather yet, you need to keep that in mind, but more on this in the personal step-to-step guide below.

Second: the duration – once again – though I do think I don’t need to explain myself on this one again. The longer your holiday is, the more clothes you need to pack.

Third, and this may seem like a weird one, but I think it does really matter: the accommodation, and I’m talking about, for example, washing machines. If you’re going camping and you are limited in the amount of washing you can do, you need to bring more clothes, because the clothes you’ve worn will not be cleaned as quickly as in a hotel where it’s part of the service.

Forth: the activities you’re planning on doing. Going to the beach? Bring beachwear. Going on a hike? Bring your hiking shoes and cargo shorts. Going rafting? Bring clothes that are allowed to get wet and shoes that you don’t mind being ruined.

Now, for me, personally, I broke this whole clothing system down in multiple things I needed to bring. Keep in mind I’m going to the south of France, so there may be a little rainfall once in a while, but it will probably be quite hot overall.

Things I need to take with me:
> Shorts
> Dresses
> Shirts
> Sweaters
> Shoes
> Underwear
> Trousers

The amount of shorts I needed to bring were decided by simply thinking about the amount of time I’d be spending in them. Because I’m also bringing summer dresses and trousers, and will probably spend most of the time in my bikini, and also because we have freedom in the amount we wash, I decided on only bringing three pairs of shorts.

When it came to dresses, I only really have three favourite (summer) dresses that are appropriate for holiday and warm weather, so I decided to take those with me, because they are comfortable on top of a bikini and are easy to throw on in the morning.

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Shirts are very important on a holiday for me, because I also tend to wear them when I’m swimming when the sun is a little too dangerous for my skin, and because I sometimes even wear two – or three 😮 – in one day. That’s why I decided to take six with me, three basics and three non-basics.

Because I can be almost 100 percent certain that the weather will be beautiful, or at least alright, I decided to take one jumper and one sweater with me for the chilly nights and the occasional rainfall.

On the shoes, I tend to take way too many with me, and I’m glad I’ve been able to minimise it to three pairs: one pair of slippers, my all-time favourite black converse and my fancy shiny shoes. (And because I want to be honest, I also took one pair of espadrilles with me 🙂 , but because I wasn’t planning on taking them with me they are not in the picture.)

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As for underwear, this is just a thing you should never forget, just like socks. Make sure you have enough panties and bras (if you’re a girl) and make sure you don’t leave cleaning them until the last pair (just a little tip from my side).

The trousers are important for me because I’m not always as keen on my legs as I maybe should, and I like to cover them sometimes, which is why I’m more comfortable with loose trousers that are also perfect for summer – high waisted of course 😉 . Because the weather in France can be quite unpredictable, I decided to also take two jeans with me.

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ENTERTAINMENT

There are a few categories in this department, including:
> Electronics
> Games
> Books

The electronics part is something that I find very crucial, because I tend to forget adapters and cases and lenses, and that’s something unmissable for me. I need my laptop, phone and camera, because I actually use them on holiday a lot (as well as at home) and it feels like I can’t properly do the things I love to do without them. However, we always go to campsites, which means I don’t have Wifi all day, so I also don’t have to worry about being on my phone and laptop all the time.

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As for games: I love to play games with my family, and in the summer we are usually quite active. We have a table-tennis table which we use almost every evening after dinner. We also play darts almost every night, and a game called SkipBo. On holiday, the number of games we play only increases, with badminton, Speedminton , and multiple card-and-board games being added. As we travel by car though, all these things will be stored in the trunk, so I only need to take some smaller games with me, like Cards Against Humanity, Dark Stories, SkipBo and a usual pack of cards.

Books for me, are a must-have on holiday, because I can genuinely get lost in them and love to read. Reading while I’m laying in the sun or next to the swimming pool while I’m attempting to get a tan… I can’t wait.

TOILETRIES

As for this one: DONT FORGET THEM. I mean, forgetting make up isn’t such a drama, but forgetting your toothbrush, toothpaste or contact lenses is something a little bit less pleasurable. Of course you can buy new ones at so many stores, but it’s not a great note to start off your holiday, and when it comes to contact lenses, they are a bit harder to replace. Just, you know, take them with you.

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STEP THREE: THE ACTUAL PACKING

Now that we have decided what we’ll take with us, it’s time to start filling our suitcase with our belongings, and decide what we’ll have in our backpack and what not. For me, as I’m travelling by car, I can put my toiletries in my backpack, while someone who’s flying to their destination cannot do that, as you are only allowed a maximum of liquids, which are surely included in that toilet bag.

The first step in the actual packing process, for me, is to lay everything down on the bed with the suitcase in the middle, so that I can actually see how full the suitcase will be, and so that I have a clear picture of everything I am taking with me.

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I usually start with the biggest things, which, in my situation, are the shoes ( I didn’t pack the slippers because I wanted to wear those in the car). There are two ways of packing shoes, and in the pictures below, I guess it’s kinda obvious which one is the more space-saving and efficient one.

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Now, the first tip that I have for you when it comes to clothes, is rolling them instead of folding them. This will save you so much space and they don’t get all wrinkly during your journey either. A perfect sollution to a lot of problems.

When I notice that enough space is actually left to fold my clothes, I usually get too lazy to roll them 😮 , and you can do that too. When you are on shortage when it comes to space though, rolling is the best thing you can do to try and make sure it fits, but for me it’s usually a combination of folded and rolled clothes.

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SIMPLE TIPS AND TRICKS

1. Rolling instead of folding (your clothes)
2. Choose the outfit you’ll wear during the journey from the clothing items you’re bringing – saves space!
3. Take twice as much tops as bottoms
4. Don’t worry about forgetting clothing items
5. Bring two bikinis (one might get dirty)
6. Ask others how much they’re packing
7. Make a list of everything you’ve packed to not have to worry about forgetting things when you’re going home

I hope this’ll have helped you, or at least entertained you for the time being. All the love, x. ❤

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