How to pack 5 countries into hand luggage?

The answer to this question is quite simply really – with great difficulty. This was something that I though would cause me endless stress when deciding what to take for our impending 3 week extravaganza around Europe.

BUT there are simple and easy solutions to such a dilemma:

Choose the right type of bag

Some bags will most definitely fit more in than others – a squigdy bag will get more in than something which has a hard casing as the material will stretch slightly. You also need to be aware of the size and weight allowances that different airlines permit, as a hard case bag will obviously weigh more, though most airlines will often allow around 10kg for hand luggage. Also remember the more you manage to squeeze into your bag will result in a heavier load so always double check such restriction to avoid any extra charges, stress, and hectic repacking when stood at the check in desk.

Pack ONLY what you actually NEED

This does not include the 2 extra pairs of shoes (for “just in case” moments) and it also does not mean those 4 other dresses that you might feel like wearing on evening when you’re there. I myself have been a culprit for overpacking. A few years when going on a 4 day break to Germany for the christmas markets, me and my mum somehow managed to fill one large suitcase… EACH. Looking back at this, it was ridiculous and completely unnecessary (even the coach driver at the time commented on the excessiveness it). However, I have since learnt from my mistakes and now consider myself to be a smarter and “savvier packer” than when I was 14.

Choose your outfits wisely

Obviously if you’re going on a mini winter break you’re going to want warm clothes, which will inevitably take up more space that a silky cami. However, if you are whisking yourself away for a spring/summer getaway make sure you chose lightweight items that will roll up into a tiny space.

Make the most of freebies in hotels

Why would you want to buy mini shampoo/conditioner/shower gel when you can use it for free?! Make of the most of the money you’ve just spent on that hotel and indulge in every freebie, especially if it means you can save weight and space in your hand luggage for them all important clothes (or chocolate).

Otherwise just make sure that all of your liquids and toiletries are 100ml or below to comply with airline requirements.

The tighter the better

Roll everything up good and proper sausage roll style. The tighter you roll, the more you’ll be able to squeeze into your case. Previously I never believed that rolling clothes up would actually be effective, that was until I went to America last year for 3 months and realised that by the end of the trip I’d manage to accumulate a lot of extra items in my case (shopping is my vice in life). As a result rolling was a life saver – despite still having to throw away a beach towel to cram everything in. Trust me, it will revolutionise the future of your packing regime.

(Potentially) look like an idiot, but pack like a pro

Try and wear your heaviest and bulkiest items such as jeans, jumpers and trainers when traveling to allow more room in your case. Though there is a possibility you could end up looking like a bit of a tit, your baggage weight allowance will thank you later and so will your wallet when you avoid paying extra fees.

Go technological

It still makes me slightly uncomfortable to say this, but buy a kindle! I will always stand by the fact that books are nicer to read; the feel, the smell, the look. However, a kindle is so much more practical and space efficient than hauling around 4/5 books in your hand luggage. Plus the books on a kindle are much cheaper than buying it in its physical form. Although, if and when you do eventually invest in a kindle, make sure you never abandon the book – it will always trump technology.

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