How to pack efficiently and even enjoy the process

How to pack efficiently and even enjoy the process

Have you ever packed way too many outfits in a heavy suitcase and used only half of them? How about what you forgot to pack and had to purchase in overpriced travel destinations? Frustrating, right?

Packing for trips can be tedious and exhausting. Sometimes, you don’t know where to start and what to bring along. Some people don’t know what kind of outfits to bring or walking shoes that will look nice; some others want to avoid looking like a tourist. There is always the time and energy-consuming part of trying on outfits and not being convinced with the outcome while the clock is ticking…

There are tricks and tips to pack efficiently and even enjoy the process

A couple of months ago I had to fly home at the last minute. At 6 am I bought my plane ticket for the 2 pm flight from London to Lima, a 12 ½ hour flight.

Once I bought my plane ticket, I started the very important packing phase of the trip. I was impressed with myself when during the week I spent in Lima, I wore everything I had packed except for a bikini. This meant that I had packed efficiently and I even had some space left in my suitcase to bring back some Peruvian goodies.


Tips to pack efficiently

The first step to pack efficiently is to create an organised packing list. Create categories and make it clear. This is the part where you will need to focus, the rest will flow easily. 

packing list and pen
The packing list as organised and detailed as possible

Categories

It is important to consider the number of days and nights spent away in order to know how much to pack. Also, look at the weather forecast of your destination in order to know what kind of clothes and shoes to pack.

  • Shoes
  • Dresses, skirts & tops
  • Trousers
  • Underwear, socks & other
  • Accessories
  • Toiletries
  • Jackets, coats, etc.
  • Items that make a long-haul economy flight more comfortable and enjoyable

For my last-minute trip to Lima in autumn (mild temperature), I packed light and I included clothes for different kinds of occasions because I didn’t know what activities I would be doing during my week-stay. Here is a summary of what I packed.


My efficient packing list

Shoes

  • A pair of dressed-up shoes easy to combine.
  • A pair of street style trainers that go with everything including dresses. I love white leather trainers.
  • A pair of sports trainers that can be worn with jeans and look cool, as well as to work out.
  • A pair of flipflops that can be worn as slippers inside the house.

Dresses

A mix of dresses, blouses and skirts that can be worn with blouses. One outfit for each night. You can mix and match on-site, there is no need to make a schedule of your outfits.

Trousers

Two pairs of jeans; blue and black, to wear with different tops and jackets.

Underwear, socks and other

  • When it comes to socks and underwear, I count one for each day and add two extra, just in case.
  • A pyjama.
  • A bathing suit or bikini because you never know when the opportunity to dip into a swimming pool will present.

Accessories

  • Two pairs of sunglasses; one for sunny days and one for overcast days.
  • A hat to protect my face from the sun, to add style to my look and for bad hair days.
  • A neutral colour scarf to protect my neck when it gets chilly in the evening, to add style to my look and for the flight because the air conditioning is sometimes high on aeroplanes.
  • When it comes to jewellery, I decide what to pack according to the destination. For Lima, I packed simple and inexpensive things for security reasons.
  • A small bag, easy to combine and a backpack for my photography strolls. 
  • A refillable water bottle.
  • A bag with all chargers and adapters I will need.
  • My camera – my faithful travel companion.

Toiletries

  • Basic everyday makeup. Two lipsticks, a light colour for the day and a more dramatic colour for the evening.
  • A comb.
  • Shampoo and conditioner.
  • A hydrating face mask. I like the disposable ones for travel.
  • My usual skincare; if I have samples, I pack them.
  • Small size body lotion.
  • SPF 30 hydrating water spray.
  • Deodorant.
  • A 30 ml bottle of perfume. For weekends I usually pack sample bottles.
  • Hair products that my curly hair cannot live without.

Jackets, coats, etc.

There are three basic items that come with me on city trips and sometimes beach escapades.

  • A leather jacket. A black perfecto never goes out of style and can be worn with pretty much everything.
  • A denim jacket is another basic light jacket that looks good with everything, from shorts to dresses. 
  • A blazer is another item that always comes with me. I like to combine classic and casual pieces.

Items that make a long-haul economy flight more comfortable and enjoyable

Sometimes, I am lucky and fly in Business class on long-haul flights, but this isn’t always the case. To upgrade my economy experience on long-haul flights, I have a travel kit.

cushion, blanket and wipes
Items that add comfort and hygiene to a long-haul flight in economy
  • A premium orthopaedic coccyx cushion that avoids any pain or discomfort during and after the flight. I bought this because of a hamstring injury I had last year however, I still use it because it’s very comfortable, especially on long flights.
  • A 100% cashmere travel wrap blanket that is light, soft, warm and clean. I don’t trust the hygiene of aeroplane blankets.
  • Antibacterial multi-surface wipes to clean the folding table and the tv screen. 
  • A comfortable and soft eye mask.
  • Earplugs.
  • Headphones for more comfort and better.
  • A bag with a sample size moisturiser, lip balm with colour, a pack of tissues and hand sanitiser.
  • A refillable bottle of water that keeps liquids cold and hot for hours. I usually fill it up with still water. Many airports have machines with free filtered water which is great because you don’t need to buy water bottles and you use less plastic – good for the environment.
  • A book and or magazines that you will enjoy and can read for hours.
water bottle
The refillable water bottle that comes with me everywhere – it has a very active life as you can see

The importance of the packing list

clothes on top of a bed
The packing list ready to be placed in the suitcase

Making a packing list is key, it gives you peace of mind because the brainstorming part of packing is done. The next step can be done without concentration. I usually follow the list and place the items on my bed. Once everything is out, I start packing my suitcase using the compartments.


Tips to pack a suitcase and avoid mishaps

shoes in a fabric bag
The way I pack all my shoes to keep everything clean
  1. Place shoes in fabric shoe bags, for hygiene purposes.
  2. I place shoes and heavy non-fragile items at the bottom of the suitcase, where the wheels are.
  3. I fill my hat with socks to avoid it losing its shape. 
  4. Place liquid bottles such as shampoo and conditioner in plastic bags and inside a toiletry bag in case of accidents. 
  5. Any expensive jewellery, I wear it and never leave it in my suitcase. Things have disappeared from my suitcase in the past so I learned my lesson. Any valuables come with me.
hat with socks inside
My hat ready to be placed in the suitcase and not lose it’s shape

I hope these packing tips will contribute with ideas on how to pack efficiently and make it fun. 

suitcase, backpack, cushion, blanket and wipes
Suitcase to be checked-in & carry-on

Feel free to share your packing tips in the comment section below. Sharing is caring 😉

If you are looking for destination inspiration for your next holiday, read my travel tips from around the world.

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