Part-time traveller, Full-Time Brummie

Mastering the art of packing light…

You should see my “A Brummie Home and Abroad” Pinterest board.  (No, really, go check it out here , I’ll wait while you do..).  Recently I have pinned the following:

See a theme here?  And yet, trying to pack for a simple week’s holiday – in an all-inclusive resort, by the sea, 20kg luggage limit – is giving me a headache.  Because (other than weight) there are no restrictions.  Unlike in Italy earlier this year, I don’t have to lug my suitcase on and off trains, buses and boats; we’re unlikely to be on the top floor of an old authentic building with no lift (hopefully); and I shouldn’t have to be wheeling it through narrow cobblestoned alleyways, negotiating ambling tourists.  So what’s the problem?

Mrs Howell packs 200 changes of clothing for a 3-hour tour.

Mrs Howell packs 200 changes of clothing for a 3-hour tour.

I have packing for two weeks down to perfection.  Pack for one week, wear everything twice.  But when you’re only going for a week, it seems as if you’re ridiculously underprepared if you only pack for three and a half days.  Surely with a week, I can legitimately take enough outfits for every day without duplicating?  Trouble is, I know I will duplicate.  If I wear my favourite little strapless dress on the first night, I’m pretty sure I won’t want to repack it the next morning.  And what about the cute little halterneck top I’ve just bought? Am I really getting my money’s worth for just one wear?  So that’s two evening outfits I can take out of my suitcase.  One of those is a maxi dress – the only reason I’ve packed a pair of heels.  So they can go as well.

Daytimes? Easy, bikini + cover-up + flip-flops.  But I need something to wear to go for breakfast, and something a little more decent for lunch.  And what if we go out for a walk?  And what about if we go on an excursion?  What about if I have to do a bit of hiking?  So I have seven “daytime” oufits, on top of the bikinis and cover-ups and flip-flops.  But we’re not going to go out every day are we?  So are five daytime dresses really necessary on top of two pairs of shorts and two pairs of harem pants (with a choice of two tops for each).  Plus two of the dresses can double up as evening wear, and another two as beach cover-ups.  Another cull is required.  Kept the dresses (but another evening dress swapped out) but get rid of one pair of shorts and a pair of harem pants.

Shoes.  I can’t go any less than one pair of pumps, two pairs of neutral sandals and one pair of flip-flops.  Oh, and a dressier pair of flip-flops that were still in my suitcase from our last holiday.  Oh, and the slippers that I “liberated” from a hotel in Milan.  That’s definitely all I need, although I look longingly at two pairs of wedges, my snakeskin sandals and my nude court shoes.  Maybe I can squeeze one or two in my handluggage.

I haven’t even started on my toiletries and gadgets.  Do I leave my hair au naturel (i.e. crazy curly, blocking out the sun of anyone standing behind me) or lug my beloved GHDs with me?  Will one “neutral” eyeshadow pallet be enough?  What if I want “smoky eyes” one night?  Better pack two pallets just in case.  Kindle Fire or normal Kindle?  Or both?

Examining my bucket list, some of the places will need a serious rethink unless I can get my overpacking habit under control.  Imagine me doing Machu Picchu with a four-wheeled suitcase the size of a small size?  Or a month’s trip about Australia – with a month’s worth of different outfits for every day?


What is your one key packing tip?  And what can’t you leave home without?


9 responses to “Mastering the art of packing light…”

  1. Mz. Nichols says:

    This sounds like me spot-on! I’m honestly dreading only taking a backpack to Europe next summer when we’ll be gone for 3 weeks. I rather die than take only 2 pairs of shoes and what do you mean I have to wear my clothes more than once? Ugh, the struggle is real.

  2. josypheen says:

    Hehe! I only pack like that for girly holidays when I’ll need more outfits. It is so much easier on hiking holidays as you just need walking clothes with a couple of dresses for the evening (just in case.)

    Shoes-wise: Try to go with as few as possible, just in case you *need* to buy more!! I went on a weekend trip to Porto a while ago, went with tow pairs of shoes, and somehow came home with 5. Oops.

    • emfletche says:

      I think I’m a little more packing savvy now…plus I’ve discovered packing cubes now, which I love! I’m only doing carry-on for two nights with the girls so hopefully one swimsuit, one cover-up, two evening outfits and a travel outfit will suffice 🙂

  3. Clothes that are interchangable. We have lived out of 2 suitcases for all 4 seasons. Easy ☺👍

  4. noellekelly says:

    I’m an awful packer, I bring everything!!

  5. […] now to me. A serial over-packer, I have lugged a large suitcase with not one but two unworn pairs of high heels around Italy. I […]

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