In the lead up to the holidays a number of us are now thinking about packing for a trip or to visit family members for Christmas. Here’s where some decisions need to be made about what we are going to take away with us. Some of us love to take everything and the kitchen sink, others prefer a far more minimalist approach. Which one am I? Minimalist of course. There are a couple of holiday packing tips that I consider to be the most important when planning how much to take away with you. Firstly, do I really need so many shoes? Secondly, how many clothes do I need to take?
We recently went on a four day cruise out of Miami. Now we’ve never been on a cruise before and it was a big eye opener for us. A few things seemed very strange but mostly we were astounded by the number of bags people took with them. We have been on an extended road trip for 12 weeks and not taken as much luggage as people took onto that boat for four days.
Prior to disembarking, I went to the information session to learn about how this was done. Little miss organised over here needs to know all of these details iso I went along. Anyway, just for fun, in his talk, the presenter asked people to indicate with a show of hands how many pairs of shoes they took on the trip. Four days… what do you think the most common answer was? Certainly not the ‘two’ I shared, or even the ‘four’ of the lady next to me. Nope, the most common was ‘eight’ and the highest was 11. Seriously, 11 pairs of shoes for four days, on a boat! The mind boggles.
Holiday packing tips for shoes
Given that shoes will be among the heaviest items you will need to carry, the less you can take the better. No, you certainly don’t need 11 pairs of shoes for four days. You just don’t. Have a good think about exactly what you will be doing on your trip and only take want is necessary for each occasion. If you need a pair of heels for an evening event, take a pair but not two or three. A good quality neutral shoe will go with anything you need to wear and black is always a good choice. If you have more than one event you can wear the same shoes. No one will know.
We like to be quite energetic on our travels so we mostly live in our hiking boots but I can understand that this is not for everyone. Find a pair of comfortable walking shoes and take those. Then you will likely need a pair of slip on shoes for the pool, beach, etc. Three pairs and you’re done. Wear the heaviest pair in transit to cut down on weight and increase space in your luggage and you won’t regret it.
Holiday packing tips for clothes
As for clothes, essentially, you need the amount of clothes you would wear in a week and no more. It doesn’t matter how long you are traveling for, a week’s worth of anything is enough and insome cases maybe too much. As much as society will try to tell you otherwise, it actually won’t hurt to wear something more than once before you wash it, people used to do that all the time. This is particularly true for bottoms. I never take more than two pairs of trousers, one of which usually converts into shorts and a skirt as well. Even if you only wash once a week this will be enough to get you through. Need to wash all of these at the one time to set yourself up for the next week? This is easy for the ladies. Take a sarong with you and wear that while you are at the laundromat. Easy. You may like to think about creating a capsule wardrobe for the trip, one in which each item can be worn with each other item. This will also help reduce the amount you need to pack.
My son recently went on a school trip to Japan. In the pre trip planning meeting we had a talk from the travel agent about luggage. She was telling the students that they needed to be very careful because while the international flights allowed them to have 30kg of luggage, the internal flight would only allow 23kg and they would be charged for any weight above that. I got a warm glow of pride when my son looked across at me and said ‘How on earth can someone pack 23kg?’ He ended up boarding the plane with 8kg, just up from what he could have taken as carry on. The benefit of this was shown in a video one of the teachers sent us of the students lugging their bags up a very steep hill towards their accommodation. Some students were seriously struggling and there was my son with his little backpack on, casually walking up that road. He never once told me he had any issues with not having enough clean clothes. There are after all, laundry facilities wherever you go.
So, it looks as if our minimalist travel packing approach has rubbed off on the children too. We’d much rather take less, leave room for some purchases while we are away and have less to lug around while we are there. The last thing you need is to have to hire a larger taxi from the airport because your luggage won’t fit into the trunk of a regular sized car. And if people at home complain that they saw you wearing the same thing in almost every photo? Well, they didn’t get to go on the trip and you did. Just keep that in mind.
What are your top holiday packing tips? Share them in the comments below.