Pack like a professional

Packing light is an art, so here are six top tips to getting it right.
By Tamlyn Vincent

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Holiday time often includes trips to see family or just to get away. And this means packing. I usually take as much as possible (who knows what you’ll need?), but this results in an over-stuffed bag, even for overnight stays. I’m even worse when I pack for my son, throwing in two warm and two cool outfits, just in case. It’s only when we get home that I realise we haven’t used half the clothes we’ve hauled along. So, to save space next time my family goes away on holiday, I go in search of packing tips.
 
1. Best case
Think about what sort of bags you need. If you’re going overseas, a suitcase may be best. If you’re only going for a few nights, or you’ll be carrying your luggage, go for a backpack or duffel bag.
 
Get children their own bags, which they can pack and carry themselves. Not only will they learn some responsibility, it will also keep them excited.
 
2. Technique
There are different ways to pack your clothes: folding and rolling are both good options. Either way, pack shoes and heavy items in the corners of your case or bag. Heavier clothes like jeans go next, followed by lighter items. If your bag has wheels, pack shoes closest to the base with the wheels to help stabilise the bag.
 
3. Choose wisely
Take practical and versatile clothes and choose complementary colours, so you can mix and match outfits instead of packing extra clothes you won’t use. Don’t overpack for scenarios that aren’t likely to occur. Choose clothes that are less likely to wrinkle, and that suit the weather at your destination. If it’s going to be cold, rather layer up instead of taking bulky jackets. And don’t pack double – if your partner has packed certain items, like a torch and spare batteries, there’s no need for you to also take these.
 
4. Put it in reusable sealable bags
Packing clothes in plastic resealable bags ensures clothes are neat and easy to find. You can pack entire outfits this way, or keep tops or pants together. Children’s outfits can also go into resealable bags. Once the outfit is dirty, stick it back into the bag so that the rest of your children’s clothes don’t get smelly. Also put anything that can leak into a plastic bag. In fact, if you’re travelling overseas, you should probably pack all of your toiletries in clear plastic bags. Take a few extra plastic bags, just in case. For suggestions on where to buy multiple-use bags, visit neatfreak.co.za
 
5. Easy access
Pack raincoats in easily accessible spots, like a side pocket. Keep activities for children nearby, or in hand luggage, so you can get to them quickly. If you’re planning a long road trip, pack snacks for the car and keep essential items, like phone chargers, close at hand. If you’re stopping overnight along the way, pack separate smaller bags for everyone, and pack these last.
 
6. Don’t forget
 
  • Torch (turn the batteries around when you pack it, so it doesn’t accidentally turn on)
  • Medicine and vitamins
  • Sunscreen
  • Electronics and chargers
  • First aid kit
  • Toiletries – in travel-sized bottles
  • Maps (or download the Google Maps app)
  • Bank cards (check with your bank that they’re open for international use)
  • Your passports, visas, driver’s license and copies of everything
  • Printouts of your travel plans and slip them into a Flipfile or folder
  • If you’re flying, take a photo of the contents of your bag, for insurance purposes
 
For your complete holiday check list, use our download: http://www.childmag.co.za/content/packing-holiday

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