We've got nine tips for staying organised when you travel, so whether you're packing for just two nights or two weeks, here's our guide to everything you need to keep your luggage neat and tidy.
1. Write a list (early)
For many this will be stating the obvious, but never start packing without a list. It will help ensure you don’t overpack, or forget any essentials. Start your packing list a week before you travel, so there’s plenty of time to add things you might not normally need, like your brother’s birthday present or the book you’ve been meaning to lend to a friend.
2. Pick out your bags or suitcases
Decide what type of bag or suitcase you need for your trip the week before and (and this is the important bit) get it out of the loft or hall cupboard immediately to check it’s in good shape. You don’t want to be packing the night (or even 2 days) before, only to find the suitcase you haven’t used since last year has a broken handle and you didn’t get round to doing anything about it.
3. Use packing cubes
Use packing cubes. Packing cubes are a frequent traveller’s best friend, and are useful whether you’re away for a two nights or two weeks. They come in different sizes so pack your underwear and socks in one, tops and trousers in another. On arrival, simply lift them out of your case - there’s no need to fully unpack. They’re particularly helpful for staying organised on multi-stop trips too, and for keeping the hotel room tidy.
4. Go easy on the shoes
Shoes take up a lot of space, so try to only pack pairs that are versatile, like a pair of trainers you can use for the gym, but that will also be comfortable and smart enough for sight-seeing day trips.
5. Use shoe bags
Invest in shoe bags - the Antler shoe bags have a neat top carry handle so they’re easy to carry or even hang up, so you don’t forget them at the bottom of a hotel wardrobe. They’re essential for keeping the rest of your packing clean and odour-free, too.
6. Keep a wash bag ready packed
If you’re a frequent traveller, always keep a wash bag packed and ready to go. That way you won’t forget your essentials like your toothbrush or contact lenses. If that means keeping double stock at home of bathroom products or make up - do it. It’s worth it as what you pack in your wash bag rarely needs to change depending on your location, so it will save you time before you travel.
7. Use mini organisers
Use a mini travel organiser (or two) to keep small essentials neatly in one place. Your tech kit like a laptop charger, phone charger and earphones will sit neatly in one, and a toothbrush and toothpaste, mini contact solution and emergency paracetamol will be useful in another. Keep them in your hand luggage for easy access.
8. Careful with the house keys
Pack your house keys somewhere very secure (you don’t want them accidentally falling out of a bag unnoticed in Lisbon or the Melbourne laneways) and memorable (forgetting where they are for two weeks and then not being able to find them when you’re desperate to get in, isn’t fun). Our Chelsea daypack has a useful key clip in the front pocket, or place them in the inside small zipped pocket of our Clifton cases. If you choose the latter, just remember to take them out before the journey home so you have them to hand when you reach the front door. The same rule applies to the car keys.
9. Don't forget the snacks
Always pack some snacks. Train delays, excess traffic, the car breaking down, waking outside of a mealtime when on a long haul flight, and missing the chance to spontaneously eat out because France is closed on Sundays... there are endless reasons hunger can strike at an inopportune moment, and hangry travel is stressful all round. Keep an emergency stash of “dry” snacks like nuts or cereal bars that won’t go off if you forget they’re lurking in a dark corner of your hand luggage. We don’t recommend bananas.
Up next on the blog: Five of the best hotels in the Canary Islands for some winter sun.