“I get ideas about what’s essential when packing my suitcase.”
– Diane von Furstenberg.
The Lady’s Maid is a seasoned pro when it comes to packing – she has been known to pack 10 suitcases in the time it takes for her Ladyship to have breakfast, whilst also being afflicted with jet lag and recovering from the after effects of a mild electric shock in Bangkok. But if the thought of packing sends you into a cold sweat, worry not: follow the Lady’s Maid’s practical packing advice below to ease pre-travel stress and ensure that your clothes are kept in tip-top condition in transit and on arrival at your destination.
- Don’t overpack. You might be going on holiday, going away for the weekend, or on a business trip – you’re not moving home, so be selective when packing clothing for trips. Think about what you’re going to be doing on the trip and what the weather will be like and pack accordingly. Plan outfits in advance – bring a selection of clothing out of your wardrobe and think about what will work together for the trip. Separates that can be mixed and matched are a good idea in order to maximise outfit opportunities. Avoid too many brightly coloured or patterned “statement” pieces that will be harder to wear multiple times.
- If you are packing delicate, beaded or crease-prone garments, use acid-free tissue paper (available from Hangerworld) to protect the fabric and minimise the risk of creasing. Pack heavier items at the bottom of the case (shoes, bags) and lighter clothing items at the top.
- Try to fold garments along natural seam lines as much as possible to minimise creasing. Avoid vertical folds as these do not fall out as naturally.
- Pack trousers by folding the trouser leg half in the case and half out and then continue to pack clothing before folding the outer part of the trouser in once the case is full. This will prevent you from having to fold the trouser leg on itself which would create a crease.
- Lingerie/laundry bags are a good way of keeping underwear together in the suitcase.
- Dustbags for shoes and bags are also worth using to protect the contents and the surrounding clothes. More expensive shoes usually come with a dust bag but you can buy them separately like this one from Cath Kidston or you could even make your own.
- If you travel regularly, it is well worth keeping a travel toiletry bag separate from your main home toiletries so that you don’t have the extra bother of having to constantly pack these every time you travel. Pack liquids in zip-lock bags before placing in toiletry bags for added security – if there is any leakage your clothing will be protected. Travel hanging toiletry bags with transparent pockets for makeup are also great for travel as you can hang them straight up and easily locate their contents.
- Try to streamline your skincare and beauty routine when on holiday as toiletries will really weigh down your suitcase. Most chemists and skincare brands offer a large range of mini toiletries these days, or you can decant your favourite products into empty plastic bottles – Muji has a good range of mini pumpable, sprayable and squeezable empty bottles.
- Portable steamers are great for quickly eliminating any creasing in your clothing when travelling – they’re really easy to use on dresses and blouses and will save you the effort of having to get out the ironing board or fork out a fortune for hotel laundry services.
- Even The Lady’s Maid has been caught out with a hefty fee for an overweight suitcase. Check the weight of your bag before leaving for the airport with a hand held weighing scale – find out the weight limits of your airline to ensure that you won’t be lumbered with an excess baggage fee when you get to the airport.
See Styling a Holiday Wardrobe for more tips on packing the perfect suitcase.