So, as I sit here writing the ultimate packing guide, I’m currently giggling to myself. For those of you who know me, packing is literally my worst nightmare.
At one time in my life, I owned 83 pairs of shoes. I actually decided to count them one day after my Grandma was getting on at me for not having a clear out. In my defence, I played 2 different types of football full-time (so naturally I needed plenty of boots for this) and we lived on an island, so around 20 pairs were actually £2 flip flops – so don’t really count. Nevertheless, we couldn’t believe how many there were and I ended up giving 40% of them to charity that same afternoon!
I wasn’t at all spoiled throughout my childhood and in fact never asked for anything. I’m pretty sure I had collected all of those shoes over a period of 6 years because I don’t like to throw anything away. A third of them were falling apart.
This brings me to why I decided to write this post. I am TERRIBLE at parting ways with my things, if I could keep them all in storage forever – I would. So, just imagine how difficult I find packing!
The Ultimate Packing Guide for a Lengthy Trip
I had done plenty of research to find the best way to pack for a lengthy trip. EVERYONE suggests that you only take around 7 tops with you (one for each day) and woolaaaah.. Yeah, NO!
For anyone who loves clothes, packing only enough clothes to get you through one week is heartbreaking – but luckily I have managed to learn a few tricks along the way!
How the hell am I going to be able to fit in enough things for an entire 3+ months you ask?
Simple answer: you’re not.
Don’t get ahead of yourself and think that this means you’ll be able to take whatever you want with you. You won’t. I have learned the hard way, through paying extra money for my overweight suitcase and having to drag 30kg around with me while I travelled. That was the biggest travel mistake I ever made! And it’s one that can definitely be avoided.
So, here we go. Prepare to have a few meltdowns during this process – it’s totally normal.
Start with organising the things you would LIKE to take with you – my things usually cover my entire double bed.
Make piles for specific items. I usually organise mine like this:
– Casual tops
– Nice tops
– Shorts – denim/gym
– Trousers – leggings, jeans, hippie pants, etc.
– Warm jumpers
– Accessories – towel, hair dryer, hair bobbles, Shampoo, Moisturiser, etc.
TIP! Hair bobbles are absolute gold dust. These blooming things go missing ALL the time. Same goes for socks. They tend to go in the washing machine and don’t come back out. Make sure you pack these 2 items in excess!! The amount of girls who have asked me along the way if I have a spare hair bobble is MAD. Luckily for them, I have always had a spare one on my wrist.
The most difficult step – Try to think logically.
What will you actually NEED (not want) to take with you? Are you going to a hot country or will you be travelling through a country during their winter months? This question is crucial to how you are going to pack. If you are travelling somewhere warm – this will be much easier for you! If you are travelling somewhere cold – you will need to look elsewhere for advice, I hate the cold. Sorry!
Start putting things into your case that you absolutely need. For example, you DEFINITELY need to take a pair of shoes with you, but are those straighteners REALLY necessary? – no, probably not. Add a few things from each pile so that you have a least one of each item to start. If you hesitate on an item of clothing, leave it out for now. If it isn’t a definite yes, don’t pack it (just yet).
The Ultimate guide to packing for someone with too many clothes
From experience, this is how I would usually pack.
Warm destination for a few months:
Tops & Dresses
I would take around 10-15 casual tops with me. This can be really thin vest tops but also throw in a few nice day tops in there.
I would then take another 10 nicer tops for nights out, or meal times.
(see I wasn’y lying when I said I’m terrible at packing lightly)
TIP! Take dresses with you that can be worn throughout the day but can also be jazzed up for a night out. This is probably the best tip I have for when deciding what to pack! Plain dresses are perfect things to pack! They are usually quite thin and can be used in a number of situations! Whether you want a nice snap infront of the Colosseum or you’ve been invited on a boat party off the coast of Greece – you’ll be prepared for the occasion! Take as many as you like (or can fit in).
Shorts & Trousers
–You will wear these everyday but don’t take too many with you. I usually take one of each colour – white denim, light blue denim, dark blue denim and black denim (jeez that’s a lot of denim. Also, I just told you not to take many with you then named 4 different colour items of the same bloody thing. Should you even be listening to me right now?).
I also throw in a couple of pairs of gym/light weight (flowy) shorts. There is nothing worse than going to the beach and having to put on a pair of denim shorts when you are wet! Those dresses I was talking about, or big baggy tops are the perfect way around this! Or even better, put on your gym clothes.
Trousers – If you are going to a hot country, the probability of you needing these are very slim. BUT, there’s nothing worse than getting caught up in cold weather for a couple of days with nothing to keep you warm. I would recommend taking only one pair of leggings with you. A plain black pair so you can get away with wearing them more than once! I personally never take jeans with me. Honestly, that is to do with the fact that I have footballers legs so I can’t find a pair to fit me properly. Back to the point though, jeans are heavy and take up a lot of room. Consider exchanging them for a pair of flowy trousers or a pair of Jeggings – look the part but don’t take up the room = perfect.
Warm jumpers – Again, just take one or two with you. You probably won’t need them!
TIP! Make sure to take a raincoat with you! This will probably become one of your most worn items. If you are travelling through Asia for example, the probability of you experiencing a tropical storm is pretty high. I don’t know if you have ever been in one before, but my god you get soaked. Bring your raincoat!!
Bikinis & Underwear
Well, this one is extremely easy. I made the big mistake of only taking 4 bikinis and 2 swimsuits with me. Some of you may think, that seems like a decent amount – yeah, so did I.
Unfortunately, what you fail to realise is that bikinis become your new underwear. You will wear these babies religiously, day after day! When you’re travelling to countries such as Asia, it is also extremely difficult to find any bikinis to buy either. The ones you do find are terrible quality! I spent the whole 3 months trying to find new bikinis and didn’t find a single one. Plan ahead and take as many as you can possibly fit in!!
I usually take around 10 pairs of socks. At least 14 pairs of knickers and around 5 bras (including 2 sports bras).
TIP! Make sure you take a towel with you. Two infact. Depending on where you plan on staying, you will need one for the shower and one for the beach. DO NOT make the mistake of thinking you will get away with one towel – YOU WON’T.
Imagine you wake up one morning and want a shower, but then later that afternoon you decide to go to the beach. Well, now you are taking a wet towel to the beach. Your towel is now full of sand. So are you. How are you going to shower when you get home with no towel? You’re not. Wow, screwed that up didn’t you. Take 2 towels.
Bags – take a small bag with you for keeping all your valuables close. This can be a bumbag or a handbag.
Beach bag – Take a bag with you that you can take with you on day trips. This is a mistake that many travellers make. Without a separate bag you will either have to take your whole backpack with you (lol I’m kidding) or resort to trying to carrying everything with you in your hand. This is both incovenient and can actually be dangerous. This could make you an easy target to pick pocketers. When choosing a bag, bare in mind you will need a towel, suncream, hat, sunglasses, a bottle of water and maybe a snack. Take a bag that will fit all of this in.
Shoes – one pair of trainers, a pair of flip flops, one pair of vans or Birkenstocks, and a pair of sandals for an evening. Don’t take any more with you. Shoes are SO bulky and are not an easy thing to pack. You will basically live in your flip flops anyway.
Hair & Body Products
When it comes to shampoo/moisturiser/suncream… it really depends on how much you care about your hair and skin. I know I like my specific shampoo’s so I wanted to take mine with me. It also depends on where you are going. If you are visiting a more modern-world location, just take a small travel shampoo with you and buy a new one once you arrive. If however, you are going to Asia, maybe consider taking it with you? You will struggle to find branded products in many places, and in the ones you do it will be very small and expensive.
TIP! Wrap up anything with liquid inside in 2 plastic bags. The chances of them leaking is quite high and has happened to me on more than one occasion.
Travel adaptor. Don’t forget it.
So, it sounds like a lot of stuff is going into your bag. How are you going to pack it all?
Here are 4 easy steps to make your packing experience easier.
Number 1 tip for packing. ROLL don’t FOLD…
My mum taught me this trick back in the day. Mum’s are clever aren’t they. The best part about rolling your clothes (other than that of fitting more items in) is that they don’t seem to get wrinkled! Unless you’re planning to take a travel iron with you, this is great news.
Number 2. Pack your underwear last. Underwear is small (I know mine is!) and can squeeze into all the little holes between your clothes. Don’t let your knickers take up a whole section when you can basically make them disappear within your suitcase.
Number 3. Most travel bags have a bottom section. Put your shoes in this part so they don’t make your clothes dirty.
Number 4. Consider buying air tight bags and pack by pile. E.g. Take all your day time/casual clothes and pack them into one bag (or two, lol). This way you save room in your case, but more conveniently you know where everything is!
BONUS TIP! Consider getting separators for your bag – this will organise your suitcase even more.
One Very Important Thing to Consider
On a long haul flight you will usually have a kilo allowance of 30-32kg. Just take into account that if you plan on taking any domestic flights throughout your travels, this amount will be considerably lower. You will either:
Have to pay extra for your case
Actually have to choose another airline to fly with. Not all airlines let you upgrade!!
Guys, I can only speak from experience on this one. I am telling you HOW to pack a lot of things if you need too, and how many things I would usually take with me. BUT, here me out.
I am an over-packer. I never like to admit it, but I know T (my boyfriend) would love to jump in on this one. It becomes an absolute hassle trying to carry the kilos around with you if you are constantly on the go. T usually ends up having to take my bag off me before I collapse.
Although I have become a master of packing and squeezing everything possible into my case. (I also learned how to talk my way out of paying fines), I do not believe that this is 100% the way to go.
Life is all about balance – so is packing.
Don’t limit yourself on clothing, you will start to miss your clothes when you are travelling. At the same time, bare in mind that whatever goes in that bag, will be with you for your whole trip.
Take a look at the photo I took at the END of my 3 months travelling.
Red Circle – The pile on the top left is a pile of clothes I NEVER WORE (AT ALL!)
Orange Circle – The pile on the bottom left is a pile of clothes I worse ONLY ONCE (throughout my whole trip)
Green Circle – The remaining piles, are what I actually wore all the time.
Over-packing is an easy mistake to make but it can be avoided.
I am going to set a challenge for you to help you figure out if you have over-packed!
First of all, see if you can actually fit it in.
Secondly, check to see if it is overweight?
Lastly, get that backpack on your back and do three consecutive ‘ass to grass’ squats. Have you fallen over? Take something out.
Make sure you leave me a comment to let me know how you get on!!
Also, If you have any packing tips, share them in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!
Good luck fellow travellers – HAPPY TRAVELS