Tips from the Nest: Packing Smartly
Packing for your European tour will no doubt fuel your excitement, and doing it well helps to make your trip run smoothly. The other side of the coin is that packing poorly can create more problems than it’s worth, such as overweight airline baggage or taking the wrong clothes for your trip. In this post, I’ll offer some experience-based tips on what and how to pack, including for different seasons.
A Little Counts for a Lot
Just like many other travellers, I’ve experienced trouble when packing a suitcase, either by over-packing or forgetting particular items. It can be especially tricky when travelling for an extended period (longer than three weeks) to estimate items you may require and what you may purchase on your holiday while still staying within the airlines’ increasingly strict luggage weight limits.
To avoid extra weight charges at the airport, minimising baggage weight is paramount. Toiletries weigh a lot, so pack smaller containers of cosmetics, shampoo and conditioner – you can always buy more if you run out.
Pack some soap, though, as many European hotels now only have the multi-purpose shampoo/body wash.
Suitcases have come a long way in the last few years in terms of light and strong materials. I recommend buying the lightest luggage you can find with a secure lock. Also choose an option with four strong wheels - it’s so much easier when your suitcase glides along the ground!
And what’s travelling without picking up a few things along the way? Leaving space inside your suitcase on departure allows for purchases on tour; plus you don’t want to be lugging around a heavy bag.
When travelling for a few weeks, it’s a good idea to carry a plastic bag in your luggage for any dirty clothes (especially if it’s a few days between washing!). A plastic bag can also come in handy if you expect to have wet swimmers.
Speaking of plastic bags, I always keep my liquid toiletries such as shampoo and conditioner, in a sealed waterproof bag to prevent leaks. The same goes for travel documents – it’s a good idea to store second copies of your travel documentation in a waterproof bag.
Pack light, comfortable clothing and footwear for the warmer months. A light jacket for evenings if travelling in spring or autumn is handy to have. Cotton scarves are terrific. They’re lightweight, don’t take up much room and are great to dress up an outfit.
It’s all about layering when travelling in winter. Ensure you have a warm, waterproof and windproof jacket, and then lighter layers for underneath. Everywhere is heated in Europe, so when indoors, your lighter layers will come into play. Outside, you’ll need your warm jacket and sensible footwear. A good walking boot that is waterproof and non-slip is preferable for walking in snow or ice. Trainers are really not suitable when travelling in winter.
When it comes time to pack for your next adventure, consider the time you’ll be away, the season, and some creative possibilities for saving weight to make for an easier and even more enjoyable experience. These little considerations can make a big difference!