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One suitcase and 10 foolproof pack hacks to ensure you get the most from your weight allowance - tried and tested so you don’t have to.
1. Oh what a carry on!
Organise a pre-packed ‘essentials’ bag inside your carry-on luggage. We all know how chaotic boarding can be so have the bits and bobs you definitely require in a small handheld bag. Essentials include book, eye mask, pen, hand cream, lip balm, passport, empty water bottle, toothbrush and paste. No one wants to be ‘that’ person, jumping up and down to grab something from the overhead.
2. Get magnetic
Packing for a cruise? Hold onto your sailor hat because this tip will revolutionise your next ocean jaunt. Take magnets. Cruise ship doors are metal and magnets will allow you to stick your important documents (such as tickets and itineraries) against the framework for the duration of your trip. Or even photographs if you feel like making it a little more homelike.
3. What's that smell?
Take a pack of dryer sheets and pop them in your suitcase. They’ll infuse your luggage with that ‘just washed’ scent, rather than the stale, musky aroma that derives from an airless suitcase. And for dirty undergarms, throw the hotel bar soap inside your laundry bag. These two hacks combined will ensure you don’t groan and grimace when immigration demand a bag check.
4. Roll, roll, roll
If you’ve read it once, you’ve read it a thousand times; the fundamental rule of travel packing is to roll your clothes. Rolling everything from socks to singlets not only maximises the space in your luggage, it also prevents creasing. And if you’re packing shirts, roll up a belt and place it inside the collar, this will ensure the neck stays crisp too.
5. One, two, lose a few...
This one’s time consuming but the benefits outweigh the inconvenience. Lay the entire contents of your suitcase on the floor and go through each item piece by piece. Come up with at least one reason for taking every item, i.e. a raincoat for rain (funny that). If your third pair of trainers are only making the cut because they look natty, ditch them.
6. Simplicity is key
Take a pen. Don’t laugh, we’ll explain our reasoning behind this one in two simple words: arrival cards. You know how it goes, it’s mid-flight and you finally (and reluctantly) decide to fill one in. But with what? How’s your fancy iPod, iPad or iPhone helping you now? And that’s just one example (of hundreds) when you’ll be happy you packed a pen.
7. Go-go gadget
In an age where we all own two dozen digital gadgets, hotel downtime is often spent replenishing dwindling batteries. Take a six plug powerboard and worry only about one adapter and one socket. In Europe especially, hotels are generous with their dust ruffles but not with their sockets, so if you’re loaded with gizmos, pack a six plug board and you’ll be laughing all the way to the power bank.
8. Fantastic elastic
This is an age old backpacker's trick that works just as well if you have a rolling suitcase. Pack a ball of elastic bands and downsize your luggage. From bulky sweaters to well-padded jackets, fold, roll and secure with 2-4 thick elastic bands. Like string around your pork roast, it'll keep everything tight, neat and above all, compact.
9. There's an app for that
Welcome to the most digital era the world has ever seen. If you want to take books, cameras, maps, magazines, travel guides and torches, don’t even bother because there’s an app for them all. Voilà, you’ve just freed up half your bag’s capacity. The rookie error would be forgetting your charger.
10. Tell a little white lie
We will reluctantly share this one with you, but if too many people know, it could prove detrimental. Label your bag as fragile. Not only will ground staff handle your suitcase with greater care, but apparently, it’ll also get stored at the very top of the plane’s cargo. Thus, it’ll be first on the carousel when you arrive.
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