The ultimate guide to packing for your next holiday

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Travelling light is the secret to travelling smart.


If you’ve got your passport, your (legal) pills and your person, they’re the essentials – everything else can be replaced. Most airlines allow 20kg-30kg luggage per person, as well as two pieces of hand luggage.

Trying to anticipate all possible climates, terrains, adventures and social events you might encounter when travelling can lead to a full suitcase.

Half the stuff won’t come out of the bag until you’ve returned home. With these simple tips you can pack for every kind of trip, in every kind of climate and only bring what you need.


Backpack or suitcase? Backpacks are light, hold a lot and are more manoeuvrable. Suitcases are more stylish, accessible and easier to pack and unpack and you have the choice of a soft or hard case. Soft cases often weigh less than hard cases and can expand to fit more. Hard cases are easier to clean and offer better protection for the contents. There are also combinations of the two – convertible backpack/wheeled cases.

Pick something that suits your travel style, destination and personal choice.


Lay out all the clothes you plan to take and then build outfits. Allow for one outfit per day, different to other days but made up of existing pieces, for a total of no more than 14 outfits.

Layering and accessorising will create variation.

If you’re away for more than a week, then washing your clothes mid-trip will mean you can re-use the items.

There are plenty of washing options including in a sink, using portable wash bags, coin-operated laundromats or laundry services.


Rolled up clothing takes less space and avoids fold lines.

For added versatility, packing cubes can help with sorting your clothing and making them easier to find in a hurry.

Storing toiletries in a waterproof bag can avoid spillage.


Always pack any essential medications, as well as scripts just in case, but carrying bottles of shampoo, moisturiser, sunscreen and insect repellent is often unnecessary.

Buy travel-size toiletries or refillable bottles before you go.

If your destination is a city or town of moderate size, then you should have no trouble finding a supermarket or pharmacy to buy toiletries.


The more devices you bring the more accessories you need, and so the heavier your luggage.

A smartphone is useful for boarding passes, maps etc. You can buy a local SIM for internet and to make calls.

Photographers should limit the number of lenses.


Whether you’re travelling for one month or four, bring enough clothes to last two weeks. And wash them. Here is a list for men and women that will fit in a medium bag, toiletries not included.

7 pairs underwear and socks
1 set pyjamas or sleepwear
1 set tracksuit or other relaxation clothes
1 set exercise clothes + runners (optional)
1 pair jeans
2 pairs long pants - one dark pair and one light pair
8 items - combination of T-shirts, shirts and dressy tops/shirts, camisoles and singlets
2 items - dresses (optional - weather-dependent)
2 items - shorts or skirts (weather-dependent)
1 item - warm jumper
1 item - jacket - preferably rain-proof
3 pairs shoes, including a day shoe, night shoe and relaxation shoe
1 scarf - can be used as a sarong, head scarf, blanket or pillow


Written by Amanda Willimott
July 01, 2015