1. Don’t pack light colours. They look grubby in no time and you don’t want to be worrying about your clothes getting dirty. Pack mostly black or dark colours. They probably also get grubby but at least you can’t see it. Black is also versatile. It goes from day to night easily. And it all goes into one wash load. No one wants to sit waiting for different loads of washing to get done on holiday.
|Robben Island – Nelson Mandela’s cell
2. Choose lightweight hand luggage and suitcases. The limit for most airlines is 23 kilograms. If you start with heavy bags, it doesn’t allow you to pack much. Plus you might have to carry your luggage around. Not all destinations are suitable for a wheelie suitcase. Think of the stairs to the London Victoria underground station. Not fun!
3. Running shoes are perfect for walking about and the odd run if you are up to it. Wear them on the plane in case your feet swell. Pack flats or lightweight shoes for going out at night or visits. Heels are best saved for when you are at home.
4. If you have over-shopped then pack heavy items like toiletries and shoes into your hand luggage when you fly home. The limit on hand luggage is on size, not weight.
5. A cloth tote bag is perfect replacement for a handbag or in-flight bag. It’s squashy and you can fit lots into it. It’s also light.
6. Weather can be unpredictable so pack clothing you can layer or clothing that is versatile. A tank top can be worn alone on a hot day or as a pull-over on a cool day. You can also sleep in it. Cardigans are light and fit snugly under a jacket on cold days.
|Robben Island – prison cells
7. Use your casual wear to sleep in. Why pack pyjamas as well?
8. Pack drip dry and easy hand-wash fabrics. You can rinse your clothes at night and they will be dry in the morning.
9. Scarves are light and an easy way to give a repeat outfit a fresh pop of colour.
10. Don’t pack heavy gold or silver jewelry. Rather take lightweight plastic for a bit of fun; or pack rope and string type accessories. Plus, you don’t want to have to insure your jewelry. You are going on holiday to relax and have fun.
|Robben Island – guard tower in distance
11. Always, always, make sure you can manage your luggage. As in, don’t take tons of suitcases. You just might have to carry your own luggage and if you have more than you can manage, you will not be happy with yourself. Don’t bank on someone else carrying for you. Things do go wrong.
12. Ensure you have copies of all your important details with you at all times. Think flight details, addresses of accommodation, medical insurance, passport, etc. Not everyone is welcome when they arrive at a destination and immigration officers can ask some really obscure questions. If you have all your information on you, you can refer to it. You could get lost or have an accident. Then you will need it. Keep it all in a clear plastic Ziploc bag or water proof file and – keep it on you.
13. You have to accept that if you are travelling, perfectly styled hair might be a challenge. Practise easy hairstyles before you go so you can relax and enjoy your holiday rather than getting hung up about hair. Think easy pony tails or a classy chignon.
14. Pack products that do double duty. Some soaps double up as shampoo. Hair conditioner can also smooth dry skin. And pack your toiletries in clear plastic Ziploc bags. Toiletry bags are bulky and don’t always contain leaks. With clear plastic bags you can see at a glance where your toiletries are.
|Robben Island – prison
15. Pack make up that works harder. Lipstick for example can be used as blush. Avoid heavy powdery make up on holiday. You will either be on the beach or working up a sweat walking about. Face powders can look a mess in no time and touch ups aren’t easy on the move. Plus you are likely to be wearing lots of sunscreen so cream based make up is your best bet.
16. Do pack plenty maximum factor sunscreen and a lightweight sun hat. Chances are you will spend a lot of time outdoors and you don’t want to get burned.
17. Keep a spare set of underwear, wet wipes and a toothbrush with you, along with your important documents. Flights run late; baggage goes missing; tours end far later than planned. Stuff happens. You might have to wash and freshen up in a hurry and you will want fresh underwear and clean teeth.
18. Slip slops are super handy. They double up as slippers, plus are a really good idea when walking around in communal areas such as on the beach or at a spa. On a hot day they can be worn out. They are light and take up very little packing space. Haviannas come in a range of fun colours and they last forever.
19. Yet one more thing to consider carrying is a lightweight, water resistant windbreaker. Umbrellas are a nuisance to carry and they get confiscated at the airport. At least if the heavens open, you are dry with a windbreaker. And if it gets chilly it keeps you warm.
20. Never, ever pack valuables such as cell phone, camera or lap top into your main luggage that goes into the hold of an airplane. Keep that sort of thing on you. You luggage will be scanned and insider thieves might help themselves to your new I-Phone or inheritance jewelry. Always lock your suitcases if they are out of sight.