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Sunday, 28 September 2014

Hello, Holidays | Packing for a two week trip:

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You can all breathe a collective sigh of relief: this is my last post in the Hello, Holidays series.  (However, I will no doubt be writing a little about the trip while we're there and after we get back, so apologies if the subject bores you to death!)  We leave for New York City in THREE DAYS and (as I'm sure you can guess) I'm very excited!  

My last but somewhat mammoth task before we jet off is to finish packing and (while I'm certainly not an expert) I've put together my own personal survival guide for anyone packing for a fortnight.  Hopefully it will help you with your own travel organisation in the future, or at least spark some ideas!

1. Write a list: I'm the type of person who makes to do and reminder lists constantly, but they are especially helpful tools when packing.  Over the last week or so I've slowly started putting clothes and accessories into my suitcase, so - although it might sound trivial - having a list to hand with everything down to the number of pairs of socks I need for the whole trip has been useful.  There's a lot to take for two weeks away, so I've used my list to keep track of what has and hasn't been packed.  If you are likely to forget anything important, write it down and tick it off once it's in your case.  Problem solved!

2. Try before you fly: A few years ago I started attempting to plan full outfits for each day of a trip in advance, rather than just throwing in the right number of tops and jeans and hoping I would look okay when the time came.  It might be slightly more time consuming to organise your packing by outfit, but this way works better for me because it stops me from overpacking (and also from tearing my hair out when I don't like any of the clothes I brought to wear on my holiday!).  Obviously outfits are weather dependent, and sometimes plans or activities change at the last minute, but for the most part it has made my life so much easier. For this trip, I will probably try most of my outfits on before we go to avoid any style related meltdowns when we're stateside.

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3. Embrace 'bagception': Another way to make packing (and living out of a suitcase at the other end) much easier is to use smaller packing bags or pouches to organise your clothes within your larger travel bag.  I bought two sets of the UPPTÄCKA packing bags from IKEA (which come in a set of four different sizes for £7.50) and they have already proved themselves to be very useful for both short and longer trips.  Store all of your tops in one travel pouch, your trousers in another and so on or, alternatively, you could pack by full outfit.  Either way, the need to rake around in the bottom of your suitcase is eliminated.

4. Be a nervous Nellie: I already mentioned this in my hand luggage Hello, Holidays post, but I'm doing my best not to pack any valuables in my suitcase as I'm totally paranoid my luggage will go missing.  Yes, it would be a huge pain if I lost all of my clothes and shoes, but they are covered by our travel insurance and I would be much more upset if more sentimental things (like photos on my laptop, or my diary) were never to be seen again.  Anything that I want to keep an eye on will be going with me in my rucksack on the plane.  Better to be safe than sorry!

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5. Weigh it up: Again, this is probably my inner Girl Scout talking, but I like to be sure that my suitcase is the right weight before leaving for the airport.  For our USA trip the baggage allowance is a hefty 23kg, so it's highly unlikely that we'll go over the limit, but I still picked up an inexpensive Rolson luggage scale (£2.99 from TK Maxx) so we can weigh our bags prior to leaving and also before we come home again.  When travelling with just a small suitcase as hand luggage it's much easier to go over an airline's weight limit, so I would definitely recommend buying a scale for trips like that.

Do you have any top packing tips of your own?

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