Here’s a pic of Pattie Boyd looking like a quintessential 70s babe – long hair, silk scarves, Eric Clapton shaped accessory – in a train station and generally looking beyond cool, despite the fact she just hopped off a plane or train somewhere. In her autobiography, she says someone (probably a famous rock star, I can’t remember) was amazed at how light she travelled. Her tip? Silk. It rolls up small, the creases fall out and it’s light if you’re in a hot country. Of course, not all of us can pull off silk-adorned music muse look on our travels (especially if you’re on the move for business) but I liked the idea of travelling light and still looking smoking.
I travel a lot for my job and would very much like to look like Pattie when I’m flying Ryanair.
When I travel I’m regularly commended on my ability to go anywhere on hand luggage only (unless I’m away for more than 5 days) so yep I have ONE thing in common with Pattie Boyd. So, because I think it’s a valued skill AND it’ll save you money if you’re frequently fleeced at the airport, I’m giving you my guide to being a better packer. I can’t promise you’ll be as cool as Pattie but I CAN promise you’ll be a hand luggage only freak like me afterwards.
1. Plan your outfits for each day of the trip. Sounds boring but this is essential. Be strategic and none of this “what if I need my sparkly pink stiletto boots I’ve never worn? Oh I better pack them” crap. Pack a contingency piece, eg I took a rainproof coat with me for an outdoorsy trip recently. I never used it but it was folded up small and useful if the heavens opened. Easier than packing a dufflecoat. Likewise, if you’ll be going on the booze and you need your fave LBD but it’s bulky when rolled, choose something else. Pack items which can be worn a few times in different ways eg a great dressy jacket that looks good with everything, a light scarf.
2. Stick to light materials. Obviously this won’t work if you’re flying to Siberia. This is controversial too but I never, ever pack heels. Unless you’re reporting from the Oscars, they’re a waste of time. Also controversial but I leave jeans (too bulky) and opt for dresses.
3. Find out if your hotel has WiFi. If it doesn’t, I leave the laptop at home and file all my work before I go. All halfway decent hotels have business centres anyway and I just don’t see the point in lugging it around if I won’t use it/only want it for Facebook stalking.
4. If the idea of leaving your laptop on its lonesome gives you hives, and you travel a lot, invest in a lightweight netbook or an ipad, whatever suits you/you can get your boss or Sugar Daddy boyfriend to fork out for.
5. Books – I need to read on the plane and train but who knew the Twilight series was so heavy? I always have a ton of books lined up to read at any one time so I’m pretty strategic and keep thinner books (eg the Gossip Girl series. Ahem.) for travel. A Kindle is ideal but I personally am a tactile creature and need to feel paper. (Translation: fogey).
6. Slap attack: I’m not really big into make-up but constant travel has really taught me how to be as low maintenance as I can be. Even if I’m travelling by car or bus, I keep the liquids to a minimum. Deodorant, foundation, toothpaste, moisturiser, lip balm and eye make-up remover, those are my essentials. If I’m going somewhere hot, I take small bottles of sun block.
7. Roll, don’t fold. And stuff shoes with socks/knickers and fill any empty space in your case or bag with clothes.
8. Wear as much as you can to the airport. Think the one where Joey wore all of Chandler’s clothes.
9. Embrace your naturally gigantic, unruly hair and ditch the hairdryer and GHDs. This killed me at the start and, I know you’re thinking ‘AAARGGGHHH! MY HAAAAIIIIIRRR!” but you can do it. Even if you look a bit like Beethoven in your holiday snaps, travelling light is fun, right?
10. Get a bag or case that’s smaller than the baggage allowance limit. Sounds thick and obvious but, if you have a big bag, trust me, you will fill it. Minimising the space you have means you become ruthless. So no, you can’t bring your lifesize imitation Boo teddy or YMCA costume this time.