Travel bag troubles, packing panic and how you can deal with it!

You know what it’s like when you’ve got to pack your travel bag to go on a plane. It’s stress. Of course, hundreds of thousands of travellers pack their bags and head off to the airport every minute of the hour, every hour of the day, all year round, but to many of us, it throws up suitcase load of quandaries…

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No need for flip flops in our travel bag!

So, what to pack? Well, if you’re travelling for business rather than pleasure, the flip fops and sun hat are out and the smart clothes and laptop are in. But if you’re only going to be away for a short length of time, most people plump for taking hand luggage only, rather than pay a fortune for a hold bag – and this decision brings with it a load of very specific challenges when it comes to packing your travel bag.

First of all, it has to be the right size. This is ever-more complicated, as airlines are constantly changing their own rules and if that case doesn’t fit in that little metal cage they have at the departure gate, your bag might well be whisked away never to be seen again, sorry, we mean to go in the hold where you’ll be (hopefully) reunited with it on the baggage carousel at your destination.

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That heart-aching moment when you realise that bag you packed isn’t turning up…

So you’ve checked with the airline and got yourselves a bag boasting just the right dimensions. The next big question is should you fold or roll those clothes? Mulling it over as you pull clothes out of their drawers onto the bed in an ever-increasingly high pile, it might get you thinking of the Queen of packing and travel herself, Judith Chalmers. She was always clocking up the air miles, wasn’t she, so must have been an expert packer?

One quick Google of ‘How does Judith Chalmers pack?’ and bingo, loads of articles come up. Looks like they are all about how in the 30 years of presenting holiday programmes she learned to travel light. Perfect. Oh hang on, it seems her suitcases were so light that they didn’t even include knickers? Eww! Judith Chalmers confesses to going commando?! It seems TV producers told her that light beach holiday outfits meant there was a high risk of VPL (look it up if you don’t know!) on camera, so she took matters into her own hands and dispensed with them altogether!

Now you’ve got to try and block that thought from your mind and get back to the stressful business of packing your very own little travel bag. The essentials: PJs, undies (you’re no Judith!), trousers, tops, toiletries. Now this is where it gets complicated, as you spend the next 10 minutes scrabbling around trying to find a re-sealable clear plastic bag and decide the freezer bag complete with ’2 x Ham with mustard on cereal bread’ written on will just have to do.

Having polished off the sandwiches, you set about finding minuscule doses of things like shampoo and deodorant. How come you can buy a 250ml BO basher for a £1, but an 80ml travel size version costs over £2? Of course, the canny amongst us all will have saved teeny tiny bottles and just re-fill them each time they travel. Ho hum, maybe next time.

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Think you’ve got packing sorted? Think again

With everything crammed in to your bag for the trip, it’s time to take stock. You may well have read somewhere once that you should compile everything you think you want to take and then go back and half what you’ve selected. This is because you always think you need more stuff than you actually do when you’re away, so maybe it’s time to give this rather ruthless, but effective packing method a try (especially as there is no way the holdall is going to zip up, let alone glide gracefully in and out of that cage thing).

At this critical moment, it might suddenly occur to you, having been somewhat distracted by that Judith revelation, that you completely forgot whether it should be fold or roll when it comes to packing clothes. You decide to go for the latter and soon the job is done. The bag is packed. Feeling slightly nervous about how little you’ve got now, (will it rain? will be warm?) this is the time to remind yourself that you’re only going for three nights and it’ll be OK.

And let’s face it, after all the stress over what to pack, what with the rules of what you can and can’t put in your travel bag of a certain size and wondering what the weather will be like when you get there, most people have forgotten that once you do get there, there will actually be things called shops, so even if you have forgotten to pack something, you can just buy it. And once you’ve got that drummed into your head, packing for your holidays seems a lot more relaxed. Bon voyage!

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Ah that ‘Wish You Were Here’ moment ;-)

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