How to travel light as an over-packer...
If you're an over-packer like me, then travelling with just hand luggage for the first time is a nightmare come true. But I've learned that if I want cheap flights so that I can travel more, hand luggage only is a must. It's taken a lot of overthinking and over-planning, but I have actually figured out how to make it work! I wanted to share my tips and show you what I'm taking abroad for a 3 night break in Krakow in the hope that it may inspire and help someone else out there who is also a serial over-packer...
You may let this one slip, but picking up the first pretty cabin case you see for your holiday is probably the worst mistake you could make if you've only got hand luggage allowance. I was browsing the web for a new one shortly after booking Krakow and saw that the weight of the majority of cabin cases was around 5kg. 5KG! What?! You only get an allowance of 10kg. !!! why waste half of it on the suitcase? That's before you've even filled the thing! No thank you. Matalan completely saved the day with their amazing range of suitcases. Matalan stock the IT True-Lite range which is a luxury range of suitcases that hardly weigh a thing. I picked up this black & white polka dot cabin case which is not only super affordable, but weighs only 1.88kg. And it's a four wheel drive! All that extra weight for stuff as a serial over-packer is definitely necessary. I'm so impressed.
Another super stressful part of only taking hand luggage on board is the limit on the amount of liquids. Now, you can actually have up to 1000ml at 100ml per item which is quite a lot really if you consider the fact that your average foundation bottle is usually only 30ml. However, it all has to be contained in a 20cm x 20cm clear plastic bag which instantly reduces the amount you can take. You can't fit much in that small space, and certainly not 1000ml of product... bit ridiculous really isn't it? Sounds so generous but it's all a trick! Primark do a little plastic case with containers in for just £1 which is super handy, and Matalan also do some 100ml bottles with a spray nozzle for just £4. You can pop in the containers whatever you want to take and again, if an entire bottle of foundation is about 30ml, you aren't going to use anywhere near that amount for a few days away are you? A few days worth of pumps is probably less than 5ml! Most of the bottle packs (including the Matalan & Primark picks) come with a teeny little plastic pot, perfect for foundation or a primer/moisturiser if you're not bothered about wearing makeup! Space wise, it's just about taking the essentials (which differ from person to person) and trying to keep it as minimal as possible. Packing travel sizes really helps too, I've got this little shampoo & conditioner duo from Maui which is perfect, I'll most likely only wash my hair once or twice whilst there!
NOW, the life changing travel hack that I've recently learned is that you can actually place a Boots order online and have it delivered to the boots in the airport you're flying from (it says to allow at least 5 days) and collect it after you've been through security. This means you can order everything you need including your moisturiser, concealer, foundation, hairspray, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, sun lotion, anything you want - and none of it will count towards your liquid or weight allowance as long as it's collected after security and stays sealed in the bag until after your flight. You basically don't need to pack anything if you don't want, the only thing to bare in mind is that anything you take on the way has to fit under the allowance on the way back. So maybe only order travel sizes, or things you know you'll completely use up or are cheap enough that you're not bothered about leaving there/throwing away. I've just made my order for next week and I've only spent about £16 in total, I've gone for cheap hairspray, some bottles of £1 shampoo and conditioner, plus an affordable sun lotion and a couple of other low-cost toiletries. You don't have to spend that much and it's still way cheaper than paying for a check-in case for the flight there and back. A few people have said you can just buy these bits in the airport but the options are limited and generally more expensive, so my personal recommendation would be to do the click & collect order online to make sure you definitely get everything you need! For example, Boots do a £1 moisturiser online that I've never seen in the airport, so it's more cost-effective in my opinion.
How Many Shoes?
It's a little easy coming from someone who doesn't own that many pairs of shoes but do you really need to take more than one pair on holiday? A few days away by the beach only warrants a pair of sandals or slip ons surely? I'm going on a little city break this time so my converse made the cut! They're stylish, go with everything and are most importantly, comfy for all the walking and exploring I'll be doing. I really don't need more than one pair for three days away so think about what's most practical and comfortable and just take those. Plus, you don't need to pack any shoes that way (and let's face it, shoes are bulky and heavy) because you'll be wearing them!
The Hard Part... Clothing
Clothing is easily the hardest part of packing for me. I like to have options and the weather forecast isn't very reliable let's be honest. BUT. There are ways to have options whilst keeping it minimal. Pack a couple of cute tops and one jumper or jacket to throw on top incase it gets a bit chilly or rains. Take one skirt or pair of jeans that you can wear for two or three different days. In reality, you can easily get away with just two or three outfits and an extra top just to mix it up. I think I'll be taking two different bottoms and three different tops which doesn't use much room at all. I'm going to throw in a couple of accessories and that's me done. Also think about what you wear to the airport, I'll pop on my jacket so I don't have to pack that and I'll also be wearing these super comfy thick leggings from Love Leggings that I can wear on the way back too, therefore not needing to pack any airport comfies. There's another hack! Really rate the leggings too, I've been living in them lately, they're amazing quality for the price.
One thing to bear in mind when packing is your destination. Some destinations require light packing, like the Caribbean. Pack one or two bikinis and some nice day dresses, plus your evening essentials. Nothing more really. If you're visiting the Mediterranean, then you might want to consider something more sophisticated, like linen clothing or light layers. The one thing I'd recommend is not to overpack.
Narrowing Down The Beauty Bits
Another extremely hard part for me is narrowing down the makeup/skincare that I'm going to take with me. I've found the best way to go about it is to keep it as minimal as possible. A tiny bit of foundation in the travel pot, one concealer, a brow pencil and maybe a travel contour/blush/highlight in one palette. Most can go without eyeshadow but I definitely can't, so a cream shadow stick is always a good one to save space. I'll be popping in a little travel size mascara and then I'm pretty much good to go. It's just about taking the bare necessities and if you have travel sized stuff then that's even better. All of my skincare will be travel/sample sizes as I've saved them to one side for travelling with. I'll also be taking my fave Magnitone WipeOut Cleansing Cloth which removes makeup with just water as this saves me taking extra cleansers and makes life a lot easier when on holiday! Another little goodie is the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Original Solid Formula, I swear by this for dealing with eczema and dry skin and it's a little holiday essential. They come in super little jars so very handy for throwing in your suitcase and I don't believe it's classed as a liquid as it's solid, so it's perfect! I'll be popping all of my beauty bits in this absolutely beautiful zebra print velvet pouch from Elizabeth Scarlett, you can get a matching eye mask and it's just the most gorgeous set to take away with you.
Not Forgetting The Boring Bits
A lot of apartments abroad don't have a carbon monoxide detector (especially if you book through airbnb) and the Airbnb that we found doesn't have one. It sounds morbid but carbon monoxide is a deadly killer and it's not really worth the risk is it? They don't weigh that much but it's definitely worth checking your apartment has one and taking a detector with you just to be on the safe side. I'll be taking this one from Fireangel which is low in price and you can pop it up on your wall when you're home which is particularly handy if you rent and want that extra reassurance. A couple of other handy bits to include are luggage scales to check your bag is going to be under the weight (especially if you're planning on doing any shopping!) and of course some plug adapters for your phone charger, straighteners, etc. I can't think of anything worse than not being able to charge my phone haha! Matalan do both of these super cheap.
What About My Handbag?
I'm flying with Ryanair and paid for priority on top of my flights which gives me a cabin case and a handbag on board. This means that I don't need to cram my handbag into my hand luggage and I can also fill it with stuff which I believe doesn't have a weight limit either. This is absolutely perfect as it means I can put in my phone, purse, camera, all things that weigh quite a bit and don't need to add to the weight of my hand luggage! I don't know if other airlines offer this option but definitely look into it as it's a life saver. It was only an additional £15 each for priority on the flights there and back so an absolute barg.
What are your top tips for travelling light on a plane?
~ This post contains items that have been sent to me for review purposes. ~