I've travelled a fair amount so far- I was lucky enough to get a week or two abroad every year with my parents when I was younger and in 2010 I spent three months backpacking through Australia and New Zealand with a friend. Add to that lots and lots of camping trips and I've become pretty good at packing and travelling! Here are a few tips I thought I'd share (hopefully some new things you may not have heard)
Before you go:
-Plan way ahead! Research any vaccinations, visas etc you will need, decide how you'll be taking money on holiday, book all flights, accommodation, all other transport- all as early as you can, it's often cheaper in advance and it saves you worrying about it when you could be buying new clothes for the trip!
- Photocopy everything! Keep a copy of your passport, tickets, booking confirmations, visas etc in your checked bag, as well as a spare copy in your hand luggage. I always keep a PDF copy in my email inbox! Perhaps it's overkill, but there are somethings I like to be very prepared with!
-Write a big list of everything you want/need to take several weeks before you go, and double check you have (working) things like suitcases, swimsuits, travel adapters, passports... well in advance; so you have plenty of time for holiday shopping (like you needed an excuse!) and getting everything you need well before your travel (new UK passports are taking months to get hold of at the moment!)
-Instead of packing like a maniac 5 hours before you need to leave your house my strategy is to leave my suitcase out and open for about a week before I leave- that way I can gradually add bits and bobs to my packing pile (eg clean clothes get put into case instead of in the wardrobe, new items go straight in) as you can put things in when you remember them!
-Rememer all of the rules and regulations with hold an hand luggage (they recently brought in a new rule for US flights that all you must be able to prove all electronics switch on before boarding!) The best places to check are your airport and airline websites.
- Roll clothes, don't fold- they take up less space that way! Make use of random little pockets of space- stuff socks into shoes (packing a suitcase is just real life Tetris) and put breakable and delicate things in the centre of your case, surrounded by layers of clothes. Baggage handlers are not know for their gentile approach, so prepare for your case to be thrown around.
- Try to travel light (I know it's hard!) Save travel sized bottles and small containers (moisturiser tubs etc.) and decant products- surely no one needs 500ml of shampoo for 2 weeks, and unless you're going somewhere remote or very expensive the chances are you can buy extra there!
- Always wear (comfy) layers for flying, I always find air conditioning really cold (I hate it!) so I get cold on planes, but it's often really hot when you land. I hate when celebrities are photographed looking glam at airports- I want to wear cosy slouchy clothes! Particularly if you have a long flight or plan to sleep! I always wear slip on shoes or flip flops; they're easy to take off at security and when I get on the plane (I always pack socks in my carry-on so I don't have cold feet!)
- Be nice to your skin! Again, air con is pretty evil- it can really dry out your skin do I always pack a moisturiser, toner and plenty of lip balm for flights (plus eye drops as I get really dry eyes) and I definitely don't faff around with putting my make up back on before I land! This year I've got a bottle of rescue oil so I can really moisturise my face, and Astral for my hands, feet etc. And I'm going to be testing out a tea toner I made this week (if I like it I may post a 'recipe')
- Please don't be an annoying fellow passenger: no loudly chatting with a friend 3 rows down, stealing both armrests, kicking the back of the chair infront, siting in the middle of a row and going to the loo 6 times an hour, leaning over strangers to see out the window.... I really could write an essay.
-Drink a lot! Again you can get very dehydrated in the air, try to drink lots of water (preferably no alcohol, although I know it's very difficult to say no to a free G&T!) And on a similar note, remember you don't have to eat whenever a lovely flight attendant hands you food! :)
Anyway I hope these tips might help you- I'm now finishing off this post sitting by the pool in our villa- we got here safely (with only a few minor dramas; turns out travellig with 6 other people is hard work!) and our house it is beautiful- I don't want to leave already!
What are your favourite travel tips?