How to Pack Like a Pro

And fly hand luggage only… Every time


Words by Lisa Hughes
January 27th, 2017

Nothing screams amateur jet setter like the sight of someone lugging their kitchen sink around the airport in a suitcase that looks ready to explode.

As any seasoned travel blogger can tell you, packing light is the only way to fly. Firstly, that hefty fee for being over the baggage allowance would be more fun to splurge in the MAC shop. Also, dragging a heavy case around gets pretty annoying no matter how cute your outfits are inside. Having hand luggage also means you save so much time when you land and you don’t have to channel Conor McGregor to get past your fellow passengers and grab your bag at Baggage Reclaim.

Here are our tips for packing like a pro so you’ve only got hand luggage every time you fly

Plan your outfits for each day of the trip. Sounds boring but this is the number one thing you can do to avoid overpacking. Be strategic and cut the “what if I need my silver boots I’ve never worn? Oh, I better pack them” nonsense. Pack items that can be worn in different ways, such as a timeless blazer that looks good with everything, a light scarf that doubles as a pashmina, a cool cotton tote with an artsy print instead of an extra bulky handbag.

Stick to light materials. Obviously, this won’t work if you’re flying to Siberia but layering light materials not only looks cool but it covers a lot of possibilities, such as freak weather or unplanned excursions. If you’ll be going somewhere fancy and your fave LBD is taking up half your suitcase, pick another dress in a lighter fabric like silk or go for a ruffled shirt that goes with the jeans you already packed. Remember everything Gok Wan said about a capsule wardrobe? Now apply that to your travel plans.

Be Joey wearing all of Chandler’s clothes. Planes can be pretty chilly so wear as much as you can to the airport. Not only can you make a pillow if you need to once you’re on board but it’ll give you a little extra luggage room too.


Device detox. Do you really need your laptop, Kindle, camera, smartphone and iPad? Really? It’s 2017, your hotel has to have WiFi so leave the laptop at home and file your work before you go. All halfway decent hotels have business centres anyway so don’t take devices you won’t use. If the idea of leaving your laptop on its lonesome gives you hives, invest in a lightweight netbook or an iPad, whatever suits your needs (or that you can get your boss to fork out for). Tell yourself it’s a mini-digital detox (and read all about how to start one here).

Flats are your friends. Right, we know this is controversial to the Carrie Bradshaws out there but travel is a million times easier if you just don’t pack heels. Unless you’ve got a fancy-pants work event like you’re reporting from the Oscars, they’re a waste of time and valuable packing space. With so many cute flats in the shops right now, your feet will still rock, trust us.

Go basic. Regular travel is up there with camping as one way to teach you how to be as low maintenance as possible. Keep the liquids to a minimum by focusing on what you really can’t do without and, if you travel a lot, keep your plastic bag of travel-sized essentials in your bag ready to go. Think travel-sized moisturiser, toothpaste, foundation – the basics – with a small bottle of facial sun block thrown in if you’re heading somewhere sunny. You can always stock up when you land.

Rock ‘n ROLL. The old wives tale of the travel industry does actually work – roll, don’t fold. Make like tidiness guru Marie Kondo and your clothes won’t be as creased. Result! Stuff rolled socks and knickers into shoes and fill any empty space in your case or bag with neatly rolled clothes. If the case starts filling up, don’t panic – just place tops or jumpers flat cross the other rolled items.

Thinking about your next holiday? Don’t book anything before you read our guide to the best wellness trips here.