Travel: How to improve your packing

hat: Asos, espadrilles: Soludos, leather pouch: c/o Aspinal, passport holder: c/o Aspinal

With my bags packed and all set for another adventure, I was feeling in the mood to share another travel-related post! I'm heading off to Greece this afternoon and if you head over to my Instagram or follow me on Snapchat @HannahLayford I'll probably be posting daily there. But with my suitcase ready to hit the road, I thought I'd quickly share another travel tips post, this time on how to improve your packing. Over the last 8 months, I've managed to cram in 6 trips and visited 7 different countries so I've had plenty of opportunity to work on improving my packing skills. Once you've been bitten by the travel bug, it's hard not to form some kind of routine so when the next trip comes around, things like packing seem much less of a chore! Whether you're heading on a short city break, interrailing through Europe, backpacking through Asia, or exploring the world on a cruise, smart packing will help you feel organised and set for any adventure. Sure, I'm still in the habit of overpacking sometimes (because it is always nice to have plenty of options) but I'm definitely way better than I was. Or maybe I've just gotten better at cramming more stuff into smaller suitcases? Either way, hopefully these tips will help you improve your holiday packing!

1. Keep your travel documents organised

It goes without saying that the airport experience is a lot less stressful when your stuff is organised. While most airlines will let you download a boarding card on your phone, I know some people do prefer to take print outs of their travel documents. If I have print outs then usually I like to keep documents like my boarding card, insurance, passport, etc, all together. Something like this beautiful leather Aspinal pouch is perfect for keeping everything safe. And it also doubles as a chic clutch bag for when I arrive at my destination!

2. Plan your outfits

Knowing what outfits you're taking is key to packing efficiently. Sure, I'm guilty of trying to basically just cram my wardrobe into a suitcase so I have plenty options, but it really isn't the smartest way of packing. And what's the point of taking loads of individual items that don't match each other? Planning each outfit out is also key to seeing which pieces are going to transition easily. A pair of vintage Levis for instance will work well for the beach, or paired with a cute top for the evening. It'll also help you to realise what's going to be weather-appropriate and what's not. While it may look nice on another blogger's Instagram, I can assure you that you definitely are not going to want to be wearing long sleeves in 64% humidity. Right, Helen?


3. Look for ways to save space

Sounds like common sense, but thinking of ways to save space is just about using your common sense when you're packing your bags. It's just about thinking more about what you're taking - do you really need those full size shampoos or can you decant them into something smaller? Rolling your clothes is also a great tip because you're really utilising all of the available space. Plus it's a great way of making sure your clothes aren't getting overly wrinkled. Big reader? Whenever I go away, I like to have a big stack of books with me. A few years ago, I invested in a Kindle and I swear I haven't looked back. Sure it doesn't replace books, but it's an amazing space-saver and a lot lighter!

4. Coconut oil is your friend

Ok, I'll admit it. I'm a coconut oil convert and for the last 12 months, I've taken a little tub on every trip I've been on. I swear it's the ultimate multipurpose item. Dry hands or cuticles? Need a moisturiser? Sun-damaged hair? Forgotten your makeup removed? Decant a little into a small tub and I swear you can replace at least 3 items with just your one tub of coconut oil. I already religiously use coconut oil to remove my makeup (I swear nothing else can shift liquid eyeliner as fast although you do make a mess in the process...), but while I'm holiday, I'll also use coconut oil as an intensive moisturiser. After a day in the sun, my skin can feel really dry and tight and just a little of this stuff makes all the difference.

5. Make the most of your hand luggage

For shorter trips, I tend to opt for hand luggage only, mainly because it means that I can save a little money not paying for hold luggage. But also it's a great time-saver. No waiting around at the baggage reclaim, you can just grab your little carry-on and go! If you are traveling longer, it still pays to make the most of your hand luggage allowance. Taking a mini case rather than just a handbag means that I can make sure valuables like my camera are stored safely without having to lug around heavy bags. I also try to pack an outfit or two in my hand luggage in case my suitcase goes missing! After finding myself stranded in New York for 48 hours last year, I've realised you never know when you might need a few essentials!

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