Well, we've all been there, you're all excited that you've booked the trip, and you might have ordered some currency online, and bought your toiletries (somehow you spend a fortune on toiletries for a holiday or travelling). And then comes the packing...
Now where do you start? Well our advice would be think about where you're going, the destination...
- Is it hot or cold during the day and night?
- Are there lots of pesky insects around?
- Are there any cultural aspects to consider? Do you need certain parts of your body covered up?
- Is it relaxed or super dressy? Will sundresses be the right choice for the evening?
- Do you need coordinating outfits and accessories?
- Are you going to be eating out every night or in every night?
- Will you be doing any activities on your trip? Do you need trainers rather than just flip flops?
Once you've answered all these questions, it'll help you decide what type of clothes you need to take. Then you need to think about how long you're going for?
- Is it a long weekend, one or two weeks, or a 3 month trip?
- Have you booked hand luggage only? What are the airline restrictions? One hand luggage bag and hand bag?
- What's the weight limit for your suitcase? 15, 20 or 23kg? Or are you going fancy and can check two bags so will be able to pack everything including the kitchen sink.
- Do you need something stylish or something that can be bashed and battered around?
If it's a beach holiday, think about what you'll be doing during the day, you might just need swimwear, cover ups and flip flops for the day time, and sun dresses, shorts and shirts for the evening (unless the mosquitos are out in force, then you need to think long trousers).
Consider how posh your outfits need to be - is it a heels kind of place, or will a gorgeous pair of sandals, and a nice pair of Toms for the gents do. Places like South Africa, Australia and Cornwall might be a bit more casual, than say Barbados or the South of France.
When you're thinking city break, consider your footwear as walking round the city in flip flops isn't ideal, as you'll end up with dirty feet. Think about the bars and restaurants you might be going to? Is there a dress code? No open-toe shoes or collars must be worn. Do you need to consider light layering? If it's boiling hot outside and the air-con is set to minus 5, you might need a light jersey or a classic denim jacket.
If you're travelling for 3 months, think about what you've got to carry, and what you really need? You get tired of a heavy bag pretty quickly, and will start siphoning stuff out. Think about how many different destinations you'll be hitting and what's needed for each one.
And then for the girls probably more than the boys (although Mulberry do a rather lovely man bag), think about your handbag, do you need a beach bag to lug everything round? Or a cross body bag? Or a trusty little rucksack?
If you're anything like us - we love a good list, it just means you don't forget anything. It's worth checking with your travel companions to see if you can share toiletries, as they clock up a lot of weight.
Then lay it all out, and work out whether you like to roll or lay flat (differing opinions as to which is best).
Rather than just throwing it all in, double check that you've coordinated where you can and not doubled up unnecessarily. Consider what needs to go in your hand luggage - jewellery, ipads, kindles, money, passports etc.
Tick everything off the list, and then you're ready to head to the airport.
In reality though, all you really need is...your passport, phone, wallet, sunglasses, a little note book (to jot down all those great bars, restaurants, shops and fabulous scents you discover on your travels), and of course a Taylor Benfield travel candle - because you can generally buy whatever you need when you get there and then that can just be part of the adventure.