I can remember going on holiday with a group of friends 20 years ago hauling an old heavy suitcase that was overflowing with clothes and shoes I didn’t wear in one hand and ghetto blaster in the other so we could all listen to music whilst getting ready for a night out. How times have changed, not only am I a little older I’m also more of a savvy traveller.
My old leather suitcase has been upgraded to a smart lightweight suitcase on wheels so no more breaking my back trying to carry it and the ghetto blaster has been replaced with an iPad. Having travelled many times on business and on family holidays I have found plenty of ways to travel lighter and faster.
Before you go
Ever since that first holiday 20 years ago with my friends I have learned to pack smarter. How many times do you come back from holiday and have clothing you haven’t worn?
- Make a list of the clothes that you will need don’t forget you can wear the same things twice.
- Choose versatile and lightweight clothes and stick to a simple colour scheme so that all your clothing mixes and matches.
- By taking a few accessories you can renew any outfit. If you must take a jacket with you, travel in it to save space in your luggage.
- Many of the larger hotels have laundrettes so if you’re travelling for two weeks just take enough clothes for one week. I find having a laundrette is an essential when travelling with children as my youngest can be the messiest of children some days.
Do your research
- Before I go away I always check the hotel website or contact them directly to see if they provide hairdryers, iron, laundry room, beach towels and beach toys for the children.
- As you know, towels can take up quite a lot of space in your suitcase, many hotels and self-catering apartments now provide towels, so this will free up plenty of space. I’ve stayed in a few that don’t so I go to the local supermarket and buy some there as they’re cheap enough and saves on the extra weight.
- Many of the hotels have a recycling drop box that you can leave your left over toiletries, magazine and kids toys. This is becoming more popular now and it does save money and space in your suitcase.
Make the most of your hand luggage and children’s baggage allowance
Airlines don’t always charge you for hand luggage so by giving careful thought to your packing you can get away without paying for it to go in the hold.
- I found that the lightweight soft shell cases and holdalls are best rather than the hard and rigid ones as sometimes these don’t fit into the overhead lockers easily.
- Make the most of children’s baggage allowances.
- An added bonus of having only hand luggage means there is no need to wait at the baggage carousel once you depart the plane.
Check in online
Gone are the days of standing in long queues waiting to check in, most airlines now have online check in. This not only allows you to leave for the airport a little later but it’s also a godsend when travelling with children and if your children are as impatient and get bored easily as mine do this can sometimes be a lifesaver. You will then only need to head to the bag drop area when you arrive at the airport.
Do you really need everything?
Think before packing things like books, games and DVD’s. Whether I’m travelling with my family or on my own I always take my iPad with me, I can browse the internet, Facebook or even Skype my family to let them know I’ve arrived safe and it also saves on sending postcards. I have read countless books and watched a few films whilst relaxing on my sun lounger.
More often than not we don’t take a camera on holiday with us as the cameras on our mobiles are just as good.
- Turn off your mobile phone data roaming before you board the plane, that way you won’t get any nasty charges when you get home.
- Many hotels and restaurants have free Wi-Fi and just require a password that you can get from reception.
- To save on taking a multitude of chargers with you, buy a universal multi USB charger.
Keeping the kids entertained
- When my husband and I travel with the children they take their tablets, this is so much easier than taking games with them.
- Many restaurants provide paper and colouring pencils to keep them entertained whilst we wait for our meal, many times my husband will join in with the colouring.
Hotels such as Holiday Village Majorca in Cala Millor, Majorca also have Mothercare packs available which includes all the essentials such as buggies and highchairs to blenders and bottle warmers. Let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages if you have any top travel savvy tips.