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Carry on

Turner Contemporary

I’ve been away visiting friends and family this week and had the bright idea of going ultra minimal with my packing. I planned out a precise mix-and-match wardrobe. I got my transparent lashes and brows tinted so I’d only need to add tinted moisturiser to look alive (plus lippie, in the spirit of Dotto). No gadgets except iPhone as it does everything. So here I am with a small suitcase containing mostly undies and sunscreen.

It’s been a success and I’ve been the picture of smugness… until tonight with the looming Blogging Pact Deadline. Carla tried to warn me about the WordPress iPhone app when I told her my lofty plan to leave laptop at home, but la la la la, I insisted I’d be fine! Well, it has taken me an hour to put that bloody photo up there!

Okay I remembered my sister has a laptop so I’ve switched to that. But now I’m too crabbit to write about what I was supposed to be writing about, which was going to be a deep one about isolation and how that can make you feel batshit crazy, hence the moody pic above from the Turner Contemporary museum which Rhi and I visited yesterday. We saw the Grayson Perry: Provincial Punk exhibition and it was ace.

Anyway, will save that for another day but in the meantime, laptop aside, what a brilliant feeling after years of experimentation to finally crack this packing light malarkey! There’s usually one “why the bloody hell did I bring this!?” thing, but this time every item has earned its place. Booyah!

Are there any other packing enthusiasts out there? Do you obsessively trawl YouTube for tips? Do you decant your toiletries into little bottles or prefer to buy mini sizes? Do you howl with delight when you find a shampoo and conditioner sample sachet in a magazine coz that takes up even less space than the little bottles? Do you roll or fold?!

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


30 thoughts on “Carry on

  1. I always try to have the perfect amount of things with me when I travel. It hasn’t happened yet though. But some day! Can give you a tip on that WordPress thing. Don’t use the app to upload pictures. Log in via Safari or whichever browser you are using on your phone, and use the desktop version, and then upload your picture via the browser. After that you can use your app for writing. At least that works when you use an Android phone.

  2. I’m in for all the comments here. I aspire to be one of those people who throws a tiny bag in the car and off they go, but I instead pack mountains for the entire family.

    I have discovered packing cubes though (just the cheap ones from aliexpress.com) I roll rather than fold and I can fit several weeks worth of clothes into a tiny cube. Makes me feel very smug. Or at least it did until the trip we were about to go on was cancelled at the 11th hour due to sick baby and my husband exploded all the cubes looking for pyjamas to bring to the hospital….

  3. oh yes, I luuurve me some careful packing! ROLL all the way, travel size shampoo/conditioner packs, lists lists lists… all these bring delight to my heart 🙂

  4. Oh god yes, and I don’t do that much travelling but always try and keep things as minimal as possible. I have focused on the essentials, and final piece will be a tiny pill box cos those blister packs are just huge!!

    Best tip ever? Use those tiny bars of soap from hotels (if your skin doesn’t mind) as they last weeks, and are way lighter than shower gel!

  5. I am sort of a packing junkie, which is odd because I so rarely travel! And when I do, it’s usually in my car where I can take as much stuff with me as I want.

    Definitely roll. As far as I’m concerned there’s no fool-proof way to avoid wrinkles, but rolling at least minimizes them. I bring a bare minimum of toiletries because I’ve never been to a hotel that didn’t have soap, shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer.

    My tip: bring fewer shoes and more underwear than you think you’ll need. It always works out that way.

  6. I took a 3-week rafting trip down the Grand Canyon, and we were only allowed 3 pants, 3 shirts, 3 socks, 3 undies, etc., and I’ve followed that protocol ever since. I have a Pocket Bucket (folding, soft-sided) and clothesline, which allows me to do laundry in my sink. I wear a black base layer (which can double as exercise clothes) which I change every day and bring a fabulous jacket, scarf and earrings. I wear the same thing every day and call it my “travel uniform”. I have foldable flats for dressing up and wear running shoes most of the time. Sure, I’m wearing the same outfit in every picture, but I feel lucky whenever I see the mountains of luggage the other folks have. Packing light RULES!!!

  7. My best friend lives in Margate!! I’m so envious you went there (I hate modern art, but I’d have loved to have sprung a surprise on my friend and showed up at her door!) I always over pack or under pack- I’ve never gotten it right.

  8. (stands with head up, quivering voice) Hello, I’m Bernie, and I’m a CHRONIC OVERPACKER!! I would just love to be one of you carefree folk with a single carry-on bag for a 2-week vacay, but I just cannot do it! I always pack way too much and come home with a bag full of things that I just need to put away because they were never worn/used. While I’m packing, I get hung up on “what if I need this??” and everything gets get sucked into the suitcase. I will say though, I’m getting better as I get older and I realize how little I really do need. So maybe there’s hope for me???

    1. Oh yes! There is hope, dear Bernie!

      You now have me thinking that my now being able to pack less could have a lot to do with being older and not fretting over details and the right/wrongness of my attire?!

  9. Yes! I long to be the type of person who can spend three weeks travelling in Europe with one perfect chic coordinated wardrobe in a carry on bag. And I love reading those articles in fancy fashion or travel magazines about what stylish people pack.

  10. Was merrily reading the comments, not planning to contribute, as packing is not my thing, then I realized, erm, I may go to Europe for the 1st time EVER this fall, for TWO WEEKS.

    Holy crap. A serious, no-joke packing challenge…

    I need to get some Euro-outfit thingy figured out for the trip. Now I need to re-read everyone’s comments & take notes, now. Thanks! =)

  11. Ooo, light packing is where I’m a Viking!

    In April I traveled for 17 days from my home in Rhode Island to Tucson, AZ, then to Rome, then Paris, then London all with one carry-on bag! This one, to be precise: http://www.ebags.com/product/ebags/mother-lode-tls-weekender-convertible/143101?productid=1370034&sourceid=ADWPRODUCT2&couponid=94790994&gclid=CjwKEAjwocKtBRCf9d_Q5ovcyHASJAAHhJYORsvaxUhZwz96tMKAVOuMQ4w6QPkakz8fX-3gNsjISBoCh7bw_wcB My husband got one too. Since it’s a backpack, there are no wheels to take up precious, precious packing space. I carried the big bag on my back and used this bag from EMS as my purse/smaller carry-on item: http://www.ems.com/ems-brighton-shoulder-bag/300039245.html?dwvar_300039245_color=1152#start=2 (I love this little bag so much, I have two of them)

    Clothes I took: two pairs of black yoga pants, one black knitted skirt, one black dress + several tops and two light wraps. I bought a cute scarf in Rome, and I also had room (though it was tight) for small souvenirs. I brought 2 pairs of shoes – super comfy black sandals with support for miles and miles of walking, and a pair of comfortable black flats for if I needed to be more dressy. Maybe I wasn’t the most fashionable girl in Europe, but I also wasn’t lugging a giant roller suitcase through narrow streets filled with people AND I never once had to let my bag out of my sight and risk the airlines losing it during one of our many connections.

    I am most definitely a clothes roller. Also a newly converted fan of packing cubes, which are a great way to organize particular items and make them more compact inside your bag.

    We also brought little packets of laundry detergent and did a couple rounds of hotel room laundry. Every hotel we stayed in in Europe had a clothesline in the tub so we’re obviously not the first people to do that.

    Finally, minimize your toiletries! I don’t wear a lot of make-up, and really kept it to lipstick and eyeliner on the trip. I wear contacts, so travel-sized saline was a must, plus a small bottle of lotion because I have dry skin. I actually bought a larger tube of body lotion after we got to Paris and I didn’t have to worry about 3 ounce restrictions anymore since we were taking the Chunnel to London. Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss. Burt’s Bees facial cloths. And that’s pretty much it. I used the hotel soap, shampoo and conditioner. Lotion is great for smoothing frizzy hair and then you don’t have to bring separate hair product.

  12. First of all: i am a roller in to the bone. Not a folder.
    I travel with my baby pretty much full time. I usully pack a first round. The i cut the Whole in 2. Evert Second thing in the suitcase must stay at home. This works fantastic. Sometimes i have to buy a things or two at the location But hey its a whole lot of fun to buy things overseas. ☺

  13. I fold clothes, generally the 3 sets of everything that Pauline described above. Plus I check in my luggage, but always carry on-board the stuff I can’t live without. The winning bit – check in is 7kg and under. Usually carry on is about the same in chargers etc!

  14. Roll don’t fold. Lose the shoes- they take up far too much room.
    after having children have realised what little amount of stuff I personally need.
    Cash and baby wipes cover all eventualities!

  15. Roll all the way.

    I usually hate hotel toiletries (hellooo frizzie hair and stinky shower gel) so I buy ‘dry’ toiletries at ‘Lush’ like these https://www.lush.co.uk/products/shampoo-bars. You could even break them in half or smaller. Love their conditioners too. Don’t get me started on the body butters <3

    And I beg for extra mini test tubes of tooth paste from the dentists office… I'm classy like that.

    * I am in no shape or form affiliated with Lush, I'm just a simple junkie.

  16. Always thought I hated packing but recently realised I quite like it provided I don’t leave it to the last minute! Going back to visit the rellies in Aus and I’ve already started a list of things to take with me and vice versa bring back here to the US. This trip is 6 months away. I can’t decide if this is sad or fantastic. Sadtastic? But really, who doesn’t love an excuse for making a list with checkboxes?

    Anyhoo, I’m agnostic on rolling or folding but I wanted to chime in with my best packing tip: dry shampoo. I guess it’s more of a travel tip than a packing tip but if I can get out of the hotel without having to wash and dry the shagpile on my head then the sooner I can get my tourist on! I like to keep a half used can in my bathroom so then a) it’s less weight in my suitcase and b) I can use it up and not have to bring it back home. Less unpacking = more couch time. Win win!

  17. I hate to brag but I’m the queen of packing light. Three months+ so far with one small suitcase and still going strong. Me that is, the suitcase is cactus and about to be replaced by the fancy new backpack I got for my birthday.

    My favourite tips:

    Hot Chocolate shoes. Best shoes ever – super cute designs like ladybugs, cherries, bees… comfy although an inner sole helps and lightweight.

    Uniqlo Heat Tech. It packs so tiny but keeps you warm on those cold nights.

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