I am a big fan of short breaks. This allows me to satisfy my craving for travel without using all my annual holiday allowance in the first two months of the year. However, as much as I love travelling and everything that comes with it – eating delicious local food, slowing down, enjoying local culture – there is one aspect of frequent travelling that I am not very excited about – packing.
As an experienced traveller I should be very quick and efficient when it comes to packing but my love for choice and variety often results in over-packing. I still remember the shock on people’s faces in March this year when I was getting on a boat in Bali to travel to another island with my huge and very heavy suitcase (probably more than half my body weight) while everyone else had compact backpacks. What can I say, I am a maximalist when it comes to packing. There is nothing wrong with this approach in my opinion. Airlines, especially the budget airlines, tend to disagree and continue to reduce their luggage allowance and charge us more for travelling with bigger bags. Even BA now has no checked in luggage fare.
On my recent trip to the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria I was faced with a challenge. Wizz Air, the only airline with direct flights from London to my chosen destination, has a new cabin luggage policy meaning my cabin size suitcase was too large to take on board. Of course I could pay the extra fee and bring it onboard. But it was a matter of principle rather than price. Plus, I felt ready to open my mind to new ways of travelling (and packing). So I boarded Wizz Air flight to Burgas with only one small piece of hang luggage and discovered that travelling light has its benefits (spending less time in airports) and can be quite liberating.
But is it possible to feel stylish when travelling with only one small piece of hand luggage? I think yes!
Here is what I packed to maximise the space and still be able to have a bit of variety. I hope these tips are helpful for other over-packers.
- Travel bag, Paul & Joe, can be used as a beach bag too
- Multiway wrap dress in sapphire, Butter by Nadia . I love this versatile dress, bought in New York last year. It can be worn in a variety of ways and works as both a day and an evening outfit, I even wear it as a midi skirt. It is a must pack item for most of my summer trips. Tip: choose multi-tasking items in your wardrobe.
- Cropped leather jacket, Twenty8Twelve
- Three white t-shirts. Tip: simple basics, such as white t-shirts, can be matched with almost anything. If an outfit feels a bit boring, it can be livened up with a scarf or an accessory.
- Denim shorts, Roxy
- Turquoise jeans, Lui Jo
- Fold up shoes, BCBGMAXAZRIA – so compact they can fit into a small handbag
- Flip flops, Havaianas
- Silk dress, bought in Ubud, Bali earlier this year. Tip: I really love silk, not only does it feel and looks great, but also it is very practical for packing light as it is almost weightless and takes very little space
- Animal print sweat top, Baum und Pferdgarten
- Blue cardigan, Kookai to cover up in the evening
- Beach sarong, made from very thin cotton that takes little space when folded and can also be worn as scarf, Enfasis Beachwear
- Two bikinis, the one above is from Liberty
- And a couple of scarves in different colours to accessorise outfits with and cover up in the evenings and during the flight.