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Packing is a pain – not that you’d think so if you’ve ever read one of those cheery 10 tips articles where all you have to do is opt for a capsule wardrobe – say blue and white with an accent of tangarine – and the next thing you know you’re lying on a lounger, sipping a Pina Colada, turning a gorgeous shade of pink. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but real life is not like – not mine anyway.
To start with I don’t have much tangarine and then there’s the shoe problem. Shoes are always a big issue for me on holiday. I want to look like I’m wearing Jimmy Choos, while feeling like I am wearing Hotters – alas, the impossible dream, so I end up packing a wedges /trainers/ Birkenstock combo.
Added to that my life-long mission to never, ever, ever take hold luggage, unless it’s free or I am going to the Maldives for at least a fortnight – so until either of those miracles transpire, I refuse, damn it, to pay £50 to take a suitcase on a flight that cost me £45.
So, here (drum roll) is my three day, stress-free Holiday Packing Countdown…
D(eparture) Day minus 3 – Preparation – I think I better get a washing on
D-Day minus 2 – Planning – with the determination of a young Madonna (the Get into the Groove one, not the Virgin one) I dig out my hand luggage suitcase and all the clothes that I want to fit into it, frown, then pour myself a gin and tonic and watch some Broadchurch re-runs.
D-Day minus 1 – Elimination and Packing Now the hard bit – it’s time to discard anything too small or horrible or anything that’s not blue, white or one of my various accent colours, with the aim of ending up with a pile that should just about fit in your case, then, I pour another gin and tonic, and move on to the actual packing. Now here, I think I do have a technique worthy of a list – so, dear reader, here is my three point packing technique…
1/ ROLL – lay four similar sized items on top of each other and roll like billy-o
2/ SQUASH random things in between the rolled things.
3/ STUFF – and I mean stuff, really hard, everything else between the rolled and squashed things
…oh, just thought of a 4, 5 and 6 for Departure Day
4/ Wear everything else that you can’t fit into your suitcase. In my experience, it’s perfectly possible to be reasonably comfortable travelling while wearing a bikini, nightie, t-shirt, jumper, jacket, leggings, combat trousers, hat, sunglasses and carrying an umbrella.
5/ Take a VERY large handbag for your passport, keys, purse, money – UK and foreign, sweeties, jewellery, spare contact lenses and glasses, all your liquids, a book, some socks, your mobile and Mac, assorted chargers, the work you didn’t manage to finish, a birthday card you forgot to post, water, snacks and all the things you can’t fit in your case or wear.
6/ Once you are through security buy something, anything – a magazine, a packet of polo mints – from RS McColls and get the largest plastic bag they’ll give you for 5p and stuff it full of the things bulging out of your handbag
So there you have it….the satisfaction of knowing that you, rather than Ryanair, are £50 better off. Good eh. It goes without saying however that I always forget something – never my passport – I go through too many Paranoid Passport Checks for that but it has been known for me to arrive for a long weekend without any pants. Hey ho there’s always a Zara nearby.
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