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I LOOOOVE a city break.
I HAAAATE packing.
It’s such a pain in the ass. Not that you’d think so if you’ve ever read one of those cheery 10 Tips For Stress-Free Packing type articles, where all you have to do is opt for a capsule wardrobe – say, blue and white with an accent of tangerine – 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 tangerine in my wardrobe, and then there’s The Shoe Issue. I want to look like I’m wearing Jimmy Choos, and feel like I am wearing Hotters. Alas, the impossible dream. I compromise with a nice mid-heel wedge.
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 is my 3-day Travel-Light Holiday-Packing Countdown…
D(eparture) Day minus 3- Preparation
With the determination of a young Madonna (the Get into the Groove one, not the Virgin one) dig out your carry-on suitcase and all the clothes that you want to fit into it, frown, pour yourself a gin and tonic and catch up on Big Little Lies.
D-Day minus 2 – Planning
It’s time to put on a washing and go shopping for travel-sized toiletries that will not be seized by over-zealous airport security operatives.
D-Day minus 1 – Elimination and Packing
Now the hard bit. Discard anything too small or horrible or anything that’s not blue, white or tangerine, with the aim of ending up with a pile that should just about fit in your case.
Pour another gin and tonic, and move on to the actual packing, using…
Jill’s Simple R.S.S. Packing Strategy
1/ R – ROLL
Lay four similar sized items on top of each other and roll like billy-o
2/ S – SQUASH
…random things in between the rolled things.
3/ S – STUFF
…and I mean stuff, REALLY HARD, everything else between the rolled and squashed things
Oh, I just thought of 3 more things to do on Departure Day…
4/ Wear everything else that you decide to take at the last minute but can’t fit into your suitcase.
In my experience, it’s perfectly possible to be reasonably comfortable traveling while wearing a bikini, nightie, t-shirt, jumper, jacket, leggings, combat trousers, hat, sunglasses and carrying an umbrella.
5/ Take a VERY VERY large handbag
…for your passport, keys, purse, money – UK and foreign – hard sweets (for Air Pressure), jewellery, spare contact lenses and sunglasses, all your liquids, hair straighteners, your mobile and Mac, assorted chargers, that work you didn’t manage to finish, a book, some socks, that birthday card that you forgot to post, water, snacks and all the things you can’t fit in your suitcase or wear.
6/ Once you are through security, buy something
…anything – a packet of polo mints will do – and ask for the largest plastic bag that WH Smith will give you for 5p, then stuff it full of the things that are bulging out of your handbag
So there you have it….the satisfaction of knowing that you, rather than Ryanair, are £50 better off. Now, who doesn’t get a little glow of please at that thought?
A word of warning – I always forget something when I travel – 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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