How to Travel Light…and Save Money

How to Travel Light…and Save Money


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 tend to compromise with a nice, sensible, mid-heel wedge.

Jimmy Choo stiletto beside sensible walking shoe
Choo or Hoot?

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 Aunty Jill’s 3-day Holiday Packing Countdown (it involves Gin!)

 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.

A pile of clothes to sort through before packing
Hmmm…time for a gin n tonic

D-Day minus 2 – Planning

It’s time to put on a washing and go shopping for travel-sized toiletries, that won’t be confiscated 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 my RSS METHOD

 R  – ROLL

Lay four similar sized items on top of each other and roll like billy-o


…random things in between the rolled things.


…and I mean stuff, REALLY HARD, everything else between the rolled and squashed things

Travel Light and save money
Roll. Stuff. Squash.

And 3 more things to do on Departure Day…

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.

Take a VERY VERY large handbag

…for your passport, keys, purse, money – UK and foreign – hard sweets (to stop mid-air ear drum agony), 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 you forgot to post, water, snacks and all the things you can’t fit in your  suitcase or wear.

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 wee glow of please at that thought? 

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.


Don’t miss a trick…you can also find me on…

Twitter @MidlifeSmarts



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  1. 10 March 2018 / 9:23 am

    Probably the most realistic “how to pack light” I’ve ever read 😂 I’m such a nightmare when it comes to packing lightly and this brought me great joy! Thank you!
    Jas xx

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 9:25 am

      Hey Jas thanks for that. Yes I read all these amazing tips on how to pack and can never actually put them in to practise and always end up with a bulging handbag and 2 carrier bags!! JIll x

  2. 10 March 2018 / 9:23 am

    Heaven forbid you get a strip search in your airport outfit! I do get it – so annoying to be told to pay extra for things which are actually essential. And, whoever realised that rolling was a) easier and b) more efficient that folding deserves a nobel prize!

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 9:26 am

      So true – took me years to discover ‘rolling’ and stuffing things in shoes helps too! Althought I do always end up a bulging handbag no matter what I do!

  3. 10 March 2018 / 9:27 am

    Unfortunately, many airlines are now reducing the amount of hand luggage and Easyjet is one of them. Annoying to say the least!

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 9:30 am

      Hey Suz, yes it makes travelling all the more stressful. Sometimes I just give in and take a bag for the hold. Thanks for popping on . JIll

  4. 10 March 2018 / 9:30 am

    Love all your advice Jill! Now to book a trip to use it!

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 9:31 am

      Thanx Ritu Yes I NEED some sunshine !!

  5. 10 March 2018 / 9:51 am

    Always your posts are treasure house of great sense of humor, and thoroughly enjoyed this travel packing tips from your blog…..:)

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 11:36 am

      Hey Anindya thanks for that – that’s so great to hear. JIll

  6. 10 March 2018 / 9:52 am

    As always an entertaining read! Could’ve done with reading this before my trip! I must try the rolling trick though!

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 11:37 am

      Rolling Rocks – you know what I mean. Shoes are always the big problem. Jx

  7. 10 March 2018 / 9:54 am

    I also like to bring a very large tote bag! As much as I like rolling clothes, my clothes (esp blouses) have lots of creases ;( I hate ironing. lol. Great tips!

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 11:38 am

      Hey Carmen a large bag is A MUST!! Sometimes mine is so heavy I need a trolley just for my handbag! Thanks for popping on. Jill

  8. 10 March 2018 / 10:27 am

    I frequently wear several outfits at once when flying. I look like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow man, but I get to bring all of my stuff with me!

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 11:39 am

      Me too! Especially when travelling outwith summer and not sure what the weather will be like. Thanks for popping on. Jill x

  9. 10 March 2018 / 11:17 am

    I’m all about wearing extra clothes that won’t fit in your bag. Do airlines in the U.K. really charge 50 GBP to check a bag? I don’t blame you for not wanting too! It’s about 18 GBP in the States. (yes, I couldn’t figure out how to get the pound sign on an American keyboard)

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 11:36 am

      Hey Phil – yes – often taking a bag is more expensive than booking the seat. It’s crazy! Thanks for popping on JIll

  10. 10 March 2018 / 12:04 pm

    That is how I travel. Carry-on which I can get a lot in. I take a backpack for my handbag, like you a ton of stuff in it. I put a small flat pursue in my carry-on to use later.

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 12:06 pm

      Smart Gal.
      The cost of taking on a suitcase is crazy. I’d rather wear on my clothes on the flight! Thanks for commenting

  11. 10 March 2018 / 12:57 pm

    Nice one. I wish you have something for men too! LOL!

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 1:06 pm

      Oh thanks. Similar plan for men – you are lucky as you need less cosmetics!! I’d love a male guest blogger at one point. Jill

  12. 10 March 2018 / 1:04 pm

    This had me laughing so hard! Really a delight to take a break and just laugh! I actually almost never get the chance to fly and I have a trip coming next fall where I will actually be taking an airplane! I know it sounds silly to those who travel a lot but its really exciting to me! So I will take all your tips to heart! Thank you! This was really a lot of fun!

    • Jill
      10 March 2018 / 1:09 pm

      Oh that’s so good to hear Amy. Hope you are off somewhere nice in the fall.
      I live in Scotland and the only way to get some sunshine is to jump on a plane ! Jill

  13. 10 March 2018 / 2:48 pm

    Genius! And I love it that I am Just Like You. My sister says that when she’s packing for a trip, she imagines me watching over her shoulder and saying “you don’t need that”, “you can buy that when you get there”, etc., etc. The other two things I would add to your list — 1. take things you plan to leave where you’re going and 2. Buy a 3-pack of men’s undershirts. #1 is like taking that bathing suit that still looks good but you’re done with it on your beach vaca. When you’re packing to go home, just leave it. #2 is when you wear one of the tees on the plane, then use it for a nightshirt when you get there. Repeat with other two. At the end of the vaca, just leave them. They never look that good after they’re washed anyway.

  14. Sonia Boal
    10 March 2018 / 3:30 pm

    LOVE it 😍 there is a packing gene that seems to go down the female line of our family, where we get a perverse pleasure out of packing well.

    I do like the addition of the G&T break, but I might opt for wrinkle free accessories over tangerine. I’ll keep an open mind 😝

    • Jill
      11 March 2018 / 7:13 am

      I WANT a packing gene. That must be so handy! Yes wrinkle-free is good and of course the G&T ! Jx

    • Jill
      11 March 2018 / 7:15 am

      Hey Christina, thanks so much. Enjoyed writing that one. I am away next weekend so need to get packing this week. Jill x

  15. 10 March 2018 / 5:37 pm

    I’m a fan of the “wear everything you can’t pack” method too…if only this also worked with shoes…

    • Jill
      11 March 2018 / 7:19 am

      Yep, not found a way to wear more than one pair of shoes at a time! Thanks for popping on. Jx

  16. 11 March 2018 / 12:05 pm

    I love the overstuffing of the handbag idea!

    • Jill
      11 March 2018 / 1:28 pm

      It’s a two-man job to carry it! X

  17. 11 March 2018 / 12:43 pm

    I had to read this because I’m traveling to L.A. next month with my 2 sons and trying to avoid checking any baggage. Great tips….especially because they involve alcohol!

    • Jill
      11 March 2018 / 1:31 pm

      Oh how exciting – I love LA!
      Over here it costs about £50 to put a suitcase in the hold! Hence my fixation on hand luggage! x

  18. 11 March 2018 / 4:42 pm

    OMG. I’M DEAD 😂😂 This was hilarious and super helpful at the same time! I Pinned this to my Travel Tips board!

    • Jill
      11 March 2018 / 4:44 pm

      Haha That’s great to hear. The gin helps! Thanx

  19. 14 March 2018 / 12:18 pm

    haha I wish I would have had these tips back in the day when I traveled! Love it! RSS! 😉

    • Jill
      14 March 2018 / 1:51 pm

      Hey Bren, thanks. You just made my day. Jillx

  20. 31 March 2018 / 6:39 pm

    Currently, the budget travelling carrier with online budget is more expensive. Of course, this budget airlines is make a lot of money and rarely lenient.

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