Perfect packing for the holidays


Maggie Gibbons

There’s nothing better than the feeling of booking a holiday. Then, almost as soon as that’s done, the panic starts about what to bring. Whether you’re packing for a weekend break or a beach holiday you need to pack smartly. Here are my tips for stress-free packing.

Check the weather
Look up the weather forecast at your destination. This sounds like a no brainer, but believe me it’s key to good packing. Some years ago we went to Portugal, where we were assured the weather was warm and sunny. Well, it rained for the week, and our first purchase was an umbrella – followed smartly by rain macs. The cases remained unopened, except for the use of toiletries and underwear. Lesson learned! If it’s too far out for a forecast, do look up what your destination’s weather is normally like at the time of year.

Colour clever
Pick one colour to work your holiday wardrobe around. You could choose a colour that you know suits you, or you could go for this year’s flattering key shade – coral. Regardless, pick one colour and then build your wardrobe around it. Make sure everything you pack goes with at least three other items. (You don’t need orphans on your holiday.) Better still, pack pieces you can wear in numerous ways so they look and feel like new outfits. A sarong could become a scarf, a wrap, a skirt or a dress.

Choose a neutral colour for your footwear. Also, remember to ask yourself, how far is the walk to and from the airport gates? Will there be much walking during the trip? Will my feet be warm/cool enough?
Remember too, shoes can be heavy, so be careful how many you pack. A handy tip is to use shower caps to cover shoes, preventing any scuff marks and damage to surrounding clothes.

Roll clothes
To save space and avoid creasing, roll your clothes instead of folding them, then put them in vacuum bags. If you haven’t already used these bags, all you need to do is put your clothes in, seal the bag, then suck the air out. This will leave you with loads more space in your case.

Fill the void
Make the most of your suitcase by using of every spare inch of space that you can. Pack shoes and handbags with underwear, socks and jewellery.
If, like me you’re not a Kindle fan, think carefully about the books you’re taking with you. I once brought four library books with me, forgetting of course they had to come home also. Save the weight and space for something you might buy when you’re away.

Size wise
Whether you’ve got checked luggage or not, don’t bring full size creams, toothpaste and hair products. Fill small bottles, or better still bring any hotel-size ones you might have. There’s no point in lugging around more than you have to.
If you’re staying in a hotel, remember that things like shampoo, conditioner and soap are often provided, so there’s no need to bring any.

Maggie Gibbons is an Image/Style Consultant based in Louisburgh. She can be contacted at