How to turn packing for your holiday into a minimalist art

With airlines squeezing our luggage allowances as well as our money saving plans, it may well be time to accept the fact that a hairdryer or a ‘just in case’ woolly jumper have to be wiped from our packing essentials list forever.

Holidays should be a time where you put your clutter-forming habits aside and look to more simple pleasures such as a stroll along the beach or an evening cocktail. Although becoming a Robinson Crusoe figure and wearing the same clothes for days on end could be taking it too far, when it comes to packing for your summer break, minimalism is the key.

Capital FM presenter and M & S model Lisa Snowdon is no stranger to packing light: “If I’m going away for longer than a week I take a suitcase and check it in but I’m good at packing light and quick – years of modelling, travelling and living out of a suitcase has trained me well.”

Take the weight off your shoulders, literally, with these handy tips:

Pack smart

  • Create a capsule wardrobe of summer essentials. A few floaty dresses, a jean jacket, wedges, flip flops, shorts and vest tops should see you through a week-long holiday. You can also pack a few accessories to switch your outfit from a daytime to a nighttime look. Ask yourself whether adding a fifth caftan to your collection is really necessary. You can also hit markets and discount retail shops abroad if you need to boost your luggage offerings.
  • Pack clothes in storage bags that can have their air removed to reduce their size, this is designed to free up even more space.
  • Wear your heaviest items of clothing on the journey over, such as boots and coats, so this doesn’t take up space in your suitcase.
  • Make the most of your hand luggage allowance and squeeze in as much as you can.Do not take too many bags with you


  • One decent piece of luggage and a carry-on bag is all you really need for your break, no matter what the duration is.
  • Ensure that you choose a piece of luggage that is lightweight and has several compartments.
  • Choose the right type of luggage for your destination. If you are heading off to a more remote location without good roads, a backpack may be preferable over a wheelie case.

Bring appropriate clothing

  • Check weather forecasts for the destination you are going to and pack accordingly. Remember that you can always layer up on clothing in the event that the weather takes a turn for the worse.
  • Many hotels and resorts offer a service wash for a price, so you shouldn’t need to double up on too many items. You can also bring a small bottle of travel wash and air-dry clothes in hot locations.
  • Some countries will also require you to cover up at certain locations such as churches or when you are out in public, so remember to bring along trousers and a long-sleeved top.
  • Take a waterproof jacket that can be fitted in a bag.

Electrical items

Call your hotel or resort to check which items they already have. If you are going to bring hair straighteners and other items with you, it is probably a good idea to make sure they are travel size and that you bring along a universal adaptor.

The rest

If you have a smartphone or tablet then there really is no need to bring along a heavy guidebook. Head to an area that has Wi-Fi and look on sites such as Tripadvisor or Timeout for ideas on what to do in the local area.

A Kindle is also great for ensuring you have enough to read on your holiday without taking up additional space. You can also buy sun cream and toiletries when you get to your destination.

What say you?