10 holiday packing tips

Roberta Lee Fashion & Style 2 Comments

Organisation goes a long way if you want to travel light and look good every day on your holiday.  The idea is to pack less and wear more. These 10 holiday packing tips that will make filling your case a doddle. By packing smart you can enjoy stress free holiday styling during your travels. Seriously, less stuff equals less stress!!

It’s an important balance of having just enough of the right stuff and not too many unnecessary things that waste space in your case. The last thing you want to do is under pack and take minimalism to the extreme – because that creates the temptation to shop for things you don’t really need.  After so many badly packed cases over the years and the increased use of budget airlines like RyanAir I’ve had to master the art of packing for long trips with one case. So without further ado, here are my tops 10 tips for packing for your holiday:


Packing Tip 1 – Plan out everything you are going to be doing on holiday

Make a list of everything you plan to do whilst away – and what special items you need for each activity. For example, for a stylish city break I would need to pack for various activities such as:

  • Filming for social media
  • Afternoons out in the city
  • Dinner / Cocktails outfit
  • Pool side relaxation
  • City exploring


Packing Tip 2 – Make lists, lots of lists

Make a list of everything you think you’ll want to take before you pack so you can easily see what you have to organise (and possible substitute)

  • Daytime clothes & footwear
  • Evening clothes & footwear
  • Poolside clothes
  • Sleepwear
  • Toiletries
  • Make-up
  • Tech bits
  • Work/Filming outfit

Once you see how much is on each list, you’ll be able to make those edits before pulling everything out of the wardrobe and draws! It’s much easier to edit your packing on paper.



Tip 3 – Plan ahead, share and find out what’s at the other end

Aside from clothes and your beauty products, check with your travel companions (if you’re travelling alone – check with your host/hotel what’s available for you at the other end) what they are taking/or have and see what you can share/use there to help lighten the load.

If travelling with girlfriends (who like to share) see what accessories you are all taking and suggest you borrow one another’s to make outfits look a bit more diverse. For example the black trousers you travelled in, could look get a few more looks out of them with your friends blue striped top and her long gold necklace.

When I travel with my partner, we share toiletries, sunscreen etc. When I visit hotels or stay with my girlfriends I always ask if they have hairdryers, straighteners or hair serum I can use – things I may need to use sparingly in the humidity – but don’t really want to pack.  If you want to look good every day whilst you’re away, you really do need to plan ahead and know what’s available to you.


Packing Tip 4 – Get your colour combinations sorted before you pack

It’s so easy to want to be boho by the pool, but also look super city slick for those city nights out and urban cool by day…. but smart travel packers don’t attempt to do too many diverse looks. To make holiday packing easy peasy – focus on one style and a three/four set of colour combinations.  For my recent trip, I opted for red, white, black & blue – with a few different sets of jewellery, one red lip colour and red nail polish.

The outfit ensemble above is an example of how I colour coordinate and try and focus on one particular style. Start with 3-main colours and then go for an accent colour. In this example the accent is red.


Packing Tip 5 – Lay it all out – Look before you pack – apply the rule of 5

Spend a little time laying everything out on the bed and making sure that you have enough options per piece packed – and that the colours match up well. Now you need to try everything on and make sure it all works. Take into account any weather conditions that may make it hot or hold – and think about the materials you are packing are they light and breezy or thick and warm. Once you’ve got the balance of materials right, you should have a collection that will work for the heat and cooler days too.

For example, the 12 pieces shown in tip 5 all work together and create 15-outfit combinations

Try to apply the rule of 5, can I wear it 5-ways, does it go with at least 5 things I’ve packed? If it’s not used for at least 3-outfits it’s ‘ likely to be ‘dead weight’. You have to pack smart if you want to look good without bringing your entire wardrobe.

Normally, I would go for a maximum of 5 bottoms (skirt, trousers, shorts). For tops,  I would pack maybe 5 (short sleeve, long sleeve, vest tops, layering top). Don’t forget to take mix and match bikinis, 2 bikinis = 4 different combinations!



Packing Tip 6 – Focus on your feet!

Don’t take your entire shoe collection. Limit yourself to three pairs of shoes, ok – maybe four – making sure that each pair you pack works with all of your outfits.

Ideally: beach / daytime sandals (flats), evening shoes (heels or fancy flats) & some pumps or trainers (perfect for holiday strolling).

Do pack your shoes first, put them at the edges of your case. Fill your shoes with smaller pieces of clothes that roll up easily, underwear and encase gadgets or jewellery to protect them. Make sure the soles of your shoes are clean before you pack. Put in shoe bags if you have them. Wear the chunkiest of pair of your shoes to the airport and switch into your flats as soon as your case has been accepted onto the flight. I normally carry mine in the top part of my handbag.


Packing Tip 7 –  Make shapes and distribute the weight 

Image borrowed from pure wow 

Pack your heaviest, bulkiest items at the bottom of your suitcase. When the weight is more evenly distributed, it’s easier to carry, roll and lift into the overhead compartments. Just be warned rolling your clothes means you can squeeze in more items and you may be tempted to go over the allocated hand-luggage allowance which is usually just 10KG!

Don’t forget to pack extra thin eco bags you can use these to help separate your clothes and shoes from all the other items in your luggage. I like to roll my clothes and then pop in a eco-bag so if I need to grab something easily I know exactly where it is and it won’t disrupt my entire case. I’m then totally prepared for any shopping trips I may need to make at the airport or on holiday and can avoid consuming extra single-use plastic. You can fit so much more in your case and avoid creases by rolling up your items instead of folding flat.  Keep a eco-bag packed rolled up near the top of your hand luggage, with your toiletries toothbrush & sleeping gear if you are travelling overnight or expecting to arrive late to your destination.


Packing Tip 8 – Minimise the toiletries

Use your testers and travel size products instead of taking full sized ones.  Overloading on toiletries is a common faux pas by many last minute packers. It weights down your case and increases the risk of a suitcase accident and means you’ll have less space for those all important things you really need. I travelled to Bulgaria for 10 days for a beach holiday and then to Milan for the end of Fashion week and only took hand luggage and a handbag! I was travelling with my partner, so we had the benefit of sharing 2 small clear toiletry bags  between us. Luckily for me, this meant I could take all my SPFs, roll on perfume, insect repellent – and all my mini-tester sized bottle of liquid foundation. Another great tip is to tape up your bottle lids to avoid any spills whilst in transit.

I was also able to take my beloved Ami Iyok products as I still had lots of sample sachets. These come in large heavy dark glass bottles, so transferring them doesn’t work as it compromises the ingredients.

To keep our case as sustainable as possible we also:

  • Pack a bar of soap instead of shower gel
  • Re-fill existing plastic bottles we have at home, instead of buying new
  • We carry on a re-usable aluminium bottle and use drinking water fountains where we can.


Packing Tip 9 – Carry on an extra outfit, wear what you can’t pack

Select a large tote style handbag that you can use on your holiday and not just as a bag for the airport.  Always carry at least one light outfit / change of clothes in your hand bag if you’re checking in a case. You just never know how long you may be separated from your it during arrivals and transfers (and worst case scenario it gets lost). Wear/carry a jacket with plenty of pockets and try to wear the bulkiest items to the airport to save on precious suitcase space.

Think ahead to the day you arrive (and the following day) and make sure you consider what you need and wear those items to the airport or pack as your back-up outfit.


Packing Tip 10 –  Carry all important information in your handbag

This is why a decent size handbag is essential and well worth the investment.  Just make sure it has a zip so you can fully fasten it up. The next tip I have for you is to get everything that is precious to you or important packed into your handbag.  This includes notes for the trip, flight details, your passport, important phone numbers etc – don’t forget to email to yourself all of this information as well, just in case something happens to your handbag.  In case of a stolen or lost phone/wallet you can access information you need as soon as you get WiFi and can find a way to get online.  I always carry your USB charger, a fully charged battery pack and travel adapter in my handbag too.




Some readers got back to me and added some extra tips which I’m going to include below

<watch this space>



I hope these tips will be of help. If you’ve got one or two more useful tips to share let me know.  Also, if you need more support with curating a sustainable holiday collection that you can wear in multiple ways – you can always get in touch.

Multi-purposing items is a bit of an art. It comes very naturally to me, so I take it for granted.  So that’s why I’ve taken what I know and created a useful course for the conscious women who wants to look good at work, on the go and on even on holiday. Everything you learn on the course is easily transferable to packing for a multi-destination trip abroad.

Check out the course info here   – I’m opening the doors for enrolment on the 01.11.2018 – but you can sign up and register at any time.


Roberta x

Roberta Style Lee- Your Signature Style course on iMac screen

Comments 2

  1. I love how thorough this is! I would add putting electricals into a waterproof bag – we always take lots of spare pouches from Woolla Woolla Handmade as they are useful for packing and for while you are away to buy something for lunch in the market and put into them etc. I would also remember to wear your bulky or heavy items to travel rather than pack them x

    1. Post

      Hey Claire, yes it is a thorough read – but I thought about all my packing mishaps over the years came down to really poor planning. Electrical items in plastic bags is a great idea! I didn’t know about Wolla Wolla pouches, I will check them out 🙂
      Ah yes, the wearing the bulkiest items is in the blog – I may move it so it’s not lost in that paragraph. LOVE your feedback – thank you so much! When is your next holiday? x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *