TRAVELLING LIGHT

When booking a recent holiday I was horrified to see I was going to be charged an extra £40 to take a suitcase.

I set myself a challenge, would I be able to go for a week’s holiday with only hand luggage?

I started off by trawling the internet for tips from the experts. The first and often repeated tip seemed to be to choose the right bag. It seemed obvious to go for a lightweight, material one but also, as many airlines won’t let you take an extra handbag, it is worth getting one with a decent size front pocket so that travel documents and passports are easily accessible, thus avoiding the tuts and foot stamping of the people behind you.

I decided to be ultra-efficient and l laid out everything I thought I wanted to take…. The initial pile would have filled a large suitcase, so I had to be really ruthless. As I was (of course) going to stay in one of our villas, I knew I would need very little for the daytime. I removed five of the seven bikinis from my pile – that didn’t make much of a dent but it was quite satisfying. Did I really need five pairs of flip-flops? Probably not but, oh I do love a flip-flop! I bravely removed three pairs (after much deliberation over colour). We tend to have one fancy night during a week’s holiday, and on other evenings go to local, cheap and cheerful restaurants, so out went the four more formal dresses.  By leaving one T-shirt dress and some pretty jewellery I finally saw a gap in the pile. It occurred to me that I could wear the same dress twice with the other flip-flops so that was two evenings sorted out, slowly but surely I culled, leaving just two pairs of shorts and a couple of T-shirts. I was even merciless with my undies, reasoning that it would be easy to wash my smalls and let them dry in the sun.

Lotions and potions proved more difficult but I solved this by investing in a set of miniature bottles then decanting just what I needed. I swapped my liquid cleanser for cleansing wipes and even managed to find a shampoo bar! I realised that I usually take my entire make up bag on holiday but actually don’t need it, so just took the basics, hoping that a sun glow would help.

I finally began packing by putting the heaviest items at the bottom of the case and filling any gaps with small items. I learned years ago to roll clothes, not fold them – I discovered that they are less creased that way but also take up far less space.

As evenings can be chilly I knew I would want a warmish jacket so wore one to travel, over which I threw a rather pretty wrap, which would double as a sarong.

Finally my little case was ready.

One of the tips I read was to put your case upside down in the cage at the check-in desk, they seem to slide in more easily that way.

I can honestly tell you that fewer “things” was truly liberating, it took ten minutes to unpack and I was relaxing with a gin and tonic by the pool in record time.

I shall definitely be travelling lighter in future.