Packing a suitcase: The Ultimate Guide!

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It’s that time of year where a lot of us are off places, and this means packing!

Luggage is a bigger consideration than you might first think. It needs to be the right size for all your stuff, it needs to be easily identifiable and it needs to be cooperative! No wiggly wheels or stubborn locks, it’s more grief than it’s worth really.

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I know a girl with marvellous taste who surprised me on a trip to see me when she climbed into the taxi with a huge vintage suitcase. I was so jealous and regarded my little grey suitcase with pity — until I watched her battling with her fantastic creation. It was heavy and didn’t have wheels, only a little handle. Even worse, the clips that kept it shut were old and sometimes sprung open with minimum warning. Choose your luggage carefully. While vintage Louis Vuitton suitcases are very stylish, they are also a prime target for thieves — but on the other hand, using a generic black bag is a great way to end up with someone else’s clothes.

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If you can’t afford a new suitcase but you’re perturbed by the fact that every time you go to the baggage carousel, everyone else seems to have your bag, either buy a cute luggage tag, tie a ribbon on the handle or put a big bright piece of tape across the top. It really depends on how stylish you want to be. (Tragic as it sounds, the better the luggage, the more likely you are to be upgraded to first class — though good manners and a generally charming demeanour go a long way here too.)

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Another thing worth looking into is just buying a good holdall (which is an American term for “really big bag”) instead of a suitcase. I mean, it depends on how long you’re going away for, of course, but if it’s just a weekend and not much is being demanded of you, a good, big bag might be all you need! (Of course, there is that whole no-liquids-on-the-plane fiasco which is such a NIGHTMARE for anyone who likes to take care of their skin, and means everything needs to be checked-in… when is this whole issue going to be resolved?!)

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What you actually pack is, of course, going to be dictated by the weather in your chosen locale and the circumstances. Fashion week in wintry London will require different duds to visiting your Great Uncle Milton in California. Even if you really don’t know what’s going to happen on your trip, if you plan before you throw things into your suitcase, you’ll probably find that you’re quite well-equipped.

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Here is my (very) basic clothing packing list, & of course this will be altered slightly depending on the season:

A good coat
A versatile dress / Jeans for boys (one that can be dressed up or down) — sometimes it’s good to have two, but you can usually get away with one
A comfortable pair of shoes (I usually wear my heaviest/fanciest ones onto the plane, with baggage allowances, & baggage handlers, being what they are)
Dressy trousers
A few different t-shirts
A knit sweater
Long cardigan (sweater for boys)

The dress can be worn alone, or with a t-shirt over the top, or with the knit sweater over the top, or with trousers underneath, or with the cardigan or the coat. Sure, by the end of the week you might not want to wear the dress again for another month, but it will definitely get you through. On days when you just can’t stomach the dress, wear the trousers with either a t-shirt or the knit sweater. I would always take way more than this, because I am kind of an excessive packer myself and a major clothes geek, but anything other than these things is just extra, really, and may not even get worn.

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I try to slim this down as much as possible because they’re such a pain to pack and then you have the risk of explosions. Girls, I would typically take cleanser, toner, moisturiser, cotton pads, primer, foundation, concealer, a couple of eyeliner pencils, a couple of eyeshadows, mascara and an eyelash curler. Also, one bottle of perfume, deodorant, tweezers, and shampoo/conditioner if I was staying more than a few days. Obviously this is written for girls so make adjustments for guys!

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Being a guy I don’t really wear a lot of jewellery, but girls I would definitely take a pair of sunglasses, a couple of headscarves, maybe a hat depending on the weather, and a belt. Don’t forget lots of pairs of tights and socks!

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Girls, a couple of bras and everyone as many pairs of underwear as days I was going to be away, plus one! (I don’t know why I always bring the extra, maybe I figure I’ll lose a pair, but being down one pair is infuriating!)

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Macbook, iPod, digital camera (and spare memory cards) spare batteries for everything, & maybe a book, magazine or newspaper if I was feeling lo-fi. Geek ahoy! Not forgetting everything I would normally carry with me, or girls in your handbag!

Bon Voyage!

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Twitter:  @itsraimdeer

Facebook: facebook.com/raimisays

(All images sources available by clicking on the picture themselves)

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