Packing for a holiday can be fun but needs planning.  Included here are things we have learnt from mistakes made and good ideas implemented.

We have succeeded in getting the weight of our suitcases to be no more than 15kgs each when travelling by air. Two things we have learnt are that others do not notice what you are wearing and that comfort is far outweighs looks when on a holiday. That does not mean looking dowdy but always think of comfort and then improve on that.

Tip 1: Keep your luggage as light as possible. Wherever you travel and by whatever means, you have to carry your luggage at least some of the time. This is valid even for when you travel in your own country! We got badly caught once when going to a self-catering resort. We discovered that, to reach our unit, we had to descend and then ascend 19 steps each way!

Tip 2: Have 1 suitcase per person plus 1 item of hand luggage. Couples can share a medium-sized backpack as hand luggage on a plane andluggage

 when on local holidays. It is very useful for daily outings. 


Skirts and/or dresses  –  How many or what type to pack depends on your own preference. Being a regular shorts or slax person I always pack 1 skirt, usually dark blue denim, which will match any tops I pack and does not show any creases or dirt. If you are usually a dress wearer or know that you will have a number of ‘dress-up’ days then pack accordingly but, correspondingly, reduce the number of pairs of slax/shorts.

Slax, shorts and tops  –  Corduroy or denim are the best for everyday wear. They are durable, don’t need ironing and can be worn for more than a couple of days at a time. I usually take 3 pairs of slax, 2 pairs of shorts and 6 tops, light-weight, drip-dry and crease resistant. 

Shoes – these are heavy items. You really only need 2 pairs for any holiday – 1 pair of good walking shoes and another for ‘smart’. Don’t forget socks and a pair of nylons. (I packed 4 pairs for our first holiday and regretted having to carry them around for 6 weeks)

Other –  a jersey or similar; windbreaker or anorak for extra warmth; beanie and a scarf, useful and use little space; sun hat – floppy to pack flat; swimming costume, cap and towel if in right climate; string of pearls which will go with any outfit – leave other jewellery at home as it is so easy to forget on a dresser or in a bathroom; small folding umbrella or rain cape which will fit into your handbag or backpack.

Toiletries – All liquids which are carried on to a flight must be in bottles of 100mls or less. Purchase a number of 100ml plastic bottles (usually available from any pharmacy) and label so that they are always ready for your holiday – shampoo, conditioner, face cleanser etc Don’t pack bigger bottles or tubes of these items as 100mls is usually enough for a 3 week trip. Advantages – these are lighter in weight and can go in your hand luggage. Always pack sun screen as the older we get the more sensitive is our skin.


This is a lot easier than for the ladies.

Trousers/shorts – 2 or 3 pairs to rotate for general daily wear. denim trousersAgain, denim and/or corduroy are best, being hard wearing and comfy; 1 pair of smart trousers (adjust according to your type of trip)

Shirts – half a dozen T-shirts or short sleeved button ups is plenty; a tie and a smart lounge shirt unless otherwise required.

Shoes – usually very heavy items so, as for the ladies, 2 pairs should suffice even on a business trip. 

Other –  a jersey or similar; windbreaker or anorak for extra warmth; cap or sun hat – floppy to pack flat; swimming costume and towel, if in right climate; small folding umbrella or rain cape which will fit into daily bag or backpack

Toiletries – as for the ladies but don’t forget shaving equipment. If you usually use an electric razor purchase a battery one for travelling as electric plug points are so different around the world.

Tip 5: Pack a basic 1st Aid Kit (don’t include lots of pills etc which may create suspicion) and a small sewing kit. Remember to put scissors, needles etc in your suitcase but pack the rest into your hand luggage.

Tip 6:  Chronic meds – at our age and stage in life we all have some of these. Do not pack in your 1st Aid Kit but in a separate container with a letter from your Dr detailing your chronic condition(s) and a copy of a script for your meds using the generic name

Tip 6: Pack ALL valuables in your hand luggage when flying – cell phones, camera, electric razor, medicines, paperwork for your trip, jewellery etc. Only clothes, scissors and hand razors should be packed in your suitcases which go in the hold.