I asked my lovely husband to leave the ironing board up this morning, as I heard it start to squeal in complaint of being folded away. ‘But you don’t do ironing!’. Hmmph, no I usually don’t, but living here in Bermuda clothes need to be cotton or natural fibre, and crush easily. I don’t know why I bother with the humidity, a freshly ironed crisp shirt doesn’t stay that way for long. Especially when wearing a seat belt – crumple city for that one. My lovely husband usually does my ironing for me, but lately he has had meetings and late nights, and I feel so lazy watching him iron my clothes. The annoying thing is, he loves it; I loath it.
When I was in New Zealand recently, my mother said a similar thing. ‘For someone who has a blog called ‘I don’t do ironing’ you sure iron a lot!’. I tried to explain that all my clothes were in my suitcase. They got put on the plane in Bermuda, travelled to Gatwick, then by train up to North Wales. I lived out of my suitcase there for about a week, then they were squished in again off to Gatwick dragged out again for an overnight stay, then put on a plane again. This time they travelled to New Zealand via Dubai, Auckland and then to Dunedin, each flight being unloaded and reloaded according to the bar code on my case. I then lived out of my suitcase for nearly four weeks while visiting, repacking it to go to Christchurch and a trip up to Hamner Springs, and packing it again to return all those flights back. And this time I was joined by my son, so we stayed a few days in London, a few days in Wales, and finally returned back to my lovely husband and Bermuda two months later. Each time my suitcase got heavier, even to the extent that I had to refuse to buy an item someone asked me for, I just didn’t have the weight or the room!
My suitcase weighed twenty three kilos which is the checked in limit for flying with most airlines. I also had a handbag with me stuffed to the kilter with everything I needed for long haul, which only weighed about four kilos. I had an idea that if I took less to drag about at airports when in transit, it would be easier on me physically. Really, I should have thought about that when taking my large bag on trains, and stairs and anywhere I had to lift it, it nearly wrecked me. So how do I travel lighter? I went to two different hemispheres, two different seasons, and I was away eight weeks! My lovely husband will laugh his head off when you read this next bit, but I have learnt the hard way:
- Make sure your bag is bigger than what you need but standard size for the airline you are flying on (they will have measurements on their website)
- Pack everything you think you need into your suitcase and weigh it
- Take out everything you haven’t worn regularly that you think you might wear on your trip – you are not being truthful with yourself. Remember layering is the key, you can layer up if it’s cold, mix and match for different outfits if it’s not. Bring a good jacket to keep dry.
- How many shoes do you have? You actually need one pair of comfy walking shoes, one pair of good shoes for a nice meal out, and one pair of sloughing around shoes like jandals (thongs, flip flops) or light slippers (your feet will get sore and slippers are a god send when they do). Take large zip lock bags for your shoes to keep them separate from your clothes, or recycle the free hotel shower caps like I do.
- How much jewelry do you really need? When at home I probably have my favorite earrings and necklace and a good set I wear out, so just take those.
- Toiletries? Most hotels provide body wash and towels. If you’re like me and need specific skin products then use little containers and pop in what you need, not the whole huge bottle. You can do this with shampoo, conditioner, face cleanser, body wash and moisturizers. Make sure these items are in zip lock sealed bags with your toiletries, this will save you having to clean everything out if they leak. They might even be cheaper to buy where you are going.
- Photocopy your passport, print a copy of your itinerary with your flights, and pop this in your checked in luggage. You never know if you might need it.
- Bring an international multi converter plug, and if you have lots of gadgets to charge, buy one of these and a small lightweight power board (extension). Now you can plug in three or four items with the one converter.
- Anything precious or fragile should be in your hand luggage with you. I managed to get a bottle of New Zealand Central Otago Pinot to my lovely husband in Wales, but I nearly fainted when I saw my bag drop two meters off the carousel at Heathrow!
- Weigh your suitcase again. I bet it’s ten kilos lighter than the first time. And now you have room to purchase souvenirs and clothes to bring back with you, if you want to of course.
NB: If you are a man, disregard all of the above and pack underwear, toothbrush, deodorant, razor, a good jacket and a change of clothes, and four kilos later you will be done!
How to stop clothes from crushing in your bag? I have travelled many trips across the globe and I have tried rolling, folding, placing in sealed bags, lying them flat and nothing works. Just make sure you have access to an ironing board and iron when you get there. Oh and next time I’ll bring my lovely husband so he can iron it for me!
More soon – Sally