With spring on the horizon, many of us are looking forward to a break at some point. Whether you have a weekend away planned or a week-long adventure booked, it’s always a good idea to think about packing and luggage before you need it. By planning ahead, you won’t overpack nor will you be tempted to pack the wrong items.
Packing for a countryside adventure is always a struggle. In the UK, we have to put up with every type of weather within one week, debate how many toys the children can take and have every type of item for every activity packed. There’s a 90% chance you’ll forget at least one item but it happens to all of us!
However, getting yourself organised in advance means you will forget as little as possible. We’ve rounded up a list of the items for any countryside getaway as well as our tried and tested packing tips. These can apply to any trip, whether it’s an overnight stay or a month-long excursion.
Whilst it’s important not to overpack, you still need sufficient storage for everything you need. For a night or two, a holdall should be the perfect size to fit in clothing, toiletries and any electronic items. Also known as a weekend bag, most styles come with smaller handles as well as a longer strap. This means you can wear it on your shoulder, across your body or in your hand, whichever way feels the most comfortable. These bags are the perfect size for a weekend getaway, whether it’s in the country or city! They’re spacious enough for a couple of days away but should still have enough room in them in case you make any purchases during your trip.
For anything longer, a wheeled suitcase is your best option. The smaller your suitcase, the less you will overpack. It’s important to leave plenty of room because inevitably, we end up purchasing something on every holiday.
You may also want to invest in a rucksack or backpack. Not only can this be used for your trip but you could also use it in everyday life for the office or running errands in town. You’ll need to get the size right so think about your itinerary and how much you’ll need to carry daily. If you’re going walking or hiking predominantly, you’ll need a backpack that can carry a day’s worth of food and drink as well as your other hiking essentials.
A capsule wardrobe
If you’re new to capsule wardrobes, it’s simply having fewer pieces in your collection that all mix and match. A popular way to start is when travelling. The concept of the 10x10 capsule means taking just 10 pieces and making 10 outfits with them. It seems unfathomable to start with but think about it more. With three pairs of bottoms and five top half items, you’ve already got fifteen outfits. Add in three pairs of shoes and you’ve got 45!
Of course, you might need more pieces but the idea is to get creative with your outfits. Start by choosing your favourite items from your existing wardrobe. Choose items that can be worn during the day but would look dressy for an evening too, such as collared shirts (ladies and mens), slim leg jeans (ladies and mens) and tweed items (ladies and mens). The biggest tip is to keep a colour scheme in mind when choosing items so you know everything will go together.
Planning in advance will make packing easier too. Think about your itinerary and plans for the trip. Will you be sightseeing, exploring the local area, hiking or a mixture of all three? This will determine which items to take. Comfortable footwear (for men and women) is a must for any activity so make sure it’s practical for the activities you have planned.
UK weather calls for waterproof clothes, no matter what the time of year is. Autumn and winter trips will require something sturdier but for warmer weather, take a jacket in a packet (ladies and mens) so at least you’ll have some cover if the heavens open.
Your travel toiletry bag
This is always the area we pack last and forget items from the most too. How many of us have got to our destination, unpacked and discovered we’ve left our deodorant or toothpaste in the bathroom back home? Whilst you can always pick up items when you arrive, it’s much cheaper to pack the night before if you can.
It’s the perfect time to use up all those travel minis and gift set items from Christmas. Store them all in one place so when it comes packing for any trip, you know they’re all together. Keep your routine simple so you can spend more time outdoors and not in the bathroom mirror. For example, your usual ten step skincare routine at home is great for your skin but if you’re only away for a week or so, strip it back to basics. Decant any larger toiletries into inexpensive travel-sized bottles to save space. You could even take toiletries that need using up and recycle them once finished. It will give you even more space in your luggage too.
With the rise in carbon emissions and climate change, many of us are trying to do our bit to help save the environment. This is something that used to be tricky when travelling but it’s a lot simpler than you might think. Eat in cafes and restaurants when you're out and about, rather than taking away. If you do, get them to refill your travel mug and water bottle to save on a takeaway cup and plastic bottles. For water, you can even download the Refill app to see which local businesses will refill your water bottle for free.
You could try shopping in local markets and farmers’ stores to get packaging-free items if you’re staying in self-catering accommodation too. Make sure you carry a spare tote or shopper bag around in your rucksack for items just in case.
We couldn’t do a travel guide without including some useful packing tips! Read on for some of our favourites to have the easiest packing experience ever!
- Place heavier items, such as shoes and toiletries, at the bottom of the bag and fold or roll clothing on top. Alternatively, you could wear your thicker items to travel in to give you more space in your luggage.
- Use packing cubes to give yourself even more space inside. When you roll up your clothing in these, you can fit more in. It also means you can group similar items together.
- Have a bag for dirty washing. Unpacking is everyone’s least favourite part of coming home from a trip. The trick is to be organised during the trip. Place your dirty clothes in one bag and when packing to return, make sure it’s at the top of your case.
- Many of us pack items we don’t really need, such as towels and a hairdryer, when most hotels and cottages have them. All you need to do is check in advance before you start packing to see which items and facilities they already have. Keep your items to a minimum and just buy when you arrive if you need something urgently.
- Pack a travel steamer or clothes disinfectant spray. If you’re taking a smaller selection of clothes, a quick spritz of spray or steam will make them feel fresh for another day. Many cottages have washing machines to use now so you could take a small amount of washing liquid for longer stays.
- Don’t take tons of tech. Do you really need a laptop, tablet and a phone? Could you forgo the laptop or tablet? Unless you need it for working on the go, store important info on your tablet, along with downloaded music, movies and books. Don’t forget the chargers and a pair of headphones too!
- Print out important documents or have them to hand on your phone. There’s nothing worse than finding you need check-in details and booking references and you have to scroll through your inbox to find them. Have them favourited and easy to find before you arrive.
- Make a list. We’re always surprised by how many people pack without a list. Those people are more likely to forget items too! Think of everything you could possibly need, gather items one at a time and tick them off as you grab them and then again when you’ve packed them.
UK travel is always a great way to get outdoors, explore a new area and take your mind off any stress at home. By preparing early, you’ll save yourself even more stress last-minute too. You’ll know exactly what you need to pack and will then have time to find any missing items. Even just the night before is early enough so you can have a peaceful night’s sleep before your break. Invest in quality luggage so it lasts and always underpack because you know you’ll need some spare room when it’s time to leave your holiday!