Packing Tips

Hello, I’m Heidi, and I’m a chronic over packer. Yes, I’m the woman who packs multiple suitcases with enough clothes for a month-long hiking expedition when you’re only going away for four days. I have always been that way.

On our last trip to the UK five years ago, I packed two suitcases. One was my carry-on and the other was…well, our extremely large canvas suitcase. One helpful B&B owner called it “the barge” as he struggled to take it up a few flights of stairs for us.

Sadly, the majority of the clothing I took last time was barely worn. Those “just-in-case” items that were well…just in the case. Truth be told, the weight of the bag was not ALL my fault. We DID pack an extraordinary amount of electronic equipment and my husband insisted on buying commemorative tourist books at each attraction we went to. So, the return trip cost us at the airport due to the bag being WAY overweight.

We both did better this time. And Aer Lingus has some pretty strict rules around carryon luggage and checked luggage. So, I REALLY wanted to do better and researched what to take, how much of what to take, and how to pack it successfully.

Purchasing the Shack Pak packing cubes was a brilliant idea! I bought the set of four, which also came with a draw-string carrying/laundry bag.

I packed the following for our three week trip to Scotland and Northern Ireland for the end of May into the first two weeks of June:

Large Packing Cube #1 with small electronics bag in corner of larger, bottom half of suit case

Large Packing Cube #1: (everything tightly rolled)

• 2 pairs of jeans

• 1 pair of ankle pants

• Merrill walking shoes in plastic bag

• 2 pairs of socks in each shoe

Large Cube #2 with tops packed on top of large cube #1

Medium Large Cube #2: (everything tightly rolled except white camisole)

• 8 tops

Cubes #3 & #4 packed in smaller side (top) of suit case along with my flat iron in red satin case

Medium Cube #3:

• Quilted LL Bean jacket (folded with cap & PJs inside)

• Baseball cap

• 2 sets of Pajamas

Small Cube #4: (everything tightly rolled)

• 10 pairs of underwear

• 6 pairs of socks

• eye mask (tucked in corner)

• bra (placed on top)

Largest part of bag with toiletry & electronics bag with black folded case for laundry

My finished bag for checking. Both size and weight well within guides

I basically packed for HALF of the trip. We had planned to do laundry once we got into Northern Ireland so no need to pack a different outfit for the full 20 days. I also tried on every top, with every pair of pants and every pair of shoes to make sure it all worked and I could make multiple outfits with each top, pant, and shoe. I dressed some outfits up with scarves as well.

I took the carryon I used five years ago as my main suitcase and had it checked. Then took a small black Samantha Brown bag as my carryon as well as my purse. The “barge” stayed home this time.

My carry on bag. Used it for iPad, power cord, medications, umbrella & camera.

What I liked about the packing cubes was being able to pack all of one or two types of things in each one and have them already “packed” after each B&B we stopped at. We only stayed multiple nights in a few places. For the most part, we didn’t really unpack our entire suitcases and keeping things in the packing cubes allowed me to know where things were.

Using the carrying bag that came with the cubes as the laundry bag was also a clever way to keep the dirty clothes away from the clean ones. I tossed in a clean dryer sheet before leaving home and that helped…a little!

The complete list of CLOTHING I packed for the trip goes like this:

4 pair of jeans/pants (wore one on the plane)

9 tops (wore one on the plane)

2 pairs of shoes (flats & walkers – wore flats on the plane)

10 pairs of socks

10 pieces of underwear (wore one on the plane)

2 bras (wore one on the plane)

2 pajamas

2 jackets (packed waterproof jacket & light weight fleece jacket that I wore on the plane)

2 scarves

I discovered this GREAT Excel Travel Checklist to use for packing on the Travel Fashion Girl website and I customized it for my own packing.

I’m quite proud of myself for my packing on this trip!