A packing list for your European summer holiday
‘Pack light’ is a phrase I cannot comprehend. And so, as I read of Joan Collins’ famous struggle to pack less on holiday I found myself thinking ‘Gurrrrl, I can relate’.
So now, as part of my post-trip rehab, I’m fessing up to all my packing faux pas in the hope that you can avoid the same fate. And, I’ve come up with the perfect packing list for my next trip.
The packing list for packing light
Don’t pack like you’re preparing for the apocalypse
My recent seven week holiday to Europe took me to Italy (holiday with friends), the U.K. (work) and France (wedding). To be fair, my packing list needed to be ‘all things to all people’. Its remit spanned resort chic for the Amalfi Coast, modern nautical for Venice, walking attire for Florence, Vatican-conservative for Rome, corporate wear and off-duty items for the unpredictable London summer, effortlessly chic ensembles for Paris and an elegant dress (or two) for the French countryside wedding.
Even the most seasoned of travellers would have struggled with this brief. But instead of packing smart, I packed assuming I would spill gelato down my front twice a day, errrrryday.
On departure, my bag weighed 33kg. The check-in lady took pity on me and labelled it ’32kg’, the maximum. My cabin baggage weighed over 15kg. Lucky for me the airline didn’t weigh it. Win.
On my return, my bag weighed 37kg. Oops. So, I was forced to suffer the indignity of sprawling myself, as well as the contents of my suitcase, in front of the masses at Paris International Airport. Please God don’t let a piece of dirty underwear fly across the Departures hall.
I managed to re-pack five kilos into an airline-supplied canvas bag and paid the extra luggage fee. The nausea eventually subsided…
The Packing List
Avoid packing like a raving lunatic – follow these packing list dos and don’ts
This trip, my packing was so bad that the guys who owned our hotel in France came up with a running gag along the lines, ‘Lucy’s killed her rugby playing ex-boyfriend and smuggled his dead body out of Australia in her suitcase’. Ha. Real funny.
Take note zealous packers, here’s how I plan to avoid being the butt of Franco-hotelier’s jokes on my next vacay.
Don’t pack for Instagram
So your packing list currently notes which items of clothing you’ll wear at specific locations because you’ve done your Insta research and that red top will look amazing against the chalky white of the Spanish Steps (@bochiehq if you want to Insta-stalk).
Yes, your photos will be insanely good. But this also means you’ll pack too many items and often they’re impractical for travel. The cost of your extra luggage will add up and, unless your Insta following is above 20K, think twice about that fifth set of bikinis.
Sadly, I don’t have a large enough following to justify packing for Instagram moments. I’m a lawyer, not an heiress… or Joan #myparentsreallyletmedown.
Leave ‘just in case’ items off your packing list
Full disclosure: I packed three sets of fancy underwear… just in case.
Didn’t wear any of them.
Barely get to use them at home.
Your packing list should limit shoes, bags & toiletries where possible
These items are HEAVY. I packed 15 pairs of shoes (purchased three more), four handbags (bought two more) and four toiletry bags.
I should be committed.
Your packing list should avoid multiples
I packed seven breton striped tops. I wore four. One on the plane home.
I packed four pairs of sunglasses. I wore three. Should’ve packed two.
It’s not mandatory to wear clothes by designers from the country you’re holidaying in
I really struggle with this one. If not in Italy, then where is it more appropriate to wear a Missoni turban? France meant Kenzo, Iro, Dior, Chanel, Isabel Marant and Equipment. Italy meant Dolce & Gabbana (#boycottdolceandgabbana), Gucci, MSGM, Aquazzura and Antonello Tedde.
Fight the urge to pack Italian-themed pjs, t-shirts and eye-masks. Fight real hard.
The packing list I should have followed…
- 3 x t-shirts – one white, one black, one striped (linen or cotton)
- 1 x pair of shorts (black or white)
- 1 x pair of denim cut offs
- 1 x pair of sneakers
- 1 x pair of jeans (blue or white)
- 2 x singlet tops (linen or cotton)
- 1 x denim jacket
- 2 x sunglasses
- 2 x handbags – one black, at least one cross-body
- 2 x dresses – one black, one white or block coloured
- 1 x straw hat
- 1 x beach cover-up (either patterned kaftan or a striped oversize shirt)
- 1 x cashmere jumper (in case of a chill, and also for the plane)
- 2 x pairs of bathers – one patterned, one block coloured
- 2 x pairs of sandals – one black, one metallic or leopard print
- 1 x beach bag
- 1 x silk scarf or turban (essential for bad hair days)
- 1 x piece of statement jewelry
- 1 x shirt (brightly coloured silk or cotton off shoulder)
- 1 x cotton skirt
- 1 x pair of relaxed trousers
Does anyone else out there commit serious packing sins? Confess (so I’m not alone out here). What does your packing list look like?
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