May 06


5 things to pack when you can’t take a suitcase

We’ve all been there. While late night Insta-scrolling, some influencer travel shots catch your eye. The destination looks beautiful; the right mix of laid-back and stylish, the food seems delicious, and the streets clean and uncrowded. You’ve always heard good things about [insert European city name here], maybe it’s time to look into a trip.

Now you’re down the rabbit hole of Skyscanner mathematics, weather forecast projections, and hotel exchange rate calculations. The mental spreadsheet is detailed; you’re putting in way more effort to this than your day job. The webpage loads, and magical music sounds in your head; next weekend the all important ‘clear-diary, low-cost and nice-enough-weather’ combo is in perfect balance. Grab your BFF/significant other/mum, you’re heading to [insert European city name here] – it’s spontaneous mini-break time!

You grab your passport and hurry to finalise the booking before some other passenger finds the bargain deal and steals your space. Twelve clicks and multiple form errors later, the ‘optional extras’ appear and your heart sinks. The £50 return price you were quoted is one handbag only, no cabin suitcase. That is extra. That is £28 per passenger extra. EACH WAY. That bargain trip now costs just a little too much to justify last minute. Why do they make flight bookings so irritatingly complicated?! Do you revisit the spreadsheet? Maybe another airline has a slightly more expensive flight but includes a carry-on? But now it’s really late, you should be in bed anyway. If you leave it until tomorrow you may as well start from scratch, and maybe you’ll never get around to booking your new-found dream of visiting [insert European city name here]…

Well, complete that booking with confidence my spontaneous-traveller friend. This is the five-step plan to no-suitcase holiday packing; talking you through minimal and compact luggage for a long-weekend.

1. The Bag

The bag choice is obviously critical. This is not an occasion for your prized Chloé mini satchel. It is beautiful, but if you choose that, then all you can really do is take lipstick and spare knickers and hope for the best. No, this is an occasion for a shopper tote bag, or soft, small backpack; flexible and roomy with a ‘toss everything in’ vibe. Extra points for one which has outside pockets or a detachable pouch such as this Zara bag.

Zara Reversible Studded Tote Bag

2. The Travel Outfit

When it comes to the travel outfit, wear the biggest items you want to take; if you choose this outfit well, then you have made the whole task immediately easier. Think layers; jeans, a cami, t-shirt, cardigan and ankle boots is a great formula to start. If you need a coat, consider your choice carefully, as this will be the only one you have. A neutral coloured, water-resistant trench coat is a great option for day and night wear. One with detachable warm lining is ideal if evenings are colder.

Uniqlo Double Breasted Belted Trench Coat

3. Shoes

The right travel outfit means you will wear, not carry, your bulkiest shoes; freeing up as much space as possible inside your bag. Footwear fanatics prepare yourselves – there is only space for one other pair of shoes here. A flat, compact shoe at the bottom of your bag is the best bet. Veja trainers, ballet flats or leather loafers are perfect; identify your style and delete as appropriate.

Mango Leather Moccasin

4. Beauty

Multipurpose is the holy grail for a streamlined beauty bag. For skincare, a multitasking balm like XO Balm is an essential; for dry skin, chapped lips, rough cuticles, smoothing fly away hairs, the list goes on. It even has a mirror inside the lid making it a minimalists dream. When it comes to makeup; crayons and double ended products are perfect space-savers.

XO Balm Multipurpose Natural Balm

5. Accessories

As the items get smaller, the options can get greater, so jewellery, belts and scarves are encouraged. Statement earrings, or a cool belt can help you add individual style to an otherwise minimal outfit. Hair clips are so on trend in 2019, which will give your long-weekend wardrobe a high-fashion vibe, and are also super mini for packing. Win win.

Lelet NY Faux Pearl-Embellished Gold-Plated Zodiac Hairclip

So there we have it; minimal packing but giving multiple options. Laugh in the face of budget airline baggage charges, you’ve got this. Go forth and travel! Just don’t forget your passport.