We’ve finally reached that wonderful time of the year where everything is in wind-down mode and people are preparing for their holidays. I love the anticipation of an upcoming holiday. The weeks fly by as you count down to your day of departure and there’s always so much to be done. There are itineraries to be organised, accommodation to be arranged and of course, there’s the packing.

There are two types of packers in this world. The first is the organised packer, who treats packing for a holiday like a carefully orchestrated military operation; lists are drawn up, maps consulted, clothes and shoes are analysed for suitability and bags are packed and repacked (sometimes weeks in advance) to ensure perfection.

Then there’s the other kind of packer, a procrastinator who may begin with a vague sort of list, but soon becomes distracted by the delights of their closet and finds themselves standing atop their suitcase at three in the morning, desperately trying to stuff “just one more” must-have item into their already overflowing bag. I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit that I fall somewhere in between these two extremes. I enjoy writing up lists, but I find it hard to stick to them and I don’t think I’ve ever been on a trip where I haven’t grossly over-packed. So, I’ve done my research and here are some tips to help you with your holiday packing this year.

In the bag

The type of luggage you choose will depend greatly on where you’re headed on your holiday. A large suitcase is more suited to a fortnight at a five star resort than a European backpacking adventure. When selecting your luggage, remember that you don’t want to be weighed down by a cumbersome and annoying bag. You want to be mobile, ready for anything and ideally, able to pack and go in under 30 minutes.

Lighten up

Packing light is all about trial and error and requires some practice. The reality is that you never end up wearing half the stuff you take on holidays, so try packing your bag with everything you need and then repack it with just half of the original contents. This allows you to edit your outfits and get rid of anything superfluous. Plus, the best part about packing light is that you’ll have plenty of room for new holiday purchases!

Smart start

Lists are essential when you’re packing for a holiday; they help you remember all the things you need to pack and all the stuff you need to do before you leave. Websites like packinglistsonline.com or whattowearonholiday.com can help. You simply fill in a few details – holiday destination, duration of stay, activities planned – and it will give you a basic list of things you might need. When it comes to the actual packing, rolling garments together or using packing cubes will keep you organised and help to save room. Remember to pack all your liquid toiletries in zip lock bags to avoid spills and always take a change of clothes and toiletries in your hand luggage in case your suitcase gets lost.

Mix and match

Packing for a holiday is all about choosing garments that are versatile and can be dressed up and down; think maxi dresses, lightweight cotton shirts, denim skirts. Choose lightweight fabrics that don’t crease and stick to a simple colour palette that can be livened up with the addition of some bold accessories like bangles and scarves. With shoes consider simplicity and comfort; a pair of sandals can take you from day to night and are lightweight and easily packed.