One of the most annoying things when going on a trip is forgetting something, and if like myself you travel a lot either for work or leisure, I personally think it’s always best to go as prepared and as organised as possible to take the stress out of travelling. Working as cabin crew you pretty much spend half of your life living out of a suitcase, so I like to think I’ve learnt a thing or two about packing and being organised. In this blog I want to share with you all the tips and tricks I’ve learnt along the way of travelling the world as cabin crew and also travelling in my spare time from a variety of trip types from weekends away, backpacking, holidays and city breaks.
If you spend half your life living out of a suitcase always have a list saved to your notes on your phone, a screenshot, an app or something to refer to when checking you have everything. Every time I pack for work or to go on holiday I just glance over my list to make sure I have everything I need. Here’s my list so you can use this as a template and either add other bits to it, or delete the bits you don’t need. I don’t always take everything on this list but it gives me prompts on stuff I might need depending on where it is I’m going in the world.
Carry On, Essentials & Electronics
- Battery Pack (power bank)
- Booking Confirmations (flights, accommodation etc)
- Camera, Memory Card & Accessories
- Currency & Bank Cards
- Eye Mask / Ear Plugs / Flight Socks / Mini Hot Water Bottle (long haul flights)
- Guide Book
- ID Badge (for work)
- Passport Photos (for longer trips if your applying for visas on the go)
- Pocket Tissues (especially if your going to Asia, handy to have with you all the time as certain places don’t have toilet tissue in the toilets)
- Tablet (have films, tv series, books etc downloaded ready in case of delays or the inflight entertainment doesn’t work etc)
- Travel Insurance Details
- Travel Neck Pillow
- Vaccination Record & Yellow Fever Certificate
- Water Bottle / Collapsible Coffee Cup
Carry On Toiletries (freshen up on a long haul flights)
- Face Moisturiser
- Hair Brush (compact travel brush)
- Hair Ties / Slides
- Hand Sanitiser Gel / Hand Cream
- Lip Balm
- Mini Deodorant
- Mini Face Spritz (decant some toner water into a small 10/20ml spray bottle)
- Mini Perfume (take a perfume sample or use a perfume atomiser)
- Mini Wipes (great to freshen up with during a flight)
- Toothbrush / Toothpaste
- 1 Pair of Knickers (can change into before landing)
Clothes & Packing
- Bag / Beach Bag
- Bras / Sports Bra / Underwear
- Gym Kit
- Hat / Headband / Hair Ties / Slides
- Laundry Bag
- Sarong / Scarf
- Shoes / Flip Flops / Hiking Boots / Trainers etc (try to limit yourself to 3-4 pairs maximum)
- Shorts / Skirts
- Snorkel Mask
- Towel (microfibre for quick drying)
- Travel Sewing Kit
- Trousers / Jeans / Leggings
- T-Shirt’s / Tops
- Uniform (for work)
- Body Lotion
- Face Cleanser
- Face Moisturiser
- Face Scrub
- Face Serum
- Face Toner
- Dry Shampoo
- Eye Cream
- Fake Tan
- First Aid Kit / Sanitary Products
- Hair Brush
- Hair Spray / Wax
- Hand & Cuticle Cream
- Insect Repellent
- Make Up & Brushes
- Make Up Remover Pad
- Manicure / Tweezer Set
- Nail Polish / Nail Polish Remover
- Razor / Shaving Cream
- Retainer / Retainer Cleaner
- Shampoo / Conditioner
- Shower Gel / Soap
- Sun Cream / Aftersun
- Toothbrush / Toothpaste
First Aid: When travelling to far flung places you should consider taking a small first aid kit with some essentials like paracetamol, plasters, imodium, travel sick tablets etc. If your not feeling 100% the last thing you are going to want to do is go traipsing around somewhere your not familiar with, trying to find a pharmacy! So just take a few supplies of what you think you could need.
Laundry Bag: When packing always pack a laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean clothes, and it’s easier to sort when you get home as can just empty straight into your laundry basket, or if your travelling long term you have your wash load already organised.
Jewellery Case: If you wear jewellery purchase a travel jewellery box or a small jewellery pouch to keep your jewellery organised while travelling.
Packing Cubes: Packing cubes are one of the best items to purchase for any trip as they organise your suitcase or backpack, and keep all your clothes neatly folded or rolled (whichever your prefer). You can pick up packing cube sets on eBay, Amazon and other online shops quite cheaply and they come in a variety of sets, sizes and colours too.
Shoe Bags: Drawstring shoe bags are great to store your shoes in and stop dirt or smells getting onto your bag and other items.
Universal Adapter: You should always take an adapter when going abroad, if you can try and invest in a universal one, as this will cover everywhere, and if your travelling around a few places at once, it will save you having to carry multiple different ones around, and will save on space and weight in your bag.
All space should be utilised when packing, use all the space available in your case or backpack and try and pack clever. Work out exactly what you need when packing and try not to over pack, work out and plan your outfits for each day your away! If your travelling or backpacking remember you can get your clothes cleaned while your travelling or invest in a Scrubba Wash Bag which means you can wash your clothes on the go, and will save you money in the long run, make sure to take a travel washing line, and some travel detergent too.
Check out YouTube for lots of folding and rolling techniques for packing clothes, I still haven’t decided which way I prefer and always switch up the way I pack, sometimes I fold and other times I roll my clothes.
When packing clothes try and opt for a certain colour palette, and create a capsule wardrobe with which you can create interchangeable outfit options, and all the clothes and accessories can easily go together. Remember if your going travelling for a while or to any developing countries don’t take your best clothes they might get ruined by wear and tear or by sweat! In a lot of third world countries it is extremely cheap to shop so remember you can always pick up clothes from many of the markets, in places like Thailand you can normally pick up tops, shorts and dresses from £3-£7 per garment, plus your helping the locals make a living and having clothes from different areas of the world have a lot more sentiment.
If your really stuck for space put smaller items your packing into sandwhich bags and put them in your shoes to utilise every bit of space you have, this can also be done with handbags too!
If you do travel frequently for work, then have a pre-packed bag always at the ready. I hate packing and find it such a chore, so by having a bag ready at all times literally means I can just throw a few extra bits in last minute and go without worry somethings been forgotten! I always have my cabin bag for work packed with all the basics in, then before every trip I just add a few extra items of clothing in or something that I know I might need for a particular destination.
Basics that I always have in my cabin bag are an adapter, charger, trainers, basic clothing like a basic T-shirt and pair of jeans, a lightweight coat, underwear, pyjamas and tote bag etc, so it’s always pretty much ready to go in case I get called off standby and need to set off quick. Double up on items too such as chargers, hairbrushes, toiletries etc, I have one of these items to have and leave at home and ones that stay in my bag, that way you don’t leave anything behind, and saves having to unpack and repack. All I have to do when I return home is take out my dirty laundry, and add some clean clothes back into my bag so it’s ready to go again.
Toiletries & Liquids
I absolutely love products, however when travelling I have to be strict with myself, as I don’t need to take every single product with me, I just take the essentials. Try and get products that are 2 in 1, 3 in 1 or are multipurpose. One of the best products to travel with is a small pot of coconut oil as it can be used for multiple uses such as cleanser and make up remover, lip balm, hand and cuticle cream, hair and lash treatment and it’s great for dry skin. Try to get a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner as that saves on space and weight too, however I normally opt for Lush solid shampoos and conditioners, they’re great for travelling and last ages and are compact, you can also buy some travel tins for them too.
If you are really tight on space you can also opt to use the hotel toiletries, if you are staying in a hotel they will always have shampoo and shower gel, you can always contact them ahead to check what they have available. If your staying in hostels and guest houses they probably won’t supply these, however I’ve stayed at some hostels before where you could purchase shower gel and shampoo. When I travel I always take a bar of soap in one of the Lush travel tins as it’s lasts ages, is compact and saves on plastic bottles. If your just taking carry on and don’t have much room for liquids opt for solid products such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body lotion, soap and take powdered dry shampoo all of these can just be kept in your bag and won’t count as liquids.
When organising and packing toiletries it’s worth decanting liquids and creams into smaller containers such as spray bottles, pots and stackable pots. I always use small 20ml spray bottles for toners etc, and for creams I have repurposed old Lush lip scrub and make up pots, which are glass pots and hard wearing, and I reuse their sample pots too as they tend to not leak, break or crack. There’s a whole variety of pots and bottles to buy in different sizes from 5ml, 10ml, 20ml etc. These are great if if you have liquid restrictions with carry on luggage or if you don’t need a lot of a particular product and to minimise luggage weight.
For body lotion I decant from my bigger bottle into a small 50ml pot which I repurposed from a soap and glory travel miniature. You don’t have to go out and buy all new, if you use a product up and like the container or think it would be good for travelling – keep it, rinse it out peel off old stickers, and there you have yourself some new travel pots or bottles. If you use any kind of serums or oils you can purchase small pipette bottles too, I bought a 10ml one and it’s great for just taking a small amount of my face serum.
Remember you can get toiletries all over the world so don’t stress if you do forget something you can pick up basic products everywhere, and if your travelling long term you will be purchasing and replenishing toiletries on your travels.
In hotter climates try and minimise your make up as make up moves in heat and runs in wet weather, so you probably don’t need to take your full make up bag, choose your make up essentials such as travel sized make up brushes, a tinted SPF cream, light powder, mascara and tinted lip balm etc. The more natural look works better when travelling I always find. It’s also worth bearing in mind when you tan you might not want to take your full coverage foundation as it may not much up with your skin tone when your tanned.
Where you can go digital, use electronic apps for tickets and other travel documents to save carrying around a million pieces of paper. If your travelling with someone, send them the documents too, just incase anything happens to your device. If you have to have a few bits of paper, maybe get yourself a small travel wallet.
Download books and magazines to save carrying around extra weight. Most phones now do everything so try and take just one or two electronic devices with you such as a phone and tablet, so you can use them for social media, calls, taking photos, reading, watching films and listening to music on. Invest in a power pack too as they are so useful when travelling. When travelling with electronics try not to advertise them too much as you could make yourself a target to thief’s, make sure when taking out travel insurance your electronics are covered on your insurance in case of any accidents or theft.
Travel Accessories I Can’t Live Without…
- Chilly’s Water Bottles
- Face Halo Make Up Remover
- Lush Sample Pots & Reuse Lush Lip Scrub Pots (great for decanting creams into and don’t leak or break!)
- Lush Solid Shampoo & Conditioner + Lush Travel Tins
- Mini Spray 20ml Bottles
- Muji Travel Accessories
- Oliver Bonas Travel Jewellery Box
- Ryman Snopake Airport Liquids Bag
- Skinnydip Travel Accessories (passport holder, luggage tags etc)
- Skross World Adapter
- Spectrum Jetsetter Makeup Brushes & Case
- Stojo Collapsible Coffee Cup
- Tangle Teezer Compact Styler
- Twist & Spritz Perfume Atomizer