How To Pack a Suitcase for Holidays

iStock_000004944610 (XS) Summer Beach Bag

I learned the art of packing in 2006, whilst on a 2-month adventure holiday which took me to far-flung destinations ranging in temperature from -10 oC to +35oC.  As you can imagine, packing was a challenge, especially with only one rucksack and a 20kg airline luggage restriction!  Nonetheless, thanks to pre-planning and artful organisation, I succeeded in living out of this rucksack for 2 months, whilst dressing appropriately for all weathers.  How?  Here’s how I started:


  • Climate: Know what to expect.  Check the weather forecast at your holiday destination on-line.   It’s worthwhile looking at the typical seasonal climate trends also.
  • Luggage restrictions: Check whether your airline has luggage restrictions.   Some airlines are particularly generous with their luggage allowance, others are Ryanair.  Be sure to take note also of the airline’s restricted or banned items.
  • Type of holiday: What activities have you planned?  Will you be doing lots of walking, sports, leisure activities, or do you plan on being barefoot and in a bikini for the duration of your holiday?


  • Clothes: Only bring clothes with you that match the criteria above.  You do not need a spare change of clothes for every day.   Instead, plan your holiday wardrobe carefully and consider clothes that mix and match together well.   Also, be careful that you choose fabrics that are travel-friendly (linen, for example, would be a curse to maintain on holidays as it wrinkles easily).
  • Thin layers: Don’t pack thick, chunky garments, even if you do expect the weather to be cool.  Instead, bring lots of thin layers with you, which you can add and remove as necessary according to the weather conditions.
  • Undies: Unless you know that you will have access to laundry facilities, bring enough underwear to last you for the duration of the holiday.
  • Tights: Given the time of year, the weather can be changeable; hence I suggest that you pack plenty of tights.  These can be worn under dresses, or even jeans and trousers for extra warmth.
  • Shoes: You will never need more than 3 pairs of shoes (that includes the pair that you’re wearing while travelling).  I bring 1 x trainers (for sport and activities), 1 x smart-casual (for day-wear / shopping etc.) and 1 x glam pair (in a neutral colour to suit all outfits) for evening.  If I’m travelling to a warm climate, I’ll substitute the smart-casual pair for flat comfy sandals.
  • Bags: You do not need 10 handbags!  Limit yourself to 2 – one day-time and one small night-time bag.  Bring your day-time bag with you as you travel, and use your night-time bag to store your jewellery.
  • Jewellery: Again, less is more.  Bring a selected range with you that will mix and match well with your holiday wardrobe.



  • Suitcase: Buy the lightest suitcase/rucksack that you can find.   This gives you more leeway for packing.  Dunnes Stores offer a great range of suitcases (including ones that are small enough to use as carry-on luggage), starting from just €15. If you have room in your suitcase/rucksack, I suggest that you squeeze in a small knapsack or backpack, which is very useful if you plan on going on daytrips, excursions, picnics etc. whilst on your holidays.
  • Roll your clothes: If you roll up your clothes tightly, you’ll notice that they’ll take up far less space in your luggage than folding them.
  • Socks in shoes: Stuff your socks into your spare shoes.  They’re only storing air otherwise.
  • Travel-sized items: Don’t bring full-sized items if travel-sized alternatives are available e.g. travel towels, travel-sized cosmetics, travel-sized hair-straightener etc.
  • Toiletries: Store your toiletries in a clear, plastic, leak-proof case.
  • Plastic bags: Great for storing dirty clothes, storing cosmetics and carrying bits and pieces on your holidays.
  • Jewellery: Store each piece of jewellery in individual sandwich bags – that way they won’t get tangled up.


Finally, I suggest that you wear the heaviest and bulkiest of your holiday wardrobe while traveling (e.g. trainers, coat etc.) so as to save some room in your suitcase for any impromptu duty-free purchases!


One Response to “How To Pack a Suitcase for Holidays”

  1. Much obliged for the post and for creating a good website. I have been looking for good info on travel tips and can put this information to practice. I have found it hard to locate honest suggestions, as there are many web sites with junk posts. Definitely keep it coming!

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