10 - 30 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE
How to pack clothes:
Ever packed light clothes and found a stain on them when you arrived? Never have this problem again. Firstly you should always make sure your light coloured clothes are packed inside out, and secondly, hold on to hotel disposable shower caps and use them to cover the base of your shoes.
Roll and vacuum pack
Don't arrive at your holiday destination and be faced with a pile of ironing. To save space and stop creasing, roll your clothes instead of folding them, then place them in vacuum compression bags. To use these bags, put your clothes in, seal the bag, then squeeze the air out. This will leave you with lots more space in your suitcase and will prevent creases more effectively than folding.
Cube your clothes
Another good packing solution idea is packing cubes - these help separate your different items and access things more quickly.
Fill dead space
When it comes to packing, you need to make use of every little inch of suitcase space that you can. Roll tops, underwear, socks and other small items and stuff them into your shoes to make sure every possible space is filled.
It's important to keep your clothes smelling fresh, especially if you're on a long trip. By taking a small bag of potpourri, fabric conditioner sheets or scented drawer liners, you'll keep your clothes smelling sweet throughout the trip.
How to pack gadgets:
How do you usually organise all of your electronics, cables, those fiddly bits that take you ages to dig out at security? Stuff them in like the rest of us? Well, if you want to organise your packing then get yourself a stash of ziplock bags. Phone charger, camera charger, adaptors, headphones - take extra plastic bags (the same ones you'd use for hand luggage liquids) and use them to store electrical items, things for the journey home (house keys, parking ticket and car keys), medication and other loose accessories.
How to keep valuables safe:
Empty bottles and tubes
To avoid the worst case scenario of being robbed, it's best to be inconspicuous and avoid flashing the cash. If you're on the beach and you really must go for a swim, hide your money in an empty sun tan lotion container. You could also use empty lip balm containers to hide rolled up notes.
How to prevent liquid leaks:
You open your suitcase and get a whiff of jojoba and lavender, before realising that your entire suitcase contents is coated in a thick, gooey layer of shampoo. We've all discovered the disastrous liquid leak in our luggage when we arrive at our destination. To prevent this, take the lids off liquid bottles and add a layer of cling-film to the neck of the container before replacing the lid. Then use clear tape to seal the gap where the lid joins the container. Now you can travel without the worry of any spills.
How to avoid extra baggage fees:
Weigh your luggage
This is the secret weapon to help you avoid being charged unnecessary fees at the airport. Invest in some luggage scales and make sure you weigh your bags on both legs of the journey to see how close you are to reaching the weight limit. If you're close to the limit, consider wearing some of the heavier items or cutting down on what you pack in the first place (especially when it comes to heavy toiletries as you can just buy them at your destination).
Buy a lightweight suitcase
Don't assume that buying the most expensive designer suitcase will get you an upgrade - instead, it's more likely to attract thieves at the airport and on your travels. It's better to be inconspicuous and go for a lightweight option. If you're using a hardshell suitcase, this can add up to four kilos of weight before you've even started packing, so expensive isn't always best.
Know your limits
Baggage allowance can vary from airline to airline. Make sure you are aware of your limits before you reach the airport. Some carriers will allow you to check in two bags but not all and the weight allowance can also vary (see point 12). Make sure you understand the hand luggage allowance and avoid costly charges at the gate.
How not to lose your luggage:
Spruce up your suitcase
Don't be faced with an airport baggage carousel crisis where you're searching for your luggage amidst its identical neighbours. Label your suitcase carefully with luggage tags and make sure you give it a bit of a makeover to make sure you can spot it in the crowd. Decorate it with ribbons, stickers or even colourful shoelaces so it's instantly recognisable.
How to cope with lost luggage:
Pack good hand luggage
No matter how well we decorate our suitcase, sometimes the unthinkable happens. Sometimes bags go missing. Make sure all your valuables are in your hand luggage and always pack a spare change of clothes in your hand luggage too, just in case the worst happens and your checked bag is lost/delayed. That way you won't have to rush to the shops as soon as you arrive to buy replacement clothing.