I came home from the gym a few months ago to find Mr Smaggle strutting around our apartment carrying his backpack, wearing nothing but his underwear.
‘What are you doing?’ I asked.
‘Oh, nothing… I just figured out how to fit 2 weeks worth of clothes, accessories, camera gear and toiletries in this backpack!’ He gleefully spun around and strutted across the room.
We take organisation very seriously in our house and he had just reached a new level of awesomeness. He’d managed to pack 2 weeks worth of stuff into a single backpack. It wasn’t even a big backpack, it’s one of those little trendy, city dweller style backpacks that you’d imagine a cool Japanese guy taking to work. The little shit had beaten me at my own game.
In the past few years, we’ve travelled a lot. Thailand, USA, Italy, Germany, Indonesia. We also have family dotted along the east coast of Australia so we’ll often leave Melbourne for a month and live in between our family homes from Canberra to Brisbane. We’ve been in a serious competition for years now with our minimalist packing. I’ve whittled my entire beauty, skin and hair regime to a single, small toiletries bag. Mr Smaggle has done the same. We each have our own version of a capsule wardrobe for both winter and summer and every time we pack, we try to take one less thing than the last time we packed. We are the masters at packing light.
On that note, here are a few things you don’t need to pack for the holidays… I know this because I’ve packed every single one of these things myself and regretted it.
1. Diamonds darling!
You don’t need to pack your grandmother’s heirloom pearls or your diamond tennis bracelet that’s worth as much as your car. Valuable jewellery does not belong in suitcases. If you happen to wear this very valuable jewellery everyday, that’s fine. Be totally baller and wear your diamond studs to the gym. I respect that. You just don’t want to have expensive and/or irreplaceable jewellery packed in bags and left in hotels where they can be stolen or go missing. This is particularly important if you haven’t worn this expensive jewellery in ages. Why do you think you’re going to want to wear it on holidays? It’s only going to stress you out. Leave your tiara at home. Your cat might like to try it on.
2. Clothes that need ironing
I’d advise against even owning clothing that needs ironing but if you’ve gone and made that mistake already, don’t make the mistake worse by packing it in your bag for a holiday. Trying to track down an iron is always a giant pain in the ass. Just pack stuff that doesn’t wrinkle and if you really need a particular dress for a particular occasion (like a wedding) have it dry cleaned when you get to your location. I get a bad attitude if I have to iron on holidays so it’s better to just outsource it because I’ll do a rubbish job of it anyway.
3. That second pair of jeans
I’m not a big jeans wearer in general but anytime I pack more than one pair of jeans or pants, I end up wearing my favourite pair the whole time. Why? Because they’re more comfortable and they make me look thinner. Why would I wear the second best pair of jeans? Why I do I even own a second-best pair of jeans? Excuse me while I do a quick run to Vinnies.
4. High heels that you’re only going to wear for 5 minutes
I used to pack ridiculously high heels for weddings, wear for them for about half an hour and then get changed into my more comfy heels. Now? I just start by wearing the more comfy heels and that’s all I pack. Hot tip: Shoes take up HEAPS of room in luggage and they’re usually really heavy. When I travel in winter, I take one pair of boots and one pair of dressy flats. When I travel in summer, I take one pair of comfy sandals and one pair of dressy sandals with a comfy heel. Boom.
5. Anything you haven’t worn in the past year
If you haven’t worn it in a year, throughout a full cycle of seasons, it’s unlikely you’re going to wear it on holiday. I’ve done this so many times. ‘Oh, I’ll just put this floaty kaftan in because I’m going to be near the beach and I want to loll around like an Elizabeth Taylor-esque seal.’ This never happens. When I go to the beach I want to wear something that stops my thighs rubbing together, which isn’t a kaftan. If you haven’t worn an item in real life, you’re not going to wear it while you’re away.
6. Anything unseasonable
If it’s summer where you’re going, you don’t need your duck down jacket. If you’re going to a winter climate, you can probably safely leave your togs at home. I usually pack my swimmers for every trip ‘in case the hotel has a swimming pool’ and I never, ever use them unless it’s properly summer time.
7. Single-use wardrobe items
I’m talking about that fabulous but enormous structural top you wore to that art gallery opening, your floor-length sequinned maxi dress or those amazing but hideously uncomfortable patent leather pointy over the knee boots that make your toes cry. If you’re only going to wear an item once on your trip, think very carefully whether or not it needs to take up space in your suitcase.
8. Your full sized toiletries
Downsize that shit girlfriend (or boyfriend or non-binary friend). Camping stores and department stores have amazing travel bottles you can decant your products into. I recommend Muji – they have great little bottles that are leak free and you can fit a good few weeks worth of product in them.
9. Every single gadget in your house
If you haven’t used your Instax, Go Pro, mobile lens kit or tripod in months, don’t pack them. My Instax has travelled all the over the world and has taken very few photos on those trips. Freeloader. She’s not invited next time.