I consider myself a very seasoned traveller, but on a recent trip to Ireland I realised, once again, that I only get it half right when it comes to packing.
I learnt long ago that travelling light is best, but no matter how much I edit, 50 per cent of my suitcase always remains unworn.
I love the anticipation of a trip overseas, and the attendant fun of packing, but not so much once I arrive at my destination and realise that I am carting around completely inappropriate items such as cardigans in Bali or evening wear on a road trip.
Here, a quick check list of what not to pack.
1. Anything that doesn’t fit
For some inexplicable reason, I find items in my case that I threw in that I know to be too small, or a bit tight. There is no way you will be fitting into them once you arrive, for as any Australian knows, a long haul flight will instantly add a size or two, and mysteriously remove any trace of your ankles.
Elastic waist trousers are a traveller’s best friend (and a far superior choice to leggings in terms of visuals). Black cotton or wool for day, black silk for night.
Take your roomier jeans. And pack your tracksuit pants. No matter how glamorous your destination, there will be times when you will be desperate to put on your trackies, especially when resting up in the hotel. Designer trackies and a soft oversized cotton sweater are also perfect for a quick trip down to the breakfast room.
2. Heavy overcoats
Even if you are travelling to a cold climate, a heavy overcoat will take up precious room. This is where a lightweight down parka comes into its own, as they roll up to virtually nothing.
Check the temperatures where you are going and pack accordingly. I decided, illogically, that 20 degrees in Ireland would feel colder than 20 degrees in Sydney, and thus had way too many coats and knits.
Layers of t-shirts or thin sweaters aew a better idea, as is the addition of a large pashmina. A pashmina multitasks as a blanket for the plane, a muffler, a wrap for cool evenings and a comfortable cover-up for an afternoon nap.
3. Designer trainers
I’m new to the designer trainer trend but what I have discovered is that, apart from the fact that they are stupidly overpriced, they are not designed to be 24/7 comfortable. They will not take you over hill and down dale without speedily creating a callous.
If you are going to be doing a lot of walking, take trainers that are designed to do the job properly. Save the designer pair for lunches and casual dinners.
4. Anything too dressy
It is far easier to dress up simple pieces, such as sweaters, t-shirts and pants, with a piece of jewellery, or an embellished scarf, than it is to tote around evening clothes.
As a trip wears on, comfort becomes key, and changing for dinner can be a hassle. A silky black t-shirt can take you from day to dinner, with just a change of accessories.
5. New shoes on a plane
Always pack a pair of soft slippers in your hand luggage. My last in-flight disaster was when I chose to wear a new pair of loafers on a long haul trip in economy.
I had blisters before I got through the last passport check, swelled up two sizes somewhere over Singapore and had to walk to the toilets barefoot as I had forgotten to pack socks. A truly horrific experience.
It pays to remember if your feet are happy, your holiday will be too.