5 Essential Things You Should Do when Packing Light for Italy, Greece and beyond.
I always adhere to that old saying, ‘No-one returns from holiday wishing they had packed more’.
Packing light is an art and an art you can learn without the hard lesson of lugging an overstuffed suitcase over a tiny Venetian bridge, muttering under your breath to the amused smirks of the locals. I’ve seen many, women in particular, who have struggled with suitcases around Italy and Greece……..onto trains, ferries, up stairs, along cobbled stone paths, into and out of buses all the time wishing they had taken more time to think about why they packed that stupid blue cardy that hasn’t been worn and doesn’t ‘go’ with anything. Long gone are the times when porters were available everywhere to help out with overloaded suitcases – and if they are, they are very expensive.
We all know that we should pack light, so maybe this will help:
(1) Your suitcase – is it practical? Was it a left-over from the time when light materials weren’t invented? If yes, it’s definitely time for a new one. There are amazing suitcases on the market…lightweight, strong and most come in 3 sizes. All have wheels, but which to choose 2 or 4? And which size should you choose? Definitely, never the large – don’t even think about it. If you are determined to pack light, then the small, but most choose the medium size. And don’t get fooled into thinking that the most expensive is the best, most times it is not. (Most suitcases I have had trouble with are the more well known brands). You should aim to have a suitcase at around 2.5kgs (or less). Sometimes that’s not easy but worth spending time looking around.
(2) Decant, decant, decant – I still shake my head at people who take a huge bottle of shampoo which would last a normal person 3 months when they are only away for only 3 weeks. So heavy and so impractical. Most travel and outdoor shops have amazing small bottles. Simple and cheap. You can buy these items everywhere: a good chemist, Snowgum, Anaconda, Paddy Palin and good luggage shops.
(3) Pack light clothes – when you are planning your packing, think about the clothes in your wardrobe and choose the lighter fabrics which will wash and dry quickly and don’t need ironing (think man made fabrics). Even your underwear should be synthetic – extremely practical. I never travel with jeans as they are cotton, heavy and not easy to wash but there are some great synthetic type pants that do the job wonderfully and can be rinsed overnight and ready the next day.
(3) Co-ordinate your colours – stick to a colour palette…throw in a few bright scarves and you’ll look like a very chic local, especially in Italy
(4) Take multiple wear clothing – i.e., don’t pack anything you think will only see the light of day once or twice.
(5) Write a list 3 weeks before you’re due to leave – (there are plenty of packing lists online). Take out your suitcase and as you think of something you definitely want to take, place it in the suitcase. After 2 weeks go to the suitcase and think whether that item is really an essential. Packing should never be done quickly, you really need to think over time to pack light (unless you’re a professional). I’ve been one to go away for the weekend without planning my packing and take the same suitcase, and heavier, than my trip away for 6 weeks!
It all comes down to planning.
P.S. The suitcase at the beginning of the article is a domestic carry on and this is packed for 3 weeks away to Italy this May.