We all know that last-minute holiday panic that consists of ten bikinis, six pairs of shoes and a drawer full of make-up versus one, modest-sized suitcase. But while many of us would love to breezily skip through customs with nothing more than fake tan weighing us down, travelling light is harder than it looks. That's why Stylist decided to pick the brains of Sarah Walter, fashion consultant and founder of travel essentials website style-passport.com, for her top tips on how to pack light. Read her advice below...
Divide and rule
One rule to ensure everything fits is when you have your selection laid out on your bed, just cut it in half. Drastic, but it forces you to focus and just remember all the items you have taken on holiday before and never worn. You feel different on holiday and being comfortable and feeling special are what's important; concentrate on items that help you do this.
Think what and where
Consider everything you might be doing (tennis? posh dinners? hiking? swimming? city explorations?) - then put your favourite items for these scenarios on your bed in piles of tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, beauty favourites, jackets/coverups, swimwear. Anything that doesn't have a specific use doesn't need to come without you.
Colour code your clothes
Look at everything and choose items based on the fact they will work with lots of other items. Thinking of a colour palette makes this even simpler. What you are doing here is ensuring everything works really hard and you don’t end up lugging loads of things that just don’t go with anything else and you will end up never wearing.
Bury the shoes
Pack shoes at the bottom of your suitcase and surround them with your underwear. Remember to pack into the corners of your bag - lots of space can be wasted by not filling a bag correctly.
Rollin' rollin' rollin'
Roll every item that can be rolled as this will negate creasing. If you take anything remotely tailored, turn it inside out and tuck in the sleeves and it will arrive in the best shape possible.
Make room for jerseys
Make sure you pack a couple of jerseys for those cool summer evenings. They're comfortable, versatile and pack beautifully.
Slip in some scarves
Scarves add very little to your load and will multi-task on holiday like a pro. Use to double over as a mini skirt on the beach, as a cover up over a bikini en-route to the bar, turban style on your head to protect hair during serious sun bathing and, of course, conventionally around your neck to brighten up a plain top or protect shoulders from sun during lunchtime.
Dress for success
Dresses are very hard-working and also scream "holiday glamour" - a good choice for slimming down that suitcase. In the day, wear with flats, beach with flip flops and sunglasses, then use the same piece by night with heels and lipstick. Easy travelling = sorted.
Say yes to swimwear
Ideally take a costume if you want to seriously swim, dive or snorkel - and as many bikinis as you love: after all, they only take up a tiny bit of space.
Use a see-through washbag
Wash bags with see-through compartments are brilliant for organising your essentials, from dry shampoo to sun lotion. They tend to be lightweight and you can check quickly to see if you've forgotten anything. Remember to make sure all beauty items are less than 50ml if you're planning to take them onboard a flight.