Pack the perfect bag for your summer holiday

Pack the perfect bag for your summer holiday (Photo: Thinkstock)

School's out (or very nearly), the weather's glorious and people all over the UK will now be eagerly anticipating the arrival of their summer holidays, wherever they're heading to.

However, one thing that threatens to put a dampener on the excitement every year is the packing of suitcases, particularly for travel abroad. How does luggage suddenly become so full? Which items could be left at home and not missed?

We've been guilty of the old 'sitting on the suitcase' trick in the past and it reminded us of a survey we once read about. Carried out by Thomson's, it said only 16 per cent of people actually use or wear everything they originally packed when they're at their destination, even though a quarter of them spent two to three days deliberating over it all.

And these days, you run the risk of penalties from your airline if you aren't ruthless with your baggage weight - not to mention the threat of straining your arms carting it around.

Clearly, packing light is a major advantage - but how can you do it? We've got some top tips below that should help you out and ensure this year's trip is stress-free and easy.

Clothing

Rather than emptying your entire wardrobe into the case, think about planning outfits for different days. For example, nobody needs 15 vests for a fortnight's trip, particularly since you will hopefully be spending some of it in swimwear - leave some of them behind. 

In addition, shorts and evening dresses can be reused a couple of times unless they encounter a spillage. Nobody's going to notice, plus you'll only be in them for a few hours at a time - they're really not dirty!

And our top clothing tip is to avoid going overboard with shoes. High heels are going to be uncomfortable in the heat, so resist the temptation to pack them at all if you can. Instead, take a pair of flip-flops for around the pool and a pair of sandals that are comfortable enough for exploring in the daytime but also snazzy enough for the evening meal.

Toiletries

It's really easy to overpack with toiletries and skincare, but remember you're being a minimalist. You won't need heavy foundations, palettes of eyeshadows and going-out mascara as they'll be too heavy. Swap them instead for a mineral-based foundation - which also has SPF so is ideal for daytime - and a bronzer that can double up for use on the eyes.

You'll thank yourself for being so sensible if you pack light on your summer holidays.

You'll probably find you hardly even wear cosmetics anyway, once you're down on the beach and relaxed.

Washing and moisturising

Hotel soaps and shower gels can be very drying to the skin, so we don't blame you for wanting to take your own - but pack smart. If you take something like our Citrus Grove soap bar, the whole family can use it because the scent is unisex. It also takes up only a tiny amount of space but goes a long way because it lathers up with really moisturising foam.

Alternatively, if you're going on a ladies-only trip - or you can't persuade your daughter not to take her own - add a Rose Soap bar for a more feminine touch.

Shower gel is the one thing you'll need a bigger bottle of, as you'll get through a lot when it's really hot. Again though, a product like Heyland & Whittle's Coconut, Vanilla and Black Pepper body wash will suit all the family, so you won't need several products filling your bags and skittering around in the shower.

The great thing about this scent is that if you use it when you get home, it'll evoke holiday memories for ages.

Finally, a body lotion is essential for holidays as the sun can really be harsh on your skin, even though we're sure you'll be sensible when it comes to catching the rays. 

Our Green Tea and Grapefruit body lotion features vitamin E and almond oil to soothe and relax, plus the tea has been shown to slow down the signs of ageing that UV exposure can cause. If you'd rather match your moisturiser to your shower gel though, you can also get the Coconut, Vanilla and Black Pepper scent in a lotion.

And if you really have left packing quite late and feel your stress levels rising, let us do the job of selecting toiletries for you with our bestselling travel set. It features bath, shower and body products in convenient little bottles, so that's a little less to worry about.

You're on your own if you still need to sit on your suitcase, though...