Packing hacks Packing hacks

Heading off on a holiday? Don’t let packing be a headache!

Nothing is more exciting than a getaway… but the prep can be a nightmare for the disorganised packer! We asked Lonely Planet Director of Sales & Marketing Asia Pacific (and travel expert!) Chris Zeiher for his top tips on getting away with everything you need, nothing you don’t – and your sanity intact.

Woman packing suitcase
Woman planning luggage packing
Three sizes of suitcases

Pick the right pack

There’s no one-size-fits-all bag, so choose the luggage that suits the type of trip you’re taking, says Chris. “It’s worth investing in a good case that’s expandable so it adapts to your trip length.”

Pro tip: Pop your personal details on a tab inside your suitcase. “That way, if your case is lost due to the tag being accidentally removed, it can be identified once it’s opened.”

Over-packed suitcase
Clear toiletries bag in front of suitcase
Family of three packing suitcase
Chargers and adapters

Build a better bag

Figuring out exactly what to put in your case is where people often get stuck. Start by considering the weather of your destination. “It’s easy to overpack by taking unneccessary items especially if you’re escaping winter and going to sunnier climates,” says Chris, “so pack for the weather of the destination you’re going to.”

Choose pieces that can work together – crafting a capsule wardrobe in a neutral palette means you can pair up any items in your suitcase, creating several different holiday looks with fewer pieces.

Basics, like simple black or white tees, are your friend. Chris takes more tops than bottoms – around a four-to-one ratio, he says – and always wears a blazer on the plane. “It’s an easy item to dress up or down for formal or informal occasions.”

Shoes, says Chris, are “space vampires”, so be frugal with your footwear. “I always include a set of runners for the gym and, dependent on the type of trip, a set of walking shoes or more formal business shoes.”

Pop plenty of Bandaids in your toiletries bag, Chris advises, along with a small pair of scissors. “I can’t tell you the amount of times my nail scissors have come in handy in hotel rooms and Airbnbs.”

And don’t forget your chargers and an adaptor. “There’s nothing worse than having to race out and find a universal adaptor once you’ve arrived at your destination.”


To roll or to fold?

When it’s time to get it all in the bag, most travellers fall into one of two camps: rollers believe their way saves space; while folders insist that their method is faster and better for preventing wrinkles. But according to Chris, it all comes down to what you’re squeezing your stuff into.

“Folding works well for suitcases and rolling is a really good option for backpacks, so, there’s merit in both methods,” he explains.

Either way, packing the night before and leaving your bag or case to settle overnight can actually give you eight per cent more space, as gravity forces air out. Bonus!

For smaller bits and pieces, use all the spare space you can find. “I tend to stuff items into other things. Shoes are great to store smaller items,” says Chris, who suggests organising your case by keeping similar items together. “This will allow you to see things at a glance and it’s easy to check that you’ve packed everything.”


Originally published in The Costco Connection, Summer 2019. Pick up the latest copy at your local warehouse or read it online.