For lots of people now is (finally!) the time of year that thoughts start to turn to Summer holidays and the nightmare that is packing! I'll never be a capsule wardrobe, hand luggage only type traveller but I have learnt to pack smartly and keep room back for some little extras to make my holiday even more special.
The Flight -
I've been lucky enough to go to a number of countries requiring a long haul flight and these three items help make those hours pass a little more comfortably!
A thick, large scarf - I picked this up in Peru and I take it with me on every flight. I often find the blankets provided on planes either cover your legs or your shoulders & chest - not both! Bringing your own scarf means you can double your warmth factor or use it to make a fluffier pillow.
Facial Spray - Spending hours in airports, planes and transfer buses means dry skin to me. Using a facial spray instantly cools you and gives your skin enough of a lift until you can hit that shower in your room.
Compression Stockings - Certainly not a fashion statement ( the person who makes attractive stockings will make A LOT of money) these stockings will help reduce swelling and lower the chances of any blood clots forming. Head to the loo once the seatbelt light is off and pop them on and your legs & ankles will thank you. I saved mine after an operation (they are easily washable) but you can buy them from larger pharmacies.
I also pick up a large bottle of water once I've got through security. While you can get water from the cabin crew, I like to have my own so you can hydrate to your heart's content.
In your room -
Slippers - I've kept these complimentary spa slippers and take them on holiday with me. They take up no room in your luggage but are a godsend on tiled floors and bathrooms.
Candle - A scented candle fills your room with a fresh scent and adds a little luxury to your holiday.
Facial Products & Toiletries - I have a few toiletries that I save for special occasions & holidays. I find you have more time to give yourself a facial and holidays are some of the few times that I do the full cleanse, tone, moisturise routine! A full day of sun, sea water & sand while being lovely, can also be drying and your day to day moisturiser might not be powerful enough to fully rehydrate you.
I also pack some teabags & mini cartons of UHT milk. I found in both Cuba & the Maldives that the milk in your room is powdered, this works fine for coffee...but NOT for tea! Don't forget one or two liquid laundry tablets to give swim wear & other essentials a quick wash through. It means you don't have to pack so many clothes and they will quickly dry on balconies in the sun.
Out & About -
Sarong - Perhaps the most versatile item you can pack! Use it as a cover up on the beach, drape it onto your sun lounger, use it to cover shoulders on excursions or as a scarf on cooler evenings.
Pack of Cards - I only ever play cards on holiday! They don't need batteries, take up a tiny amount of space and it doesn't matter if you get sand on them. It's great to catch up on reading but playing cards means you're also interacting and there are endless variations of games that you can play.
Disposable camera - Imagine the worst happens and your camera breaks, or you forget the charger? I always pack a disposable camera as an emergency back up after seeing too many people test out waterproof phone covers on the first day..only to find out they're not waterproof!
Age UK have also put together their own guide for people heading off on a cruise, which is full of tips that can help us all have a better holiday!
I'd love to know what your packing essential is - comment, tweet or let me know via carrier pigeon!