Make room for what matters: the art of mindful packing

Just like most things in life, packing for your holiday should be about the things that are most essential. These guidelines will help you pack mindfully.

Preparing for your holiday can be fun, but also challenging—particularly when you’re trying to decide what to bring with you. There are so many factors to consider: luggage allowance, destination and mode of transportation, just to name a few. But don’t sweat what’s going into your suitcase… just follow these guidelines and know you have everything you need.


Whether you create a physical checklist or a digital one, taking the time to write a list of everything you need will prevent a last-minute panic. For the super organised, why not create packing lists for different types of holidays to keep on file – weekend city break, winter sports, beach vacation, etc. Then for each list break it down into categories: clothes, electricals, toiletries, etc. If you’re the type of person who packs in stages (rather than in one last-minute go), by checking off the things as they get added to the suitcase means you won’t question whether you actually did already pack that Kindle charger. And thus, you will avoid a mad unpack/repack situation while the taxi to the airport is waiting.  



Whenever possible, try to limit yourself to a carry-on bag. If you don’t check your bag, you can’t lose it. And just imagine how much easier it is to carry one small bag than to haul a huge suitcase up and down metro stairs, through swindling alleys or up the narrow steps of your old town hotel. You can take small quantities of liquids, gels and creams in your hand luggage on flights, so swap your usual bottles and jars for some handy minis.  



This time-honoured packing technique just makes sense. Fold things in half, then roll them up rather than folding them into quarters, and you’ll notice a lot more room in your carry-on. Plus, you’ll have fewer creases to deal with on the other side. On that note, if you have clothing that’s prone to creasing at the hint of a fold perhaps leave it at home (to think about what it’s done).  



Leave your house wearing the bulkiest clothing items so they won’t take up valuable space in your bag. This will also make you think twice about outerwear: do you really need that thick wool coat in case the evenings get chilly in August?  



Ask yourself: can that top you’re about to pack work with multiple items? If you only wear the top with one pair of shorts, reconsider. You want to pack items that can easily be mixed and matched with other pieces. Oh, and for ease if you know you’ll be heading straight out to dinner when you arrive, make sure you pack that outfit last so it’s easily accessible when you open your suitcase. 



Packing cubes (you can easily find them online) enable you to divide your items. You can pack all your underwear in one, swimwear in another, they’re also useful for bringing dirty washing back home in.  

Top tip: Bought our bedding? That drawstring bag it comes in can moonlight as a packing cube. See what we mean here, plus check out our other upcycling ideas.  


Washing machines are not some magical device that lives in your home only—you can wash your clothes pretty much anywhere, so there’s no need to pack a different outfit for every day that you’re away.  

If you need a quick freshen-up during your vacay, just grab your travel-sized Hair & Body Mist and spray it over your body, clothes and hair to lock in the delicate fragrance anytime, anywhere.  



This one will save you lots of space and it’s basically a no-brainer. Hitting the beach in Barcelona, for instance? We’re willing to bet they have all your temporarily needed supplies available in stores there (hello, Rituals Barcelona), so don’t bother buying them at home and lugging them all the way there. Try to limit the items in your toiletry bag to mini-sized products that are crucial to your self-care routine, such as your face skincare products.  



Flying? Take an oversize scarf or pashmina because airplanes tend to get chilly. You can also use it in the evenings abroad if the temperature drops. Take a reusable water bottle (to avoid buying single-use plastic bottles) – you can fill it up at the airport when you’re through passport control and be sure to pack any important documents or medicine in your carry-on (just in case). 

It’s a good idea to approach packing like you do other aspects of your life. Pause for a moment, be present, and be mindful of wants vs. needs. You’ll find that when you do this, you’ll be relaxed and ready to enjoy a wonderful change of scenery. 


Amy Lawrenson

Amy Lawrenson

Amy Lawrenson is a UK beauty editor with over 13 years of experience writing for magazines and websites including ELLE, Grazia, Women's Health and Byrdie. She has a keen interest in all things beauty and wellness, especially skincare because who doesn't want a clear, glowing complexion?