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How to ‘carry on’ like a boss!

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I had to blow my own trumpet just a little bit here because I have just mastered the art of packing light! Seriously – this never happens. When I travel I usually take practically everything and the kitchen sink!

I blame the kids! Since I became a mother I have gone for the strategy of preparation. Always having everything to hand so I was never caught out without a wet wipe, Calpol sachets or a change of clothes (for them, not me!)

Even though my children are not babies anymore, the habit remained and for years I have carried round a heavy handbag containing everything I need on a daily basis, but all this just changed. I have learned to pack like a boss!

This weekend for the FIRST TIME EVER, I’m hopping on a plane with girlfriends for a hen do in Amsterdam. Not a blogger trip, not a family vaycay, just girls – drink – maybe a little shopping – the culture – and FUN! I’ve never done foreign travel without the family until now, unless it was work related (I did a trip to Disneyland Paris with a bunch of bloggers a couple of years ago! I know, I know – calling Disneyland Paris ‘work’ but it was work related!!

Well anyway, this is a girls weekend and we are going on a plane, flying from Manchester to Amsterdam and for once I will have no responsibility to anyone but myself. I’ll be like Rita in Bridesmaids the mum who is ‘let loose’ for a weekend and wants to make the most of it! So to cut costs on our airfare, we are all packing carry on luggage only – as to check a suitcase into the hold attracts an extra charge.

Here is how I did it, and some packing tips for a compact carry-on!

    • Organise outfits in advance and make them versatile! I first got out the clothes that I wanted to wear, one outfit per day. Then I added a matching new top for evening to my ‘day’ skirt so I could go right through with minimal fuss and then I chose an accessory like a necklace to give the outfit a different look at night.
    • Then I added in my special black dress for the dressy up night (black & bling theme) as an ‘extra’ and also packed a necklace with bling.
    • I selected the underwear to go with all this and set them aside – underwear is great for packing into gaps once the rest of the case is filled.
    • I’m taking a wheeled cabin suitcase of the right dimensions to be stored in the overhead bins on the plane, and I started folding clothes into it – allowing the bits that don’t fit within the case to drape outside of the case to fold in later.

carry on case Collage

    • Now for the beauty products! I made a list of everything I will need from toothpaste to body lotion to make-up remover wipes. Plus I went for dry shampoo (one small tin) rather than separate shampoo & conditioner to save space. Then I bought everything I needed in a travel size container.
    • I Packed the ‘dry’ stuff (soap / toothbrush) into a toiletry bag then packed the liquids and gels separately into a see-through bag for an easier passage through security. This bag is packed into my handbag which is easier to access at security than my case which will be locked.

liquids for security

    • Then, the toiletry bag and my bagged shoes are placed on top of the folded clothes and the sides are folded in. This means the clothes get less creased in transit and creates pockets of space in the suitcase corners to stuff with socks and undies!

socks in spaces with text

Then I just packed my handbag with what I needed; Travel money, passport, iPad, noise cancelling headphones, sunglasses and shawl (which doubles as an in-flight blanket!) and I have everything I need for a long weekend away with the girls!

In the photo of my beauty products above, you can see the Green People organic sun lotion and the KORRES body milk & shower gel from their ‘KORRES Holiday In Greece Set‘ (£19).   I wanted to mention KORRES in particular as they have some fab beauty products, including the KORRES Santorini Vine shower gel and body milk that I took to Italy with me at half term!  Both products pictured below are currently on sale so grab them while you can!  I’m taking their ‘Holiday in Greece’ set to Amsterdam with me as it is all in a handy travel size – great for cabin bag packing!

KORRES shower gel & body lotion


What essentials do you take with you on holiday? Let me know in the comments!

Article Categories:
Lifestyle · Reviews · Tips & Hacks · Travel

Comments to How to ‘carry on’ like a boss!

  • Have an amazing time. Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities, it’s just so lovely. Fingers crossed for the weather for you too! 🙂

    Emma Raphael 17th June 2016 11:56 am Reply
    • We got one amazing sunny day and the other two were just like in the UK so all in all, the weather was no bother!

      Nadine Hill 22nd June 2016 5:17 pm Reply
  • Oh have an amazing time! I know what you mean about overpacking. My kids are 10 and 3 and I still carry wipes and things around!

    Fozia S 17th June 2016 6:08 pm Reply
  • Excellent advise and so well thought out.Your planning of outfits is great idea.

    Nayna Kanabar 17th June 2016 6:53 pm Reply
  • I don’t think I could possibility pack light. This is why we always take our car on holiday!

    nessjibberjabberuk 18th June 2016 12:16 am Reply
  • Have an amazing time – I like the clear toilet bag idea for liquids.

    Erica Price 18th June 2016 8:00 am Reply
    • It was so much easier than trying to use a ziplock bag!

      Nadine Hill 22nd June 2016 5:15 pm Reply
  • I hope you had an amazing time – great tips, especially the clear bag for toiletries x x

    Cass@frugalfamily 18th June 2016 12:18 pm Reply
  • Every trip we make, I pack less and less! Great packing tips – hope you had fun in Amsterdam!

    Michelle 20th June 2016 10:21 am Reply
    • It was amazing!

      Nadine Hill 22nd June 2016 5:14 pm Reply
  • I am great at packing light for me, but not for the boys. I managed a trip to LA with just carry on for me! I guess it is a throwback to all the business travel I used to do. But with boys that are just noise with muck on I need so much!

    Jen Walshaw 21st June 2016 10:07 am Reply
    • It was a million times easier because it was just me!! I have to agree.

      Nadine Hill 22nd June 2016 5:14 pm Reply
  • I think I need packing lessons from you, I find it impossible to pack light (although Hubby is worse than me)

    Kara Guppy 22nd June 2016 8:59 pm Reply
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