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Holiday Travel: My Top Tips

I am sad. I know this because my family constantly remind me. Well it's either sad or weird. I'll take sad.

I'm the one who decides that it would be a good idea to climb Everest (even though I hate heights) and watch every YouTube documentary ever made about mountains....from my living room.  Or I might become a spy, even better, a double agent so I research everything there is to know about Kim Philby. Last year it was all about Marie Kondo. Did you know that there are over 75,000 videos on this subject? My possessions didn't spark joy but I enjoyed the folding bit.

I also collect tips. Right from the days of Patches and Jackie magazines when teenager girls of the 1970s were swamped with tips on how to kiss or discover your next boyfriend from the shape of his nose (I don't think they used any science in that particular article). The tips page was my favourite and always read before anything else. These days the internet is awash with tips and hacks: use a paper toilet seat cover to blot your make-up (seriously?), dry wet lettuce leaves with a hairdryer (because we all have one in the kitchen), use dental floss to cut a sponge cake (now that is a great tip) and grate your own cheese instead of buying it already grated (wow, why didn't I think of that?). As you can see, quality is varied!

Anyway, before I departed for our winter hol, I popped a couple of tips on InstaStories and have been asked for more so here goes, my holiday top tips...

1. Label your passports

I've added an initial on the back of each of ours and OMG it saves so much time. Even before you go when checking in online and completing the very tiresome A.P.I.s. flip the passports over and you'll know exactly which one belongs to which family member without having to search the pages for the photo page.

Sat on my sun lounger last week (I did a lot of that), I thought that I would add the date of expiry of each passport on those little stickers too. I'm more likely to notice it there than on the inside pages (genius or what?).

2. Email Important Documents To Yourself

Can't claim this tip as my own although I've been doing it for years. I have a little folder for holiday bookings on my email account that contains copies of our passports and holiday documents. That way if everything in our holiday world is stolen, we can access all the important stuff from any computer simply by logging on to my email account. The old 'uns are good 'uns aren't they?

3. Create A Summer Holiday / Winter Holiday Checklist

Don't reinvent the wheel every bloomin time. I have three check lists stored on the computer; summer holiday, winter holiday and short-haul. It's not detailed as in what clothes I'm taking but the basics are there - documentation, camera, chargers, swimwear, jewellery, sun cream, etc. It means I don't have to think too hard each time.

4. Label your adaptor plugs

This has been my saviour. I needed a solution to the constant arguing that ensues every holiday over lost adaptors. You know, the daughter borrows the sons, he steals mine, I blame the husband. Resulting in THE MOTHER OF ALL ARGUMENTS. And somehow, it's always ME that ends up not being able to charge up my phone. Say hello to the permanent marker pen.

And guess what, no arguments all holiday. Every one of my dosey family took responsibility for their own adaptor. The rule is, I pack one labelled adaptor each. If they want more than one, they have to pack it themselves. Oh and of course it also means that if they don't return it to the charger box after the hol, I know exactly who the culprit is. So far only the son and I have returned ours.

If however you forget to pack them all together (I would suggest no. 3 above would be advisable), check the back of the tv for a usb port. Ideal for charging up phones/ipads, not so good for the GHDs. Frizzy hair it is then unless you're prepared to pay $25 for a hotel adaptor that is clearly only worth $1.

5. Take a 4 socket extension lead

This tip was stolen from Avril over on A Life To Style blog. Ideal if you have multiple electricals as you only need one adaptor. Mind you, I'm not sure how this would fare in countries with different amps or voltage or whatever. I know my straighteners seem to take longer to heat up in the US.

Homebase 4-Socket Extension Lead £3.97

Tip: I know that firemen hate these things and would caution anyone from overloading sockets (use the overload calculator here). And always, always open out the wires, don't leave the plastic tie thing around them as they can overheat. This even applies to the cable reels - believe me, I'm talking from experience!

6. Stack your bras

Aren't they just the worse things to pack? I hate folding mine in half and popping one of the cups inside out. It's not natural is it? So I stack one on top of the other and then stuff the bottom one with knickers or socks to keep their shape. Or better still, I've found these portable bra containers. I can't work out if they are pure genius or one of those inventions that isn't really required. One size fits all apparently.

Portable Protective Bra Storage Case £2.08

7. Collect those useless little bags

Because actually, they're not useless at all. Haven't a clue when or where I squirrelled these zip bags from, I seem to think that they were used in transit to protect our small cushions on the office sofa. Anyway, don't throw such items away, they're super, super useful for many things. I use these as shoe protectors.

Or thrift style....you know those little complimentary shower caps that the cleaner leaves in the bathroom, snaffle them everyday. She'll religiously top up your supply and by the end of the holiday, you'll have a good collection of 'shoe cover-uppers' which you can reuse on your next hol too.

8. Contact lens cases make brilliant mini storage containers 

So my hubby has zillions of these. He's sent 12 new pots a year by his opticians. Very generous thank you, I'll have some of those. They come into their own when I'm doing hand luggage only holidays. Urgh! Pain in the proverbial. But the little pots are perfect for holding a squirt of foundation or moisturiser or toothpaste. Actually, the list is endless. Also good for transporting contact lenses funnily enough.

Image c/o Pinterest 

9. Double the number of coat hangers...take your own

Absolute bug bear of mine. There's never enough hangers. Or do I take too many clothes? I mean I try to divide them equally between me and husband... one for me, one for you, one for me, one for me, one for you. But there's never enough. So I take a few folding hangers with me. They're not pretty but they do a job particularly as most of my summer clothes are light-weight. I mean, I wouldn't try hanging a full length wool coat or anything. Cheap as well.

5pcs Magic Travel Coat Hangers £3.99

I think they're used on camping holidays. Have you seen some of the ingenious camping equipment hacks? I drool.

Nb. I've never been camping in my life and don't intend to but there's some clever inventors that do!

10. A few jewellery tips

I used to wrap fine chains in strips of cling film to stop them from tangling but then I read recently that you can thread the chain through a straw. Bloody brilliant. And you can stick it in a Mojito at the other end (take the necklace out first).

Image c/o Pinterest

Of course if you're normal, you could just use a travel jewellery roll! I have a silk one somewhere. Far too precious to travel! And anyway, straws are so much more fun.

Accessorize Floral Jewellery Roll £15

Something else I haven't done (probably because I don't wear earrings) but use a spare button to keep pairs together.

Image c/o Pinterest

11. Oooh I do love a good bikini bag

I mean, they're so versatile. Use them to transport your liquids and toiletries, they're waterproof and take up far less space than bulky wash bags. I use them at the resort for carrying sun creams, another for hair bobbles, grips, tangle teezer and another for phones and money (which is easier to carry at lunchtime than the whole beach bag). In fact, I use them for everything except the purpose they were invented for doh!

Ice Lolly Bikini Bag £10

Although got to say, I get mine from Primark for a few pounds, they last years. Darn them! I want to buy more.

12. Pack an 'I can't wait to get into the pool bag'

Who can be bothered to unpack as soon as they arrive at the destination. Not me that's for sure. So, pack your beach bag with immediate essentials; bikini, wrap, sun lotion, flip flops and pop it at the top of your suitcase. That way, you have everything on hand that you need for a couple of hours at the pool (please note; this does not work for a skiing holiday 😏 ). I do my proper unpacking when the sun has gone down. It also works well if you arrive at the resort before your room is ready.

13. Black bags are as essential as a snorkel

Sob, I forgot to pack this time. It bothered me all week, I kid you not. I even considered raiding one of the cleaner's trollies but I didn't want to get them in to trouble.  I'm one of those people that scavenge carrier bags all holiday. Seriously why? I can't help myself, it's a compulsion. Even when I've got black bags....because you never know when you might need a Carrefour carrier bag.

So, what do I use them for? Well for sorting washing at the end of the holiday of course. Blacks, whites, coloureds, brights and delicates. So much easier to sort everyone's washing before going home. And honestly it's a doddle to unpack at the other end. Did I mention that I have a phobia of dirty washing touching the insides of my suitcases? I know, I know it's all a bit bizarre. Rock on black bags.

14. Get wifi as soon as you arrive

That way, you can surf the internet for lots more tips and hacks. Told you my family think I'm sad. Or weird. Or plain old barking mad.

Do feel free to share your sad/weird/barking mad tips too.

18 comments on "Holiday Travel: My Top Tips "
  1. Thank you Donna! Very useful as we are going on a long haul trip later in the year. Especially like the contact lense case idea, the little pots and things I buy at the chemist always seem to leak. I really enjoy reading your blog from over here in little old New Zealand. Jo J

    1. Yes I agree, they do leak don't they whereas the contact lens pots seem to be a little bit more substantial. Ooooh all the way over in New Zealand, love that you're reading the blog from the other side of the world. Thank you xx

  2. You are my holiday organisation twin. Love all your tips. Did some of them already but will defo be copying others.

    1. It's a good feeling isn't it. Sadly my family don't share my need for organisation x

  3. Wow! And I thought I was organised! Fantastic list. Some I do, some I'll be adding to my holiday file. And i labelled the passports after I saw your insta story! Thank you x

    1. Thanks Michelle. The passport thingy was one of those light bulb moments x

  4. Really good travel tips. I intend to use them all this summer.

  5. I bought these for everyone in the family- add lightning cable (iPhone, iPad), apple watch cable, and micro-USB (Kindle) and everything charges in one place- no lost cords/chargers/devices at end of trip either!

    1. I bought an equivalent 4usb travel charger for my last trip...so much better than arguing with the kid over who needed their gadgets charged first. And it has interchangeable plugs for whichever country. Bought one for my parents too!

    2. Now that's a brilliant idea Pam. And yes Rachel that made me laugh, my 21 and 15 year old still argue over the little things lol x

  6. We travel quite often and I'm sick of scrabbling in my oversize handbag for passports/boarding passes/embarcation cards/pens/change for a pop (often in multiple currencies) - so I bought a passport wallet. Best £8 investment. Bright colour, easily dug out, no dramas.
    Have packed a couple of plastic hangers on last three trips for drying clothes - but love those folding ones - now on route to me.

    1. You are so much classier than me. I use a pencil case (hides head in shame) x

  7. We travel a lot and thought we knew all the tricks, but you have several new ones. I love the passport label!
    Re your straightening iron: look to see whether there's a little switch to choose 220V or 110V. Usually it looks like the head of a screw and you have to turn it using a coin. Your iron will work better in the U.S. if it's set to 110V. Don't forget to turn it back when you get home or you'll fry it. The switch is common on hair dryers, too.
    I use one of those where-did-it-come-from transparent zipper pouches for my handbag. When I switch between bags, I just grab the zipper pouch and I have all the essentials, without hunting in the various pockets. No more "ugh! that's in my other bag!" experiences.

    1. Brilliant. Thanks for that tip. I will be checking my GSDs for the little voltage switch (I didn't know that). I've tried one of those bag inserts before and everything ended up on the outside of it, in the bottom of the bag but I like the idea of a transparent zipper that I can keep odds and sods in x

  8. What a brilliant article, it was like looking in the mirror , but you have added so much more. I love the button earring solution, and the black bags are good. For me when I am self catering is taking brillo pads(UK infused wire wool), they work so good on the cooking pans. I always bring bag dish cloths, the size is so much better on holiday. Not that I am just looking at cleaning, it just some things are so much better

    1. Funny how women never switch off even when we're on holiday. Oh yes those great big double thickness dish cloths - the bees knees! And a very random observation...I always marvel at how big the chicken breasts are over in Spanish supermarkets compared to our own pathetic little specimens x

  9. Thanks for sharing such useful tips here. Keep up the good work.