Claire Thompson
July 19, 2022

It’s in the Bag: Making Future Holidays Easier

It’s holiday time, and with it comes the chore of packing and getting ready for a holiday. Maybe you have to clear your desk before leaving. Maybe it’s the mad rush to buy things. But a little holiday bag, ready when needed, could be the difference between arriving at the airport ready and calm, and arriving with missing items and badly organised.

It’s full-on holiday season. The kids are off school and the intrepid are braving the airports to head off to warmer climes.

Even if you’re the kind of traveller who slings a pair of flip flops, a swimsuit and a pair of shorts in a rucksack, there’s preparation to be done: finding passports, organising phone chargers, making sure the case is the right size.

For others it will be heading to a boat or camping or a caravan.

For still more it may be a ‘staycation’ with friends in a different area.

However you holiday, here’s the easyStorage mini plan to make future holidays easier.

The core of ‘easier holidays’ is keeping all of your exclusively holiday things together in one place so that they’re easily accessed. This is usually your cabin baggage bag.

The idea isn’t packing in advance ready to go – it’s to make sure you know where essential travel items are when it comes to packing.  You’ll empty the bag out before packing for travelling, but key things will ‘in the bag’ to make life easy.

So grab a clear plastic folder, a large (A4 size) piece of paper or two and a pen: we’re ready for take off….

1.       Cabin baggage

At time of writing, there is no consistent size or weight limit for cabin baggage, so you’ll need to check each time you fly that your hand baggage fits within the airline’s requirements, remembering that the measurements need to include wheels. (Having witnessed people trying to hammer off wheels with shoes at the departure desk, unless you have money to waste on moving your hand baggage to the hold, or are prepared to have to buy a new case, this is far from recommended.)

Never assume that because you’ve flown before with a particular carrier, the same rules will apply. Always check your booking and current travel rules.

For the purposes of storage, it’s good to keep a note of the size of your cabin baggage, so record it, ‘Size of cabin baggage’, on your sheet of paper.

Before doing anything further, make sure the case is clean and dry. Dirt gets ingrained during storage, and mould grows in damp.

2.       Passports

You may need your passport for more than just holidays, for identity or legalities, so we recommend you find an easily accessible but secure space rather than this bag, maybe a safe or a little used drawer.

On your holiday paper, write down the passport number, its expiry date, and where you keep it.

(It’s expiry date? Some countries insist that passports from non-EU countries have a minimum number of years to run before allowing entry. It is up to you, not your carrier, to ensure that this is in order, although most airlines do warn in advance of these rules.)

You’ll need to be disciplined about keeping the passport in one place.

We also recommend that you keep a copy of your passport in this folder. It will help should the genuine article get lost. And whilst you’re on holiday it pays to have your passport tucked away somewhere like a safe, and to carry copies rather than originals anywhere you go.

A happy couple on holiday with their well-packed suitcases

3.       COVID and other vaccine certificates

We don’t know yet when, where and if the need to have had the COVID vaccine will apply in future for travelling across borders, but keeping copies of the vaccines in your hand luggage’s travel folder will offer quick and easy reference, allowing you to answer any airline/permission to land questions.

If you have had other vaccines for travel to specific places previously, such as hepatitis, typhoid or yellow fever if you’ve been in an infected area, keep copies of those vaccine certificates here too. On the paper note any expiry dates.

4.       Travel plugs

On your holiday paper, start to create a list of the bags contents (as opposed to your travel papers which will be in the folder with the list, or your notes.)

Place any three pin to two pin, or other converter, plugs into (ideally) a clearly marked box, or, failing that a transparent, sealed plastic bag to keep all the pieces together and make handling easy, preventing them snagging other items.

The kind(s) of travel plug you will be the first item(s) on an inventory of ‘what’s in the bag’ in your folder.

5.       Other travel items

If you have travel kettles, travel irons and the like, wipe them clean, empty them of water and allow them to dry completely.

Pack them into the case, making sure any leads are carefully wound around the item, using twist ties to keep the leads in place.

Add these items to your bag inventory.

A pile of suitcases at the airport with a plane taking off in the background

6.       Beach towels and accessories

During the summer, you may want these things out and to hand. But when not in use, keeping beach towels, beach bags and other accessories in this holiday bag may be the perfect place to keep them.

There’s a big proviso with this, though: beach towels are bulky items, and it may be better to store them close by, but separately.

Either add them to your list of what’s in the bag, or make a note of where you’re planning to store them.

7.       Small Inflatables like pool toys

Inflatables are the bane of parents’ lives.  The great thing, however, is that they fold down to nearly nothing for storage. The bad thing, by contrast, is that punctures and split seams are common. So before storing, check for punctures by inflating and holding under water. If the air comes out, you have two choices – to try and fix with rubber patches or to pop them in the recycling bin.

Assuming they are puncture free, or repaired, deflate them. Some pumps also have air removers. Don’t try and force this – jumping on them to push the air out may burst them. Once they are deflated, make sure they are clean and dry before storing in the bag, as flat as possible.

(For any hard to remove marks or dirt, try some baking powder on a damp sponge.)

Store in a mesh bag, and if you need to fold the item line with tissue paper or fabric to avoid the plastic sticking to itself.

Don’t forget to add these items to the list of the bag contents as you pack them in.

Foam and rubber items will be too big for this bag, as will large inflatables like boats. These should be cleaned dried and stored separately. Cleaning, drying and storing properly are key to making sure your efforts storing haven’t been in vain. Rotted plastics and mould simply add to the stress of preparing for a holiday.

Keep a note in your folder of where you’ve stored these bigger items. You’ll be glad you did when you can’t remember next year.

8.       Holiday only clothes

There’s that ‘itsy bitsy, teenie weenie’ bikini that you’d never wear to the beach in the UK, let alone the local or spa swimming pool. Then there’s the ‘budgie smuggler’ swim shorts. Perhaps a cover all that doesn’t really cover quite enough for the neighbours. Or the Hawaiian shirts and shorts that would look slightly out of place on the high street.

Time to pack them in. Clean and dry, and ironed where appropriate, of course.

Add these new additions to the list of bag contents.

And here’s the thing: now is a great time to have a really thorough summer wardrobe sort. It’s still summer, allegedly, so there are things you will, or may, be wearing. Looking at the summer things that you haven’t worn yet:

·         Do they fit well?

·         Do they suit you?

·         Do you really like them?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, it’s time to thank them for their service, make sure they’re clean and give away, sell or donate to a charity shop.

If, however, they are only for special occasions, check that they are they clean and ready to wear. If not, now’s the time to fix this. Many dry cleaners have summer offers available, and cleaning before any stains become too ingrained to shift is a smart move.

9.       A copy of your driving license

Why a copy? When it comes to filling out car hire forms you’ll have them to hand, and of course, if your license ever gets lost, you have a copy with the details.

A suitcase packed with clothing, shoes, camera, phone and headphones

10.   Left over foreign currency

Sometimes you get the chance to change foreign money back on your return from holiday, sometimes you don’t. The reasons are numerous, but it’s often because those dollars or euros are coins and the exchange places won’t take them back, or because you visit regularly.

Keep all different kinds of currently separately, for example in envelopes, coin bags or sandwich bags, marked with the contents.

Add the money to your list of bag contents and pat yourself on the back. Having loose change when you first arrive somewhere is likely to make you way more popular than the large denomination bank note straight from the exchange bureau.

(I keep mine in a waterproof box that can be hung around my neck.)

11.   Water shoes and snorkelling gear

Unless you’re regularly out on the water, for example kayaking, boarding or sailing, you probably only need your water shoes/neoprenes for holidays. Make sure they are thoroughly rinsed clean and dried before adding to the bag and to the list of bag contents.

As for snorkelling gear, the sun can bleach out colours and make both fabric and rubber stiff, even brittle and fragile. Salt is corrosive and can cause rust and rot fabrics. So check well for damage before packing, rinse well and dry thoroughly before putting into the bag and adding to our growing list.

12.   Your own holiday only essentials

You may have things that you always take on holiday but that are personal to you.

For example, I have a friend who travels the World with a stuffed rabbit, who replaces ‘selfies’ on social media. Another has a St Christopher. These only leave home for holidays, so why not keep these kinds of holiday/travel only items in the single ‘holiday stuff’ space that we’ve just created?

Put several empty, clean, dry 100ml bottles into the case: you can fill them at the time of your holiday with your regular, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, after shave, perfume etc. and sail through the airport with ease.

(At time of writing, airports allow you to carry into the air cabin one transparent, resealable, clear plastic bag containing any liquids aerosols, gels, creams and pastes up to 100ml each – no more than a litre in total.)

It’s worth noting that 100 ml is the average perfume bottle size, so you may be able to travel with a favourite perfume without issue (although sometimes going without and treating yourself in duty free has a certain appeal! Just remember you need to travel back with it as well.) A 55 g tube of toothpaste will have a volume of around 45 ml.

An orange suitcase with holiday essentials ready to be packed

What’s not in the bag

Note that we’ve not included electronics in the list of things to store.  Unless you have a kindle or iPad specifically for holidays, you’ll probably be using these outside of holiday time, and know exactly where they are when it comes to packing time.

We have suggested putting into the storage case dry empty bottles for use at the time of travel, not liquids, which can leak and congeal and are far better left out until packing to leave.

Your end goal

Last into the case goes that clear plastic folder.

It will by now hold notes including:

·         Where to find your passport;

·         The actual size of your hand baggage to compare with any future flight allowance;

·         A list of contents inside the holiday bag;

·         A list of where to find other regular holiday items.

And with it will be:

·         A copy of your passport and driving licence;

·         A copy of COVID and other vaccine certificates.

You will also only have summer clothes in your wardrobe that fit you, suit you, and are clean and ready to wear.

The last thing to create and add is your personal checklist of things you will always need to remember: phone chargers, yoga mats, inhalers, medications, sun creams and toiletries etc. That way you are less likely to forget when it comes to packing; and things you want to remember for specific holidays: wetsuits, crabbing lines, evening dress. When it comes to packing you can delete what you don’t need, creating a simple list of what you still need to gather.

Store away

If you are a ‘Lifestyle storer’ now’s the time to get this bag into storage unless you have a holiday imminent.

Otherwise tuck the case away someway safe and dry ready for making your next holiday that much more enjoyable because you know where everything is, helping you arrive at the departure gate, pontoon or caravan door, calm, cool and looking like a travel pro!

If you need storage, easyStorage has an easy, no-obligation online price checker:

Or call 0333 016 4341 to chat through your requirements.

Claire Thompson

Claire joined the easyStorage family as a blogger in August 2020 and is loving it! Her passions include writing and learning, and with easyStorage she’s learning new things fast. When not tapping at a keyboard she can be found renovating an old cottage, despite having inherited a complete lack of DIY skills from her father. She has two children, now grown up, and a dopey, loving Vizler (dog), Chester, who steadfastly refuses to do the same. She claims he’s her soulmate!

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