Ever wondered if you really need that bulky blow up pillow into which you plunge your head so you can sleep on a flight?
Here are my packing tips based on 30 years trekking the globe.
TOP 10 THINGS TO LEAVE HOME...
1. A bizarre blow-up pillow into which you plunge your head. Apparently, these are all the rage. Apart from the fact they are extremely unattractive props, your chiropractor will thank you for not travelling with one.
2. Shampoo and conditioner. Newsflash: most hotels have both. For free. The same goes for razors and soap.
3. A foot rest. I'm not even sure this is legal on a plane, but a mate recently flew to England with her own portable footrest. Pretty sure the same goes for plane chair recline stoppers. That's another debate for another day.
4. A magazine or library book. The first is read too quickly and weighs too much. The latter is also heavy and if you're like me, you'll either leave it in the seat pocket of the plane, or have to cart it around because it can't be swapped. A second-hand book or Kindle is king.
5. Spray deodorant in any size. Particularly if it's carry on. We don't want to smell, but you know what stinks more? Having to take the lid off the deodorant every time you go through security. Use a long-life anti-perspirant in a roll on.
6. Expensive jewellery. Leave the diamonds at home.
7. A hairdryer. There are very few hotels that don't stock these and if you are staying somewhere where there isn't one, the wind is now your best friend, my friend.
8. Your entire make-up kit. Bring the basics, ditch the rest. You will be surprised at how little face paint you need, particularly when you are on holidays, and stunned at how much these small items collectively weigh.
9. Large containers of any toiletry (see point 2). These days you can find miniature versions of good quality brands in chemists and supermarkets.
10. A travel iron. Iron all of your clothes before you go and then roll them to pack them. Anything that gets crushed during travel can simply be hung in the bathroom and the wrinkles steamed out.
TOP 10 THINGS TO PACK...
1. A lightweight suitcase on wheels, with several compartments. Wheels, because you will be surprised at how far you have to walk in some cities and lightweight, because you will be stunned at how few cities in Asia and Europe have elevators. Compartments are handy for non-clothing items such as books, shoes, hats and belts.
2. Packing cells. I've become a convert to these individual pouches into which you simply divide your clothes by type. Finding specific items is incredibly easy and unpacking and repacking, a pleasure.
3. A pillow case/laundry bag. Nothing screams efficiency more than an item that can do two jobs.
4. Noise-cancelling headphones. My travel colleagues swear by them. Ear plugs are also good for simplicity and size. The point here is peace and quiet.
5. Your current smart phone and your old smart phone. If you're really smart (see what I did there?) you'll switch off global roaming on your current phone, but still receive texts and Wi-Fi where it's available. In your old phone, grab a local SIM card, and you're good to make calls/receive data.
6. A universal adaptor or three. You can buy a compact one to suit any country's power point. Carry a few for all of your rechargeable gadgets and remember your power cords.
7. Ziploc and plastic bags. Ziploc for your items under 100ml for stringent security checks. Plastic bags are super handy for carrying home wet items such as swimsuits or something that may have busted in your bag.
8. An eye mask. One of the best investments you will ever make. This magic sliver of material is the one thing standing between you and a decent sleep on a flight. It blocks out the light (and a chatty neighbour) and is handy once you've arrived at your destination and the curtains aren't as thick as you'd like.
9. A pen. Extremely useful for filling out immigration forms. One with a light is even cooler and practical when walking back to your room in the dark.
10. Basic toiletries such as eye drops, nasal spray, lip balm, make-up wipes and moisturiser are particularly handy on long-haul flights.