Holidays are meant to be relaxing but let’s be honest until you’re in that departure lounge with a glass of fizz in hand its far from a tranquil experience. One of the biggest panics has to be the moment your suitcase goes on the weighing scales and you begin to wonder if the last minute decision to chuck in that bottle of salt spray, heavy with the promise of perfect natural beach waves, will be what tinkers you over the edge. The moment kick-starts a roller coaster of luggage related thought processes- the angst as you wonder if you’re going to be charged £50 for your sins when you’ve already forked out £22 on the aforementioned Bumble & Bumble wonder spray because Vogue told you it was a holiday essential, relief that its allowed, followed by shame at the ‘heavy’ tag and finally the panic as to whether you’ll actually be reunited with your precious cargo again!! Is it worth it?! Well our Sarah and her gang chose to bypass the drama and opted for a hand luggage only holiday, but we’re not talking a weekend away here, this was a two week holiday of a lifetime hopping around America! “How on earth did she manage that?!!” I hear you ask, well let me hand you over to the lady herself for the lowdown on packing like a pro…
“We’ve just touched down from an epic holiday to America with an itinerary that took us from New York to San Francisco, on to Vegas and finishing in LA. The catch? Hand luggage only…what was my husband thinking? My styling background had to protect me here so I embarked on sticking to a simple palette of black and white (obviously) with accents of tan.
The first strategic move when leaving for the airport at 4.30am was to layer- it not only keeps things cosy but helps with space as you’re wearing all your bulky items.
My ultimate shout out has to go to the humble cami, which was my best friend when being unleashed in temperatures ranging from 28 – 46 degrees. I brought a few and I rotated these with a choice of two pairs of shorts as well as a co-ord set that I used in many different ways; as a shirt cover up, the shorts with a plain cami or vest, layered for air conditioning freeze box resorts in Vegas and buttoned up as a playsuit look.
One dress was all I could fit in – silky, lightweight and a godsend.
Our Scotch & Soda burnt out hoody was my saviour on all flights and in chilly San Francisco.
A silk scarf proved its worth in all temperatures and kept the sun off my neck in one city whilst adding warmth in another.
A silky Scotch & Soda star print shirt dressed up my smarter side zip shorts for an evening on the Las Vegas strip.
My inexpensive belt bum bag saved me especially when cycling 18 miles around San Francisco and walking 26 miles around New York. Plus it was smart enough to take me through to the night too. A BSG pouch of old was my go to clutch with chain or proved to be a handy holder for my phone and passport.
One reversible bikini and extra bra shaped top saved those hot days in Vegas and a bargain silver oversized kimono (picked up for just £7 from River Island) was my absolute lifesaver on every level.
The H&M white floral suit was a multi- functioning holiday companion and I used the the jacket to dress up any shorts, whilst the cropped pants only required a simple cami for dinner dates and on the last night I teamed both pieces together for some drama.
My Zara baggy jumpsuit was ultra comfy for long flights and also for pool cover ups in the hotels where the pool was a mile away from our room!
Air & Grace Flutter trainers saw me walk 87.5 miles in 11 days; to the top of the Rockefeller Cente, to deep inside the Grand Canyon, up steep hills around San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge they were amazingly comfortable every single day.
Silicone nipple daisies were a lifesaver when a bra was NOT an option – they mould to you (it’s cold in those hotels!), are reusable and even washable! Pick up a pair in store.
I had to buy an emergency pair of trousers in San Francisco due to a dip in temperature so while the husband and son dashed into Nike (as if I would) I ran into Zara and picked up a pair of knitted wide leg pants for just £8 – I’ve worn them twice as leisure pants since coming back so well worth it.
My only t-shirt had to be a Hitchin one! Feminine in it’s cut and made form organic cotton, it worked well under the jumpsuit, jacket or simply with shorts without adding any bulk.
To be honest, five flights later, hand luggage was enough. Yes the 100ml toiletry limit pushed us to the point of distraction, but packing wise I did come home with two camis and one vest unworn. So now you know what I brought with me, the next thing is how did I get it all in?!
I packed each item flat not rolled – the silky camis weren’t creased as a result which was a huge bonus. The technique I favoured was rotating each piece so that you you have even layers, so the jenga of packing goes a bit like this…
1st Item ⬅
4th item ⬆
Always add underwear in gaps or in the side where the handle rods invade precious space in your case- these are also great spots for your shoes. Zip lock sandwich bags are a no brainier –put all toiletries in those, even your makeup bag, therefore nothing can leak or transfer into your precious few outfit choices. The finishing touch? A trusty WSd tote – obviously laid flat on the top – just in case anything moved.
We all had a rucksack too – for the dreaded toiletries, neck pillow, book, mags and sliders for the plane.
It wasn’t a holiday of Sex in the City proportions; it was a case of getting the earliest flight to each destination and then racing out to explore each city to the max. I had the best time ever, with the best company; we giggled, pranked and when we weren’t walking, cycling or in one form of transport or another, we relaxed.
Packing an on-board bag is easy…when you know how!”
Happy holidays beauties!
Sarah & Rachel x