How To Pack: Tips and Tricks from an Expert

How To Pack: Tips and Tricks from an Expert

Adapted from How To Pack, by Hitha Palepu

You love travelling but you hate packing. That’s where Hitha Palepu comes in. She is the author of travel blog, Hitha On The Go and has been traveling her entire life. Whether you are attending an interview, leading a conference or lounging on a beach, Hitha’s tips and tricks mean you will never be unprepared. The below advice is from her book How To Pack. It will help you become a more efficient and confident traveller so that you can breeze to your destination with ease.


Knowing where you need the most work is the first step towards becoming a more efficient traveller. There are generally four main types of traveller. The anxious over-packer, the forever forgetful, the jumbled traveller and the impractical daydreamer. For the anxious over-packer more is more. They need a confidence boost and should aim to feel empowered by the ruthless editing of their suitcase. The packing checklist will be the best friend of the forever forgetful packer and the jumbled traveller should attempt to organise bags in a more specific manner. The impractical daydreamer is so excited by the upcoming trip, they don’t think beyond the adventure. For them, it’s all about good preparation.


Setting up a packing station in your home will make preparations for all your future trips more enjoyable and less harried. Designate a corner of your home just for travel and packing items. If you don’t have the space to make it permanent, designate a shelf or two. In this spot you’ll store your carry-on, in-flight bag, toiletry bag and packing accessories; all together in one place.


We often think that packing stylish outfits is somehow different from putting them together at home. It is not. On a daily basis, you gravitate to specific items that make you feel beautiful, powerful and happy. The same applies to packing. When you go on a trip, you’re still you. You’re selecting clothes within the parameters of that place with which you’re most familiar – your own closet. There are just a few things to consider:


When you check the forecast at your destination, consider factors like the evening temperature drop, the wind chill or the humidity. If you know someone who lives there, ask what he or she has been wearing most recently.

Power pieces that earn the spot

Your power pieces are your go-to’s. We all have our own power pieces. Some of us always wear trousers, while others love dresses. What do you wear most frequently? What can you not live without?
Now that you know what you power pieces are, you can start using them to their full extent. Instead of thinking about clothes in terms of single outfits, reimagine your suitcase as a compact bundle of HUI (High Usage Items). That means mixing and matching. As you mentally catalogue your power pieces, imagine how you are going to wear them as many times as possible.

Getting the most from every item

When it comes to tops, t-shirt power pieces have different qualities from blouses or jumpers. While white t-shirts are classic, they show dirt and stain more easily. Instead, opt for grey or black when travelling. They are often a wear-once item, but can be repurposed for exercising or sleeping in before they hit the laundry bag.


Both folding and rolling have their advantages. Folding is faster to do, and most of your items are already folded at home. But rolling takes up less space overall. It also has the added benefit of reducing potential wrinkles. How’s a traveller to know which team to join? Well the best-packed suitcases contain a combination of folded and rolled clothing. Bear in mind folding is best for items made of delicate materials such as silk and cashmere. Rolling is best for bottoms, dresses, jackets and non-collared tops.


Traveling is a time to look like the healthy vibrant and happy person you are. But a stuffed makeup bag results in a maxxed out luggage allowance. First and foremost, get trip specific. For example, omit the glittery eye-shadow if you’re going on a business trip. Secondly, invest in multiples. Products with dual purposes such as lip/cheek duo, tinted moisturiser or foundation with SPF will save space. As will opting for pencils over pots which require a brush for application. Lastly, if you use department-store products, don’t be afraid to ask for samples to use as travel-size cosmetics. The key to packing light in the toiletry department is not to worry too much about running out of something. You always need less than you think.


When all your items are folded and rolled as appropriate, line them up from the heaviest and largest to the lightest and smallest. Working in complete layers, lay in the largest and heaviest pieces (shoes and clothes) at the bottom, filling the entire suitcase base. Add in your medium-weight pieces (loungewear, pyjamas and lightweight tops). Anything you’ll need to reach for first (the outfit you plan to wear when you arrive) should be at the top for easy access. Small items that you don’t need right away, like socks and pants, can be stuffed away in the nooks and crannies.

Your smallest pairs of shoes should go in your bag and the bulkiest on your feet. Loop belts inside the collar of a crisp blouse or shirt to keep it from being crushed. And lastly, stuff your scarf or other small items in the cap of your hat and place it brim-side down in your suitcase. Adapted from How To Pack, by Hitha Palepu
£11.99 from Waterstones

Share this Article

Written by
Must Read

You May Also Like

Did you know you can now buy or subscribe to our printed issues?


Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to our monthly newsletter to find out what’s on your local area, exclusive competitions, the latest launches and much more!

Select the areas you want to hear about