A woman packing her suitcase ready for her holiday


8 Simple Tips for Travelling Light


Travelling abroad leaves most people in a dilemma about what to pack, making sure everything fits in the suitcase and is still within the airline’s weight restrictions – it is simply not physically possible to take all your creature comforts along with your entire wardrobe! With the recent launch of best selling author Sheila O’Flanagan’s latest novel, ‘If You Were Me’, we asked her what her top travelling advice would be. Here are her 8 simple tips for travelling light:

Best Selling Author Sheila O'Flanagan

Best Selling Author Sheila O’Flanagan

1. Bring the smallest bag you can

This sounds like a nightmare but the truth is that the smaller the bag, the more realistic your expectations of what will fit in it. Most people fill bags with clothes they don’t need, because an empty bag just feels wrong. Keeping it small helps to keep it simple.

2. Wear your heaviest items

If you think you’re going to need a jacket at your destination, but it’s warm and sunny where you are now, wear it anyway. You can take it off on the plane, and it’s not taking up valuable space in your bag.

Travel toiletries

Only take the necessary travel toiletries away with you.

3. Put your beauty needs in perspective

The heaviest items in my carry-on luggage are always the tubes and pots of creams, gels, powders and cleansers, which keep me looking half-human. But they now weigh a lot less than they used to because I make my products double job. I ditch foundation and moisturiser and use a BB cream on my face. Dry oil is a great serum as well as hair conditioner. I use wipes instead of cleansers and toners, and pencils instead of loose eye shadow. Leaving out favoured products doesn’t make a bit of difference to the hair or face for a stay away, but it makes a massive difference to the space in your bag.

4. Wear slip on low-heeled shoes or boots and pack your belts

The security procedure is probably the most humiliating thing you can endure on a flight, what with having to take off pretty much all your clothes. Most infuriating of all is having to untie or unzip your footwear and then hop around trying to put it on again. You have room in your bag for 2 pairs of shoes. That’s where the fancy high-heels and zips need to be.

Someone getting checked at airport security

Make sure you wear comfortable shoes you can slip on and off at airport security

5. Ditch the books

I didn’t want to type that. The truth is, if I go on the sort of holiday where I check in luggage, most of what’s in my case is books. But if I’m flitting off for a few days I rely on my iPad. It’s actually easier to read books on a Kindle or iPad onboard a plane, and the app remembers your place when you’ve been distracted for the umpteenth time by the person next to you wanting to get something out of their bag in the overhead locker.

6. Forget about things that are ‘just in case’

I was a terrible ‘just in case’ person until I realised that I never wore the extra jumper or the shoes with the quirky heels. Nor did I need my own hairdryer or GHD straighteners. There’s always the local hairdresser for a hair emergency!

7. Pack plenty of undies

If you feel the need to pack extra stuff, then make it underwear. It will easily fit into the nooks and crannies of your case, and it’s nice to change what’s underneath if you’re wearing the same thing on top later in the evening.

8. Carry your case at home for two minutes

If your arm gets tired, you’ve packed too much stuff. If you’ve followed rule one, you should be fine, because unless you’ve packed your weights from the gym, your bag will weigh no more than 7 kilos. Which also means you won’t put your back out when you put it in the overhead locker (although it should easily fit underneath the seat in front). Check it again and take out the ‘just in case’ boots and the extra pair of jeans.’

Hopefully Sheila O’Flanagan’s great advice for travelling light will help you make those difficult decisions on what to pack for your next holiday.

If you need a good book to read and take on holiday with you, why not download Sheila O’Flanagan’s latest release, ‘If You Were Me’, out now.

Sheila O'Flanagan's latest Novel If you Were Me

Sheila O’Flanagan’s latest Novel If you Were Me


Vicky is a Team Bookends, Headline Publishing at James Villa Holidays.

My job means I’m surrounded by one of my favourite things: books! At Bookends we love...

See all articles by Vicky

See all articles by Vicky

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