Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Magpie Must Haves: Carry On Packing

Holiday essentials when travelling light

The idea of going away for a week with only one piece of carry on luggage strikes fear into the hearts of many women. It is a breeze for some, whilst proving to be a logistical nightmare for others: What if it's cold in the evening? Which of these four new dresses should I take?! I cannot possibly choose between my three pairs of Havaianas - I'll have to take them all!

Here are my tips for travelling light. Follow these five simple steps and you will breeze past baggage reclaim, safe in the knowledge that you've saved yourself precious holiday time and stress, and still have the perfect capsule collection of clothing to cover every eventuality...

1 Order, order! 

When packing light, it's essential you have a vague idea of how you might create ensembles from the collection of clothes you'll be taking before you start cramming them into your case. Lay them out so that you can see what exactly you have to play with.

2 Colour me coordinated. 

Try to work around a vague colour scheme. I find navy and white work perfectly as foundation colours for a holiday wardrobe because they look great with a tan and look so beautiful against bold colours. Having coordinated basics will allow you to embellish with holiday brights (e.g. coral, yellow, hot pink) with ease. Good alternative staple colours are black (obviously!) and beige.

3 Love light layers.

Even in reliably hot countries, you may find yourself chilly of an evening having spent all day in the sun, or you may need to cover up in order to be culturally respectful in some destinations. Even if you hope very much not to need them, in my book it's always better safe than sorry.

4 Accessorize!

Take advantage of smaller items such as pashminas, belts and hair accessories that will inject outfits with colour and style. These are light to pack and easy to mix and match.

5 Under where?

This may sound like a no-brainer, but a) don't forget to pack some and b) consider your underwear carefully, don't just ram indiscriminate handfuls down the sides of your case at the last minute. Do you need to take a strapless bra, for example? NB Nobody wants to see your wash day grey granny pants through your white linen trousers!

Packing for six days in Portugal 

We knew the weather would be unpredictable, so I took more jumpers than would ordinarily be necessary, otherwise, I think this was just right! Everything listed and photographed below, along with my underwear, make up and toiletries, fit into my carry on case (dimensions: 56 x 40 x 25 cm) - universally accepted as cabin luggage.


1 pair jeans (wore travelling)

1 pair navy leggings

1 pair long beige shorts

1 pair navy/white striped shorts


3 vest tops - 2 white, 1 coral

2 pretty tops for evening wear – 1 navy sequinned vest, 1 button-backed embroidered blouse (not pictured*)


3 light jumpers for layering (wore one travelling) - navy, mint, red

3 cardigans/shrugs - white, ivory, coral

1 light denim jacket


2 day dresses – 1 sleeveless multicoloured, 1 Breton tunic (not pictured*)

1 special occasion dress - multicoloured in shades of red, fawn, nude and ivory


2 pashminas/lightweight scarves - 1 pink/purple, 1 bright blue

2 belts - 1 brown leather, 1 patent canary yellow

1 canvas bag for beach - navy detail

1 small handbag - navy leather


1 pair nude pumps (wore travelling)

3 pairs of flip flops - brown leather, gold plaited seagrass, coral Havaianas

1 pair of heels, if required (I didn’t pack any this time)

1 red floral bikini

1 navy/white striped swimming costume

* not pictured, as they were taking a last minute tumble in the dryer!


I hope this post may prove useful to some readers, and wish you all safe travels and happy holidays!

pp x

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