When it comes to successful holiday packing, there's a lot one can learn from the girls who rule Instagram. Their feet barely touch the ground before another exciting adventure beckons them overseas. Sun-drenched pictures are the best pictures, after all. So when Net-a-Porter invited yours truly along to an influencer get-together at Soho Farmhouse to celebrate the launch of their vacation shop online (the hashtag #jetaporter was of course in full swing), it seemed only right to drill down into the methodology behind such precise vacay wardrobing. These ladies are human (very good-looking humans, I know), and they must have experienced the same suitcase dramas as us at one point or another. But the difference is they've they've now had heaps of experience to go forth and problem solve. The below four mistakes are the ones they've all endured, and found solutions to.
2. Packing it in a rush.
3. Not having a backup plan in case of a luggage emergency.
4. Carelessly packing cosmetics.
Keep reading to see how these girls avoid these major packing fails, and shop some key holiday pieces along the way…
Almost every single one of the girls I interviewed agreed that overpacking is the primary curse of the fashion lover. Lucy Williams admitted her luggage is permanently overweight, Xenia van der Woodsen ends up with multiples of everything she doesn't even wear and Sandra Hagelstam has been known to leave her packing to a shove-it-all-in last minute process. However, they have learnt the error of their ways and have come up with some ingenious solutions…
SOLUTION #1: FOCUS ON DRESSES
"I've noticed that I've started to pack dresses only, and they've kind of become my holiday pieces because you don't have the think about the styling," says Sandra. She advises further: "Kimonos and maxi dresses double up as beachwear and eveningwear, and while cotton dresses are very nice, they tend to be quite heavy and warm, so if you're going to a location where it's going to be 30 degrees centigrade or more, then silky maxis will be much easier to pack and also much more comfortable. If you end up burning your skin, they're the things that work—so a little bit of thought goes a long way."
And what's more, you need to roll EVERYTHING. That's how all of these girls get the maximum travel outfit options—they'll even stuff thin, silk pieces rolled up into shoes!
SOLUTION #2: RELY ON WHITE SHOES
"You should always pack one really easy pair of shoes that matches with everything. I think white sandals match with every item in my wardrobe, so I concentrate on those," explains Evangelie Smyrniotaki. And we're inclined to agree—while nude tones can be tricky to locate, bright-white shoes scream summer and do work with every outfit.
Louise Roe, a woman who is permanently jetting here, there and everywhere, tells me that even she still packs at the last minute. However, she does admit that if you're "not a nerd about" planning to a certain extent, you will end up with a suitcase full of useless items. Lucy and Sandra both agreed, but all three provided some easy, low-lift ideas on how you can still pack successfully, even in 30 minutes.
SOLUTION #1: FOLLOW THE THREE-PIECE RULE
"I try and pack by a rule of three. So if I do a long weekend, for example, I'll pack three T-shirts, three jeans or skirts, plus three shorts/trousers, etc., and then you're normally covered," explain pro-packer Lucy. "If everything vaguely works together, then you've got lots of different combos."
Louise takes her strategy a step further, getting her looks to tie together in terms of colour and texture—for example, packing a suitcase that revolves around leather and denim for a city break.
SOLUTION #2: THINK ABOUT YOUR ITINERARY, AND CHECK THE FORECAST
"It's really important is to look up the weather of where you are going, and I’m really bad at doing that," admits Louise, stating that it's a new habit of hers in order to not pack a rail of floaty dresses for a freezing cold city jaunt.
Sandra also considers the actual physicalities of her destination, as well as her holiday plans for while she's there: "Wherever you’re going, think about where you are going. Research the town—are you going to be doing a lot of walking, is it all cobble stones or is it a beach holiday?" That kind of preparatory work can save you time and hassle in the long run.
We all have the fear of losing luggage, and it's inevitably going to happen at some point (sorry). Xenia learnt that lesson the hard way, and now she has a very clever way of dealing with it, should the problem ever arise again…
SOLUTION: PACK AN "EMERGENCY" CARRY-ON
"I always have to have one emergency outfit (plus my more expensive handbags and accesorries) in my hand luggage," says Xenia, explaining that she's had her luggage lost so many times she's not only ended up with nothing to wear on holiday but misplaced some really important fashion buys too. So she'll pack a cabin-friendly suitcase with a spare full outfit (and maybe even another flexible piece or two), and keep anything sacred close by.
We've all been there—suncream explosions in one's suitcase never get any less annoying. "The biggest fail I can imagine is a lose body wash, or any kind of liquid, that runs out and covers my shoes and bags," says Aylin Koenig.
SOLUTION: SANDWICH-BAG EVERYTHING
Aylin recommends using small cosmetics bags to separate everything out, meaning you can "not only avoid material damage but also to prevent an emotional tragedy." Meanwhile, Lucy swears by sandwich (or freezer) bags, especially when it comes to transporting the many oil products she loves using. Evangelie keeps things simple by ensuring that the cosmetics and products she transports around the globe are exactly the same as the ones she's uses at home—so there's no chopping, changing and potentially throwing things into another bag without any care.