Packing is always a very long, drawn-out process for me.  Especially when working for Kumuka, as we would be away for a solid 6 months.  Then add the notes and books, computers, camera, cables, chargers, wires, files, clip boards, essentials I could only get in the UK, and cases of DVDs and CDs; it was a task and a half.images

The main thing I’ve learned over the years, is always try everything on, and try to mix and match it together. With this method, it works if all the bottoms are solid colour and then you can be creative with your tops. Tops and bottoms will always be more versatile than dresses.

If something only goes with one other item, or if you are humming and hawing…leave it behind.

Wear things you can layer. I don’t bring one big coat, but maybe a fleece, a thin jacket and a waterproof that can go over the lot.

Forget about trying to pack a pair of 3 inch stilettos.  They take up massive amounts of suitcase.  Go for some flattish shoes that can either be worn day or night, and you won’t kill yourself on the cobblestones.

I also pack a pile of little sandwich bags for incidentals, and some of those net washing bags for keeping laundry in.

If you are travelling on your own or on a coach trip without porterage, get your things together and take them for a walk.  Maybe get on local bus with them and see what you think.  15 kilos can easily feel like 50. That’s the reality of it.  See more under the General tips section.

Anyway, I hope this helps somebody…and happy packing.


Packing tips and what to bring

Packed and ready to go

Jason LeGuier: Money, credit cards, Berocca, DAMN GOOD SHOES, a good light weight jacket, and a love of life

Anna Mitchell: I agree with Jason. Comfy shoes that you can walk all day in are an absolute must

Justine Kate: Travel clothesline!!! And bring a good attitude. There is nothing worse than being a dead***t on tour.

Jenny Petran: Swiss Army knife and Paw Paw ointment are always my first things to go into my suitcase. Antibiotics, just in case and multi vitamins.

Kelli Sulek: A good quality, wet-weather poncho or jacket.  Those €5 umbrellas last 5 minutes! Also pack a third of what you intend to take.

Jess Cullinan: Essentials in a mini-case considered to be a cabin case. So much easier to cart around. Washing done in bath every 3-4 days or launderette fun with new friends on tour.

Kat Glentworth: Sunscreen!!!!

Kate Hennig: Power adapter, water bottle, something nice to wear out, comfy shoes for all the walking, local currency, iPod, pen and paper, day pack, strong bladder for the bus after a winery tour

Jenny Loudon: Little black dress.

Mary-Anne Creagh: Camera, notepad, definitely comfy shoes, phone and camera charger, mini first aid kit, and definitely a good rain jacket. Just a few clothes that can be washed easily, I’ve learnt my lesson (hopefully). Most other things can be bought as you go. I’m seriously going to try to pack just a small bag next time, as I hated lugging my big backpack around! And didn’t need half of what I took

Alison Green: Earplugs, always! A few safety pins and plasters. I also found my micro-fibre towel came in handy in hotels as you have one towel for the shower and one to dry your clothes when you wash them.

Sharon Lindsay: Half the stuff I took last time.

Lauren Hyde: Comfy shoes, double adapter, spare camera battery and SD cards, rain jacket, notebook and pen, nice dress, moisturiser and sun-cream, small first aid kit, one third as many clothes and undies as you think you will need, and an elastic clothes line

Scot Mclaughlin: I had only 10kg of weight in my back pack. I had two pair of shoes, two pants, two shorts, five T-shirts , seven undies and five socks. The trick is to take your old clothes that are ready for the salvos, ditch them and replace with new ones as you go.  It’s the best way to stay fresh.

Amanda McFarlane: Speaking from tragic experience, pack clothes you are happy to be seen in! I tried the “old clothes you can replace” trick and now regret some of my pics! I had an awesome time but no fashion sense at all! lol

Jan Brown: If I’m going to a hot country, I pick up some cheap cotton pyjama bottoms in patterns and colours that don’t look like PJs.  Add a longish T-shirt or blouse. People always compliment my cheerful clothes and I am cool and comfortable. At the end of the trip, I leave them behind.