Does this pre-holiday routine sound all too familiar to do you?
In the weeks before you set off on your big summer holiday, you decide to do some or all of the following:
- Deep clean your home from top to bottom
- Lose half a stone
- Get your hair cut, teeth polished, nails painted, bikini line waxed and feet buffed
- Shop for a new summer wardrobe, as last year’s clothes are feeling a little too tight for comfort
- Replace your battered suitcase (or would it just make it through one last trip?)
- Agree to deliver the big project you’re working on
- Renew your travel insurance, cancel the papers, defrost the fridge, order foreign currency and arrange for someone to look after the dog
Like most women I know, you probably start your summer holiday feeling utterly exhausted. Well, you’re not alone. So, take a deep breath, exhale and embrace these handy tips to help you get organised and start your summer holiday stress-free.
If you don’t already have one, begin by making a summer holiday packing list. There are apps available for this but I find the simplest way is to save a note on my phone. It saves me so much time and means that I don’t forget to pack those essential items such as mosquito repellent and travel adaptors.
Invest in some packing cubes. This makes it quicker to unpack when you arrive at your holiday destination as you can simply take them out and place them straight into drawers and cupboards. It’s also a useful way to divide up your clothes. I like to separate my casual shorts and T-shirts from my smarter summer dresses and skirts.
Instead of buying mini bottles of your favourite shampoo and conditioner, buy a set of travel bottles and decant liquids into them. It will save you money and you can re-use the bottles every time you go away. Even better, reduce your plastic usage and travel with bars of shampoo instead.
Always pack a pair of shorts and a swimming costume in your hand luggage. After one unfortunate holiday when my luggage didn’t arrive for several days, I make sure I do this now. You don’t want to find yourself in a hot country stuck in jeans and a jumper.
To cut down on plastic waste, travel with a refillable water bottle. The collapsible ones are good as they take up less space and become lighter as you drink more.
Instead of using wet wipes that clog up drains and can take up to 100 years to break down, carry a hand sanitiser with you.
Don’t forget to pack a couple of cotton shopping bags. Many popular holiday destinations like France have now banned the use of plastic bags.
Opt to go slow. Consider travelling by train rather than hopping on a plane. Did you know that a Eurail pass offers excellent value for money and gives you unlimited train travel in 31 European countries?
Before you leave
Change the bed linen. Coming home to fresh sheets after a long journey is always lovely.
Fill the bath or kitchen sink with a little water and sit your plants in it so they don’t shrivel up and die.
Put a loaf of bread and a pint of milk in the freezer and buy some fresh eggs. That way if you get back late and you’re starving, you can always make a quick omelette or rustle up some scrambled eggs.
At the airport
If you’re driving to the airport, pre-book airport parking to get the best deal and make sure you know exactly where it is. If you don’t and you arrive late, this is the sort of scenario that immediately raises stress levels and triggers arguments!
When travelling with children, make your seat reservations well in advance too, so your party doesn’t get split up on the plane.
Put any make-up and toiletries you carry in your hand luggage into clear plastic bags at home. It will save you the hassle of emptying your handbag at the airport.
Empty your water bottle before going through security and reduce plastic usage by filling it up at one of the water fountains in the departures area.
Reduce airport stress by arriving early and treating yourself to a delicious breakfast or lunch once you’ve gone through to the departures lounge.
If you’re renting a villa or holiday cottage, many holiday rental companies will arrange for a local cook to prepare a meal for you for an additional cost. Consider doing this for your first night when you’ll be tired from travelling. It will save you the hassle of having to do a big shop when you arrive.
If you’re having a staycation in the UK, support local food producers by ordering a food box from the local farm shop or sign up for a one-off delivery from a national box scheme such as Riverford Organics.
If you’re a large group, divide up the kitchen responsibilities. When I holiday with friends, we all have our favourite roles. Some love to mix up cocktails each night whereas others prefer prepping the veg, laying the table or choosing the playlist.
Put your phone on airplane mode so you’re not tempted to check work emails every five minutes.
Leave your devices at home and treat yourself to a paperback, an adult colouring book and some magazines.
Revive the lost art of postcard writing. It will bring a smile to the face of the lucky recipient when it pops through the letterbox and give the postman something to read!
Don’t forget to pack some teabags, a couple of gins in a tin, a lemon and a bag of nuts. If things don’t quite go according to plan, you can calm down with a cuppa or a G&T.