This week, I’ve had packing for holiday on my mind as we’re off to Spain in a few days. Although I’m pretty good at packing, I thought I’d consult Google just to see what the world had to say about it currently; if there was anything new and revolutionary that would mean a) we didn’t have to pay British Airways for the luxury of putting two cases in the hold and b) I don’t have to hide half of my son’s clothes from him so he doesn’t wear them all before we leave.
I make lists but I’m also a procrastinator so the really important stuff like packing gets shoved to the bottom of the list so I’m up doing it at 2am the morning we leave. Buffing my feet meanwhile gets put at the top because it can be done at the same time as something else, like catching up on Mad Men. This morning the something else turned out to be talking to my boyfriend on the ‘phone. Until that is he asked what I was doing. It’s not that I don’t think our relationship can take that grated off parts of my feet are in another room to my actual feet, rather that deluded or not, I have a fanciful idea that maintaining a little of the romance might be nice only two and a half years in. It’s apparently shocking that I don’t know how to change a tyre so it seems logical to stick with the theme of being a useless but silky smooth female for whom oil under the fingernails is something I’d prefer not to entertain. Anyway the boyfriend had assumed the scraping noise was me buttering myself a piece of toast. Until it was still going on some fifteen minutes later and he realised either this was the world’s largest piece of toast or something else was afoot (ahem).
So there I was googling ‘packing tips’ and one of the first of the results listed was from Skyscanner (reasonably sensible and knowledgeable you’d think) which begged the question:
“DO YOU REALLY NEED A CLEAN PAIR OF PANTS FOR EACH DAY OF YOUR HOLIDAY?”
Now, call me old fashioned but my answer to this is an emphatic unequivocal well yes, actually I do. It’s not too much to ask is it? And anyway how much space do pants take up in your luggage? Was the Skyscanner tips list written by a four year old I wonder? My own four year old has already suggested that the problem of paying for luggage is not really a problem since he carries his own bag (a monkey on wheels) onto the plane. Being four he thinks his activity book, two packets of raisins and his bunny is all he needs for his holiday. And he may very well be right but it’s not going to cut if for me or my boyfriend who has already piled up five pairs of shoes to take with him and he sees this as perfectly acceptable. Suggesting he only packs half his pants would, I suspect, be met with derision not to mention a nagging doubt that I’m not the hygienic type he had me down as, especially after the foot scraping incident. So my feeling is that culling your underwear is not the answer. I will be packing 12 pairs of knickers and have even bought some new ones because we will be in someone else’s villa and it seems only polite to have nice underwear.
As for the clothes, well you will be hard pushed to lure me away from a case full of dresses. They are simply the easiest things as all you have to think about is shoes. I tend to pack a pair of flip flops, a pair of flat pumps and then two pairs of eveningy shoes with heels. I like to have choice and I NEVER listen to my mum when she says “Oh you won’t need heels, don’t bother taking heels”. She has known me a very long time my mum, and yet still she thinks this is handy advice I will listen to. I would say, don’t bother taking jeans on holiday, not even to wear on the ‘plane as they are possibly the hottest, most restrictive item there is. I’m always baffled at why celebrities are pictured doing airport chic in their jeans.
My perfect airport outfit consists of a lightweight dress in a dark fabric that doesn’t crease, shoes I can easily slip off as soon as I sit down and a pashmina that can be used as a pillow or to keep warm when the air conditioning inevitably gets too cold. Most importantly of all, if travelling with children (not just your own but those belonging to your fellow passengers) a wrap or pashmina of some kind is essential for protecting your lap when one of them tips their drink into it. It NEVER doesn’t happen and ALWAYS results in someone (but not the child in question) looking like they have wet themselves as they get off the ‘plane.
Having attempted, with varying results, to negotiate my way through end of term, a car breakdown, a stomach bug and a leaking bathroom in the last fortnight I am now so looking forward to going on holiday that I have found myself buying stuff in the sales simply because it’s already folded and it means fewer things to wash and iron. I have had to apply a plaster to one side of my foot where I have buffed a little too enthusiastically and all this talk of overly buttered toast has made me hungry. If you’re off on your holidays anytime soon then bon voyage, see you in August. I’m off to count out my pants.