Tricks for travel: how to pack a bag in a rush


I haven’t spent much time at home lately. Through a chaotic combination of interstate travel, opera choruses, and friends who have been left alone too long with screaming toddlers, I’ve essentially been living out of a suitcase for a month. Luckily I used to travel a lot for work, so I have packing for nights away down to a fine art.

The following tricks come in particularly handy if, like me, you have an adhoc approach to doing laundry, a largely mismatched wadrobe, and a propensity for waking up hungover on packing day. Sigh.

So what are my best tricks?

1) Have your toiletries already packed

I have a box of ‘holiday’ toiletries from which I can quickly grab what I need for a night or a few weeks away, whatever the requirement. This includes the following LLUF approved items:

  • Natio Tinted Moisturiser (SPF50) – because I spend more time in the sun and less time with make up on when I’m away;
  • MooGoo Fresh Cream Roll On Deoderant – I don’t travel with aerosols to expediate airport check in;
  • Small refillable bottles for shampoo, conditioner and body wash;
  • A lip gloss that can double as a creme blush; and
  • Sids and Kids baby wipes – supporting a cause close to my heart; making it easier to remove makeup after a late night out; and providing an emergency option for touching up an insufficiently cleaned hotel room


2) Always pack the basics first

Socks, jocks, pyjamas and always, always, always togs – just in case you get the chance to go swimming.

This leaves your mind totally free to focus on your outfits, without the fear of overlooking something important. Noone wants to be the family member who ends up in a blog post like this one by Mama Raj, which may or may not refer to Mr LLUF. He admits nothing.

3) Plug your phone into your charger so you remember it

We have all been through the traumatic experience of leaving a phone charger behind. Even if my phone doesn’t need charging I plug it in overnight, and when that alarm goes off in the morning I throw the phone and the charger into the bag straight away.

4) Always pack a book, a pen and paper

Lighter than a laptop, and not so hard on the eyes as a phone. Sometimes the old fashioned methods of entertaing yourself are the best. I like to use travel time as an opportunity to reflect, and write down some goals for my return to real life. But pen and paper comes in handy for many other things – including entertaining children if you are planning to be eating out with any families and actually want to be able to hold a conversation with the parents.

These tricks drastically reduce the impact that travel has on my stress levels – hopefully there’s something useful in here for you too.