Packing tips with Francis Brennan!
In his latest book, A Gentleman Abroad: Francis Brennan’s Travel Tales, the hotelier and TV presenter Francis Brennan recounts his many travels around the world and the adventures along the way. Here, he reveals his essential packing tips to ensure a smoo
Inever carry much in my suitcase – I’m a light packer. It simply avoids any unnecessary delays or embarrassing situations at airport security, when getting through can be difficult and stressful enough as it is! Before I even reach the airport, however, there are a number of tips I always follow to make my packing easier, so I always have everything I need, ready and easy to get to at a moment’s notice.
But where to begin?
A packing list is the first step of my travel ritual. It is the start of the trip and it ensures that I don’t forget anything important, like shoes or my pocket squares! I always bring the list with me, too, folded into the inside pocket of my suitcase, to ensure that I can bring everything home with me and not leave anything valuable behind. No more socks left under the hotel bed! In the hotel industry, you would be amazed at the number of items guests forget about and leave behind.
Make sure to watch those liquids! Airplane cabins are pressurised during a flight and thus the air inside closed containers expands. Never fill containers too much and always put them inside a bag so that if there is any accident, your clothes are not destroyed. Make sure to label all your toiletry travel containers. When you land at your destination and take them out in the hotel bathroom, hair conditioner can look very similar to moisturiser, and an unlabelled bottle can lead to some very unflattering results!
Leave your heaviest clothes to one side and wear them on the flight. I wear a blazer when travelling as it can be used to dress up for dinner or dress down with a pair of jeans. It also won’t get wrinkled if you’re wearing it. I hang up my blazer once on board and carry a lightweight sweater over my shoulders because airplane cabins can get chilly. Think about what each day will involve and what items of clothing will cover the broadest of activities. Lay everything out on your bed and then remove half of them! Do you really need four pairs of trousers?
Also: Roll, roll, roll! Roll your clothes up into a tube shape. This way, you can fit more into your case as it makes them more compact, and it will cut down on the number of creases and wrinkles.
Use every speck of space. This means that your sun hat is filled with underwear and your shoes filled with socks. On the subject of shoes, they deserve a bit of respect. Always stuff them with socks or light T-shirts to ensure that they don’t get flattened at the bottom of your case by everything else.
It’s important to keep your clothes smelling fresh, especially if you’re going on a long trip. Add a small bag of pot-pourri or a few fabric conditioner sheets to the top of your case to keep everything smelling sweet throughout the trip.
After going on many international adventures and having suffered my fair share of food poisoning, sudden fevers, cuts, scrapes and bites, I’ve learned to pack a small medical kit. I keep a toiletry bag ready and stocked with Band-aids, aspirin and other pain relievers, cold medicine, tablets for stomach trouble, anti-histamines and ear-plugs (lifesavers on long-haul flights and trains). They’re just a precaution, and if you never have to use them, even better! Finally, I always pack my chargers, adaptors and a good book to pass the time until I arrive at my next destination, ready to embrace whatever adventures await me!
A Gentleman Abroad: Francis Brennan’s Travel Tales (Gill Books) is out now.