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

RTÉ Guide - - Contents - with Francis Bren­nan ,

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.

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