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Smart ways to pack for a weekend away

It starts innocently enough: You need more clothes ― oh, and shoes, books, beauty products ― than you expected for your trip. Next thing you know, you're dusting off that jumbo suitcase for what’s meant to be a weekend trip. Here’s how to minimise what you take, but always have something to wear.

Lay me down: Lay all the clothes you’re thinking about taking on the bed before putting them in the suitcase. Count the days you’ll be gone, plus the evenings you’ll go out – and then count your outfits. Same number = too many items. Put a few things back but don’t skimp on underwear; always pack more pairs than days you’ll be gone. 

All about that bass: Stick to one base colour for your wardrobe. All tops can go with either a black, white, navy or denim base. The trousers, skirt, shoes and bag you take should be in the base colour, making mixing and matching outfits as easy as losing an hour to your Facebook feed.

Thirty-minute rule: Resist last minute urges to pack extras, like t-shirts, or that dress you bought but haven’t found somewhere to wear. You don’t need them. Allow 30 minutes extra time before you leave to edit your bag. Aim to take three items out.

It’s just a little crush: Save space and avoid wrinkles by rolling rather than folding your clothes. Fold shirts, pants, and skirts in half the long way along the seam. Then roll them up tightly like a yoga mat. 

My list: Tuck a written list of toiletries in your bag and you won’t forget the same thing every time you travel (cotton tips anyone?). Before each trip, check your bag against your list.

Compartmentalise: Stock up on clear plastic bags and zip locks to keep your dirty washing separate, replace lost make up bags, and just keep things in order without having to empty your bag every time you’re on the hunt for tweezers. 

On trial: Downsize your toiletries with samplers or minis of your favourite products. On a budget? Decant shampoo and conditioner into smaller plastic containers (buy these from a dollar store or hang onto old hotel stay toiletries). To save even more space, invest in travel-size grooming products such as a brush, floss and toothpaste. 

Bulk fly: If travelling by air, wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane, and pack pairs that can be flattened in cloth shoe bags or plastic bags. Carry on the jacket you plan to bring too. 

Sarong song: No matter the climate, always travel with a sarong or scarf. It takes hardly any room and works as an extra layer in chilly climes, a cover up in conservative holiday spots, and as a makeshift quick dry beach towel.  

Virtual tour guide: Save on bulky guidebooks and equip your smartphone or tablet with city-specific maps, apps, and guides, downloaded ahead of time.