Hand luggage only? Packing in uncertain times!


Girl in red striped sun hat and red lips, holiday look. South of France.

Travelling is sure not the same as it was a couple of years ago when you could pack your big suit case and check it in and be sure to catch the flight and find it upon arrival. Today, at least in the Netherlands, travelling with only hand luggage is a must since the waiting lines are so extremely long checking in would be a high risk. Plus, luggage is lost on a daily basis these days so who really wants to take the risk? And as if this was not enough, we also face the uncertainty of our flights being cancelled at the very last minute.

Hand luggage case, packing for holiday, travel, suitcase.

So, in other words, packing for holiday is more challenging than ever. Back in the days I used to follow my "number of events" kind of system and pick an outfit for each lunch, dinner, going to the beach etc. However, with only hand luggage, packing that way has now become a bit difficult and we will now have to pack a lot smarter, meaning that we will have to reduce the actual number items you are bringing and therefore pick pieces which are multi-functional.

Instead of bringing too much with the attitude "in case I want to wear it", now is the time to bring the "this is what I'm wearing only" items. Decisiveness is key here! How do you then actually downsize and pick out only the bare necessities that still will make you look fabulous and not have any mistakes?
Holiday suitcases, pool. vacation, sun hat.

Well, this is when things start getting complicated. To start with though it is essential to take into account where we are going and the weather at that location. Is it stable weather or can it be a surprise and quite harsh differences? if that is the case well then the challenge is even bigger.


So, before we identify the items to bring with us lets draft down on paper some facts about our trip that will come in really handy, such as:

  • Destination

  • Weather forecast

  • Duration

  • Type of Accommodation

  • Events planned

  • Possible unexpected happenings

  • Mood

No matter where we go we may always be in need of some layering items for unexpected cooler weather. Since these items normally occupy more space I always make sure this is what I'm wearing the day I'm travelling.


And now, the actual packing.

Read on before you start!


  1. Plan your outfits and how you will rewear the looks in different ways. Lay your selection of items on the bed or free rail and start playing around creating different combinations. This way you will see the items that don't really work with the others and these will have to go. Give yourself time to do this!

  2. Pick out accessories for each look and don't hold back on the earrings, necklaces, hats and the scarfs. Scarfs are a beautiful accessory and can be worn in so many ways, tied on a handbag/beach bag, as a hair scarf, tied as a top etc.

  3. Bring no more than 3 pairs of shoes: flip flops for the beach/pool, flat sandals for lunch/walking and one pair of heels for evenings. If you need sneakers, wear them on the flight.

  4. When it comes to bags, bring one beach bag that is spacious enough for towels etc. and one of your favourite summer clutches or small bag for going out. A neutral one will go with everything.

  5. In summer we spend most of our days in swimwear so don't hold back here. Bring bikinis and swim suits and wear them also as tops both day and night time:) Make sure to plan your looks with these in mind too:)

  6. Pool cover ups are fabulous and can easily be worn outside the pool. Maybe as a layering item over a pair of shorts or adding a belt and some accessories and voila you have the perfect day or evening dress. Get creative!

  7. Don't give yourself too many options but make sure your selection works and make the most out of it. Be creative and have fun trying out those new combinations that you would never have dreamed of wearing.

  8. When you finished identifying all items try reducing by one or two. Remember, you will want some space for shopping while away as well:)

  9. When it comes to toiletries bring as little as possible. Most of the things you need you can buy when away like for example facial wash, sun screen, body lotion etc. Now is also the time to make use of all those samples you have been gifted so go through them and see what you have got and make sure to make use of that.

  10. Finally, enjoy the holiday! Be bold be fun be courageous and what ever you do don't hold back. We only live once:)