You really need to think before you pack

The days of taking everything you might need are gone. Under health and safety rules and financial money grabbing the airlines are reducing the weight limits of your luggage.

suitcases hand baggage carry on bags

Some airlines are not only charging you extra for putting luggage in the aircrafts hold they are also charging you for extra for additional weight. Some airlines will make you unpack your bag at the booking in desk if it is overweight.

You then have to choose what items you will have to leave behind. You now have to think before you pack your bag. Take what you actually need. Do you really need all those shoes and coats. Wear your heavy shoes and coats on the plane.

Take them off when you get inside and put them in the overhead locker. Take clothes that work as outfits and can be used to mix and match.

Prepare for the worst

Can you cope if you arrive at your destination but your bags have been sent to the other side of the world? Carry a spare outfit in your carry on bag including clean underwear and a toothbrush. That will just give you enough time to go and buy new items.

Make sure you keep the receipts to help with your travel insurance claim. If there are two of you going on a trip put at least one set of clothing your companion's bag. If the airline loses only one of the bags at least you will both have something to wear.

Pack you swimming trunks or bikini in your hand luggage. If you're going on a cruise, you'll be able to hit the pool when everybody else is waiting for their baggage to be delivered to their cabins. And if your luggage is lost, you'll at least be able to swim.

Are you going to a shopping paradise?

Buy your clothing when you get there. It is very silly to pack space-hogging flip flops flippers, snorkel, diving mask and lots of cotton clothing to Florida or Thailand.

Packing liquids

You are only allowed to take liquids in small 100mls bottles. Some shops like Boots sell travel-size 100mls bottles you can use again and again. Think about decanting your favourite toiletries into the correct size bottles.

Put any liquid containers in two sealed plastic bags to try and protect the your clothing from leaks. Check your bags do not have any holes..

Packing tips

Shoes are bulky and heavy. You can make use of the space inside by stuffing your socks, underwear and swimming costumes in them. Make sure you put items like toiletries and toothbrushes in plastic bags inside to protect them before you place them inside shoes. Pack them around the outside of the case to protect some of the more delicate items.

To cut down on creases carefully roll up your clothing. They must be very tightly rolled, and then tightly packed in the suitcase otherwise if they unfurl en-route then they will crease. Pack light items that will get creased like shirts and dresses near the top. Pack heavier items nearer the bottom of your suitcase so as not to creased clothing like shirts and dresses.

Check your airline's carry on rules

Different airlines have different carry on rules. Make sure your bag is the correct size and weight - before you go. Virgin Atlantic's carry-on requirements are stricter than British Airways. Ryanair will penalise you if your bag weighs more than 10kg and they have the smalles allowable size of all the budget airlines.

Waterproof and straps

Is your suitcase or rucksack 100% waterproof? We have all seen the airport baggage cart in the rain, waiting underneath the aircraft laden with bags waiting to be thrown into the hold.

You have a good chance of finding all your cloths dripping wet when you open them in your hotel room at your holiday destination. Put two thick black bin lines inside your suitcase or rucksack and pack your clothing in them.

If you are putting a rucksack in the aircraft hold make sure none of the straps are loose. These can get caught in the conveyor belt and rip your rucksack. Consider buying a lightweight strong non rip bag to cover it.

How to help prevent your luggage getting lost

Near where I live in London there is an Auction house that every Monday sells hundreds and hundreds of suite cases and contents lost and not claimed at the various London Airports. To help make sure that your case is not one of them follow these tips.

Put your name and address inside and outside your bags in case the luggage tags get ripped off in transit. On your out ward journey put an itinerary of your holiday inside your bag on top of all your clothing. Include all the hotel details so if your bags do get lost an airline employee can find it easily and forward them to you.

Take a picture of your bags before you travel and keep it in your hand luggage. Having a photograph is so much easier than describing what your bag looks like at the claims desk. It will also help staff find them..

What to do if your luggage gets lost

You must file a report if your luggage gets lost or damage within 24hours of your arrival or else you are in danger of your claim being dismissed. Have a list of everything in bags and keep it in your hand luggage. You will need to hand the list in to get reimbursed.

Many Airlines have acclaims limit for lost luggage and some exclude camera equipment, medication and jewellery so it is important that you have insurance. When your bags are delayed airlines usually advance passengers cash or reimburse you for necessary items like toiletries and a change of clothes. It is important to save your receipts. .

Post items

Consider posting items ahead to your hotel and souvenirs back home. You can also use the internet to get supplies delivered to your hotel to save you having to carry lots of items and waste your valuable holiday shopping for mundane things like baby food and supplies or fishing flies. If you buy breakable items like pottery and you do not want them broken. Ask the shopkeeper if they can arrange for them to be shipped Pay extra for insurance.