Packing for a short stay? Here’s how to keep it light

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London Holiday

Whilst it might wear you out, London is still the perfect city for a weekend trip or a quick business engagement. With so much to do in its 32 boroughs, you’ll be spoilt for choice and never bored, especially when staying in the ideally located Park Grand Hotel Paddington.

Like with any short trip, aLondon visit will require meticulous planning if you want to get the most out of the experience. This goes for your packing as well. You’ll want to avoid having to dish out extra for checked luggage, opting instead for packing everything into your hand luggage.

This will be especially useful when travelling from your airport of choice to your accommodation, often requiring you to use the  London Underground system, hardly the place for a large suitcase!

Packing light is easier said than done, especially with the varying size restrictions on different airlines, and whilst hotels like our Lancaster Gate Hotel London are centrally located and easy to reach, you won’t want to be hauling a large bag through the city centre.

Rather than viewing this as a thorn in your side, it’s always more fun to approach the task as a challenge. How do fully prepare for a trip to London, with its temperamental weather conditions and varying dress codes, and stash it all in the overhead compartment? We’ve compiled a few pointers to get you on the right track for a lightweight and carefree London visit.

Packing light for the weekend sightseeing trip

A weekend of sightseeing will require practical but stylish clothes. After all, you’ll want to look your best in one of the fashion capitals of the world! This won’t require too much thought though, we all have our favourite outfits come straight to mind and two or three of these will easily fit into your holdall.

Casual shoes or trainers will do the trick

Stick to one pair of shoes which can stand a lot of walking. Think casual trainers or smart casual shoes. Neutral colours on your smart casual shoes will be best and make sure they’re in good enough condition for a lot of walking. Whilst flat soled shoes will be fine for a few hours, a bit of padding on your trainers will help if you’re planning to use your feet a lot.

Pack colours that complement one another

With flexibility comes limitations. Your brightly coloured top might not suit the floral skirt your thinking of wearing during your Tate Modern visit. Or equally, those bright trainers might clash with your jeans during your stroll in Shoreditch. Whilst practicality should take precedence over style, neutral toned clothes will keep you on the right side of the fashionistas, and help you narrow down your lightweight wardrobe.

Pack light but stay flexible

London has a knack for fluctuating weather. One day it may be 25 degrees Celsius with blaring sunshine, the next 15 with heavy rainfall. Packing light and prepared for any weather is easier said than done, but can be simply addressed with a warmer jumper and light raincoat. If you’re travelling in the winter, packing layers will be easier than cramming in a bulky coat.

Fold your clothes for maximum space

Efficient and economical packing is the key to a successful holdall. It’s amazing how many t-shirts and jeans you can carry when compacted into an 8th of their size! Whilst this may take a little Tetris like arranging, the time you spend will reap rewards on arrival.

Utilise the pockets of your holdall or rucksack

Rucksacks, holdalls and wheelie bags all have one thing in common: there’ll always be a hidden zip somewhere. These are great little storage compartments for toiletries or underwear, and can help you keep your luggage organised and easy to navigate.

Packing light for the business short stay

It’s one thing packing for tourist trips, but it’s another when you want to dress to impress. Business travel may limit your clothing options to the formal, but you’ll still want to make your mark on potential clients or business partners. Here are a few packing tips for the London bound corporate traveller.

Pack a maximum of two or three outfits

Two or three trousers and shirts will do the trick for a business trip. Depending on whether you’re conducting your business in meeting rooms or restaurants, there’s always a chance of stains and odours. A backup shirt or blouse for that impromptu red wine splatter or sweaty boardroom is always a sensible idea.

But a single neutral suit

Whilst you should pack extra undershirts, one neutral coloured suit should be fine for your London visit. Whilst these shouldn’t be folded and crammed in with your loose toothpaste and underwear, wearing your suit on the plane will save you valuable packing space. Greys, blues and blacks are the safest options for your suit wardrobe, but if you have a stand out style or a signature look, then you should, by all means, make an impression.

Dress down for informal evenings

A smart casual shirt or dress will always be welcome on a business trip. There will undoubtedly be an excuse to entertain or indulge in the electric London nightlife during your trip; it’s all part of the relationship building after all.

Keep light but connected with an iPad or tablet

Gone are the days where we need to pack a bulky laptop or massive notebook. With iPads and lightweight laptops, you could start your own business from the comfort of your plane seat! Make sure you’ve prepared your apps and files for the meetings and conferences ahead. Whilst internet connectivity is abundant in London for those quick Google Drive dives, you can never be too prepared.

Organise the files you’ll need beforehand

Before setting off on your trip, make sure that you’ve organised any papers beforehand. There’s no point littering your lightweight luggage with scrap you don’t need, especially if you intend to keep things organised and tidy.