Alicia Healey

The art of packing

  • From Spectator Life
Image: Getty

I have a recurring dream where a taxi is waiting outside to take me to the airport and my suitcase is empty. I’m not sure what a dream psychologist would make of this, but for someone who has 15 years’ experience in packing other people’s suitcases for work, this kind of dream is the stuff of nightmares! As a former Royal Lady’s Maid, and now a Travelling PA, I’ve packed literally hundreds of suitcases for my employers and myself, so have learned a few things along the way about how to perfect the art of packing and make it as stress-free and streamlined as possible.

With travel restrictions easing in the latest move out of lockdown, many people are starting to plan trips abroad after a very long year of staying at home. If travel is back on your calendar, here are some of my top tips to help you pack like a pro.

What to pack

In the words of Diane von Furstenburg, ‘I get ideas about what’s essential when packing my suitcase’. If you have packed well it can feel quite a liberating, rather than stressful experience, concentrating what your essential items are. Preparation and planning are key when it comes to efficient packing. Spend time planning outfits that will work for the location you’re visiting. Try everything on before packing – if your summer wardrobe has been gathering dust during the pandemic, you will want to make sure everything is still wearable and fits properly. Select pieces that are versatile and easy to dress up or down for multiple outfit opportunities. Don’t allow anything into your suitcase that hasn’t been planned into an outfit. Try to limit your accessories to neutral colours – tan/white/metallic will go with most summer outfits.


Packing Cubes are a game changer for organised and streamlined packing.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in