If you’re an avid traveller, business or holiday, you probably have a fairly good idea of how and what to pack to ensure that you have exactly the right sets of clothing for all occasions. On the other end of the scale, if you’re not a seasoned traveller, you’ll probably find yourself with a bag the equivalent of your body weight full of mis-matched items that are either far too warm or not warm enough for your destination’s climate.

And don’t be fooled into thinking a man’s small bag or a woman’s large one means they’ve mastered the secret.

Believe it or not, packing is not just a matter of throwing your favourite few items of your favourite clothing and some toiletries into a bag. Nor is it packing everything from shorts to a ballgown to cover all eventualities.

The winning formula combines the smallest bag with the best combination of clothing (and the least amount of laundry!)

Sounds impossible? It’s not. We have something to learn from flight attendants who live out of their suitcases and could be in 3 different climates a week without a stop at home to re-pack.

So, how do they do it?

Whether you’re perusing Mango flight bookings for a quick weekend getaway or spending weeks planning a month-long business trip, these six vital packing tips will ensure you aren’t left with an overweight bag of mismatched clothes choices:

  1. Choose matching colours. Being able to mix and match is one of the key elements to effective packing. Having a selection of items that can all go together regardless of the weather will mean you won’t be limited to single outfits.
  2. If possible, don’t pack at the last minute. Start packing a few days before your trip and keep an eye on the weather at your destination. Giving yourself time to think through your selection and wash and dry items that may be more suitable than just what’s available at the time of packing gives you a better chance of packing success. It also means less washing!
  3. In cold climates or where the weather may be unpredictable (hot days and cool nights), choose thinner layers over bulky jackets. It not only frees up packing space, but also give a lot more flexibility to add or remove items. It also means not having to lug around a heavy jacket on a day of sightseeing.
  4. Only pack a ‘just in case item’ if it’s for a pre-arranged event – for example an evening dress or dress shirt. Avoid, just in case I feel like wearing it items. The odds are that you won’t wear it and it will end up weighing you down.
  5. Getting it all in a small case can be the challenge. But a tried and tested method is to roll items instead of folding them. Start with your shoes at the bottom of your bag and stuff them with socks and underwear, then roll each item separately, but pack together as an outfit and secure with an elastic band if necessary.
  6. If you travel often, consider buying a set of travel outfits that are pre-matched, lightweight and quick drying, used only for when you travel. If you have a handy set of tried and tested items it will take the stress out of packing a suitcase full of ‘only possibly’, suitable outfits. This goes for toiletries as well, have a pre-packed toiletry bag that can be topped up and kept just for travel purposes especially if you just take the can’t do without special items and buy the easy extras along the way.

Pro-tip: If you need to check your bag into the hold, always keep your phone charger, a few small toiletry items and clean underwear in your carry on. Just in case your bag ends up at a different destination to yours.