I don’t know about you but I’ve lost count of the number of ‘out of office’ messages I’ve received this week. Half of Britain seems to have fled abroad, while the rest are probably struggling with a tent somewhere in Dorset as I write. Let’s just hope they all remembered to pack properly before they left, there’s nothing quite like arriving at your destination and discovering you’ve forgotten your phone charger, glasses and the book you’d been saving for months in anticipation of your sun lounger.

There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to packing – the ‘chuck everything in half an hour before leaving and sit on the case until it closes’ approach and the more space efficient ‘painstakingly roll every item until said item resembles a chipolata’ technique. Whatever route you decided to go down, there’s no denying a checklist is a good idea – if only to take the stress out of leaving the house with that nagging feeling you’ve forgotten something vitally important.

If your holiday involves long train, plane or car journeys, there are a few essential items that can make the experience far more comfortable. Top of the list for me are travel socks – you may be surrounded by snoring strangers and the smell of airline food, but for some reason, soft and snug socks can make you feel at home anywhere. These cashmere blend socks fit the bill perfectly and come in a choice of colours. Unless you’re lucky enough to be able to afford one of those envy inducing fully reclining seats that the rest of us can only dream about, getting more than an hour’s sleep on a long flight isn’t easy. Last year as I embarked on a 12 hour journey to visit some our hotel clients with my satin cotton travel pillow I received envious looks from all other passengers – the thin airline pillows in mixed fibres aren’t up to the job. This a far better option than an inflatable version you can buy at the airport, being both softer and more mouldable.

Frequent fliers will know that the temperature on aeroplanes can be very erratic, one minute you’re tearing off layers and reaching for the air con switch, the next you’re shivering under a blanket. That’s why I would always recommend taking your own blanket or stole, a stole like our lambswool one is clever packing as you can wear it on chilly evenings when you arrive too.

Other tips I’ve learnt the hard way include packing your shoes in individual bags like our linen shoe bags, placing fragile items in the centre of your case, wrapping all toiletries in individual plastic bags and leaving room for souvenirs. Yes, yes, all sounds pretty obvious but I’ve been caught out by exploding shampoo bottles and broken ceramic gifts more times than I’d care to remember! One more thing too, if you don’t mind getting the reputation of a stereotypical Brit, it’s never a bad idea to bring your own supply of tea bags, just in case you ever get desperate for the perfect Earl Grey, Lapsang or regular PG!

So if you’re jetting off somewhere glamorous in the next few weeks, happy packing, happy holidays and do spare a thought for those of us back home before you post the umpteenth picture of a cocktail online!

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