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The 13 inevitable stages of packing for your holiday

Eeeeeee! You’re off on your hols! Now you’ve just got to pop a few things in a case and you’re good to go. Easy right? Um…

1. The essential research

Yes there may only be two hours left before you head to the airport. And yes… TECHNICALLY the best use of your time would probs be to locate your passport. But when you analyse the situation properly, it’s pretty obvious that a few well-chosen YouTube videos are defo the best call right now. I mean, Anna from TheAnnaEdit even gives you a packing list to print off. That’s only going to save time in the long run. And yes there’s a high probability you’ll waste 20 minutes paused on a shot of the Chloe backpack Zoella uses as her hand luggage. But that all counts as holiday packing inspiration… right?

2. The sensible start

Having watched a few minutes (OK, an hour) of videos, you’ve landed on the perfect approach for a stylish, grown-up holidayer like yourself. The capsule wardrobe. Just a few key, super-chic pieces that you’ll effortlessly combine into endless instagram-worthy outfits. All while feeling oh-so-smug that you can close your case without having to sit on it. Just a few essential base items to find, then. Crisp white shirt. Black maxi-dress. Breton striped tee. You’re sure you have something like that somewhere…

3. The first clothes explosion

OK you’ve rooted to the very depths of your wardrobe and sorry but who actually OWNS this stuff?!! I mean, a crisp white shirt? Really? When you’re going to be smothered in sun cream most of the time anyway? Totally ridiculous. And now you’re no further along and your wardrobe has become a floordrobe. Ugh.

4. The pack-by-numbers approach

What if you just count how many days you’re going to be away for and then work out how many of each item you’ll need? OK pants. Two weeks away equals 14 pants. Plus 7 extra pants for evenings out, maybe 4 extra pants for period disasters, minus 6 – no, 10 – no, 8 pants for when you’re wearing a bikini, plus… THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE! And let’s not even get started on how British people are conditioned to pack for every possible weather eventuality. So now your suitcase is full of 34 pairs of pants and approximately 450 tops of varying thickness, while the things you actually wanted to take – like that ah-may-zing Bardot playsuit – are still festering in your floordrobe.

5. The outfit repack 

OK, everything out. That means you, too, seventh identical vest top. Only your favourite pieces are going in this time. Screw practicality. This is about JOY. In fact, on second thoughts, why not go full-on fashionista and style up each piece into an outfit, complete with accessories and shoes? Great idea. But there’s only 40 minutes until you have to be in the car. So you’re going to have to be an efficient fashionista. An efficienista!

6. The Snapchat fashion show

Packing efficiently is fun and all (OK it’s really, really not) but how are you supposed to decide what makes the cut without a little reminder of what everything looks like on? And you probs need a second opinion, too right? Time for a Snapchat fashion show. For your besties’ eyes only. Extra friend points for convincing you to pack the things you’ve always been too scared to wear.

7. The snack break

Because making good packing/fashion/life decisions requires healthy levels of Nutella in your bloodstream.

8. The realisation

Perfect. All your favourite items are styled up and packed. You’ve even managed to squeeze in some pants, too. Just need to wrestle with that zip, get this bad boy closed and we’re all – GAH! Clothes are not the only thing you need on holiday! What about books, chargers, hair stylers… MAKEUP for god’s sake?! Which means you’ve only got 30 minutes to decide which of your Rimmel lipsticks make up the perfect holiday arsenal. And yep, turns out that it’s all of them. All 14 of them. And you need all three of your nude eyeshadow palettes, too.

9. The negotiation

In which you offer your little brother the airplane window seat, full control of the hire car’s Bluetooth sound system, and first pick of the bedrooms at the villa, in return for stuffing three cosmetic bags into his suitcase.

10. The panic shove

Books and GHDs safely stowed in your hand luggage, you’ve now got 20 minutes for final suitcase checks. And suddenly you can’t remember for the life of you what you packed. Did that fringed jacket make it in in the end? Did you pack any sunnies? Crap did you even pack PJs? There’s only one solution at this stage. Just grab whatever’s left on your bed and SHOVE. IT. IN.

11. The fight with the scales

This delightful cycle involves obsessively weighing and reweighing your case, slowly replacing totally unnecessary items like toothpaste and deodorant with essential items of the same weight (like a fifth bikini) until your case weighs exactly the 20kg allowed by the airline.

12. The passport panic

Goddamn it Zoella! Why did you have to flaunt that beauteous green leather masterpiece on the internet? And why did I strop at dad last year about how I’m a grown woman perfectly capable of keeping my passport in my own room? Why did he BELIEVE me? WHEREISITWHEREISITWHEREISIIIIITTT???!

10 minutes and one room that looks like it’s been burgled later, you find your passport in the outside pocket of your suitcase. Of course. Where else would a grown woman keep it?

13. The airport outfit

Awesome. Suitcase locked with three minutes to spare. You are a packing master. But wait, what’s that ASOS bag peeking out from the carnage? Nooooooo. Four holiday ESSENTIALS that simply can’t be left behind. And now your mum’s calling you to get in the car. Arrghhhh! OK screw it. Your airport outfit has just got an upgrade. And you’re going to rock it. After all, what says ‘I’m going on holiday!’ more clearly than embroidered denim dungarees teamed with neon pom pom sandals, a leopard print beach kaftan, and a huge sunhat? Nothing, that’s what.

Happy holidays!


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Image: Hailey Hamilton

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