Packing Heat

I have ‘form’ for getting searched at Airport Security. It goes way back to being strip searched when I was travelling to America with my parents as a teen.

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Perhaps I look ‘dodgy’. Perhaps I have very metallic blood that sets off airport scanners (just kidding). Either way, my most fond memories of travelling abroad do not include endless security checks, especially ‘That’ time in Jamaica. We were supposed to be having ‘one last family holiday’ before my brother and I were deemed old enough to prefer holidaying with friends instead. As a souvenir I had purchased a ‘rain stick’, which is essentially a piece of bamboo filled with rice which makes a sound that imitates falling rain when turned over.

On arriving at the departure hall ready for our flight back to the UK, I was directed to security after being informed that I was not allowed to take the rain stick on board with my cabin luggage, instead it would have to go in the hold. I was told to go and see the ‘packing man’ who would help me to wrap my treasure for a small fee, whilst my family had to stay in the queue to check in. Clearly this guy had a good sense of humour as he wrapped up my piece of bamboo with a triangular piece of cardboard at one end, meaning my innocent rain stick now looked like a cartoon wrapped shotgun. So I tucked my parcel under my arm and started to wheel my case over to the check in desks.

Needless to say, I now looked supremely suspicious in a very comical way and was attracting the attention of some burly security guards. In the departure hall there was a row of tables and random spot checks were being carried out which is pretty common in the Caribbean. I didn’t make it past the tables. In fact, I had by now gained the attention of a few more security staff with huge, scary looking (genuine) guns casually slung over their shoulders. I probably looked really guilty too as I often feel like this when I pass a police car even though I have nothing to hide! As we are not really accustomed to seeing guns on display in the UK, the whole situation was getting more and more terrifying, and I couldn’t see my family now as they were at the very front of the check-in queue.

Mr Security demanded that I open my case, and I felt really nervous as I struggled with the lock on my prized turquoise hard shell suitcase. As I opened it, there was a collective gasps from everyone around me. I looked up confused, and glanced across at the other cases either side of me to try and figure out what was wrong with mine. I have never seen contents of a suitcase quite like it – You would be forgiven for thinking it was like everything had been bundled into my neighbours cases, but that description would be far too kind. The contents actually looked like they had been plucked from a washing machine, mid cycle. Some wet and some dry clothes, all screwed up into one big ball with a couple of aerosols and an odd shoe thrown in for good measure. I looked back at my case and realised that the gasps I had heard were in admiration for the neat segregated piles of ironed and folded clothes. The toiletries and make up were in their own little labelled bags, and my shoes in pairs with socks stuffed inside. Clearly this was not a normal occurrence and the security guard refused anything further than a cursory lifting of one corner of folded clothes, reluctant to disturb the uniform layers. It turns out, on reflection, I have always been a neat and tidy holiday maker.

Pack Like a Pro:

For the avid traveller to the occasional holiday maker, my top tips for a smooth trip have to include:

  1. Write a packing list. This to me is invaluable now that I have to pack for my little girl as well as myself. It can help you evaluate whether you have included too many outfit changes. When you have a list that you can check off against, it doesn’t matter if you have to go back to finish off your packing once you have completed the laundry of any items that you want to take with you, as you can keep track of what has already been packed. It is a great way to make sure that you remember the items that you are unable to pack ahead of time too, such as items that you use everyday.
  2. Roll your clothes to reduce space and avoid creases.
  3. Pick out the clothes you think you should take and then halve the amount! Think about taking similar colours which can be worn a couple of ways to increase your outfit options.
  4. Place tumble dryer sheets in-between layers of folded clothes to keep that freshly laundered scent rather than the odour from travelling in an aircraft hold or car boot.
  5. Always pack a spare outfit and essentials into your carry-on hand luggage bag in case your suitcase doesn’t arrive at the same time that you do.
  6. Use packing cubes or re-use carrier bags to segregate items so they are easier to locate. I have been known to pack whole outfits for my daughter in freezer bags in order to be able to grab a complete change of clothes easily, down to the socks, vest and a bib.
  7. Arrange your housekeeping service to ‘Deep Clean’ your home whilst your away. There is nothing nicer than returning home from the chaos of an airport to a clean and tidy house, fresh smelling fridge and perfectly made bed, just like the ‘hotel feel’ that you have been used to on your trip!

They say that ‘Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer’ but here at Bright and Beautiful, we disagree. For busy professionals, we offer the ability to buy your time back and give you more free time to do the things that you love to do whether that is at home or away. For a deep clean or a regular cleaning service, check out our website and see how we can  make your home even more inviting to return back to this summer.