How to holiday in summer with hand luggage only

— by Alyson Walsh


Peak waftiness


What with all the travel chaos and extreme temperatures travelling light has never been more appealing. For a week away in Menorca, Mr TNMA and I both travelled with carry-on cases and were feeling pretty smug until the return flight where everyone else had had the same idea. I refuse to pay extra for speedy boarding (airlines make enough money out of me with their unlimited add-ons) and so our suitcases ended up over someone else’s head at the back of the sodding plane. We had to wait till nearly everyone had disembarked to collect our luggage. Worth bearing in mind this summer… Anyhow, aside from a slight delay on the Menorcan tarmac, everything ran smoothly. Phew, no travel chaos. Though I’d still recommend holidaying with hand luggage only. It’s so easy and faff-free. Who wants to be laden down with loads of stuff when it’s 35 degrees?


Love my Muji linen dress


When it comes to packing, two is the magic number. Two bikinis. Two sun hats. Two kaftan dresses. Two pairs of sunglasses. Two jersey maxi skirts. Two shirts (oversized and good over swimwear). Two T-shirts. Two books. And these days I travel in a voluminous cotton dress that doubles up as an evening outfit. Tip: wear the clothes that take up the most space and chunkiest sandals to travel in.

The only items where more than two pieces are required are shoes and knickers. On the footwear front, I had two pairs of Birkenstocks (white Arizonas for travel and sightseeing, the rubber Eva style for the beach) and at the last-minute, I squeezed my Ancient Greek Sandals into my under-the-seat cotton tote bag. One pair of knickers for everyday of the week. These can be rolled and tucked into the suitcase around the edges.

To create a small capsule wardrobe, I place my holiday clothes out on the bed before packing and then have a quick trying on session. No point taking anything from the ‘vacation drawer’ that is past its best or doesn’t fit. This year, I opted for blue and white-ish colour scheme with few snazzy prints and some candy pink, thrown in: an oversized pink shirt from Cos and a Boden jersey maxi skirt (last summer’s collection). No need to be too strict with your colour palette, holidays are for relaxing.

To be honest, you can cram quite a lot of clothes into an overhead suitcase – some people swear by rolling garments up to save space but I lie them flat. I definitely could have taken more but it’s holiday etiquette to wear the same clothes over and over again…


Less is more


When it comes to beauty products, less is more. Decant your regular shampoo and conditioner into Muji travel bottles. Or take a shampoo bar. Make sure moisturiser and cleanser are both under 100ml (UK hand luggage restrictions HERE, US liquids rule HERE). Place all your beauty bits and pieces into your under-the-seat-in-front bag for easy access at the x-ray machine. Then buy sunscreen and shower gel on the go (at Boots when you’re through passport control). I used to take a separate travel wash but now I just use shower gel or a shampoo bar to rinse things through. On any holiday, minimal makeup is required. I tend not to wear any during the day and then quickly groom unruly ‘brows with an eyebrow mascara from Rimmel or Max Factor, add a swoosh of mascara and my trusty Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm and I’m ready to stroll.


Hand luggage forever. (We bought Samsonite Magnum Eco Spinner suitcases; these are made from recycled post-consumer waste and for every available item purchased a tree is planted. Available HERE and HERE).


More summer holiday style inspiration, here:


STYLE NOTES: the first lightweight cotton dress is from Mois Mont, a French company. It’s perfect in the heat. My sunglasses are Ray-Ban State Street and sandals are Birkenstock’s. The second striped linen dress is from Muji – love their linen! (Bought this summer but I think it has sold out in the stripe now, and is reduced in plain colours). The canvas hat is by Andrew Wilkie and the straw hat is from Gil Fox. The navy cotton tote is from a previous Seasalt Cornwall collaboration and my leather slingbacks are a few years old from Ancient Greek Sandals.


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