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Well done! I only do hand luggage on flights. I went to Spain for 3 weeks one year with just hand luggage. And again last year with hand luggage for me and an 8 month old. And I still only wear about 2/3 of what I pack!
It's all in the fabrics! The trick is to take clothes that are really light fabrics and then you can mix and match, or layer if it's cooler.
For a beach holiday you really only need a pair of heels (wedges work with everything imo), pair of flat sandals and flip flops. Buy all sun cream at airport (save some space in bag). Only pack essential skincare/toiletries that you know you cannot get abroad or at airport - otherwise buy rest at airport/abroad. Kindle (you can download phrase books and guide books on that). Mini hair straightners. Micro towel for beach.
Use a ruck sack or soft bag. You can fit so much more in it than those small suitcases. (And so much easier to carry!)
My rule is 'if it don't fit in the bag, it ain't going'.
Other bits: mini versions of shampoo etc, moisturiser in small pots, wipes for make up removal and mozzie repellant. Fold up hair brush, small make up.
Main colours were navy and cream, accents red and grey/ silver. It was this bit that made the biggest difference- everything could be mixed with everything else. I didn't take anything "because I need it to go with something else".
I can't say I am a naturally stylish person, but I knew that the clothes would always work together. We had a mixture of walking around ruins and churches, visiting a couple of nice bars and jumping in the waves/ building sandcastles. I had clothes for all of that.
And YY to "it's all about the fabrics". I rolled all my clothes and the came out (almost) crease free.
Thanks for the advice, so i am thinking: my blue blazer (15-17 degrees in Madrid at the mo). 1 pair of jeans to wear and black velvet jeans in bag. Pants obvs. 2 shoes - one day time comfy and 1 night time slightly smarter.
I have a nice white shirt and pretty scarf, couple of stripey tops (live in these).
DM (who i am going with) wants me to wear a dress for a nice evening meal but not back to pre pregnancy weight so nothing fits! So i need to dig out something nice for an evening out.
Just off to see what i can squeeze into back pack. Might take nice cream jacket for the evening if it gets cold...mmmmm
Hand luggage only is definitely the way forward! I think they key thing is knowing what the weather will be which allows you to not have to pack things (cardis etc) 'just in case'. So packing for a British Summer = v difficult as you never know whether it will be 15 or 30 degrees. Packing for a Mediterranean summer however is dead easy as it will be hot every day.
They key for me are dresses - for a week in a hot country I would most likely just pack 10 silk dresses, one for each day then three to rotate for evenings. One bag, two pairs of flat sandals, underwear, travel sized toiletries, done. And no hassle of having to put outfits together, just pull on a dress and go. So much less stress from every perspective.