Confessions of a Reformed Over-Packer (how to plan for your next escape) | by Nikki Parkinson | Styling You

How to plan and pack for your next holiday (confessions of a reformed over-packer)

Nikki ParkinsonHow to, Travel 66 Comments

Sponsored by Allianz Travel Insurance

It’s late on a Thursday evening about five years ago.  After driving from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane and then flying to Melbourne, I’m queued up at Melbourne International Airport to check in my bags for a flight to Kuala Lumpur.

To be honest, I’m a bit in a flap. I have the biggest suitcase known to womankind at my side and I’m thinking that I’ll be pressing it to fly under this budget airline’s baggage limit. I was going away for three nights. OF COURSE I needed every item in that red suitcase. 

Behind me is my new best friend. She is also a blogger heading to KL. She’s up for an award and I’ve just been invited along as cheer squad. This is one of the funny things that happen in our line of work. We get to know other bloggers long before we meet them in real life. This despite knowing what their children’s names are and what the inside of their house looks like.

Anyway, let’s call this blogger Sarah … because that’s her real name. Sarah does not have an oversized suitcase. AND she looks effortlessly in-flight chic in her striped long-sleeved top, relaxed pants and scarf. Right at this moment, I want to be Sarah.

It had been so long since I’d travelled internationally that I was the opposite of in-flight chic. I was wearing a jumpsuit and tie-up espadrille wedges for goodness sake – for an overnight flight in the cheap seats on a budget airline.

As I was called up to the check-in counter, I made Sarah come with me, her looking like a woman of the world and all. And a good job I did too. I was over the baggage allowance, on account of my bringing half of Priceline, Mecca Cosmetica and Sephora with me in that big red suitcase.

Keep in mind here, I’ve only JUST met Sarah in real life. She knows me but doesn’t know me. So when I kindly/pleadingly asked if I could offload some of my beauty haul into her suitcase, I saw her hesitation (what if it wasn’t beauty product?) for just a minute. With a quick swap of a sunscreen, shampoo and conditioner from my suitcase to hers, I was under weight and on my way. Well, we were sort of on our way, but that’s another story. Let’s not even speak of spending the night on the floor of the Melbourne Airport domestic terminal, waiting for our connecting flights on our return journey.

They say the only way is up and this check-in counter story was the low point in my travel/packing history. I’ve challenged myself ever since, with the aim to be smart about what I take with me – whether it’s for three weeks overseas or a weekend away with the girls.

I’ve shared many of those challenges with readers on my blog. Those readers have, in turn, shared their tips and tricks when it comes to packing for a trip away. I take my hat off to these women. I’m far from a minimalist packer (I bow down at these creatures that seemingly only exist on Pinterest) but I have got infinitely better.

So when, Allianz Travel Insurance approached me about working with them for 2017, I decided it was time to put all my personal packing challenges and holiday planning advice all in one place.

My e-book, How to plan and pack for your next holiday (confessions of a reformed over-packer) is available now.  GET THE E-BOOK HERE



What you’ll find in the e-book

  • Simple tips to help you plan and pack for any travel destination or situation.
  • What clothing, footwear and accessories should take up most space in your suitcase?
  • How to minimise your essential beauty product kit.
  • Which extras should you invest in to make your trip away less stressful?
  • Specific capsule travel wardrobe advice and examples for multiple destinations.
  • Advice for domestic getaways – weekends away, a beach holiday, road trips and conferences.
  • Advice for international getaways – northern hemisphere spring, summer, autumn, winter, tropical and sub-tropical island destinations.
  • Advice for what to wear on a flight – short and long haul.
  • Why travel insurance is as essential as your passport.
  • A printable checklist to help you pack and plan your next trip.

Paris in summer | Styling You | Confessions of a Reformed Over-Packer e-book

Why travel insurance is as essential as your passport

I grew up with travelling parents – teachers who took off around the corner or around the world as soon as the bell rang on the last day of term.

There were road trips to visit cousins in Melbourne, caravan holidays at Hervey Bay and many overseas adventures for two adults motivated by the opportunity to visit somewhere new or re-visit a favourite destination.

To this day, that is their motivation. I log on to Facebook and see them jetting off somewhere new. This is what retirement should look like.

What they instilled in me – and something I’ve carried through with my own travels – is the need for comprehensive travel insurance.

I want to take off knowing that if someone in my family needs it, then I’m backed up with help from my travel insurance company. For my last two trips – to Hawaii and to Bali – I’ve chosen Allianz travel insurance.

What I found was insurance that was not only simple and easy to obtain – I selected and purchased my cover online – but also insurance that was competitive in price for the inclusions.

For me, it’s about having peace of mind when you travel. I want to know that if anything goes wrong that my family is backed up through medical help or simply help with extra accommodation or replacement belongings should something be stolen.

When our son was sick almost five years ago while in New York, we weren’t concerned by the potential expense should we need hospital treatment. When I was in Bali last year, I wasn’t concerned about being potentially out of pocket should any delays occur because of the unforeseen ash cloud. And when I book holidays in advance, I do so with the knowledge that if unexpected cancellations occur, I’m covered.

In short, I don’t leave home – or book a holiday – without it.

Book with Allianz Travel Insurance online HERE. Enter  STYLINGYOU to receive up to 10% off International Comprehensive Travel Insurance*

So tell me, have you got travel plans for 2017? Where are you headed?

Hawaii North Shore | Confessions of a Reformed Over-Packer by Nikki Parkinson | Styling You


*Discount based on standard premium rates and applies to International Comprehensive policies only. Please note some discounts may have already been applied to premiums when a product is purchased through a certain channel (for example, online) (Original Discount). In such a case, the greater of the discount offered under this voucher and the Original Discount will be applied. Discount applies to standard premiums only. No discount will be applied to other premium components such as pre-existing medical condition cover.

Allianz Travel insurance is issued and managed by AGA Assistance Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFS Licence No. 245631, trading as Allianz Global Assistance, on behalf of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement available at before buying this product. Any information or advice here does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. If you purchase a policy, Allianz Global Assistance receives a commission which is a percentage of your premium – ask them for more details before they provide you with any services on this product. 


Comments 66

  1. Very helpful thanks Nikki!
    Could you also include tips for a cruise? Need nightly evening clothes and formal evening clothes and shoes so I find this very challenging! I take the free hotel slippers to wear when i get onto the plane – if they get lost or dirty i can just throw them away! Good quality light layers seem to be the best option! Ill be cruising then in Beijing where it will still be quite cold so shoes are my problem! Slip on shoes for plane, thongs, flat sandals, wedges,evening sandals, runners and boots! How I can i reduce this????

    1. Post

      Hi Jo, there is a chapter on cruising in the 2018 edition. You should have received the correct link for that this morning. Apologies … we accidentally sent the old version the first time around.

  2. Hi, I paid $12:99 by PayPal yesterday, got an order confirmation #5738 email but can’t download the ebook. When I clicked the download button a document which appeared to be all gobble gock appeared and now I can’t find anything. Please advise.

      1. Found it thanks Nikki, it will be very handy as I am a huge overpacker haha.
        Thanks again for your quick response.

  3. Hello Nikki, thank you for the free e-book, I need all the help I can muster. it comes at great timing for me.
    Mr & I are travelling o/s in mid July ’17, total 73 days he tells me – with quite extremes in temps expected, as far north to Scotland, Isle of Skye n balance of UK (18days) by coach. London 3 nights. Across to France 3 nights, then Italy (21 days) by coach, a Mediterranean cruise (25days), gees I’m exhausted already. I’m rather beside myself at the thought, what type of suitcase n hand luggage to buy let alone what I need to pack in them. Many thanks again and also for Styling You.

  4. Hi Nikki, love your travel stories. As you know I’m a bit of a blogger. Presently in Cusco having climbed Machu Picchu in my Frankie4. Swam in Galapagos for a week on a swim trek and heading to Santiago soon. Packing was 13.5kg including my fins! Next June its Slovenia, Coatia ( another swim trek) and Budapest. Then in Oct a family birthday cruise for my sister in law 10 on the Princess Royal in the Meditterean

  5. Hi Nikki, how do I get the above Ebook free , like others have mentioned here , as clicking on the link gets me to checkout as if Im purchasing something to be posted., Sorry if Im duh about this. As I also tried to download the weekly wardrobe planner the other week , no luck there either. Btw Im a lurker mostly here , But i have your book, and do get emails about new posts . And I just subscribed as I thought maybe that would help .
    Cheers Maria x

  6. Thanks so much Nikki! My husband and I have booked our first cruise to the South Pacific in November and I’ve been stressing out that I will need to take 2 trunks (or a shipping container!) to be prepared adequately! This has come at a perfect time for me!

  7. It’s for a pdf Liz … you can download it to Dropbox or Google Drive from your device or if on a computer straight to your desktop. Mention of iBook was just for those who have iPhones or iPads and use iBook.

  8. Loving the book thank you. Heading to London, France and Spain for a month – the whole of September. Cannot wait but definitely need help with clothes!

  9. Thanks Nikki for the free e book, an excellent read and will come in handy. Now, just need to plan a trip ! I opened the book in adobe acrobat which is free for iPad or tablet.

  10. I am currently on holiday at Coolum Beach and could have done with this book before i left!
    But, like someone else mentioned, i am also having trouble downloading it to my tablet.

      1. I am using a Samsung tablet and don’t have iBook. I have managed to download the book onto my phone so will just have to read it with my reading glasses. Thanks so much for the freebie. It looks great.

  11. Thanks so much Nikki for a great e-book. Our Christmas holiday was three weeks in the US. From tropical Hawaii to the freezing cold and ski fields of Colorado, to busy California, we had a great time. The four of us took one suitcase and a back pack each. I packed thongs, espadrilles, ankle and long boots and regretted not taking my joggers too. Almost everyone was wearing jeans and joggers at the theme parks. Although I didn’t buy new joggers there, I bought cowgirl boots and our new granddaughter scored baby Nikes. When travelling I pack lingerie bags to store worn underwear separately in luggage. When using public or hotel laundries the underwear stays in the bag for washing. Slips worn under wrap dresses can double up as nighties too. Thanks again.

  12. Thanks so much Nikki and Allianz! I spent the better part of 13 years traveling internationally for work and always kept my toiletries bag stocked and work gear at the ready. And I had travel insurance through my employer. I’ve completely forgot about travel insurance for my personal travel now that I’m no longer with that company. Yeesh! This is timely. And I endeavour to be that chic, non-sweaty jet setter in my mind, not the messy gal with ridiculously heavy carry ons.

  13. Thank you so much for this terrific ebook, Nikki.
    I’m totally with your parents! Mr SuperKombi and I are living in the pre-retirement space and are booked to go on a European trip including a Rhine River cruise in Sep this year and a P&O Christmas cruise to New Caledonia and Vanuatu in Dec. No problems at all spending Mr 19s heritage LOL
    K (SuperKombi) xxoo

  14. Thank you for the ebook Nikki. My confession is my hubby is the over packer! Last trip to a tropical destination he could barely close his suitcase before we left. So I made him take out half the tshirts and shorts he packed. That gave him space at least to buy more while we were away lol!

  15. Thanks Nikki, this is great! I haven’t got any overseas travel plans for this year but I have a couple of interstate trips planned so it will be very handy. I actually used a travel capsule, based on yours, recently for the first time when I went on holidays to the north coast of NSW as space was tight. I have to admit I was sceptical, as I’d always just thrown whatever clothes took my fancy into my suitcase when travelling, without much consideration for a capsule as such. But I was amazed by how well it worked. I wore every item of clothing at least once (unheard of!) and all my shorts, skirts and tees/tops actually went together so I never had to agonise over what to wear on any given day! I am now a travel capsule convert!

  16. Thanks Nikki x
    Just in time for my trip to Singapore/Hong Kong, I’m such an over packer and never wear half the stuff I pack.

  17. Oh Thankyou! I am the worst – I am always so happy to be wearing my ‘Town’ clothes, I just pack waaay too many options! Having just lived out of a BULGING suitcase for 3 weeks, this could not have come at a better time! X

  18. Thanks Nikki (and thanks Allianz) I just downloaded your e-book for free because you know…. since Tom started boarding school I am all for the free stuff, ha ha ha. So thanks!!! Oh and I too am an over-packer! This was evident on our recent holiday where I took the biggest suitcase with about 8 pairs of shoes yet only wore the one dress and one pair of (new) shoes the entire time!!!

  19. Thanks Nikki, I will be downloading your book for sure. I absolutely love packing for holidays, for me it’s part of the excitement. I do keep toiletries packed all the time, deluxe size samples and the like. When we head to Bali in October I will be taking a lot less than last time, my bag was right on the weight limit then I didn’t wear most of it. Agree with travel insurance, I can’t imagine going overseas without it! x

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