There are many great things about being a modern, stylish, refined and cosmopolitan man... but surely one of the very best is the ability to know how to travel light. Preparedness and a thirst for adventure are the marks of the 21st century gentleman; travelling light is the key to being able to get up and go, move effortlessly from place to place, and always have what you need to hand.
Whether you’re off on a globe-trotting, jet-setting voyage, a city break, or a business meeting away, knowing how to travel light is one of those skills that reaps great rewards down the line. Sure, it might not always be easy to know what to cram into your suitcase and what to leave on the bedroom floor, but - believe us - you’ll be more than grateful you were economical with your packing once your journey is underway.
Here at Marlborough of England, we’ve packed more bags than we care to remember, and we like to think we’ve got it down to a fine art. As always, we’re keen to share our favourite tips and tricks with you - our valued customers and visitors - and help you travel light, avoid stress, and do so in great style and distinction. Ready? Read on to find out more!
Planning and Preparation
Make no mistake: if you’re off on your travels, and want to master the skill of travelling light, preparation is key. You don’t have to spend hours itemising absolutely everything and making endless lists (well, unless you really want to…) but planning ahead is going to help you out, and will lead to greater efficiency down the line.
Write a Travel Itinerary
Kick things off by thinking carefully about what it is you’re going to be doing when you’re away. Going to a business meeting or conference? Make sure you note down when it will be, and what you’ll need to take with you. Taking in a restaurant or two while you’re away? Write it on the list, and think about what items of clothing will be suitable. By doing this, you won’t be packing for a series of unknown events, and you’ll probably be able to cut back on some unnecessary clothes and other things that would otherwise take up space in your bag.
Make a List of Essentials
Once you’ve got your itinerary written up, you can move on to your list of essentials. Shoes, shirts, underwear, toiletries… these are all things you’ll need on your trip, but ensure that everything that goes on the list has a specific purpose and reason for being there. This list is going to help you in several ways: firstly, it will give you a baseline from which you shouldn’t deviate too much when packing.
Secondly, it will give you some confidence when packing - everything will be in its correct place, and you won’t be stuffing random items into your suitcase which have no reason to be there.
Give Yourself Time
Nothing is more stressful than panicking and racing against the clock when packing. You bought your ticket, you know what time you’re heading off… so for goodness sake, don’t leave it all to the last minute! Doing your packing at least a day in advance is going to give you plenty of peace of mind, and will make the day of departure run considerably more smoothly!
It’s easy to find travel-sized versions of all your favourite toiletries nowadays. Everything from shower gel and shampoo to deodorants, perfumes, creams and toothpaste now comes in conveniently small packages, perfect for the gentleman who is travelling light.
However, you won’t want to be just cramming these toiletries into the spare spaces in your main suitcase - not only will you struggle to find them once at your hotel, there’s also the very real danger of leakages causing no end of problems. Make sure you have got yourself a stylish, specially designed toiletries bag, such as this Marlborough of England Canvas and Leather Wash Bag. Effortlessly elegant, beautifully made and perfect for the task at hand, this wash bag is made from quality green canvas and durable leather, and features a waterproof canvas lining that will protect your clothes from leakages with the minimum of fuss.
Folding and stacking your clothes might look very neat, but doing so takes up far too much space which you may need for the other items of your essentials list. Rolling your clothes allows you to cram far more things into a relatively small bag - so if you have to pack a few spare t-shirts, trousers and pairs of underwear, consider taking this approach. All good hotels will have an iron or a trouser press in the room, meaning you won’t have to worry about your things getting creased.
The Right Bag For The Right Trip
It’s an undeniable fact that not all bags were created equal, and not every bag is going to be suitable for every type of trip. The length of your time away is going to be the most pressing issue when it comes to selecting your bags, and it’s important to bear this in mind when choosing which ones to take with you.
Bags for Longer Trips
If you’re going to be travelling for a week or more, the chances are that one bag simply isn’t going to cut it (that is, unless you’re taking one of those massive, unattractive, unwieldy things that are always the last to make the rounds on the baggage reclaim conveyor). However, we’d strongly argue that two should be the absolute maximum number of bags you take with you.
Firstly, you’re going to be in need of a good quality weekend bag - one with the durability and robustness to put your mind at rest, and yet which also exudes a sense of style and elegance that is key to the appearance of the modern jet-setting gentleman. The Marlborough of England Weekend Bag Khaki is a fine example; a timeless design, brought to you with smooth papaya leather finishings, a silk lining, and protected with a rainproof solution, this bag is designed to last a lifetime and see you safely through all the trips you might ever take. Not only does this weekend bag look fantastic, it’s surprisingly roomy, too, allowing you to pack all of your clothes and essentials in one perfectly stylish place.
Of course, if you’re setting out on a long plane or train journey, you’ll want some hand luggage to come with you. A place not only for your books, entertainment devices, refreshments and gifts, but also for anything else you felt was best kept about your person, and not in your other, larger item of luggage.
There’s no reason whatsoever that your hand luggage shouldn’t also be a thing of real beauty and distinction - after all, you’re going to be wearing it with you - and we feel that this Canvas Cartridge Bag does the job very nicely indeed. Compact, elegant, made in a classic design from tan canvas and chestnut leather, It’s at once the perfect accessory and the most reliable of luggage options. Incredibly durable, effortlessly cool, and highly functional all at the same time, this bag is perfect for journeys of all sorts.
Shorter Trips of 1 - 3 Days
City breaks, romantic weekends away, business meetings, conferences… all of these types of trips and many more besides will usually only take place over a maximum of three days. As such, it’s highly unlikely you’ll either need or want to take more than one bag with you. We’ve got a few tricks of the trade to consider for such a break, to ensure that you know how to travel light for such an occasion.
1. Pack clothes that go well together
Maximise your ability to mix and match a handful of different outfits by selecting quality clothes in neutral colours, such as black, white, grey and brown. You can always add a splash of colour and personality with a couple of well-chosen accessories, like a stylish pocket square or bow tie.
2. Take practical, smart shoes
The trick with shoes is to take a pair which will work well in a number of settings, and for a few different social occasions. Chelsea boots and the like are always good for this - smart enough for dinners and meetings, casual enough for pounding the pavement and checking out the local culture.
3. Bring a small amount of washing powder or detergent
It’s never difficult to find a laundrette or somewhere to wash your clothes if you need to, so pack even more lightly with some washing powder in your bag!
For shorter trips, we’ll always recommend this stunningly elegant and fantastically durable Marlborough of England Tan Leather Helmet Bag. Made in England by master craftsman, this classic item of luggage looks truly sophisticated in tan leather, and is set to last a lifetime thanks to its strength and the quality of the materials it is made from. Ideal for weekends away, and perfect for travelling light, it’s an item which no gentleman should be without.
Travelling Light: The Mark of a Worldly Gentleman
As we’ve seen, travelling light isn’t just about stuffing the bare essentials into a tote bag and wishing for the best.
When done properly, you’ll soon discover it’s the only way to get around… and when undertaken with the kind of quality leather goods made by Marlborough of England - undoubtedly one of the finest leather goods producers in the UK - you get to do so with the utmost in classic and contemporary style, too.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to this essential modern skill - as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on which of the items listed was your favourite, as well as your stories about travelling light, and any tips and recommendations you’ve got to share. Get in touch via the comments below!