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Laterally SpeakingPacking for a Summer Holiday 2019

Packing for a Summer Holiday 2019

Off on your summer hols this year? Lucky you! But don’t pack too much stuff, particularly as airlines charge us increasing amounts for every bag carried in the hold. Here’s my lateral packing list to confuse you as to what to take…
Passport / visas etc:
I’m assuming that you’re off on holiday before the End of the World (otherwise known as Brexit—the No Deal Option) currently scheduled for Halloween October 31st. If so, just take your passport and all the usual essential identity stuff (out of date parking voucher from Crewkerne, Lidl Welcome Card, urine sample etc) to prove that you are whom you say you are.
Of course, if you’re travelling post-Brexit, then all bets are off. Nobody knows what you’ll need. It all depends upon the type of Brexit. You might need a European Visa, a copy of your birth certificate or even a mouth swab or a print-out of your DNA records… In the old days, a well-placed banknote used to work wonders as a bribe, but be warned that this can also send you to jail which would rather put a dampener on your holiday plans. Anyway, travelling after November 1st means you can’t be on a real summer holiday, so this magazine article doesn’t apply to you. If in doubt, scan your passport and send it as an email to your mobile phone. That way you’ve always got a copy. Unless you lose your phone…
Your phone
See above – your most important travel accessory and space saver. It’s a currency converter, multilingual phrasebook, Sat Nav, tourist map, music player and camera all in one. It’s a wonder to me how we ever got anywhere or did anything without one. Use your mobile for all of these things and more, but never actually use it as a phone. You may want to speak to your darling kids and grandchildren and send them WhatsApp photos of the beautiful view from your hotel window but please don’t. Unbeknown to you, they were there last year. Besides, they don’t really want to know where you are. It might also make them jealous and increase family disharmony. You will then return to the UK to find that local Italo-Turkish telecoms have added a couple of hundred quid to your phone account for unannounced data roaming charges. Welcome home!
Digital extras
Don’t forget your chargers, headphones, power bank, spare USB cables, adapters and voltage converters. You’ll also have to allow an extra three kilos for all this wiring—much more if you’re also taking your laptop and your tablet and Kindle etc—but then I’d question why you’re going on holiday at all, if you can’t take even a tiny break from all your emails and wall-to-wall watching of Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
I suppose it’s obvious but the older one gets, the more packets of pills and potions we have to take with us. Add another two kilos. Given my advancing years, I am now a travelling pharmacy. I feel like I could probably set up a dispensing service for half the guests in my Spanish hotel.
Why do I always lose my dark glasses? Take spare sunglasses because you’re bound to lose your best ones over the side of a boat or sat upon during a beach party rave. And if you don’t have spare ones, you’ll go and buy another pair at your beach boutique. I just know you will. And they’ll look like expensive ‘Dita Mach-Six’ or Prada (‘great value bargain, monsieur’) but in fact, they’re an equally expensive North Korean copy. Not Gucci but Gwachi. Correct logo, but I’m afraid you’ve been done…
Every year I take a sketchpad and paints because I’m sure I’ll want to try a bit of holiday painting. And every year, the same art set comes back unused in my suitcase. Why do I do this? Do I have a secret longing to be a Monet or Manet? Obviously not. Why don’t I just accept the fact that I can’t draw and have another holiday tequila instead?
Take the absolute minimum. This is a holiday, not a fashion show. However, it’s a wonderful opportunity to clear out your clothes cupboard, so pack a little special something to wear for that anniversary dinner or the inevitable Caribbean theme dress evening. You know that frightful orange and bright green beach shirt you were once given as a birthday present by a colour-blind old friend and have never actually worn? Finally—here’s its chance! And that slinky all-too-revealing dress with the violet watermelon design that you bought in Majorca after too many glasses of Pinot Grigio? You know—the one that you’ll never ever wear because it’s so obviously NOT you? Yes—put it in your suitcase now. If you’re going to embarrass yourself, do it this once in a far-off place where nobody will know who you are. Wear it and be the talk of a strange town for a night. What a way to go in a blaze of fake satin glory! Just make sure you leave it hanging on the back of your hotel room door when you leave. That way you’ve saved enough room in your suitcase to buy another embarrassingly bad taste article of clothing which you can wear the following summer.

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