Going away on holiday for a couple of weeks is one thing, but if you’re planning an extended trip of several months or more, the whole packing thing takes on a whole new level of complexity. Procrastinating is natural, especially when the task ahead is complicated. Getting a clear idea of the steps involved, and formulating a working plan prevents you wasting time and makes the process more manageable.

Taking Care of Things at Home

Why not let your home generate a little extra income? Possibilities include house swapping, holiday letting through companies such as Airbnb, or a standard tenancy agreement if you’re going to be away for six months or more.

Whichever option you choose, it’s unlikely you’ll want to leave everything you own in the house for others to use. Self storage is the perfect alternative, since the huge choice of space sizes available means you can store everything from a few boxes to a house full of furniture. It is also ideal if you’re not sure exactly how long you’ll be away, as times are flexible and contracts short, rolling from week to week.


Make a list of the valuable things you own, and work out how much space you need. You can buy boxes for TVs, and dismantle large pieces to save space. If you are not sure how much space you need storage companies will be happy to advise and even show you examples.

Choosing What To Take

Regardless of how long you’ll be away from home, packing personal items is much the same. Airports still have baggage restrictions, and you still need to comply with import regulations.

Let the climate you’re going to dictate the type of clothes you take. If your trip will span seasons, you can buy other things you need as time goes on but the journey itself will be more comfortable if you pack as light as possible. Try to find out what items are supplied for you, then confidently leave those things behind. For the rest, top tips include:

  • Pack items that do more than one job. For instance, you don’t need to pack a huge beach towel when you can lay a sarong on the sand just as easily, plus a sarong makes a handy cover-up.
  • If you’re a chronic over-packer when it comes to clothes, make it a rule not to take anything that you can’t wear with at least two different items. Stick to a simple colour palette of three shades or less to make choosing what to wear easier.

It’s a good idea to get cases out a couple of weeks before you go and make a list of everything you think you’ll need. As the countdown to departure moves on, add things to the case and tick them off your packing list. This really helps, especially if you’re packing for other family members. When you leave, it’s a good idea to take the list with you as this helps with packing for the return trip, showing you at a glance everything you brought.

Bringing It All Together

Treat house packing and personal packing as two separate operations, and work from two separate lists, keeping items separate. It helps to create a timeline, starting from today and ending on the day you actually depart. Note down the days and dates by which steps must be completed. As the day of departure gets closer and things become more hectic, having a timeline helps you keep track of where you are and what to do next. Don’t forget to arrange childcare if that would give you one less thing to think about, especially while you’re moving items into storage.

Going away for a longer period is definitely more work than your average holiday, but then the rewards are so much greater too making it well worth it in the long run.