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PACKING TIPS FROM THE PROS: SUZANNE JONES
by CABINZERO EDITOR • September 08, 2017

Photo Credit: @thetravelbunny

Suzanne Jones is a travel blogger from the UK and blogs at The Travelbunny. She grew up near Brighton on the south coast and, except when travelling, has stayed near to the ocean ever since. Although Suzanne and her husband keep busy running a business organising corporate group travel they manage to escape from the office for a trip at least once a month. Suzanne classes herself as an independent traveller researching and booking all aspects of her travel with a keen eye for a deal. She travels with friends, with her grown-up daughter, sometimes solo but most often with Mr Jones. In her blog Suzanne aims to inspire wanderlust and then give her readers the information, guides and tips to help plan their own trip. There's an emphasis on culinary encounters as she loves to get stuck into local cuisine. Adventure and the outdoors play an important part in her travels. She's zip-lined in three different continents, parascended off a mountain and snow-mobiled across a glacier. She looks for the unique and quirky in any destination and loves chatting to local people to learn about their culture and way of life - even if only by sign language.

So how does a Travelbunny pack? Suzanne's packing style varies according to the trip but what doesn't change is the fact that she never packs until the last minute; hours before leaving the house or the evening before if it's an early start. Over 30 years of travel means she's got packing down to a fine art although Packing for Iceland with just a carry-on was a challenge.

What's usually in your carry-on?

Without fail my DSLR and maybe a second lens. Then there's my laptop, mobile phone with battery pack, notebook, pen and Kindle. There'll be a few toiletries, a change of clothes and flip-flops if I'm going from cold to hot. There's usually a wrap as I hate being cold in-flight. If I don't have checked luggage there'll be more clothes.

Tell us about the usual type of clothes you bring when traveling?

It really depends on my reason for travelling. If it's a work trip then I'll need clothes suitable for conference, functions and evening cocktails so I'd definitely pack meticulously for that. For personal travel it's casual. By day I'm a shorts and t-shirts, trainers or flip-flops kinda girl. For evenings I'd pack a nice top or two and jeans/maxi skirt with a pair of dressy sandals. There'd be a hoody or cardigan for chilly evenings and a waterproof jacket with hood.

What's the best packing tip anyone has given you? Who gave it?

I don't know who told me about packing cubes but whoever it was is my hero. I use these all the time now even for the shortest of trips. You know exactly where everything is and you can just pull out the cube you need without unpacking the whole bag. Tops in one, bottoms in another and one for undies and swimwear. I also have a small cube for all my gadgets, cables and tech gear. I'm heading off on a road trip this month and with no more than two nights in anyone place I'll probably never fully unpack. My packing cubes will be a lifesaver.

What is the best thing about packing light/heavy?

I don't think there's anything good about packing heavy - it's just such a nause lugging all that gear around half of which will go back home unworn. Packing light is so liberating! No heaving massive bags around, no paying extra for checked-in bags, no queuing to check said bags in, no waiting at the carousel for checked-in bags, no lost luggage. Simples.

How does your packing for a travel routine look like?

I start by making sure camera batteries and tech gear are all fully charged the day before I travel. Important for press trips and not something you can do last minute. I absolutely hate packing so I leave it a few hours before I travel although I'll make a point of getting the laundry done in the days leading up to a trip. I lay out everything I think I'll need on the bed and inevitably put half of it away again. What's left goes into packing cubes and into my bag. The packed cubes make great padding around my camera. Any make-up/toiletries go in right at the end so they can be easily accessed when going through airport security.

How do you deal with "excess baggage" situations?

I've never had to pay for excess baggage. Yet. I do have a sneaky tip for avoiding excess baggage charges on the European budget airlines. Some of them let you take one carry-on plus a duty-free plastic bag with goods bought at the airport. I keep an empty duty free bag folded up in my carry on. If my bag turns out to be slightly overweight I can transfer anything heavy i.e. my camera into the plastic bag and I'm sorted.

What's your best-kept packing secret?

Well, I've just told you the one above but I have another secret weapon which helps massively with packing. My travel drawer. In this drawer I keep my passport, insurance documents, any currency left over from previous trips, my battery charger, adaptor plugs, flight socks, duty-free carrier bag in fact anything that I need for my travels. This way I just go to my travel drawer and most of the essentials are there in one place and ready to put straight into my bag. Doesn't have to be a drawer - a box or shelf will do nicely.

Quick Q's

Photo Credit: @thetravelbunny

  • Favourite region? South East Asia
  • Favourite country? Vietnam
  • Favourite city? London
  • Favourite beach? Le Morne Beach, Mauritius
  • Favourite food? Curry - Indian, Vietnamese or Thai, love 'em all!
  • Favourite mode of transport? Train travel
  • Favourite book? The Alchemist
  • Window or aisle seat? Window for the views
  • Carry-on or check-in? Carry-on
  • Hostel or hotel? Hotel absolutely
  • What's your favourite design from the Cabin Zero collection? Love my Classic 44L but would like to try the 28L

You can follow Suzanne's adventures in her travel blog, The Travel Bunny.