I’ve just been skiing, and travelling was a breeze – thanks to well-planned, minimal packing. I travelled by train, carrying only a small, lightweight holdall that would probably measure up to hand luggage on an airline, and which fitted easily into the overhead luggage racks on the train. I could nip into a café across the street while waiting for a connection, while others girls struggled with overstuffed bags, heaving them along breathlessly in and out of trains. And I felt very smug indeed.
So how did I do it while taking everything I needed? Here’s my formula….
1. Ski Gear
If you want to travel light don’t take your own ski gear, but hire in advance and collect when you arrive.
If like me you can’t do without your own boots then take them in a lightweight boot bag with a shoulder strap – and stuff your goggles and gloves inside your boots.
The bulkiest item will be salopettes. Pack them at the bottom of your bag, rolling rather than folding them, to make them as compact as possible – a couple of large elastic bands will help.
Put in two long-sleeve base layer tops and a lightweight fleece, again rolling them tightly into available space. If you feel the cold, try a thermal under-bonnet and glove liners, and make sure your base layers are of good quality, to keep your body really warm. A good warm ski hat and as many pairs of socks as you can fit in will complete your ski wear.
Aim to take as few as possible. Buy mini-size deodorant and decant your favourite shampoo, shower gel and moisturizer (essential) into small plastic bottles (available from chemists). Some liquid handwash will be enough to refresh socks and undies – even a base-layer. A plastic bag is always handy, especially if you have damp clothes when you return home. If you can, keep make-up to a minimum, bringing mascara, a moisturising lipstick and a high factor sun screen.
3. Day wear and Après ski
Obviously, pack underwear, a spare pair of ordinary long socks and a pair of tights to wear under jeans (or leggings if cold) or under a skirt if you go somewhere nice. Pack a smart top to wear in the evenings – I took a long-length knitted top with a plunge neck to wear over leggings, and teamed it with a featherweight shawl. The most adaptable footwear is a pair of leather boots – they can look smart for the evenings but are warm and snug for exploring the ski village. You’ll have to wear your ski jacket to travel but team it up with a scarf and accessories you’ll love wearing out in the evening. Pack a warm cardigan if you have room, otherwise wear it while travelling. It’s great if you need an extra layer for relaxing in your accommodation and can double up as a dressing gown.
For the journey I wore a polo neck jumper under a knitted bodywarmer, leggings and a short corduroy skirt teamed with black knee length boots. I found this combination gave enough flexibility to mix and match whatever activity I did.
Wear a small shoulder bag or backpack (useful for the slopes) for your passport, cash, tickets and documentation for insurance, accommodation etc., plus your sunglasses and lip balm – you’ll need them as soon as you arrive. For holiday snaps, your smartphone will do it all but don’t forget to load ski resort piste maps and other useful apps before you go.
So that’s it. I didn’t feel that I’d forgotten anything essential, and if travelling light is important to you, then try it and see.