If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

It can really spoil your holiday… you arrive at your hotel and open your suitcase and scream with dismay when you look inside.

All your clothes are creased… the sun cream bottle has burst and your nice new jacket is still lying on the bed at home.

What a nightmare!

But, take heart, with a little bit of know-how you will never find yourself feeling like that again.

So, what to do?

Let’s start with Preparation.

Yes, even if you have the most frantic of lives you still need to make time in your busy schedule to prepare before you pack your suitcase.

Leave it to the last minute at your peril. To avoid disaster you need to spend some time thinking about what you need on your vacation.

First, you need to think about where you’re going and how long you’ll be on vacation. A long weekend visiting family or friends at Christmas in the UK will need a completely different packing list to a month in Australia at the same time.

The weather can make such a difference to what you pack in your suitcase so, the first thing to do is to check the weather forecast for the place you plan to visit and pack your suitcase accordingly.

Now you’ve done the first part of your preparation it’s time to sit down and make a list of all the things you will need on your vacation. Then the hard part… crossing of the list a few of the things you can do without. Remember, when you reach your vacation destination you can always buy things there if you need them.

If you are flying to your destination make sure you know the limit of your baggage allowance, as most budget airlines today charge substantial excess charges for overweight baggage. Make sure you weigh your baggage before leaving home if your want to avoid paying extra.

Only take the minimum amount of toiletries with you as you can always buy more locally. Always pack them in sealable plastic containers to prevent any spillage from damaging your clothing.

The Rolling Method of packing your clothes is a great way to reduce creases and wrinkles.

the lightest I think I've ever packed!
Photo: AnsyDuPiton.com

For example, take a shirt… lay if face down on the bed and fold the arms neatly behind it. Fold the shirt in half lengthways and lay another shirt or a tee shirt folded in the same way on top.

Then, from the bottom of the shirt roll them both together into a reasonably tight roll. The idea behind this method is that by rolling the clothes they are being wrinkled less right from the start and as the rolling creates a gentle bend in the clothes it will recover when unrolled and given a gentle shake… Try it…it works!

Rolled Clothes in SuitcasePhoto: Molly Feltner

You can put three or four or more items together in a roll and because you are creating a gentler bend there will be less creases in your clothes.

It’s best to roll your socks and underwear and put them inside shoes or boots which can then go inside plastic bags and fit either in the bottom or sides of your suitcase.

Sweet tag
Photo: trundstrom

You don’t need to roll all your clothes… Jeans and trousers fold in half easily and are best placed in the bottom of your suitcase.

It’s best to put jackets, sweaters and heavy items like books at the bottom of your suitcase with lighter clothing placed on top of them… and then put your clothing rolls at the very top.

The best place to put your toiletries bag is right in the center of your suitcase. Cushioning it in between your clothing rolls is a good place as it will reduce the chance of damage from squashing.

It can help to decide in advance the outfits you want to wear each day and then pack each outfit in individual re-sealable bags and then roll them up.

If you’re flying  make sure you have a change of clothing in your carry-on luggage. Unfortunately, luggage does go missing from time to time and it can take a day or two before you get it back.

If you like to buy new things when on vacation and need to make space in your suitcase to bring your new purchases home… It’s a good idea to take some old clothing with you to wear. You can throw them away before coming home.

It’s also useful to have some sort of identifying tag on your suitcase so you can recognise it… especially if you’re flying. So many suitcases look the same today it can be difficult spotting yours on the baggage belt.

And, if you’re buying a new suitcase, don’t buy a black one… There are so many black suitcases it can be really hard to spot yours… Get a bright colored one like ‘Red’ or ‘White’ and save yourself a lot of hassle.

Also, make sure you don’t pack the cat!

Photo: libraryrachel

If you have read Dan Brown’s book ‘The Da Vinci Code’ or watched the film of the same name starring Tom Hanks you will have some knowledge of Rosslyn Chapel.

If you haven’t read the book or watched the film… don’t worry because when you visit Rosslyn Chapel you will be captivated by its history and amazed by its beautiful architecture.

Rosslyn Chapel is only a 7 mile drive from the centre of Edinburgh and is a great place to visit for the day either on your own or as part of a tour party.

Rosslyn Chapel
Photo: TFDuesing

It is a very popular tourist attraction visited by coach loads of people every day. If you want to see it at its best I would advise you to go early in the morning where you will be able to explore comfortably before most of the coach parties arrive. The chapel opens at 9.30AM on Monday – Saturday and 12.00 noon on Sunday’s.

Guided talks, in English, lasting for about 30 minutes are available throughout the day. They usually start on the hour every hour and you can chat to the guides before and afterwards and ask them all your questions. You will find them to be very knowledgeable and very friendly.

If you visit Rosslyn Chapel between January 2009 and July 2010 be prepared for the major conservation program currently being carried out.

Rosslyn Chapel was founded by the St Clair family in 1446 and is still owned by the family. In 1995 the Earl of Rosslyn put in place the Rosslyn Chapel Trust responsible for overseeing the Chapel conservation programme.

The Chapel is now having £13 invested into its conservation. But, this is a fascinating period in the history of the chapel and when you visit you will be able to see world-class professionals working skilfully to ensure this  magnificent building is conserved to be enjoyed by many generations of visitors to come.

Roof of Rosslyn Chapel
Photo: landhere

If you are in Edinburgh on vacation I would recommend you visit Rosslyn Chapel especially during the conservation period as it is a real opportunity to photograph one of Scotland’s famous buildings at a special time in its history.

Note however, video or photography is not permitted inside the Chapel but, you can take as may photos as you want outside the Chapel.

However, you can buy a CD-Rom containing 70 professionally taken photographs for the Chapel or from their online shop.

It will take you about 2 to 3 hours to really see Rosslyn Chapel at your leisure. This is more than just a walk in the front door and a stroll in the churchyard. There is real history to be seen and felt in this place. So, give yourself plenty of time to really enjoy the experience.

Here are some of the things you can do on your visit:

  • Learn all about the remarkable history from a knowledgeable guide on a guided tour
  • Enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of the Chapel gardens and look for the gravestones of the founding family
  • Spend time identifying the native and exotic plant carvings
  • Examine the original architects’ drawings etched onto the wall in the Sacristy
  • View Rosslyn Chapel from a distance by climbing up onto the canopy
  • Use your powers of deduction to find the foundation date of the Chapel high up on the outside walls
  • Seek and find the most difficult carving to find in the Chapel – the death mask of Robert the Bruce
  • Take home a beautiful souvenir of your visit from the Chapel shop

In addition to the guided tour I would recommend you buy the official Rosslyn Chapel Guidebook written by the Earl of Rosslyn. At only £4.25 it is a real treasure chest full of fascinating information about the family history including many stunning color photographs of the Chapel and poetry from many of the famous poets who have visited the Chapel.

Rosslyn Chapel
Photo: TFDuesing