WE HAVE a holiday mantra in our house that goes: Money, Passports, Tickets.
These are the holy trinity of vacation packing.
We really don’t need anything else, I say to myself as I try to cram spare flip-flops, large bottles of three-for-one sun cream and travel versions of Monopoly and Scrabble into my suitcase.
As long as we have money, tickets and passports we can get to where we’re going and buy anything we want at our destination. We don’t need to worry about what we’ve packed.
And yet we do.
I, for one, would feel bereft if I forgot to take my hair straighteners - although I have been trying to wean myself off them lately - and several pairs of strappy sandals are essential if I am to co-ordinate my outfits in the evenings. During the day I’m happy to look a frumpy, touristy mess in unflattering shorts, walking sandals and vest tops, but in the evening I like to dress up a bit.
Then there’s the jewellery required to accessorise the evening outfits; the make-up and perfume.
My cosmetic bag bulges with anti-ageing cream, after sun, eye drops to reduce the puffiness caused by air conditioning, night cream, facial wipes to get rid of waterproof mascara ,three different types of shampoo and conditioner and the waterproof mascara. And then there’s the first aid kit, with insect repellent, plasters, analgesics, tablets to bung us up, travel sick pills and Lemsips.
It would cost a small fortune to replace all these things.
It’s also highly inconvenient, as we discovered last year when the baggage handlers at Leonardo da Vinci airport in Rome lost the Man-in-Charge’s luggage.
For two days he had to manage with the clothes he stood up in - not easy given that we’d gone from a typically-cool British summer to 32 degrees in the shade.
But, we all agreed, it was a good deal easier for him to manage than it would have been for me.