How To Pack For A Holiday

Set sail for…… Limerick

Set sail for…… Limerick

When it comes to packing for a holiday there are a number of pitfalls a man consider, from packing too light and having a "can't I buy stuff over there" attitude to packing too much out of fear of "what if?" to packing questionable items like GAA shorts or a skin-tight banana hammock (pair of Speedos). Thankfully packing isn't as painstaking as some people think it is. In fact, all it takes is a little thought and a streamlined suitcase that covers all bases and can be worn again when you land back in sunny Ireland (insert your own joke here!).


Warm Weather Tips


Before I get to the streamlined suitcase, here a few basic pointers for dealing with hotter temperatures. A sun holiday or even just hot weather at home (it happens sometimes) follow the same basic rules, as long as the sun is shining and the mercury has crept past 20 degrees.  If you don't wear the right clothes you're to end up with sweaty clothing, desperately trying to find buildings with air conditioning – not a fun holiday or adventurous lifestyle by any means. Remember the golden rules for dressing for hot weather and stay dry, comfortable, active and still stylish.


·      Light fabrics allow your skin to breathe, air to circulate and your body temperature to remain comfortably low. Think linen, breathable cotton and silk.


·      Light colours will reflect sunlight and heat so look to whites, light blues, light greys, yellows and tans. Darker colours like black and navy will absorb the heat and leave you sweating like a pregnant nun in confession.


·      Looser fits also help your body vent heat away from the skin. Baggy clothes aren't very flattering (or summery), but shirts in your size and fitted more loosely will keep you feeling cool and breezy.


·      Wear a hat. The sun can be pretty harsh on the noggin if you're not used to it. A lightweight hat with ventilation keeps the direct sunlight off your head without trapping heat or making you swear too much.


Packing For A Holiday


Ready to swap the office for the beach? Here are the must-have key holiday pieces you need to have in your suitcase to cover all your bases.


T-shirts & Shirts


There's a wide range to choose from so here are some things to consider. If you're travelling to Europe then you'll be fine rocking a t-shirt unless you're heading to a fancy restaurant or nightclub. Some countries in the UAE expect men to stay in collared, long-sleeved shirts and some African nations can be stricter still. Do your research and don't bare your arms unless it's acceptable locally.


Polos and t-shirts are fine for the beach and other casual environments during the day. If you're going out at night then pack at least one long-sleeved button-down shirt in a light colour. T-shirt wise, you can't go wrong with a plain white tee.


For a bit of variety, pack a patterned shirt with a Cuban collar. It's a fuss-free seasonal piece that works day or night. Wear it unbuttoned on the beach or layer it under a tee shirt or with tailored trousers for evening drinks.


Shorts & Trousers


I know you're on holiday and you're feeling footloose and fancy-free but social norms – and fashion – dictate that you must not wear swim shorts unless you're in or by the pool. Chino shorts are the perfect middle ground between sporty cut-offs and smart trousers and will work with everything from a simple tee to a formal shirt so pick up a pair and pack them.


If the pool is going to be your second home while on holiday, invest in a decent pair of swim shorts. Your GAA/rugby/soccer shorts are not acceptable (I don't care if your initials are on them) and will mark you out as a clueless tourist instantly. Knee length baggy board shirts are also ten years past their sell-by date. Invest in a pair of tailored swim shorts in a solid colour or a subtle pattern.


If you've skipped every leg day and you don't want to show off your drumsticks then pack some fitted trousers made from light cotton or lined instead. Linen is light and has a soft drape to it, but cannot be pressed as crisply as cotton so save it for casual wear and have a pair of cotton chinos on hand for when you need to dress up.




The best footwear for hot weather are sandals. A controversial inclusion as a lot of guys don't like baring their toes but, believe it or not, sandals are a perfectly reasonable and stylish choice of footwear. A close-tied alternative is the traditional boat shoe. These are slip on leather shoes with visible stitching, ideal for beaches, bars, boats and everything in between. Crocs are not an acceptable alternative.  Flip flops, like swim shorts, are for the pool and the pool only.


If you're heading out at night you'll need something a little smarter so bring one pair of smart shoes. You don't necessarily have to bring a pair of stiff dress shoes; a pair of smart loafers or luxury leather trainers could do the trick but again, know your venue when it comes to the trainers.


Underwear & Accessories


The warmest parts of your body are the armpits and groin so keep everything cool downstairs with lightweight underwear that wicks moisture away from the skin. Sportswear manufacturers make excellent products of a cotton spandex blend, specifically designed to remove moisture. Invest in a few pairs and pack enough that you don't need to wash or, heaven forbid, recycle a pair.


Pack a good warm-weather hat with a broad brim, made from a lightweight material that has plenty of ventilation.


If you feel the need to bring a blazer or a suit then at least make sure it's light-coloured and made from linen or cotton and don't wear a tie.


Finally pack a decent pair of sunglasses, a backpack and a few pairs of socks and away you go. And don't leave your passport on the kitchen table.

Patrick McLoughney