How to pack a suitcase
How to pack a suitcase

How you pack: the results are in…

In honour of our nifty new online packing tool – which factors in your destination, your planned activities and the duration of your trip, generating a tailor-made packing list and local weather forecast for you – Antler recently conducted an in-depth packing survey. We questioned 4,000 seasoned explorers in the UK and Australia.

How you pack - the results are in

The results are fascinating. Turns out you can tell a lot about a nation from their packing. Brits don’t seem to mind queuing at airports as much as Aussies (quelle surprise); we all forget our toothbrushes (13% of Brits and Aussies, in fact); and, when it comes to making a packing list, one nation prefers a spreadsheet. Who do you think?

Both Brits and Aussies agree that the best time to pack is four days before departure, but Aussies are likely to spend six minutes more on the task than Brits. When it comes to the items we overpack, Brits go large on socks and Aussies tend to bring too many jumpers; we all bring too many T-shirts and pants. We also reveal the results of the eternal fold or roll debate. Marie Kondo: look away.

See if you recognise yourself in the stats below. Are you a packing minimalist or maximalist? Do you plan ahead and make a checklist, or bundle everything into your hand luggage and hope for the best? Perhaps you’ve been stung by unexpected fines at the airport (holiday mood-kill: guaranteed) or maybe you pride yourself on your meticulous over-planning…

How to pack a suitcase


Hand luggage or hold?

By a narrow margin, Brits opt for hand-luggage-only more often than Aussies…

44% of Brits prefer to just take hand luggage when possible, compared to 37% of Aussies. Reasons for scorning hold luggage varied, with Aussies more interested in reducing queue time (leaving the British reputation for queuing intact) and travelling light, versus Brits wanting to save money and avoid lost luggage disasters.

Reasons for choosing hand luggage over hold:
1) Avoiding waiting for luggage at the other end: 21% of Brits; 22% of Aussies
2) Saving money: 20% of Brits
3) Having less to wheel around: 19% of Aussies
4) Ensuring bags don’t go missing: 20% of Brits
5) Not having to queue for check-in: 18% of Aussies

How to pack

Which trips call for hand luggage?

Brits and Aussies agreed when it came to the type of trip that would have them reaching for hand-luggage, with the most common reason (48% of both groups) being an overnight stay.

Hand-luggage-only trips:
1) An overnight stay: 48% of Brits; 48% of Aussies
2) Long weekends: 32% of Brits; 26% of Aussies
2) Work trips: 30% of Brits; 19% of Aussies

Lost-luggage woes?

Alas for British travellers, who reported more cases of AWOL luggage than their Antipodean counterparts.

35% of Brits have had their luggage go missing in transit, vs 29% of Aussies.

Nasty surprises?

Many of us have been stung with fines and undesirable suitcase dramas at the airport.

A fifth of surveyed travellers (21% of Brits and 20% of Aussies) have had to pay extra at the airport, thanks to packing mishaps. 30% of Aussies and 25% of Brits have had to remove items from their hold luggage and put them into their hand luggage. Brits are twice more likely to have had to put over-sized hand luggage on as hold luggage. And there’s plenty of packing confusion in the UK: 24% of Brits are unsure what size luggage to bring as carry-on.

Minimalist or maximalist?

Aussies are more likely to overpack than Brits…

60% of Aussie participants said they typically pack more than they need for trips abroad, versus 44% of Brits. Less than a tenth of Aussies are likely to underpack, compared to 20% of Brits. However, despite 40% of Aussies and 44% of Brits trying to only pack essentials, a similar chunk (38% of Brits and 36% of Aussies) prefer to take more than they need, even if they don’t use it.

Fold or roll?

When it comes to the great fold or roll debate , Aussies are bigger folders than Brits, but both nations prefer to fold than roll…

More than half (56%) of Aussies fold their clothes when packing, with just 24% opting to roll. Over in the UK, 46% of participants said they fold, vs 22% of rollers.

Packing planner?

Both Brits and Aussies like to prepare when it comes to packing. Guess who prefers a spreadsheet?

Aussies are more likely to make a packing checklist (67% of Aussies vs 53% of Brits). Brits are more likely to watch online videos for packing tips (19% vs 12% of Aussies); they also favour an old-school spreadsheet (18% of Brits vs 10% of Aussies).

How you pack

What items do you tend to go large on?

We can all probably get away with bringing fewer underpants next time. Unsurprisingly, Aussies were more likely to pack too many jumpers than cold-weather-accustomed Brits, who have a habit of bringing too many socks.

The most commonly overpacked items are:
1) T-shirts: 32% of Aussies; 26% of Brits
2) Pants: 24% of Aussies; 17% of Brits
3) Jumpers: 26% of Aussies
4) Socks: 20% of Brits

What items can you actually travel without?

Interestingly, the results were very similar when it came to the main items we bring, then forget to use – so maybe think twice before packing these next time…

Unused packed items:
1) Jewellery: 22% of Aussies; 14% of Brits
2) Make-up: 18% of Aussies; 12% of Brits
3) Hairdryer: 13% of Aussies; 10% of Brits

And what do you forget?

Turns out we all forget our toothbrushes sometimes…

Sorry, dentists: both 13% of Aussies and Brits admit to forgetting their toothbrush. Surprisingly, Aussies are more likely to forget sun-cream (14% vs 10% of Brits), and both groups identified phone chargers as an oft-forgotten item (11% of Brits; 16% of Aussies).

Speedy vs leisurely packing?

Both nations seem to be similarly organised when it comes to packing, with Aussies spending a tad more time (6 minutes more, on average) on the task at hand…

Both British and Australian travellers agreed that four days before travel is the sweet spot for packing, with Brits spending an average of 47 mins on packing vs Aussies’ 53 minutes.

Got a trip on the horizon? Make packing part of the fun with our interactive packing tool here. Need some luggage to take along for the ride? Browse the Antler luggage collection here.