Coventry’s ‘backpacking Bridget Jones’ helps Brits get holidays off to a flying start
Pictured: Katy Colins
A Warwickshire woman who found international fame as ‘the backpacking Bridget Jones’ is helping Brits get their holidays off to a flying start after being chosen to launch a summer campaign by one of the biggest names in British transport.
Katy Colins from Kenilworth has been chosen by National Express to share her top packing tips with a new ‘packing hacks’ video blog to help holidays get off to a stress-free start.
The release of Katy’s blog is timely – coming as a new study reveals millions of Brits suffer ‘packing panic’ as they desperately try to cram everything into their suitcase before jetting off on holiday.
The research revealed a stressed out one in five has had to re-think their packing strategy at the last minute after failing to get everything but the kitchen sink in.
One in five have been slapped with excess baggage fines at the airport after misjudging the weight of their bags, and a third of respondents also said that they’ve had to leave liquid items behind at airport security because they were above the maximum size of 100ml.
Incredibly, almost half of the 2,000 adults who took part in the study said they had resorted to sitting on their creaking suitcase to zip it up.
A further one in three said they’d enlisted the help of a second party to squeeze their bulging case shut.
One in ten have broken an item while packing or unpacking, while a fifth has been so desperate to get a zip closed they’ve ended up breaking it.
Travel expert Katy Colins, speaking on behalf of National Express, which allows passengers, including the millions who use its airport services, to carry two suitcases and one piece of hand luggage free of charge, said: “We all love holidays and taking trips away, but the packing element is something that many of us struggle with. Our research found that Brits typically pack, on average, four days before they’re due to depart for their trip – so you’d think that would leave plenty of time to perfect their technique.
“Unfortunately, we’ve learned that even with four days’ notice, our packing techniques often leave a lot to be desired, resulting in Brits losing millions of pounds every year in excess baggage fees and over-sized liquid items which have to be left at security.”
“During my travels as the backpacking Bridget Jones I've learnt how to pack like a pro to save time, effort and those pesky excess baggage charges at the airport. With packing, it's often the little things that get your trip off to the best possible start - something as simple as putting your wash bag and PJs at the top of your bag for night time arrivals for example is hassle saved for tired travellers. With summer upon us and thousands of us already thinking about our holidays, it's been great to team up with National Express and share my packing tips to help as many people as possible enjoy stress-free travel.'
The study also revealed sixty-five per cent of respondents described themselves as ’Folders’ who put all their clothing neatly into the suitcase.
Nearly a quarter believed themselves to be “Rollers”, rolling up their items into rolls or balls to minimise creasing.
And one in ten admitted to being a “Squisher” who just throws everything into the case and squashes it down to fit it all in.
More than a third of Brits have unwittingly gone away with a crucial piece of their packing missing, with one in five forgetting their toothbrush.
Travel adapters were the second most forgotten item by distraught sun-seekers, followed by sunglasses and a favourite item of clothing.
And almost one in 20 have reached the airport before realising their passport was still sitting at home unpacked.
Shoes topped the list of the most difficult things to pack when preparing for a holiday, followed by coats and electrical items.
And six in ten savvy travellers make sure to add personal touches to their luggage to make it more identifiable when it appears on the carousel.
Katy Colins said: “A great tip I always offer savvy travellers is to use every bit of space in your luggage – and that includes your carry on.
“It’s key to also think about where you pack items, too. For example, your laptop needs to be somewhere that can be removed in one swift movement going through airport security.
“And my favourite tip is one I learned the hard way – if you’re arriving at your destination at night, have your toiletries and pyjamas near the top of your bag so you can be ready for bed ASAP.”
National Express serves all major UK airports with fares starting from £2.40. Around a third of all its coach journeys are to airports and passengers are dropped directly at the terminal.
Katy, who found fame as ‘the backpacking Bridget Jones’ has created a vlog to help save you money: http://www.notwedordead.com/my-packing-hacks/
Katy Colins sold all she owned, filled a backpack and booked a one-way ticket to south east Asia and never looked back. The acclaimed travel blogger's experiences inspired her to pen the best-selling 'The Lonely Hearts Travel Club' series which has been translated into over 11 different languages and saw her labelled the 'Backpacking Bridget Jones' by the global media. Her fourth novel 'Chasing The Sun' is out in July 2017. You can find out more about Katy, her writing, her travels and how she swapped heartbreak for happiness on her blog www.notwedordead.com or via social media @notwedordead.