Packing for a holiday can be a stressful experience especially in the run up to Christmas, with the prospect of travelling during the festive season enough to put you off going to the airport altogether!

If you’re guilty of a poorly packed suitcase, over-packing or simply taking the wrong clothes on holiday, fear not as our friends at have teamed up with mathematician and TV personality Mark Labbett from ITV’s The Chase, to create an ingenious perfect packing formula to help travellers pack efficiently this winter.

Whether you’re heading for a sun or skiing holiday, a city break or even a business trip, the clever formula calculates exactly how much your packing will weigh. The formula takes into account gender, size, height and duration of holiday to ensure luggage doesn’t go over the guidelines accepted by the majority of airlines for carry-on luggage.

The Magic Formula

For a seven day holiday, the savvy traveller needs the following:

L =((SfxHfxD)+(5xS)+(12xB)+(2xPb)+(6xHb)+(15xMs)+(9xMj)+(9xFs)+(6xFj)) / 10


= Luggage

Sf = Size factor. 1 for a normal sized person, as low as 0.8 for someone very small or as high as 1.2 for a giant

HF =Holiday Factor. How clothes intensive is it likely to be? A normal holiday would be 1.0, a casual beach holiday would be 0.6 or 0.7, a winter holiday be a 1.5

D= Days

S= Shoes

B= Bottles

Pb= Paperback books

H= Hardback books

Ms= Male suit

Mj= Male jacket

Fs= Female suit

Fj= Female jacket

(Note – All the weights in units of 100g so as there are ten 100gs in a kilogram that is why we divide by ten in the formula)

Commenting on the formula, Mark Labbett said: “The main problem with holiday packing is that most of us tend to over pack but also pack inefficiently. The result of course, is that we often go on holiday with things we don’t need and even then only end up wearing a small number of items.

“The formula works by inputting the passenger’s body type and allowing users to select the types of clothes they’re likely to take on holiday. For example, men are going to pack heavier items such as suits and jackets, and women’s clothing is generally lighter and smaller. Once the data has been inputted, the formula will calculate the total weight of your clothing, allowing you to remove or add in items to ensure the weight is within airline restrictions.

“This will in turn help ensure you don’t over-pack and be at risk of paying fees for overweight luggage at the airport, which let’s face it can put a dampener on your holiday before it’s even begun!”


Top tips

Packing for a winter holiday can be stressful when you factor in the festive season as well, but these handy hints and tips will ensure passengers get the most from their suitcase.  

  • Wear as much clothing as comfortably possible and use a separate small bag for essentials such as phone, kindle, passport and wallet as well as a hand luggage bag.

  • Laptops can weigh up to 7kg so keep in a laptop bag rather than hand luggage. This will need to be removed before going through airport security, so have it close at hand if possible.

  • Iron everything beforehand as this will ensure your packing is as flat as possible.

  • Vacuum storage bags can significantly reduce suitcase space taken up by bulky items such as jumpers and coats.

  • Check out the laundry facilities at your hotel or resort and take less clothing if you know you can do a weekly wash.

  • Try bundling clothes tightly rather than rolling or folding – e.g. lie your jeans at the bottom of your case with the legs out, lay T-shirts, shirts and underwear over the jeans and pack the jean legs over the top. This will save valuable space!

  • Swap paper and hardback books for a kindle or e-reader which have capacity to store hundreds of books electronically.

  • Shoes are an awkward shape to pack, so stuff them with socks and underwear to make the most of the space. Two pairs in your hand luggage is plenty!