Travelling, whether to far flung corners or just to the neighbouring town, gets easier as transport links improve and travelling costs fall. Packing, however, never seems to get any easier. Most of us pack too much and we end up with heavy suitcases filled to overflowing with outfits we'll never wear and personal items we'll never use. Learning to pack effectively is a skill that's easily learned and it starts with choosing the right baggage.

For Day Trips
Maybe you've never considered that the few things you jam in your handbag for a day trip amounts to packing. It is, however, just as important to consider carefully what you'll need when you're going out for the day as it is when you're off for a week long trip.

Items you'll likely want to carry include your camera, a snack or two, a drink, your money and maybe an umbrella or a light jacket if the weather is unsettled.

If your bag is too small you'll have to leave something behind or fill it uncomfortably full. Choose a larger bag than you'd normally use, with one or more secure inner compartments to put valuables such as your purse or wallet. If you don't have a large enough bag already in your possession, you'll find a great selection of bags online that you can choose from.

For Weekend Trips
A small case or backpack with a separate small handbag will see you through most weekends away without tempting you to pack too much. Consider the activities you'll be doing and pack only the clothes you'll wear for them. Leave everything else behind. Those items you take 'just in case' almost never get worn and just weigh you down. Discipline yourself to stick with first outfit decisions. Check weather forecasts, dress codes, availability of items like hairdryers in hotels and trust that your packing sense won't let you down.

For Short Holidays
If you're going away for a week or more you'll need a slightly larger case, maybe a larger handbag or backpack for day trips out and a smaller bag for evening use. Use the same principles outlined for weekends to determine which clothes you need, listing the planned activities and what you'll wear for each. As far as possible make outfits mix and match so you can re-wear items but still look different each day.

For Long-Haul Travel
You'll need all the things for the shorter breaks as well as a larger case to hold the bulk of your clothes. Take a larger tote or backpack as your main handbag and this can live in the suitcase until you need it at your destination. Passports and money are easily accessible in a light, small handbag for use during actual travel. Pack for the climate at your destination and don't be tempted to pack jumpers 'just in case' if you're going to a hot country.

On your return, make a note of anything you didn't wear and try to figure out why you took it in the first place. Use this to learn about what not to pack next time.

Anna Holder is an experienced traveller who's learned by experience how to pack efficiently. She buys most of her great selection of bags online.