Alongside travel being a huge part of me, the other half of my beating heart belongs to music (just don’t tell my cats that). There is a soundtrack in my head for every single memorable moment of my life – whether it was the song playing in my beaten up old mini metro as I drove to pick up my A Level results, the playlist I ran the London Marathon to or the music playing in Starbucks as I shared my first kiss with Mr S. Making a playlist is my most favourite activity – in fact, I’m right in the middle of making one now for a birthday present.

But whilst there is nothing like having a playlist on your phone to grab wherever you are, for me there is nothing like listening to the real thing at home. And by the real thing I don’t mean CDs or even Mini Discs (showing my age there) – I mean the way music wants to be played. On vinyl.

Now, before you click off this post screaming “hipster”, I’ve been collecting vinyl for almost 18 years – in fact even before I had a gorgeous pale blue Crossley Cruiser turntable like these from HMV. I remember having a vinyl player at home at a very young age, playing the Eurythmics Sweet Dreams album on repeat and trying very hard not to scratch the record with my clumsy hands. When I finally got my vinyl player, I dusted off my records in the loft, and I’ve been having fun playing originals alongside new purchases at home.

But, how can a playlist work when you’ve got to keep changing the record? Or (gasp), got to turn the record over? I’ve got a little system in place for playlisting with my vinyl player in a very specific situation where actually, the the slight inconvenience of changing the song is actually a really big bonus.

A Playlist to Pack Your Suitcase To

Introducing my vinyl playlist packing method

Bet you didn’t see that coming did you?

I really hate packing for a trip. I often leave it until the last minute, and the worry that I would have left something behind or put liquids in my suitcase when I need to have them very separate often leads to complete inaction on my part. I’ve always got something better to do, and I’m a master of procrastination, so I found myself one day flicking through my records when I should have been folding up my socks.

And I hatched a cunning plan!

What if I could get out all my favourite records and listen to a song whilst completing a very dull packing task. A bit like the famous Pomodoro Method, which uses a timer to break down work into intervals, I’d use the length of each song to do part of my packing to get me motivated to do it quickly with no fuss, knowing I had a little reward at the end of each task.

So I did, and it worked. Welcome to my ultimate vinyl suitcase packing playlist!

A Playlist to Pack Your Suitcase To

A song for writing up my packing list

I need something really upbeat to get me started on a task that although means I’m going on holiday, is something that I really really don’t want to do. I actually often use my commute time to get the bare bones of a packing list written down, meaning that this stage is just checking I’ve not forgotten anything (like pants. Never forget your pants) and to make any last minute changes).

So I need something quick and happy. My go to track for this scenario is There’s No Cure like Travel from the musical Anything Goes. At just under two minutes it is a perfect length, and more than that I think it is the perfect manifesto for anyone looking to travel. I was actually in the musical as a teenager in school, and if you dare to listen to song, you can imagine me singing the female lines that start with “bon voyage”!

A song for getting my toiletries together into the regulation plastic bag

I hate this part of packing. Truly. In fact I spent many years not doing carry on luggage so that I wouldn’t have to work it out. But after dozens of flights, I think I’ve mastered it. For this thankless task (which often includes a quick google to make sure I’ve got it right), I choose the Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book. First of all, for me my toiletries really are the bare necessities of my packing list. Hands up if you’ve arrived at your hotel without your mascara?

It’s quite a long track my comparison, which gives me time to decant anything into smaller bottles and as I’m triple checking that I’ve remembered my dry shampoo, I can shake my body to the amazing jazz sounds of Baloo. The Jungle Book soundtrack is one of my top favourites from Disney, I just can’t get enough of that jazz.

A song for gathering all my clothing and folding them up neatly

I’m quite detailed with my packing list, so instead of having to choose which out of my approximately 92874 tees I want to take with me, I’ve usually been super specific on which one. But now, I’ve just got to locate them (and hope they aren’t languishing in the bottom of my laundry basket.

For this, I need something I can sing along to with abandon, and one of my most treasured vinyls in my collection is the album that includes Money For Nothing by Dire Straits. I won’t apologise for being a child of the 80s, and there is something about the guitar that gets me up and moving, and chasing down cardigans around the house in a jiffy.

A Playlist to Pack Your Suitcase To

A song for locating accessories and shoes (which always takes longer than expected)

I tend to put anything that isn’t clothing into an accessories list – shoes, handbags, necklaces, books, technology. It all ends up on this list. I’m pretty good at remembering to charge things in the run up to a trip (my gentle nod to having to prepare for a trip in any sort of way), but I’m really very bad at actually remembering to pack them.

The one thing that beats my lazy mind into submission is Chandelier by Sia. I can report that I’ve been caught mid bannister swing using an ankle boot as a microphone when it gets to the chorus (awkward), and that since making Sia solely responsible for my accessory packing I’ve not yet forgotten to pack my phone charger.

A song for packing it all into my suitcase

So I’ve gathered everything into a nice neat piled and ticked it all off my packing list. Actually packing it is the fun bit right? Wrong. Perhaps if I invested in packing cubes this bit would be a lot more enjoyable, but alas I have yet to do this so here I am playing suitcase jenga the night before a very very very early flight.

ELO are the band that get me through this phase of packing. Mr Blue Sky is such a happy and upbeat song and one that we listen to often at home, because ELO is one of Mr S favourite bands. The lyrics make me remember that I am indeed headed towards mister blue sky (unless of course you are headed to Oslo in January, at which point mister blue sky will be joined by mister snow, mister freezing temperatures and mister I can’t feel my fingers) and by the time the track has finished, getting everything into my tiny suitcase has been a total breeze.

A song for getting my handbag ready with all the important stuff

At this stage you’d think the packing was over, right? Me too. Hence why I’ve found myself at 4 in the morning scrabbling around for tickets and passports and currency and door keys and all the extremely important things that you cannot travel without. But it is ok – Rocket Man by Elton John is here to make sure nothing gets forgotten.

Still upbeat, but a little more chilled out, this track gets me humming along. I don’t know all the words so I won’t get distracted when packing my passport (has been known to happen). I’ve got enough time to check my handbag at least three times, and I can even afford to do a little pirouette during the chorus.

A song to have a little dance to, as a reward for getting my packing done!

Phew! It’s done. I have a packed suitcase, a handbag with all the important travel documents in and I haven’t packed it all in to watch an episode of The Chase. That little 30 second break between tasks to change the record has kept me on task, and right now I feel like I probably need a reward for my sterling effort.

There is only really one track on my packing playlist to have a celebratory dance party to. I head over to my records and pull out a very special one and turn the volume up to OH MY GOD levels of loud. I push my suitcase out of the way and the the first few bars of Let’s Dance by David Bowie comes on and I’ve already forgotten about the rubbish task I didn’t want to do anyway. There’ll be shoulder shimmies, there’ll be finger clicks and I might even sing along. It’s a party after all.

So now I want to know – will you make a packing playlist? What would be on it?

**This is a collaborative post with HMV, but all awesome playlist recommendations are mine!


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