WHAT I WON'T TRAVEL WITHOUT (FROM NOW ON)
The 10 essentials you shouldn't head to the airport without.
I've never been great at packing.
Scrap that; I'm terrible. I've always tried to cram my entire life, wardrobe and kitchen sink into my suitcase. And while that made for plenty of outfit options, it never made for a happy Dad or boyfriend who ended up having to lug it around.
My packing woes have taught me three things.
1. I've got a real talent for packing a lot of clothes that don't get worn, a stupid number of impractical 'just-in-case' shoe options along with countless other unnecessary space fillers.
2. It's incredibly useful travelling with a guy who has a real talent for charming his way out of excess luggage fees. Case in point: our trip to India earlier this year kicked off with a $200 fee for my overweight suitcase - and that was before we had even left the country (Thanks Air New Zealand for being sympathetic to this girl's packing habits and not depriving me of my spending money!).
3. There are a few essentials that a girl should never travel without (which I've mostly learnt about the hard way i.e. by not having them with me and seriously regretting it). So while you should never listen to me about how to pack, these 10 travel essentials are what to pack to make your next jet-setting trip that much more enjoyable. Or, given the time of year, what to put under the Christmas tree for any fellow travel addicts.
(Oh and every 'liquid' is under 100mL so need to worry about if you can or can't take them on board with you).
1. FOR STORAGE
Raden 'Smart' Suitcase
A28 Check In Luggage US$395 / A22 Carry On Luggage US$295 | www.raden.com
Your suitcase. Probably one the most important travelling companions to get right (that, and the person you're going to get stuck with on a long-haul flight).
Thankfully for me, what I lack in travel smarts, my suitcase makes up for. Meet the Raden smart suitcase; the luggage that has beauty, brawn and brains.
Let's start with the basics: This bad boy is maximised for volume (i.e. more clothes) yet minimised for weight and all wrapped up in an invincible polycarbonate shell. And its four double-spinning wheels with 360° manoeuvrability make it beyond easy to move around.
Now, the bonuses: It weights itself - so you can avoid or prepare yourself for that overweight fee. It can charge your phone or any other device four times over thanks to its integrated battery pack and USB ports - plus the battery is detachable so you can keep your phone alive when you're out and about. AND it boasts a GPS tracker so, via an app, you can find out you where your bag is - so no more wondering if they've lost your bag!
2. FOR SANITY
THE DAILY EDITED Monogrammed Travel Accessories
Travel Wallet approx. US$150 / Luggage Tag US$60 | www.thedailyedited.com
It's always when you're running late for a flight that your passport, boarding pass etc etc are hidden away in the bottom of your handbag. So save yourself the last-minute panic and keep everything nicely tucked away and organised in a classy travel wallet. I'm obsessed with The Daily Edited's range of personalised travel must haves, including their monogrammed luggage tags. We could all use a little help picking out our black suitcase from the hundred of others on the carousel!
3. For SHEER comfort
elle + riley taylor Cashmere travel blanket
NZ$495 | www.elleandriley.com
Even if you're jetting off in the middle of summer or heading to a tropical island, chances are the temperature on the plane isn't going to match your balmy destination. So instead of piling on or stripping off the layers as you jump from airport to aeroplane, invest in a cashmere travel blanket. It will keep you at a good temperature and comfortable - and we all know that's not always easy in a small airplane chair.
I'm especially loving this one from Auckland-based Elle + Riley, who just so happens to be run by a gal I went to school with.
4. FOR SOUND
£89.99 | www.ultimateears.com
We never travel anywhere without our UE Boom. It's seen many countries, been dropped even more times (including in water, oops) but it's still going strong and keeping our ears happy four years later. For something so small in size and in cost, it puts out some big sound.
5. FOR SHOPPING
Longchamp 'le pliage' nylon foldaway bag
Travel Bag XL £85 | www.longchamp.com
I bought my first Le Pliage on my last trip to Paris and it's accompanied me on every weekend away since. Being Nylon, it's nice and durable and super easy to clean, but its brilliance is in the way it compactly folds up. Just tuck it away in your big suitcase, and then pack it full with all that 'accidental' shopping you did when you're heading home. It's also the perfect carry-on size so it's very easy to take on board with you.
6. FOR spare battery
mophie powerstation xxl
£99.95 | mophie.com
It's never ideal when you're in a foreign place and your phone dies at the very moment you need to find out where on earth you are. I can say that from experience so now we don't travel anywhere without a power bank - like this one from Mophie. Once this bad boy is charged up, it has enough fuel for seven charges of your smartphone, speaker, camera etc (anything that can plug into a USB). Now you can still find your way back to the hotel after gramming up a storm - again, speaking from experience (sorry babe!).
7. FOR Skin
It's not exactly easy to keep up your skincare routine at 30,000ft but these three hand-bag friendly products will keep you feeling refreshed and clean before you're able to jump in an overdue shower.
Prospector co. compressed towel tablets
US$4.99 | prospectorco.com
With a splash of water, these cotton-fibre compressed pills expand into a small towel. Perfect to be able to wash your face when you don’t have the conveniences of home.
EVIAN Brumisateur® Natural Mineral Water Facial Spray Travel Duo
US$15 (for two 50ml cans) | sephora.com
Made with pure Evian water from the alps, this facial mist lets you refresh, hydrate and tone with just a spritz. Especially great for those of us that suffer from travel sickness.
cleanse by lauren napier
US$20 (for pack of 15) | laurennapier.com
Every girl's toiletries bag should carry a stash of cleansing wipes. These goodies from Lauren Napier get rid of all the bad stuff - makeup, stubborn waterproof mascara, sunscreen, pollution, acne-causing bacteria, inflammation etc - while doing all that good stuff like moisturising and giving you back that glow. And all using only natural ingredients - win.
8. FOR SLEEP
This Works Sleep Plus Pillow Spray 75ml
£26 | thisworks.com
If you're like me and aren't a great sleeper - let alone when you're trying to get used to different time zones, unfamiliar beds and new pillows! - it helps to have a little help. This spray from This Works has been clinically proven to do the trick. Its fast-acting formula that contains therapeutic Lavender oil, is said to help restore your natural sleep pattern and help you drift off to the land of nod. I'll definitely be putting this to the test on my next trip.
9. FOR stains & silks
Laundress Fabric Care Travel Set
£40 | thelaundress.com
Keeping your clothes clean while travelling is a nightmare. If you're lucky enough, your hotel might offer a laundry service, and if you're unlucky (like us in India), their laundry service will put your yellow pants in with ALL of your whites. Don't get me started.
The team from New York brand, Laundress, have put together this handy little travel pack to help you to avoid having to wear lemon-yellow clothes for the rest of your trip. The pack includes a miniature 60mL stain-remover, static-solver, clothing freshener and a crease-remover, and they've even thrown in a washable/reusable laundry bag to make your life away from home that little bit easier.
Oh, and did I mention their eco-friendly? Even better.
10. FOR shampoo-free days
Batiste on the go dry shampoo
£1.50 | Available in all good pharmacies and supermarkets
Getting my hair to a state where it's clean and acceptable to be seen in public takes a bit of time. So on those travel days or early morning starts when I can't indulge in a long shower, Batiste Dry Shampoo saves the day. I've sworn by it for years at home - especially the one for blonde hair! - and I've just discovered the brand's on-the-go travel size. Keep it in your toilet bag or handbag for an instant way to refresh your locks (and not hold your boyfriend up from making the most of the hotel's free breakfast).
And last but not least - a strong travel buddy who is willing to be paid in beers for being your personal sherpa.
Happy travelling / Christmas shopping!