Living in one country, working in another means I travel a lot – I’ve boarded 70 + planes in the last 365 days. There are press trips, flights to Paris and with a great deal of travelling coming up in the next few weeks, to PFW and beyond the borders of Europe – I teamed up with Kipling to share all my packing advice. I used to struggle immensely when it came to preparing for a trip but experience has drilled a system in me that keeps the process streamlined and time efficient. Men have it a lot of easier, my boyfriends of the past were always horrified at just how much stuff was required for me to operate as a functioning human on a trip away. Throw in the fact that I am a blogger, and my airplane load can often be ridiculous. I am not a portable person. My camera equipment alone weighs 5 kilos. It is impossible for me to fit everything I need into a compact carry on, but that’s not to say I’m not mobile. Not at all, I get around but with an entourage of possessions I have narrowed down to a reasonable minimum. Truth is, typically I pack a few hours prior to my flight – organizing a suitcase and jumping a plane away are second nature to me and at times this year, it felt like I spent more time up in the air than on the ground. And then there are small luxuries I like, such as layers of grey cashmere to wrap myself in during the flight or matching luggage sets. Long gone are the days of tatty suitcases I borrowed from my parents’ basements. I like a co-ordinated set, it makes me feel more organized, I suppose. And organization is everything, the absolute essential to successful packing. So here we go, hope this saves you from frantically throwing whatever’s clean into a suitcase hours before your next flight.
what i wear:
I have some hard and fast rules and I refuse to stray from them. No heels, no tight clothing, no complicated or tailored styles. I prefer an elastic waistband (leggings are a favourite) and sloppy layers I can take on and off, dressed up with a prettier pair of flats. Basically, I wear loungewear, anything I pad around at home in deemed appropriate plane-wear. Comfort is key – the seats are small and I suffer from claustrophobia, so I will always keep my outfit fluid and loose. Baggy cardigans or ponchos are perfect for planes, they double up as a blanket. Also, I always cover up – airplane seats are creepily filthy and incredibly scratchy too. I don’t enjoy the germs so keep clean by wearing long sleeved garments as well as trousers. I like hats and sunglasses too, as I ardently avoid looking at people on airplanes and I prefer them not looking at me. I won’t wear any jewellery either as this will just have to be removed at security. Clothes aside, I avoid makeup with the exception of a little lipstick perhaps. I will also douse my skin in moisturizer as plane air is very dry.
the hard part: wardrobe packing
This is where I used to fail with epic proportions. I’d bring 12 pairs of shoes, no underwear and one sweater but no coat for a winter trip back to Paris. Insane. For a long time I made the mistake of packing what I wanted to wear on a whim rather than what I needed to wear. As for all the what-if occasions? These imagined scenarios almost never happen, and if they do, well there are boutiques to buy things in wherever I am headed. Don’t pack for your dream trip, pack for your real trip. I used to shove things in my suitcase in the hopes that I’d arrive and be living the life of Beyonce to then have 3 pairs of Jimmy Choos unworn on my hotel floor while I awkwardly slept in a towel after forgetting pyjamas. This makes travelling unnecessarily difficult. So here’s what I do. I consult the weather on my iphone and then I choose a colour palette. For my latest trip to Paris, I chose earth tones with denim, grey and black staples. Anything not co-ordinating with my colour scheme goes back in my wardrobe. That way everything I pack can be combined infinitely to create different ensembles. Minimizing the volume of clothes while maximizing diversity in outfits is the art of good packing. A simple hat and a classic jacket such as the trench are perfect options, I will throw these on top of everything. I will always allow myself one wild card, which is a less versatile piece – here being the leopard print flats and without fail, one pair of moderate heels, not too high though otherwise they will just sit unworn in my suitcase. Always throw in underwear, bras, socks and pajamas first, before you pack anything else – I have very frequently forgotten these things and it is always a hassle having to run to H&M the morning after arriving in pursuit of these boring essentials. On a different note, a good suitcase is a smart investment – I refused to believe this for years, opting instead to drag around a rusty old thing I snuck out of my parents’ house. But I travel frequently so I am happy to have a collection of quality luggage options. I usually prefer soft luggage styles , they weigh less and are easier to cram brimming full. Also, one with wheels that roll 360 are so far more comfortable, one of the reasons I love this Kipling one – it’s soft, easy to stuff and I can drag it any which way I please. Plus it’s rather inconspicuous , an important factor – expensive suitcases are far more likely to be stolen.
what to bring beauty wise :
I don’t like hotel cosmetics, perhaps I’m not staying in luxurious enough places but I always sorely miss my products when I don’t have them. So I save a great deal of the space in my luggage for all my cosmetics, which is why I love this Kipling travel cosmetic bag. Ample enough to fit my excessive essentials but secure enough to avoid broken bottles or leaks in my checked luggage. I’ll buy a bottle of pantene at the supermarket wherever I’m headed but that aside, I bring everything. From my Clarisonic to hilariously bulky toothbrush as well as full sized bottles of all my favourites. One face wash, an eye cream, a moisturizer – typically all Bobbi Brown. A hairbrush, obviously and perfume too. In terms of makeup, I will bring only the basics as well as a few lipsticks. This is the only dramatic sort of makeup I wear, so I like to have options. My beauty packing is a true testament to how un-portable I am as a human, usually it’s the bulk of what I’ll bring with me. I just cannot stand the feeling of not quite clean skin or too dry pores after attempting to use hotel body lotion as a face moisturizer. I like to bring them all with me, it makes wherever I am feel like home in a small way. I would recommend bringing less clothes and more beauty essentials. I have always found to actually use all of my cosmetics on a trip away while clothes are so often left folded and unworn in my suitcase.
the carry on essentials:
Lost luggage, it’s sadly happened to me a fair few times. That heart sinking feeling of watching the conveyor belt slow to a stop while you are still empty handed and seeking your suitcase. Everything hard to replace goes into the bag I take with me on the plane – so I prefer to bring a big one. This Kipling duffle also doubles as my gym bag, it’s huge but with wide straps that make it easy to carry on my shoulder. Clothes and beauty products while a nuisance to rebuy, aren’t difficult to replace. But when it comes to business tools, in other words, my equipment, these things are my lifeline. I always shudder when I see people shove their camera or laptop into their checked luggage. These sorts of vitals always always come with me, on my back. That way I have them no matter what. Other items in my hand luggage include headphones, my agenda, current book I’m reading as well as passport, credit cards, hard drive, glasses and a balm for lips and face, my skin turns to sandpaper on airplanes. I’ll also fill up my Bkr (an awesome, perhaps the most awesome brand of water bottles) before leaving for the airport. I will drink it all before going through security to then fill it up again before boarding my flight. I approach hydration with a religious vigour, especially when I’m flying. I will gulp excessive amounts of water in preparation for the dehydrating journey ahead.