|Espadrilles: Dune (old). Mini perfumes: Miller Harris. Scarf/towel: £25, Atterley. Washbags: Anya Hindmarch and Accessorize. Bikini: $89, Triangl. Sunglasses: £260, Jimmy Choo. Leather bag: £250, Sophie Hulme|
From one extreme to the other…it may be autumn outside and we’re trying on our winter coats. But we’re still thinking about sunny winter getaways. I am currently in Spain, basking in the last of the hot days…but also planning a trip to Italy next month.
Blogging and holidays don’t often go hand in hand. Mainly because you end up working on them (the light is just too nice to ignore!) and you get excited at that last chance to wear your favourite holiday clothes on Instagram.
But I’m still a good packer. And this boils down to my years of experience – travelling for 8 years with hand luggage allowance on work trips – having to pack at sometimes 12 hours notice to get on a flight. Plus I’d always rather spend money on a meal than my luggage allowance. The key is in the minis, the light-weight items and the confidence in the pieces I pack. Here are a few rules I stick to.
1. Pick your bikinis wisely, and stand by your choice. You don’t need 7 swimsuits for 7 days. 3 maximum. Just make sure they’re your favourites.
2. Think about what they will have at the destination. Shampoo and conditioner? Beach towels? Possibly….hotels NEVER have toothpaste, a mistake I have made all too many times. Always take.
3. If you need to take a towel, invest in a hammam version. Lightweight and super chic – it’s all you need at the beach. You can buy 2 for £50 at Net A Porter (maybe split with a friend), or you can buy singularly on Amazon.
4. You only really need to take one bag and shoes for the evening. In the day you will just wear Birkies/flip flops. Think realistically – take one pair of chic black sandals maybe 2 for a week long trip – maybe some espadrilles (but you can travel in these). Trust me, you’ll survive.
5. Have a stand-by box of travel toiletries. If I didn’t have this, I would forget half my suitcase. In the box under my bed is basically a load of miniatures, suncreams, deodorant, toothbrush, spare chargers, comb – often things that I use in my house up until I need to leave. It means I can pack whole heartedly the night before without leaving myself post-it notes across the house the morning of.
And in my carry-on?
1. My H&M hat – because it would just get battered in my case.
2. Smythson travel wallet. This was my leaving gift at Red and I LOVE it so much. It has 4 different compartments, all colour-coded – so we have 1 for my passport, one for my husband’s, one for money and one for tickets/receipts.
3. I always carry a mini zip wallet, for my cards, or work receipts. I have to make some attempt at keeping work/life separate!
4. A good camera. I’m trying not to take iPhone snaps anymore, mainly because I don’t have any memory, but also because I notice such a difference when taking photos through this Olympus.
5. Cashmere socks – even if only short haul. I wear them on the plane, but also slip them on when asked to take my shoes off during security (I hate the idea of stepping where everyone else’s feet have been!).
6. iPad and case – I always download some BBC4 documentaries for the flight. And this is a regular zip wallet from Gap that I use as the case, which means I can always find it easily.
7. I found these Frends headphones in TK Maxx for £50 – what a bargain (they have loads of good branded ones here). Not only do they look cool, but they make you feel like you’re listening to surround sound on any plane. Plus they block the noise of kids/crying/irritating passengers.
8. On a long haul flight, it’s always a good idea to keep up with a little beauty regime. I’ve worked with too many make-up artists not stand by this. And these Eyeko Hydrogel eye patches are what Alexa uses on a flight – leave them on for 10 minutes and rub in the residue, no need to wash off. Softens the skin under the eyes and leaves you looking more fresh and awake.
9. Prescription sunglasses, to slip on as soon as my feet hit terra firma.
10. Use a travel bag that can double up as your beach bag. I’m using Accessorize’s new Heritage collection bag.
11. A good book. Yes, I suppose a Kindle is good for packing light but I love the memory that a book with sand in the spine leaves with me.
12. Planes can really dry out your skin, I let some rose oil absorb into my skin as soon as I take off. And a lip balm comes everywhere with me – currently loving Lanolips.
It’s also worth noting, I often travel in a cashmere hoodie – M&S or Hush do great ones. As this time of year, it’s good to have a warm cover-up plus it makes you feel that little bit special on that budget airline…