Having recently returned to the UK from 3 months travelling New Zealand and Australia (via Hong Kong and Tokyo), and writing this from a summer camp in upstate New York, I feel I should share the few pearls of wisdom I’ve gleaned regarding every fashionista’s travel nightmare – what to PACK!
What to take away with me is the second thing I think about when planning every trip – the first being ‘WAHOO HOLIDAY’, obvs. For the travel-brochure beach holidays you chat with your hairdresser about it’s a little easier (in the style of G Ramsey - bikinis, beachwear, barwear – DONE), but for the adventurous back-packing students and graduates of today (well, the ones good at budgeting their student loan) a little more time needs to be taken when thinking about those sacred kg’s.
Here is my Definitive, All Encompassing and Conclusive (!) List of the Top 6.5 Thoughts you MUST HAVE When Packing for Travelling:
1) THINK Sweat-Friendly
Low-sided vest tops, mens muscle-back tees (nothing wrong with unisex), boobtube dresses, harem pants and loose dresses = GOOD. Tight grey cotton, cap-sleeve T-shirts and leather shorts = SWEATY. Who would you rather sit next to on the bus?
2) THINK Air-Con Protection
In hot weather, air-con is as welcome as a chilled Cosmo after a hard day shopping, but after a few hours you’ll want to strangle the Greyhound bus driver for the icy blast he insists keeps the bus ‘fresh’. Hoodies, pashminas, leggings and a trusty pair of ‘travel socks’ (from the plane perhaps) will see you through the already-uncomfortable overnight bus journeys so many travelers endure for the sake of saving a night’s accomodation.
3) THINK Selective Luxury
Yes, you’re a backpacker, but no, you don’t want to look, feel and smell like one 24/7. You might find yourself craving a classier night out drinking wine that came from a glass bottle and not a goon sack, and for this you will need unadulterated GLAMOUR. Embellished dresses will not cut-it at the check-in weigh-in (woah parenthesis), but a simple shift becomes OOH with an edgy body or head chain and an ethnic cuff or ring. In short, pack a few choice accessories that will glam-up a simple outfit, choose jewel-colours that will pop with metallics, and wear perfume, even if it’s from free sample bottles and not a heavy glass bottle!
4) THINK Basics vs. Beauty
Mix-and-match basics are KEY backpack items, but you’ve got to include some items you love for their beauty alone that can take these basics from day to night. Wear a floaty not-appropriate-alone dress or a kimono shrug over your plain long black vest top, or team day-time denim shorts with a boho-chic fringed crop top or silky cami and your basics become beautiful by association.
5) THINK Bouncing Beats
A dingy hostel room becomes the Place To Be when you add new friends, drinks and good music. Be the person who facilitates this last point with a mini portable ipod speaker, like this nifty, cheap and surprisingly loud one I took from bunk to beach.
6) THINK Same but Smaller
Toiletries and beauty products can take up far too much space in your case, and so the solution is not only to be selective but to downsize and double-up. For example, buy nail polish remover pads that come in a little tub instead of a bottle, use Eight Hour Cream as lip balm/burn ointment/intensive night moisturiser/split end serum, and use a shampoo bar from Lush instead of taking bottles with you. Tiny and Mighty products = more space for make-up
6.5) Random Extra Advice
Take more bikini bottoms than bikini tops, you’ll end up wearing them as knickers or losing them, or both.
Consider compressing your stuff into handy little sacks like this to keep your clothes organised and packed in tight.
Don’t overpack, you WILL buy things abroad and your body may change shape , so leave a little room for shiny new things you can say you picked up on your “gap yah”.
Heed my advice, then go forth an conquer!