I feel like I’m away more often than I’m home at the moment, and my suitcase is constantly being unpacked and repacked. I like to think I’m practical packer most of the time, but there are some things I just need to have with me to help me on my various travels. Here are a few of the luxuries I can’t leave home without.
Snowsports and winter trips
There are friends, there are best friends, and then there are those you’re inseperable from. Let me introduce to you to Fosy. Mine is currently tucked away in the back of my wardrobe, but the second the temperature drops below, ooh, probably 2 degrees, this gloriously silky scrap of fake fur will be strapped to my head and won’t come off until spring. It’s gorgeous quality and water resistant, so you can wear it on the slopes too.
European city break
I’ll admit to taking a travel wallet on pretty much every trip with me, but the quality varies wildly depending on the holiday. When I’m backpacking, I’ll use something waterproof that can take a few knocks and that I can put straight in the bin when I get home — much like the folders I used to transport my reading books to and from from school circa 1994.
If I’m on a European city break though, I like to up the ante. Perfect for trips involving multiple flights and train journeys, there’s plenty of room in this Paperthinks travel wallet for everything from your passport to your EHIC card. I got mine as a birthday present and I’ll never catch the Eurostar without it again. It’s available in a range of colours, but in a not-so-subtle nod to my most oft-used airline (shhh! No-one will know for sure until I reach the gate), mine is in a brilliant orange.
A head torch is about as sexy as boiler suit, but even at its most glamourous and civilised, there’s always something slightly ungainly about camping that means you have to be realistic about the lack of indoor amenities. Yes, you risk ridicule with one of these strapped to your head, but you just wait until someone needs to go to the loo in the middle of the night, or can’t find their toothbrush in the bottom of their rucksack… who’ll be laughing then? You with the head torch, that’s who.
One of the main things you have to bear in mind if you want to backpack freestyle is that you risk not always getting the perfect night’s sleep. You might have to sleep on a boat, on your rucksack, or just on a bed with no mattress. Be prepared, take an inflatable pillow. They take up practically no room and you’ll thank your earlier self when you have somewhere comfortable to lay your head.
I’m a low-maintenance kind of girl when it comes to beauty, and nowhere am I lazier than when I’m lying on a sun lounger. That doesn’t mean I’m not vigilant about protecting myself from the sun though. Even towards the end of the summer, when my skin is all tanned and freckly, I don’t give up the sunscreen, although the constant reapplication of lotion can grow tiresome at times. I find Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula with SPF15 is a great compromise when I’m tempted to go out without and for those days I’m not actually baking myself in my bikini.
I use this year-round anyway to moisturise — it smells great and makes my skin feel super soft — so it doesn’t seem like a chore to slap it all over my shoulders when I’m heading out for a day sightseeing in the sunshine.
Even for the most relaxed and experienced fliers, the tedium and claustrophobia of long-haul flights can cause restlessness. I got the idea for this little luxury a few years ago on a British Airways flight to Africa. I was feeling quite tense and nervous as I was embarking on a huge journey to a continent where I knew no-one, when I discovered tucked into the seat pocket in front of me a pair of new socks. I slid off my stiff travelling shoes and walking socks, tucked them into my bag and slipped into the new ones, feeling instantly more relaxed
Why settle for airline socks, or even none at all, though? These cashmere bed socks from The White Company are the ideal long-haul flight companion. They’ll allow you to stretch and flex your feet more, which is good for circulation, as well as fending off the chill of the cabin. If you travel cattle class like me, it’s a small price to pay for a little extra comfort — especially compared to an upgrade.
Obviously, there’s plenty of crossover here, but these are just some of the things I can’t bear to ever leave behind. Which little luxuries won’t you leave home without? Let me know in the comments!