How to Survive a Long-Haul Flight

This week I’m flying back to the states for a little over two weeks to visit my family and do some research for my dissertation. It got me to thinking that over the past few years I’ve actually done a surprising amount of flying. Ever since I was a small child I’ve loved travelling on airplanes– last week I listened to a podcast that described it in a way that captures this a bit, saying that it’s incredibly cool that you can get into a giant metal tube, and be across the globe in twelve hours. Yes, the process of getting to that point can be long and frustrating, but once I’m actually en-route the ‘speeding through the air’ bit almost always outweighs the ‘I’m far too close to this stranger’ bit.

Below are some of my ‘survival’ tips for making your next trip as easy as possible. Planning ahead is always key, but my tendency to over-prepare means that I’ve definitely carried more than I needed over the years. Below will be a streamlined list of some things I’ve found make the biggest impact when travelling. A while ago I wrote a post about packing a carry-on bag for shorter flights, but this list will is aimed at longer flights, like overnights or transatlantic.

The one thing I always carry with me on flights, no matter what, is actually something you don’t have to carry at all– a big scarf. It’s usually one that will take up a bit of space in my bag, so wearing it means the added benefit of more space for other things, besides this though, it makes regulating my temperature much easier, especially since I am almost always cold. Thrown over my outfit it gives the illusion of presentability, but can also be used as a blanket or rolled into a makeshift pillow as needed.

The Non-negotiables: 

These are the things I absolutely need to make it through a long flight feeling like my best self, and ready to enjoy my time wherever I’m headed.

  1. Water. Yes, this is an obvious one, but also the one thing you can do that will have the greatest impact. The air inside of airplanes is super dry  (humidity adds a lot of extra weight) so it’s incredibly easy to become dehydrated. As a rule of thumb I try to have at least one full glass of water before getting on the plane, and one per hour for every hour I’m in the air. Of course, if I manage to fall asleep this doesn’t always happen.
  2. Snacks. For me snacks are key in most scenarios (I’m a bit of a grazer), but when I travel I like to make sure I have some that are especially nutrient dense, and preferably fruits or veggies. Bringing some yummy snacks with you (cut fruit or veggies, trail mix, etc.) will make it easier to avoid the usually disappointing array of snacks there, and have the added benefit of helping me resist my super strong sweet tooth.
  3. Skincare routine. I like to bring a pack of face cleansing wipes and do a quick, paired-down version of my nighttime & morning routines including a heavy moisturiser (like Lush’s Cosmetic Lad), and some eye cream. Not only does it help keep my skin hydrated and happy, but also helps me mentally prepare to go to sleep.
  4. Toothbrush/Toothpaste. Since  I treat an overnight flight a bit like any other night, washing my face and, of course, brushing my teeth are a must. Plus, there’s something about brushing my teeth that always puts me in a better mood!
  5. Charger/back up battery. This is one I always felt a bit unnecessary until I found myself stranded in JFK with 5% battery and the looming prospect of having to sleep in the airport (spoiler: I did). Getting in touch with my family and rearranging my flight was super-stressful, and having a charger on-hand would have made life significantly easier.

The Optionals:

In this section are things that may not be totally necessary, but certainly make the trip  more comfortable. If I have space I will usually bring all of these, especially number one as they take up such a small amount of space.

  1. Eye mask and earplugs. Yes, this is technically in the optional section, but I love having at least me eye mask and some headphones. The vast range of movies on a long flight can be very appealing, but so is setting myself up for minimal jet lag, and trying to get a jump on the ‘correct’ time zone definitely helps. Sometimes this means not sleeping on a flight, but I like to be prepared just in case.
  2. A good book. One of the things I most like about travelling is that the ‘in between’ time of being in the air is the best excuse to do something I enjoy, but sometimes feel guilty spending time on. Working on airplanes is pretty impossible for me, so it’s the perfect time to do some reading for fun.
  3. Makeup for landing. This one is definitely optional, but always nice. Using a cleansing wipe to ‘wash’ my face when I land, and doing the bare minimum of makeup (usually a bb cream, concealer, and sometimes a swipe of lipstick) makes me feel more like myself, and also means I’m ready to dive into the rest of the day.

Some of these are pretty intuitive, but there have definitely been times where I’ve been in a hurry to leave (especially for morning flights!), and I’ve forgotten one of them, only to realise how definitely necessary it is. To set myself up for success I try to take care of packing my carry on bag the night before to minimise the odds of  forgetting anything, and do one quick check in the morning.

 

72 Hours in Venice

Venice has been on my ‘to visit’ list for ages. I remember my grandmother telling stories about the city– she went with my grandfather and some of their friends– and wanting to see the places she described. Growing up my family went to Italy nearly every year, typically to Southern Italy, but never made it up north to Venice.

Last summer when Cameron and I were trying to see as many of our friends as possible before the move, we went to dinner with a friend of ours who mentioned she would be in Venice this spring. Her dad is an architect and would be there for the architecture biennale, and did we want to meet her there and maybe visit the biennale as well? Needless to say the answer was a definitive yes! The promise of seeing a good friend, visiting a gorgeous city, and getting to see the architecture biennale was a no-brainer. Our friend has numerous family members in town, and we were lucky enough to tag along with them to the Biennale, and to dinner. Her family lived there for a long time, so directed us to some very cool places, which really made the trip feel even more special, as they are incredibly nice and have some amazing stories.

Fast forward a few months and it’s finally here! We had a bit of a difficult time getting there after we missed our first flight because of London traffic, but managed to reschedule and made it there the next day. The whole thing was doubly stressful and we booked just a few weeks out and almost every flight was totally full. We also got really lucky and found a hotel in a great location fairly last minute for a surprisingly reasonable rate given the Biennale was opening this past weekend. We stayed at the Hotel Tivoli— a pretty nice, yet inexpensive place in Dorsoduro for our first two nights, and moved to the Hotel Rialto, which was right next to the Rialto bridge, for our third.

We managed to pack an impressive amount of sightseeing into our short few days, and had so much fun. On Thursday we went to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, followed by a lunch recommendation to Cantina Do Mori. It’s a smaller wine bar, but has amazing food, and dates all the way back to 1462– it’s down a quiet alley, and is a lovely break from the regular crowds in some of the more popular spots. In the afternoon we pent some time going through St. Mark’s before grabbing an Aperol spritz in the Piazza San Marco and doing some wandering through the city. Our friend invited us to the party for the American pavilion in the evening, which meant returning to the Guggenheim. It was much more crowded than the morning, but was a lot of fun.

Friday we spent the first part of the day looking at some of the different pavilions of the Biennale. There was definitely a strong theme of housing refugees and migrants, with Germany presenting a particularly through and interesting example. The US example was really interesting as well– it was more traditional in presentation, but proposed some decidedly thought provoking strategies to rebuild and repurpose parts of the city. One of my absolute favourite’s though, was the Swiss pavilion. It was a gorgeous,  organic structure a bit like a cloud, and a bit like a cave. After removing our shoes we could climb inside and explore the interior– it felt both incredibly futuristic, and like some sort of prehistoric cave.

We spent the afternoon at the Galleria dell’Accademia, which I was particularly excited about. One of the first paintings I remember learning about from my first Art History survey class is The Tempest by Giorgione, and seeing it in person was fantastic. It’s currently in a temporary exhibit on Aldo Manuzio and the modern book, which I think was a bit of a tenuous connection, but was well worth the search. The temporary exhibit was really interesting, featuring some gorgeous books with amazing illustrations, and lovely text design. I could have spent a full day there, but we had plans to meet our friend and her family at Bar Arsenale, so had to leave to meet them and head to dinner

Our flight out on Saturday was in the late afternoon, so we had some time to do a bit more exploring. We stayed up far too late Friday night wandering around the city, which was absolutely gorgeous in the evening empty of people and full of light, but managed to get up early enough on Saturday morning to grab a coffee before heading to one last place on my list I was really excited about. The Basilica Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is known for it’s amazing Assumption altarpiece by Titian, as well as Canova’s and Titian’s tombs, and generally incredible artwork. I’m so glad we made it here, even if we woke up a bit early.

Before heading out, our last stop was at a small cicchetti place to meet our friend and her family, Cantine del Vino Gia Schiavi, in Dorsoduro, which had some incredible food. We’d walked by it a few times, and when we first arrived there was a tour group, so we decided to walk around for a few minutes and come back. It was definitely a great last place to stop before leaving, and if you find yourself there, definitely worth seeking out.

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Overall it was an absolutely fantastic trip! Not only is the city of Venice gorgeous, but seeing an old friend made the whole thing one hundred times better! Here’s to hoping our next adventure is just as, if not even more fun!

Spa Day at the Berkeley Haybarn

Last week I took a day out my (surprisingly) busy schedule to take a day off, and enjoy a morning/early afternoon at the Berkeley Haybarn Spa in Knightsbridge (massage, facial, pedicure). My family sent me a gift certificate for a half-day back in March, but I’ve only just now managed to find some time to put it to use!

For some reason I have a terrible time carving out time for myself to relax– I always feel a bit guilty, or find my thoughts wandering to all the work I need to do and emails I need to check. Definitely not conducive to relaxing. For my half day at the Haybarn I was determined to actually relax. On my way to my 10:00 am massage I opted to listen to a relaxing playlist, rather than my usual squeezing-in of extra reading for my dissertation, and even managed to arrive about 20 minutes early to give myself time to change and have a seat in the sauna to melt away any residual stress from the journey.

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My massage was first, followed directly by my facial, and both were fantastic. For my massage I opted for Bamford’s signature scent– a blend of geranium, lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint. By the time the massage ended I had successfully banished any thoughts of work to be done, and at the end of my facial felt thoroughly relaxed and refreshed.

I had a break for a bit and sat out in a really lovely courtyard filled with greenery while I sipped some fresh mint tea. The pool had some gorgeous views over Hyde Park and Knightsbridge, and I enjoyed a high lunch (and glass of champagne!) by the window, followed by some reading entirely for pleasure, which never happens as of recently.

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My last treatment of the day was a pedicure, which was an excellent way to end the day, and slowly get ready to go back into the real world. It was definitely hard to leave, but on my way out I picked up some of Bamford’s botanic body oil to extend the experience a bit, and hopefully capture some of the relaxation of the day.

Thinking about my overall experience, I was struck with the idea that a large part of why the day was so relaxing was being forced to tear myself away from my devices. Being away from my phone, as well as my apple watch, was a bit unnerving at first, but soon because wonderfully freeing. So much so, in fact, that I’ve decided to incorporate some device-free relaxing time as a regular part of my week. The best part? Not only is it totally free, but it’s also fabulously simple…if I can stick to it, that is. So, expect a post soon about the challenges and benefits of some tech-free time each week, and treat yourself to some self care at the spa or otherwise!

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(photos from the Berkeley Haybarn website because I was phone-free)

Whirlwind Weekend Trip

I’ve been trying to get this post finished for a week now, but have been so busy I haven’t had a chance. Why is is that either everything is happening at once, or absolutely nothing is? I shouldn’t complain, because most of the things have been good, like working on my internship, or the gallery where I volunteer, but writing this post is also a welcome break from essay-writing.

Last week Cameron and I took a short trip to visit a friend of ours who’s been living in Lille for this past year teaching English at an elementary school. She goes back to the states soon and so I was dying to see her while a weekend trip was still relatively easy. We decided to spend a day exploring Paris as well, since it isn’t too far, and Cameron had never been.

We were away for just about two days, but with everything we managed to pack into them it felt like at least three. We took the bus because I waited too long to book, but the trip itself was fairly easy and I managed to get some work done and have a nap.

Before we left I read a bit about Lille and learned that it was originally a Flemish city, and visiting it was definitely clear in the architecture. In the older part of the city, Vieux Lille and the area around the Grand Place, actually looked quite a bit like some of the narrow streets around The Hague. We wandered around, and stopped into a really beautiful chocolate shop, Meert, which is the oldest in Lille, and then to a wine bar to relax and catch up with our friend. Finding dinner was a bit of a challenge as I’m vegetarian, and practically vegan as I don’t eat any dairy, but we found one restaurant, Happy F’eat (yes, that’s really the name), that had a small menu, but had a vegan option that was really delicious. After dinner we went back to our friend’s house and chatted with her housemates before heading to bed much too late.

On Friday morning our bus to Paris didn’t leave until 10:00, so we got to take our time in the morning, and stopped at a bakery (Maison Doucet), which is known for it’s amazing baguettes, which our friend had gotten for us when we arrived, and picked up breakfast to takeaway, and a coffee from down the street.

It was originally supposed to rain all day while we were in Paris, but luckily  it held off, and we had an absolutely gorgeous day. Rather than try to fit in different activities and sightseeing, we decided just to wander, and followed our friend’s favourite walking route from when she studied in Paris during college. We started in the Marais, grabbed lunch, and walked to Notre-Dame, then  crossed the river to go the Shakespeare & Company, which we’d each been wanting to visit. After spending far too long browsing the shelves, picking up a few books, and then grabbing a coffee at the neighbouring cafe, we headed toward the Louvre, and then through the Jardin des Tuileries, crossing the river at the end at the Place de la Concorde. Walking back we stopped for a drink, and then got an early-ish dinner at one of our friend’s favourite creperies (Crêperie Saint-Germain), grabbed a macaron and a croissant for Cameron, and headed back to Lille.

The next morning I realised I’d gotten our departure time wrong, and we had an extra two hours to do some more exploring. The extra time flew by, but we managed to pick up a few chocolates from Meert, and make another stop at Maison Doucet before saying adieu to our friend and heading back to London to finish up our end-of-term essays.

It was definitely a whildwind of a weekend, but it was lots of fun, and has me very excited for our next adventure!

 

Day Trip to Margate

Last week I went to Margate for a  class trip with one of my courses from my MA program. The class looked at different approaches to heritage and regeneration through heritage, and we went to  Margate as an example of culture-led regeneration. In the past five years both the Turner Contemporary, and the Dreamland theme park have opened, and tourism has begun growing rather rapidly.

I was able to get a good deal on a last minute train ticket from London, so the journey there was wonderfully easy– minus the fact that I nearly missed my train both leaving and returning. Morning departures are always surprisingly difficult for me–. without fail I manage to leave fifteen minutes past when I actually need to leave. When I’m travelling with Cameron he’s been known to tell me an earlier departure time than necessary, which is annoying but always helpful. When I’m travelling alone, though there’s no help.

It was really lovely to be by the ocean, even if it was just for a few hours. I grew up by the beach and definitely took it for granted. Going to college in a landlocked state in the US definitely made me realise just how lucky I was to get to go to the beach whenever I wanted. There is something wonderfully calming about being by the ocean– the combination of the water, the smell in the air, all of it.

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Once I got to Margate I went straight to the museum to meet the rest of my class. It was super easy to find from the train station, and only about a ten minute walk along the beach. I was worried that the weather would be bad, but thankfully there was quite a bit of sunshine.

The Turner Contemporary is small but well organised, and has a gorgeous view. The entry had two pieces by Yinka Shonibare, one large installation with books bound in his well-known batik fabrics, and emblazoned with names of famous people who’ve moved to the UK from elsewhere and have contributed something to science/culture/society/etc. There was another really cool piece called Balance of Power with two mannequins with globes for heads placed on a seesaw which slowly tipped from one side to the other. Meant to symbolise the shifting balance of power during the first world war, it was a definitely eye-catching, especially in-front of the expansive view of the sea where a lot of the conflict took place.

We listened to a brief talk by a member of staff who attended the same department at King’s that we are all a part of, and explored the current exhibition before having a session for questions and breaking for lunch. I went with a few people from my class to a pizza place called GB Pizza, which was delicious and had a really nice, relaxed atmosphere.

Everyone was headed to Dreamland, but I had to catch my train back to London from an evening class. It was a real nice afternoon, and the proximity to London means I will probably be going back sometime soon, especially as the weather continues to warm up!

72 Hours at The Hague

With reading week this week for Cameron and I, which means no classes, we thought we would take a short rip somewhere we’ve never been before. I should probably add that telling people we were going to The Hague was met with a slight look of confusion, and usually followed by ‘why?”.

Of course when we were brainstorming some more obvious choices came up first, but we decided to go to The Hague because is had things we are both interested in, as well as a pretty interesting history. The main draws for us were Mauritshuis, and the Peace Palace (home of the International Courts of Justice). With these two spots as the ‘anchors’ we planned the rest of our trip, adding a walk along the seaside, some time for wandering and exploring the city, and of course a few places for dinner in between.

We booked a place through airbnb, which was absolutely lovely, but what really made it wonderful was our host. She gave us some fantastic recommendations (including one of the best dinners I’ve ever had), and made us feel like we were visiting a family friend– making a homemade vegan granola, and some very delicious carrot/apple/cranberry muffins. It also happened to be in a great location to have as we explored the city.

After our first night there I knew the rest of the trip was going to be good– stumbling upon a really good Indonesian restaurant for dinner (the owner happened to have family in the states quite close to where I’m from!) we wandered a few doors down into a cosy little bar that we arrived in just in time to hear a group of jazz musicians, and ended up staying twice as long as we’d planned!

For me, though, the highlight of the trip was walking through the Mauristhuis, which has a fantastic collection of Old Masters, and also had a fun temporary exhibition on featuring pieces from their storage. It was busy, but fortunately there was plenty of space to wander and really look at the pieces. We had to wait for a while before seeing Vermeer’s famous View of Delft, but it was so worth it. Electronic reproduction and high quality scans of paintings available online are fantastic, but seeing a work in person is just a totally different experience, and always reminds me why I fell in love with Art History to begin with.

The next day we planned around our visit to the Peace Palace. We’d originally hoped to sit in on a hearing, which are open to the public with pre-registration and your passport, but it was moved forward a few days. Instead we opted for the extensive audio/visual tour, which I found really interesting, and definitely worth a visit. Outside of the visitor’s centre is a tree covered in wishes for peace tied to it’s branches like paper leaves, which was such a beautiful symbol of global connection, and such an illustration of the power of hope.

 

On our last night we had dinner at a restaurant that came highly recommended by our host, called Eten bin Wergelds (Eat the World in English), that she was nice enough to call ahead for us and make a reservation. When we arrived we were lucky to be the only ones in the restaurant, which was quite fun. We opted for the tasting menu (I was able to get a vegan version), which was absolutely fantastic. The name definitely describes the range of influences–my appetiser consisted of a fanatic curried spinach with perfectly crispy wontons and ponzu, and Cameron’s was a seared fish with amaranth and smoked carrot oil. It was such a fun way to spend our last night, and should definitely be on your itinerary if you’re in the area.

 

While these are definitely the highlights, I’ll add a few more recommendations in the ‘Get Away’ tab in case you find yourself wanting to plan a trip.

Day Trip- Oxford and Blenheim

Cameron’s family got into town last week, and on Saturday they invited us to come to Oxford with them on Saturday. Both Cameron and I spent a summer at St.John’s college in Oxford when we were at University, so we were really excited to go back.

We got a bus from London to Oxford Saturday morning and decided to go to Blenheim Palace first, which is about twenty-five minutes outside of Oxford. We’d each been there before- I was there in 2012 for the passing of the torch before the Olympics, but in the winter it was very festive. There were ivy crowns on all of the busts around the downstairs, and Christmas trees throughout. Even though it was a bit cold, it was a clear, almost sunny day. We toured the downstairs of the house, which Cameron and I have both done before, and then wandered throng the formal gardens before heading back into Oxford to do a bit of exploring before the sun went down.

Once we got back to Oxford we showed Cameron’s family a bit of St. John’s college, and then wandered over to the Radcliffe Camera, which is always gorgeous, then the Sheldonian Library, the Bridge of Sighs, and finally to Christchurch, which we managed to reach just before it got dark, though didn’t make it inside as it was about to close. It was a bit strange to be back at St. Johns, but fun to explore. I think Cameron and I will go back soon and spend a bit more time- it’s the sort of place that’s so packed with things to do and see that you could spend at least a full day wandering around.

We ended up having a late lunch/early dinner at a fantastic Thai restaurant which I’d actually been to before- Chang Mai Kitchen. It’s located in a really wonderful old building built in 1637, and has absolutely fantastic food- I wish I could go weekly! If you’re in Oxford I definitely recommend checking it out.

We took the Oxford Tube there and back which made the whole trip really simple and flexible, as they run all day at a pretty regular interval. I could ramble on for quite a while about all of the things to go and see, but instead I’ll opt for a short list of things I think are must-see’s if you’re planning a visit to the area. I’ll put it on the Get Away page so it’s easy to find!

 

52 Hours in Bath

As you may remember from my last post, this week is reading week at King’s. Even though most of our time has been used to catch up on some additional readings and to write a few essays, Cameron and I thought it would be fun and relaxing to take a short trip. We chose Bath because its relatively close, absolutely beautiful, and has a variety of activities from sightseeing to the vibrant restaurant scene.

Looking for a place to stay I began with airbnb since we had such a positive experience when we stayed in London while searching for our flat, but decided to check out some other options just for fun. I’m so glad I did because I found a great little place called Brooks Guest House (there are two more, one in Bristol and in Edinburgh) which was the same price as the airbnb I’d been considering. A bed and breakfast, the rooms are small but nice, and the communal living room and honesty bar made it a feel especially homey. It’s about a five to six minute walk from the  town centre which was great as it allowed for lots of exploring, and is  quite close to the Royal Crescent, a park, and the botanical garden.

After we arrived we dropped off our bags and headed out to do some sightseeing. We decided to tour the Roman Baths first, which turned out to be even more interesting than I’d anticipated. I had no idea that their original footprint was so large, and really enjoyed the way the modern building snaked around and incorporated parts of the Roman ruins.  It was amazing to walk over the same places where the Roman once did, and to see the features unique to the site, like the unusual male gorgon’s head in the pediment, the extensively routed water channels, and the structures added on top of the ruins in the middle ages, and later Victorian era.

On Tuesday we toured the absolutely gorgeous Bath Abbey, which I was amazed to learn contains around 60% of the original stained glass that was blown out by the blitz during the second world war. The Victoria Gallery was interesting and featured a temporary exhibit by a contemporary British artist depicts scenes from around the country, and the Pulteney bridge was definitely worth the trek in the rain, as the banks of the river were lined with trees whose leaves had turned bright yellow and orange making the whole thing even more beautiful.

Wednesday was our last day in Bath, and we had quite a bit of time as our train didn’t leave until the late afternoon. I really wanted to see the Holburne Museum, which houses quite a collection of 17th and 18th century paintings, as well as many different objects collected by Holburne over his lifetime. A temporary exhibit has just opened up featuring gold in religious, ceremonial, and decorative uses which we had to purchase tickets for, but was totally worth it. The objects ranged from illuminated manuscripts, to gilded furniture, and videos of how gold is shaped into wire, and how books and furniture are gilded. The knockout though, was the gold tiger’s head that confronted you as you entered the exhibit.

We hadn’t realised it when we’d booked, but Bath was wrapping up The Great Bath Feast, a celebration of local chefs and produce, and we managed to hit quite a few stops on our few days. My favourite was definitely the dinner Cameron had planned for us on Monday evening. After keeping the location a secret for at least a week and refusing to give me any hints about where we were going, I was absolutely thrilled when we arrived at Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen, especially since we’d walked by earlier in the day and he’d very sneakily said that we should go for lunch the next day. Honestly I could write a full post about how fantastic our meal was– if you find yourself in Bath, this is definitely a must try!

If you have time on your visit  and want a bit of a break from sightseeing, relaxing at the Thermae Bath Spa is a nice change of pace. Since it was mid-week, it wasn’t too crowded, and relaxing in the saunas and mineral baths was the perfect pick-me-up to recharge before we left.

I’ve detailed the rest of our visit in another post about things to do, eat, and see in Bath as this post could be at least three times as long if I’d included everything. In about two days we had plenty of time to see all of the things we’d wanted to, and managed to relax a bit as well– definitely a successful holiday!

Packing The Perfect Carry-On

This week I’m headed home to visit my family and attend a christening, so though it would be a great time to share some of my travel tips! I’ve travelled quite a lot in my relatively short twenty-three years. My first flight was when I was only three months old, and traveling abroad with my family growing up has made me unusually comfortable in an airport. Recently my trips have been to my family in the northeast and back, but in just a few months Cameron and I will be moving to London for grad school.

To clarify, this post will not be about packing a carry on suitcase, but rather your extra personal item. I’m a terrible over-packer, and almost always end up checking my actual suitcase (if you have any tips to avoid this, I’d love to hear them below!), but when it comes to what I will be lugging with me through the airport, I like to pare down to just the essentials.

For my carry on bag I use my large purse, which I dump out out re-pack pre-travel so I have only the essentials, and don’t risk a forgotten item delaying me at security. I definitely recommend a tote bag because it makes accessing your items much easier; that being said, it can also make it easier for others to access your items, so try to find one with some sort of closure at the top whether a snap or zip.

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This one is from Gigi New York, and I love it!

Once you have your bag its time to decide what you actually need versus what you think you need. The list of what you actually need is always significantly shorter than the latter, at least it is for me. I’ve found that its easiest to break down your items into three categories: work/entertainment, toiletries, and essentials. The key here is to be decisive, adding only what you are positive you will use, with one or two exceptions.

Work/Entertainment:

When I traveling I always bring my iPad or computer so I can do work, or watch a movie if I get stuck in the airport. The key here is to make sure your electronics are fully charged so you can carry as little as possible. Besides this I bring a book, always paperback, a notebook (I’m a constant list-maker, and have to write everything down), and some headphones.

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Toiletries: 

Even though the TSA allows you a gallon-sized ziplock bag I like to use a 20oz instead. I’ve found that if I have extra space I’m much more temped to fill it with things I think I may need, rather than what I know I will.  In mine is a toothbrush and dental floss, my contact lenses (for after I land), extra solution and eyedrops, hand lotion, a really good lip balm, and my go-to color of lipstick (to perk up lips or cheeks). If you think you don’t need a toothbrush pack it anyway- I was once had a short flight get cancelled last minute and had to sleep in JFK. The toothbrush made me feel more like myself in the morning.

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Essentials:

This category is definitely the most fluid. In fact, your idea of essentials may be completely different from mine, which is fine. This items are the things I always have/need in my bag. They include my wallet (obviously), a pair of sunglasses, and an ’emergency’ kit with bandaids, eyewash, bobby pins, feminine products, a few safety pins, and a small mirror. If you have room, definitely add a mobile charger! It may be a lifesaver if your flight is delayed.

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That’s it. The only things I add are a small snack, and a bottle of water. Bringing your own snack is great because it will not only save you money, but will help you steer clear of junk food. Water is absolutely essential. For every hour I’m in the air I try to drink at least 16oz. Yes, this seems like a lot, but your skin, and your immune system will thank you when you land!

Is there anything I forgot? What are you go-to travel items? Let me know in the comments!