The Savoir Flair team knows a thing or two about traveling. Whether it’s flying to New York, London, Milan, and Paris for the bi-annual Fashion Weeks or dashing off to business meetings in far-flung locals, each editor has come to master the packing demands of a life on the go. Here, we divulge the travel secrets you need to travel like a Savoir Flair Expert-in-Chief.
Founding Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
I love to begin packing early.
I start with an Excel worksheet, divided by day and then occasion, and I begin slotting in outfits accordingly. Once I have decided on what I am wearing for each occasion, I hang all the pieces (including the accessories) from a rack, and take a photo of the entire outfit to refer to later on. Then, the night before, I have everything prepared and ready to be packed into the suitcase without a long thought process. I pack things into the suitcase as late as possible in order to avoid excessive wrinkling of clothes. I also only pack neutrals – black, white, gray, and beige pieces – so that everything goes together.
I e-mail the hotel beforehand to make special requests.
These days, it’s common not to find a kettle in your room, so I ask for one specifically, since I like to make my own coffee. I also arrange to have lactose-free milk readily available for me in the room fridge. In my favorite Parisian hotel, the closets are really small, so I also arrange for a rack (plus 40 hangers) to be in the room before I’ve even arrived.
I have a small “medicine pouch” readily packed at all times.
This way, I can just throw it into my suitcase without having to recreate it for each trip. In it, I have everything from cold and flu medication and antihistamines to muscle relaxants and antibacterial creams. They’ve all come to my rescue many a time.
I use the time on the plane to prepare for meetings.
There’s nothing quite like Emirates Airlines’ ‘On Air’ Wi-Fi to make productive use of countless hours of flying time. I set my watch to the destination’s time in order to reset my internal body clock and become accustomed to what will become my new time zone. I also have an in-flight pouch with wet wipes, facial mist, hand sanitizer, hand cream, lip balm, cashmere socks, and other essentials to make the flight as comfortable as possible. I always take a change of clothes in case of severe delays, plus a big cashmere blanket so I can sleep better on the flight.
I pack outfits instead of separate pieces.
Daiso in The Dubai Mall sells perfectly sized, transparent cloth bags that are big enough to fit a full outfit (plus accessories, minus shoes). Once filled, I stack them up in my suitcase so that the outfits I will use at the beginning of my trip are at the top of the suitcase.
I always pack my own laundry bag.
I use a large, foldable Longchamp ‘Le Pliage‘, which I fill with dirty laundry as the days go by and check in separately on my way back home. It’s a practical way to separate clothes, and also means I have more room in my suitcase on the way back for all the shopping I’ve done abroad.
I avoid traveling in sandals at all costs.
With the heightened security in airports around the world these days, you never know when you’re going to be asked to take off and scan your shoes, and there’s nothing more unappealing or unhygienic than standing barefoot in an airport terminal. I avoid traveling in sandals at all costs, favoring trainers or ankle boots with socks instead.
I stuff my toiletry case with essentials.
My toiletry case is getting so big my friends tease me that it will need its own suitcase one day. It now contains things like scissors, extra contact lenses, vitamins, supplements, skincare products, a giant bottle of Chanel ‘Misia’ perfume, a sewing kit, pharmaceutical essentials like Panadol, Fucidin cream, and Feninistil gel for bug bites and rashes, and conditioner – I have yet to find a hotel conditioner that works for my hair!
I plan for workouts while I’m traveling.
I pack a few sets of workout clothes, a super-thin mat (easy to pack flat at the bottom of a suitcase), and a skipping rope whenever I travel. Whether it’s at a nearby gym, in the hotel’s fitness center, or in my room, I try to find the time to work out every day – even if, during Fashion Week, that means just under ten minutes every morning. I use the 7-Minute Workout app when I’m short on time.
I always carry a small pen and paper in my purse.
I tend to get the most inspired in the air, so I’m always sure to pack a notebook to capture my ideas.
I always travel with snacks.
In the same way that some people suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), I suffer from FOBH (fear of being hungry), especially on long flights. Therefore, I always try to pack a bag of trail mix, a piece of fruit, and a ready-made salad, so that I can nibble away whenever I please and avoid spending the flight trying to figure out what went into the alleged food in the airplane meal.
I use the flight to charge my phone.
I have a really endearing habit of never having my phone fully charged, so I’m always sure to bring my iPhone cable to plug into the airplane charging port. That way, when arrive at my destination, I also arrive with 100 percent battery power.
I don’t wear any jewelry to the airport.
This way, going through security is easy breezy and it saves me lots of time. I keep my jewelry in a small pouch in my bag and just put it on before I land.
I make some room for shopping.
It’s crucial to have extra luggage space for all the things you have yet to buy. I throw an extra foldable tote into my suitcase, in case I need more space. I also roll my clothes instead of folding them.
I always bring a face sheet mask with me.
I put it on when everyone’s sleeping on the flight and it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and hydrated.
I add vitamin C to my daily multivitamin regimen a week before traveling.
Somehow, I always manage to get sick when I travel, so I make sure to stock up on immune system-boosting vitamins before my trip and pack a bottle of multivitamins with me to fight the travel bug. I recommend Centrum multivitamins and Cal-C-Vita tablets.
I’ve invested in one carry-on that fits all of my travel essentials.
My favorite luggage brand is definitely Samsonite; it makes the most lightweight and spacious bags for traveling.
I pack pajamas for long flights.
The more time zones you cross, the more jet lagged you’re bound to be. Make sure to pack your most comfortable pajamas, cozy socks, and a cooling eye mask for the best in-flight snooze.
I always remember to stay hydrated.
You hear it all the time on those dreaded in-flight safety videos, but staying hydrated really is so important. Drinking at least half a liter of water per hour will help avoid headaches and dry skin, and will leave you feeling slightly more rested once you’ve landed.
Confession: I over-pack accessories.
You’d think Savoir Flair’s Accessories Editor would have some sort of insider tip for packing only what you need, but I believe honesty is the best policy. As I go through my shoes, jewelry, and bags, I tend to experience major separation anxiety at the thought of being so far away from something I might feel like wearing thousands of miles away. My advice is to use a travel-sized jewelry pouch or box to fit one statement necklace and two pairs of earrings (studs and drop earrings), and wear the rest. I’ll hopefully practice what I preach on my next vacation.
I don’t leave home without a scarf.
Even if I’m travelling to somewhere tropical and sunny, I always take a big scarf in my carry-on. Not only are planes freezing cold, but it also doubles up as a blanket and pillow too.
Lucas Papaw is my go-to travel BFF.
It’s an all-round healing hero and saves you having to carry around countless lotions and potions. It not only soothes dryness and helps hydrate skin, but thanks to its anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties it can do just about anything. From sunburn and insect bites to cuts, scrapes, and rashes, there’s not much the power of the pawpaw can’t help with.
I swear by Caudalie ‘Grape Water’.
Face sprays are amazing. Fact. They offer instant refreshment on a long journey (which also helps wake you up if you’ve just gotten off a red-eye) whilst soothing skin from the drying airplane air. This one from Caudalie is 100 percent natural and is formulated with grapes, mineral salts, and moisturizing extracts to keep your skin healthy and hydrated from boarding gate to beach chair.