Travel Essentials … Rain Poncho

Umbrellas are a real pain when you travel. You don’t have enough hands, especially if you’re trying to take photographs. They can blow inside out and get broken, rendering them useless. And unless you can get those tiny fold up ones, they take up space.

A waterproof parka will do the job, but these are not suitable for warm humid climates that get frequent tropical downpours, such as Borneo, Bali, Bangkok etc, and probably a whole lot of other B places!  Its way too hot to wear a parka especially in a downpour.

I like a lightweight waterproof poncho with sleeves, a hood and a zip or velcro. I had the best one ever that I bought for 4 pounds in Primark in London way back in 2007. It even had a bag you could stuff it into and clip the bag to your backpack or daypack.

Unfortunately I had that poncho stolen when my bag went missing in Bangkok airport. Sadly I haven’t been able to find one similar, well one that doesn’t cost a fortune. I was a bit spoilt finding one for only 4 pounds! Those plastic ones that they sell at theme parks and other tourists attractions are fine when you haven’t got anything else, but they tend to be a one use wonder.

Here are some styles I found that all look fairly lightweight. See details at polyvore.

rain poncho

I finally found a zip up hoodie with sleeves at Crossroads for $20 on sale! It made its debut in Bali in July this year. It doesn’t have a bag but I feel I could fit it into a makeup pouch for travelling.

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The Bangkokians love a plastic poncho, bonus points if it covers your bike too!

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Me about to hike Mt Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo in my trusty four pound poncho!

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On a recent trip to Hawaii I still didn’t have a good poncho so had to settle for this plastic one they sold at Volcano National Park.

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Looking very sexy in my poncho in Iceland. Boy do I miss that four pound poncho 🙁

Travel Essentials… Luggage Tags

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Like any girl who enjoys shopping, cute things, stationery and shops like Daiso, I love cute and kitsch luggage tags. I love when I have something really unique.

What I don’t love is how often I have to replace my luggage tags because they get ripped, torn off or just simply go missing.

So the secret is to not spend a lot of money (no Oroton thanks) and to not get too attached to your luggage tags. After 4-5 flights my tags always seem a bit worse for wear, if they are still there!

My favourites have been the lego style one (gone after one trip, rigid plastic isn’t very forgiving), my panda one I bought in China (still going strong), the ‘Put it Back it’s Mine’ tag (also M.I.A), a black and white cat one that matches my Panda (who me? match?) and of course anything from Typo.

I love me a good Kate Spade one, but feel that for the high chance of them coming off I’d rather spend my Kate Spade Dollars on other things (like clothes, wallets, tote bags….)

After checking out the Typo ones, I may need a new luggage tag (or two) for Hawaii in April!

 

Travel Essentials… Hats

travel essentials - hats

 

I’ve never been a really big fan of hats. Well I love hats but I don’t actually think I look that good in them. I usually don’t pack them for holidays, truth be told. But then I end up buying them all over the place and carrying them on all my trips, so now I have a collection that is always growing.

Transporting hats is always the biggest issue. Most travel experts advise wearing them on your transiting days so you don’t squash them in your luggage. Easier said than done. Hats aren’t much fun on a long haul flight (well except for a beanie maybe) so where do you end up putting it on the plane? Anywhere is bound to get squashed I’ve found.

Some hats I’ve managed to keep in relatively good shape by packing it with things in and around it in my luggage, such as the cowboy hat bought in Mexico, see photo below. I also brought home a sombrero in the luggage – clearly fitting in 2 big hats is some sort of packing feat.

For summer holidays with sunbaking, hiking in hot weather and walking around in the sunshine all day a hat is a must. If you are worried about wrecking a hat buy something cheap (either at home or abroad) that you won’t mind losing or wrecking, the white fedora hat below was only $5.00.

Travel Essentials… Beauty Products on the Plane

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These are my absolute necessary beauty items and toiletries for a long haul flight. Sydney to Los Angeles can be 14 hours, even longer to Dallas and heading to Europe is usually TWO long haul flights. Urgh.

Now some people want to pack most of their make up so they arrive looking ‘made up’ but I can’t really be bothered with all that. Some concealer on the eyes, sunnies and a hat can hold me over till I get to my accommodation for a good shower and to put proper make up on. On the flight I just want some basics for my face and body that can be in a tote bag at my feet. Often the lip balm and serum is in a little pouch with my eye mask and ear plugs that goes in the pouch in the back of the chair in front of me.

Deodorant: A small aerosol that can get through security. I like Dove or Nivea the best.

Cuticle Balm: I am recently on a mission to have better cuticles and I am trying to rub in this Burts Bee’s cuticle balm everyday, sometimes 3 times a day! Sitting on a plane (bored) is a great opportunity to work on my cuticles, especially as your hands dry out so much on long flights.

Moisturiser: This is an absolute must, especially for your face. I love the Nivea Soft for travel as it can be used on face, body and hands. It’s the only moisturiser I take travelling except for a SPF 30+ one for my face.

BB Cream: At the end of the flight I apply some BB cream/tinted moisturiser as a bit of coverage for my blotchy skin. This Natio BB cream is my favourite, gives quite a bit of colour, blends well and has SPF in it. It’s a great travel product as it can be worn alone without needing extra foundation.

Dry Shampoo: I have to carry this at all times as my hair is super thin and gets limp and oily at the scalp in about half a day (regular day or travel day!). The Batiste travel minis are the best. Just make sure you don’t lose the lid, or security will confiscate it.

Concealer: I have rosacea and pigmentation, not to mention dark circles under the eyes. A spot of concealer helps cover all this. I apply this Benefit one after my BB cream. A bonus is a little concealer with a little mirror so you can do it in your seat.

Lip Balm: So crucial for flying. I think I put on lip balm every hour, my lips get so dry on planes. These Burt’s Bees one are the best, very hydrating and with a little bit of colour.

Face Wipes: A travel pack of wipes is perfect for removing make up etc from your face before you have your inflight ‘sleep’ (ha! I wish!), also to clean hands and face after meals, visiting the bathroom etc.

Serum: I always pack a sample size face serum in to apply to my skin under my moisturiser to help keep my face from drying out too much on long trips.

Optional extras – if room allows I will also pop in some mascara, eye brow gel, hand sanitiser, lip/cheek stain.

Travel Essentials… Lip Balm

Whether flying, hiking, sunbaking, skiing or just sightseeing every day, you really do need to pack a good, long lasting moistursing lip balm. A tinted one is even better, meaning you can take one less lipstick or lip gloss. The Burt’s Bees tinted lip balms are exceptionally good, cheap and delicious tasting and genuinely give you some colour.

I always take more than one travelling with me (and if going to the USA I’ll always buy some more as they are super cheap, especially the EOS Smooth Spheres) as I tend to lose them all the time.

favourite lip balmsGreat to take the smaller, Chapstick varieties too to fit in pockets and tiny pouches in backpacks.

Travel Essentials… The Shrug

Call it what you will, shrug, bolero, cropped cardigan. Casual cotton or knit, or fancy with lace and sequins, the humble shrug is the perfect clothing item to pack for travel.

Long sleeved or short sleeved, the shrug can change an outfit instantly, freshening up your look when you feel you have been in the same dang outfit for 3 days (Hello, Contiki 2005). Great for mixing it up day to night. A fancier shrug can dress up jeans and a tank top, a cream lacy shrug and some neutral flats and you can head out for the night not feeling like a dirty backpacker (or less of one).

They are also great for those destinations where you will probably live in singlets and sleeveless tops but may need something to warm you up on a cooler day or if the nightly temperature drops. A shrug keeps the shoulders and back warm but won’t overheat you. Great for air conditioned places too.

A pair of sisters I know packed 4 different shrugs each (well they do take up less room than the average cardigan or jacket!) for a 4 week Europe trip, then borrowed each others to mix and match with the rest of their tops and dresses. Literally created a tonne of outfit choices. Genius!

Shrugs

Travel Essentials – Neck Pillow

Anyone who does long haul flights realises just how different the sleep portion of the flight can be with the right neck pillow. Or if you are like me the ‘eyes are closed and trying to sleep but cannot sleep’ portion of the flight. I normally take a blow up / inflatable neck pillow to save space in bags. Which of course, has its benefits. But I stare enviously at those with snuggly, squishy bean bag style pillows and curse for not ever buying one!

For my upcoming 35 day trip I AM going to try out one of these, despite the obvious ‘where do you put it between flights issue’. I chose a black and white striped one, like below. I’ll report back on the success! However if I ditch it mid trip we may be rethinking the idea ie:  not a success!

 "Neck Pillows - Flying Essentials" by beavercity on Polyvore

 

Travel Essentials – All Purpose Parka

Lightweight, stylish, waterproof, wind proof, scrunch proof… A travel jacket / parka / windcheater is the best when layered over other clothes and protecting you from the elements. A detachable hood is a bonus. I am still on the lookout for a great waterproof one, I usually take a puffy jacket then a waterproof thin poncho jacket to put over the top.

Alas, my four pound Primark ‘packed in a bag’ poncho was in my stolen backpack last year. Sad Face. I think I’ll buy a parka though for my next travel jacket to eliminate the need for 2 jackets.

Here are some options I like:

"Travel Parkas" by beavercity on Polyvore

Travel Essentials – The right sized day bag

I’m not a backpack sort of girl. Or a money belt (though my recent lost passport experience may change that). I get that the everyday travel bag is a totally personal decision – whether you like a tiny clutch, a bumbag (‘fanny pack’), day backpack or tote.

I  don’t like dressing like a backpacker or hardcore traveller, in Kathmandu jackets and cargos. I’m classier, more dressy, I guess you could describe my travelling style as ‘backpacker chic’. I still want to wear my regular clothes and not stand out too much.

So when it comes to the everyday travel bag, I want a nice big tote that I can haul everything in. Cameras, wallet, maps, books, journals, cardigan, snacks, sunscreen. I like having it tucked under my arm with the zipper end near my chest, never trusted backpacks in crowded train stations and airports.

I like the bag to be squashy, so it can be stuffed under seats and even used as a pillow if napping (on airport floors and the like). dark colours are preferable, and a hardy texture.

Of course there are times when you need something to go on your back (like when hiking) so your arms are free, or a tiny cross body purse (like when out at night).

Oh no does this mean I have to take 3 handbags away with me? Still working on this packing skill obviously.

Here are some of the types  I like:
 

Travel Handbags

Travel Essentials – Good Quality Leggings

The humble leggings are still on a ten year revival high. Once only designated for the gym, stretchy pants have become mainstream with a range of clothes for work, rest, travel and play. May I stress here that I am a PLATINUM level member of the group ‘Leggings ARE NOT pants’. No bum showing of leggings unless you are at the gym. Leggings go UNDER clothes, no one needs to see thin stretch fabric over a couple of cheeks. Especially travelling cheeks.

So you need some good quality thick ones, comfy waist banned, plain black or another neutral colour, maybe with some detail around the ankle, either full length or 3/4.

When travelling pair with a long jumper or tunic, an oversized t-shirt (remember – cheeks covered), A long coat and boots for winter destinations, a summer dress and flip flops. They are great to carry in your day pack for when the weather can get cooler quite quickly.

They are perfect for curling up on planes, trains, boats and tuk tuks, great for squatting toilets (no pants touching the floor here) and if you do get extra energetic whilst  travelling you can always wear them for hiking, jogging, exercising. Unless you subscribe to my school of thought  – holidays are not for aerobic activity, sightseeing and eating my only exercise! Except for that hideous of photo of me below halfway up a hike of Mt Kinabalu in Borneo. Definitely needed leggings. And had total no shame and just wore them with a singlet. Sweating and inclining for 9 hours does that to a girl.

Here are some of my favourite leggings and where and how I have worn them whilst travelling.

Travel Essentials – All Purpose Wrap

Scarf, wrap, pashmina… call it what you will, just make sure you pack one in your hand luggage. A large, wide cotton one is best, I have a few which have seen a lot of sights and saved me a lot of times. Here are some of my faves…

Since European backpackers now cannot allow sleeping bags they provide bed linen. Though at under ten pounds a night bed linen could mean a dirty handkerchief sized pillow and one sheet. Hello wrap – instant bottom sheet or pillow cover. And yes I realise you get what you pay for.

Chilly planes and air conditioning means you can wrap your wrap (he he) around what ever part of your body is cold, even your feet or drape it over your head to block out light, or scrunch it up to lean on when you’re trying to nap in transit.

If you somehow leave your towel on an island in a lake in an island, or it happens to blow overboard your yacht (who me? lose stuff?) A cotton wrap can work as a light towel in hot weather until you get a chance to buy a replacement.

Balmy weather calls for sarongs, but a good cotton wrap can be draped around the waist for trips to the beach or pool.

If sightseeing in the heat and visiting mosques and churches, a wrap can be draped over the shoulder or even head (I’m looking at you Turkey) to make your outfit more respectful and appropriate.

Can’t fit it in your hand luggage? (who me? over pack?) simply tie it around the straps of a handbag or luggage bag like you’re jet setting in from Paris.