Tuesday, 25 May 2010

On Travel Essentials

I like lists. I write them on anything I can find, from post-its to notebooks. There is something really satisfying about scratching off a task, finding a piece of information, getting that crucial thing that's been forgotten for too long.

As well as to-do lists, my brain also likes reading lists of favourite things on other blogs and in magazines and newspapers. It's interesting to know what moves people and what motivates them. I enjoy reading Deanna Raybourn's blog for this reason, as she will often post a lists like these. Recently, she wrote about the items she cannot leave behind when travelling. Not for the holiday or trip, per se, but for the journey itself.So, what things do I invariably pack whenever I travel?

1. Lip Balm: I've read countless magazine articles telling you to take an entire beauty counter along in your carry-on; to remove your make-up, cleanse, moisturise, and change into your cashmere track suit...bla bla. Seeing as how I can't bring myself to do this (for many reasons, but starting with the fact that I don't fancy putting a million creams and potions into clear plastic bags and removing them at every security checkpoint), I settle for lip balm. I'm currently using one I bought from Rose & Co. that I bought the last time I visited Haworth. It's a rose salve that can be used for a million different reasons, and it works really well for me.

2. Reading: Usually a variation on a theme. Whatever book I happen to be reading at the time will go into my bag, and usually another book grabbed from my shelves at the last minute because I'm convinced that one book alone will not be enough. It will be a light and compact enough volume to fit happily in with the rest of my stuff, so a little Penguin Classic like The Picture of Dorian Gray, Jane Eyre or The Woman in White does the job. In addition, I get magazine fever at the airport and end up buying some kind of travel magazine, along with a weighty, advertisement-laden fashion magazine.

3. Water: This lesson has been learned the hard way. There is something about an aeroplane (probably the pressure) that gives me a thumping and persistent headache as soon as we're up in the air. Drinking lots and lots of water goes a long way to help, as painkillers do nothing to shift it.

4. A Scarf or something warm: Another lesson learned: I get cold on planes. Very cold. See-through airline blanket aside, I stuff either a light scarf and/or cardigan into my bag to stop me shivering.

5. iPod: Self-explanatory really, and completely essential to drown out any unwanted noise!

6. A Pair of Shoes: Always a last minute thing, because I am a panic packer. I pack sensibly and neatly, go away and think about it, then return to my case and start shoving in clothes, because "what if...happens?" Then I walk away again, return and take bits out, but always, always end up with a pair of shoes in my hand luggage (usually heels) because I want them but think that maybe they might tip the weight-allowance over the edge. Last summer, on the way to Canada for a good few weeks, I managed to squeeze a pair of heels, trainers and a pair of sandals into my bag!

7. Miscellaneous Stuff: Snacks, notebook, hairbrush, camera, pen, along with the unquestionable passport and ticket-shaped essentials, and the wish to always travel as elegantly as Audrey Hepburn. :)


  1. other than the fact that I always have to have an inhaler and tissues on me, my list would be identical to yours! I always start packing with putting lots of reading into my bag and then stuff other things around it...

    for those long flights to Canada, if I were you, I would also pack a moisturiser - you'd be surprised what difference it makes on your skin

    I haven't been around much lately, so much wonderful blog reading to catch up on! but now that I have finally submitted my PhD proposal, I really hope that my blog gene will mercifully return...

  2. Ah, tissues, how could I forget! Especially given that I have epic hayfever :D I do exactly the same with the reading, but then always struggle to dig the book out as they were the first to go in!

    I know I really ought to take a moisturiser. I really suffered after the journey to Canada a few weeks ago, and my skin was cursing me for days.

    Congratulations on submitting your proposal! That's brilliant, and I know how hard you must have worked on it. Hope to see you blogging soon! :)