While I have been known, in the past, to embark on a two week trip with 14 pairs of shoes, these days I find that there’s real pleasure to be derived from travelling light. Taking off for a holiday with nothing more than a carry-on sized bag provides the same sense of smug liberation that comes from clearing out your wardrobe or emptying the Trash on your laptop. You just feel…light. Also, there’s no fear of the airline losing your luggage (my worst travel nightmare). As I prepare to embark on a ten day trip with a single, 56cm x 36cm bag, I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learnt from choosing to carry-on.
PICK THE RIGHT BAG
You need the lightest bag you can find. No, literally. The Sub Zero G trolley case in small is officially the World’s Lightest Luggage brand - or so they say - with this case coming in at just 1.73kg. As well as the size factor of carrying on your luggage, nearly all airlines impose a strict weight restriction too. You don’t want to waste precious kilos on leather casing and heavy straps, buckles and handles (unless you’re into that kind of thing), so get off to a good start with a light but sturdy bag.
PICK A COLOUR…
…any colour. Or rather, two to three. Opting for a strict colour palette will ensure that everything in your little bag goes together nicely. You obviously don’t want to look too ‘matchy matchy’, but you also don’t want to look like you got dressed in the dark. Black, white, and marl grey, plus one actual colour for a ‘pop’, is generally a safe combination.
WORK A LOOK
If you haven’t refined your signature style in the manner of an uber-chic Parisian fashion editor, then a short holiday is a good time to attempt to do so. Is your vibe going to be sexy Sicilian housewife? Urban bad girl? Hippy? If you have an idea of then you can pick your clothes/accessories/make up items accordingly, and not end up toting a wicker basket when all you want is a sleek white leather clutch.
Yes, planning outfits makes you feel like a loser, but preparation is key to sucess. So lay out all your clothes, and then mix and match. If you really want to go for it, you could even bag up each outfit with matching jewellery and underwear. But you’re not Gwyneth Paltrow, so you probably shouldn’t.
PARE IT BACK
There’s no way you can keep up your full at-home regime whilst travelling anyway, so work out which elements of your normal beauty routine you can forego without feeling totally hideous. Got good skin? Ditch the foundation and powder. Hair a nightmare? Leave that extra pair of shoes and take your curling tongs instead. Basically ask yourself ‘Where can I cut corners and still feel like I look OK?’ Then cut, cut, cut.
Here are some things you need to travel with at all times: Sunscreen. A phone charger. A good jacket. A credit card. Here are some things you don’t: Books (Get a Kindle). Full sized toiletries (there will always be a pharmacy for emergency replenishments). More than one pair of heels (give yourself a break, woman: you’re on holiday).
REMEMBER THAT LESS IS MORE
If you’re panicking about the prospect of leaving home without every belt, hat and bracelet in your wardrobe then remember the immortal words of Coco Chanel: “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” Also: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” Also: “It is always better to be slightly underdressed.” Coco has spoken.