These tips were posted shortly before my two-week trip to Paris, France and Barcelona and Ibiza, Spain with only a single duffle bag in tow. Since this post, I’ve put together an extensive guide to traveling lighter – it includes detailed steps and a printable packing list template.
Bespoke bag designed in collaboration with Andover Trask.
Ever-beautiful BodhiLuxe Magazine is centered around a mindful modern lifestyle and champion of all that’s natural, ethical and sustainable. The sister magazine to Bodhi & Birch is all about savoring life’s little luxuries, and today, all about my take on smart and stylish travel:
Here are my “Six C’s” to packing lightly, travel wardrobe tips, beauty favorites, and what’s in my carry-on.
SMART & STYLISH TRAVEL
It has to be said, stylish travel is a bit of an art form. Want to look more Bardot than Dora the Explorer this summer? Read this inspiring piece by the ever stylish and super organised Jess Hunt…
Living a train ride away from the world’s busiest airport has its perks. Taking a handful of the near one million flights crossing through Atlanta each year has introduced me to wonderful places and people alike, along with a few tricks towards smart and stylish travel.
Prep: essential lists
Planning is the backbone of effortless travel. Take a little time to make or borrow a pre-travel checklist, tuck an extra copy of travel documents and ID cards in your bag, and download travel apps with maps, translations, and restaurant reviews.
Staying stylish on the go is all about doing more with less. Aim to pack an interchangeable capsule wardrobe – a blazer, top, trousers and simple sandals in complementary cuts and colours – then throw in a few hard-working accessories.
Night and day: a cropped blazer, necklace, and bracelets carry this look from day-time exploration to dinner and drinks.
A luxe scarf will keep you cosy on the plane and can also pull an outfit together. A smart gold watch (adjusted to your destination’s time!) can be stacked with a few bangles.
A hat can work as an eye-mask or as a chic touch to an otherwise basic outfit.
Shy away from stowing a lot of expensive jewellery, but include a statement necklace, bold earrings, or a striking tie. These details take up little space yet add lots of depth to a look.
Also remember that cuffing trousers, rolling sleeves, and cinching a belt can easily pull an outfit from casual to a more tailored fit!
Packing: the Six Cs
If I’m ever unsure where to start with packing, or whether to include an item, I quickly consult the ‘Six Cs’:
Climate: the local weather forecast is a great start to planning and is sure to keep you comfortable and dry.
Comfort: from wear-anywhere jackets and soft peg trousers to practical flats and sweaters, fashion is having a long moment with chic and comfy style. I take advantage by packing plenty of layer-able pieces that can be dressed both up and down.
Culture: if traveling internationally I always take a look at what’s culturally appropriate. Also remember to pack anything that may be in short supply locally, such as insect repellent in the rain forest or toothpaste on a bush safari.
Calendar: once I have pieces in mind, I take an honest assessment of my itinerary and trip intentions. What are the odds it will be worn? Was it useful last time it was packed? Those new dress shoes are useless on a sandy beach, but quite handy if a corporate dinner is in order.
Carry or check: I try to avoid checking in bags to both minimise the odds of loss and to maximise efficient packing. If you must check luggage, make sure essentials are in your carry-on, then snap a photo of your checked bag’s contents and exterior before sending it down the conveyor belt. If you’re travelling with a companion, another easy trick is to split clothing and toiletries between two bags, in case one is lost.
Keep calm and carry-on
A few items will always make it into my in-flight bag. Start with a quality tote that you can use around town after you’ve landed; I really enjoy my Andover Trask bag for this. The line is handmade just a few miles from my house and each tote is loaded with pockets for:
- A big, soft scarf: this is really a blanket masquerading as a stylish accessory! Pack it with camping socks for draughty flights.
- Trusty notebook: I love to use time in the air to clear my head and write down ideas and little sketches. Moleskines and Shinolas are just the right size.
- Polarised sunglasses: go with a classic frame that you’ll love for years. My go-to is the Ray-Ban Aviator Classic.
- Snacks: a Kind bar, chamomile tea bags, and fruit are healthy choices to stow in a sea of concourse fast food.
- Headphones: essential for beauty rest. Bonus points if they’re noise-cancelling.
I love a toiletry bag that doubles as an evening clutch. Inside there’s always a travel-sized infantry of favourite products:
- Solid skincare: body lotion, skin serum, facial cleanser (don’t forget sunscreen!)
- Easy makeup: for eyes, lips, cheeks, face
- Signature scent
- A killer lipstick
Beyond the bag
Eat well and hydrate like mad! Familiar scents, tastes, and sounds can ease in-flight tension headaches or upset stomachs – so I’ve set a ritual of ordering orange juice and ginger ale as soon as the drink trolley comes around, and I try to stick to the same toiletries on each trip (your skin also loves routine).
Remember that there’s nothing more stylish than earnest appreciation, awareness, and being good to yourself. Be grateful for your journey, kind to your fellow travelers, and enjoy the ride!
Bonus round: Eco Travel Hacks
“The most sustainable thing a person can do is this: sit at home, and do nothing.” This idea has stuck ever since a favorite college professor mentioned it some years ago. It’s also reframed how I travel, be it for work, to visit family, or to take a big adventure into the unknown. Along the way, I’ve gathered these travel hacks aimed at making holidays as eco-friendly as possible…
Everyone knows the journey can be half the fun, but it also makes up a big part of your annual carbon footprint. Choosing a closer destination, traveling by overnight train, public bus, car-sharing, or renting a hybrid car are often more eco-friendly and less expensive than flying long haul. Not all flights are created equal either. Larger, newer planes are typically far more efficient than older smaller ones. And some airlines are more environmentally conscious than others.
A much smaller, simpler gesture lies in your dining habits. Tote a travel thermos and skip the endless disposable cups given on flights and in coffee shops. Dine in at restaurants. Order fewer animal-based products. Find local farmers’ markets to scoop up fresh, local fruits and vegetables in the open air.
Tread lightly, pack lightly
Along with supporting ethically and environmentally-responsible hotels and entertainment, remember the lighter you pack the less tempted you’ll be to haul back a load of souvenirs. Packing fewer clothes, more multi-use products and sample-size toiletries means a lighter load on your back, your wallet (those pesky baggage fees!), and the environment.