How I love the summer! Flowers bloom brighter, popsicles get juicier, love feels sweeter and there’s always the promise of the perfect vacation right round the corner.
But once you’ve painstakingly planned your itinerary to include all the shopping and sight-seeing you could possibly do, booked your tickets and perfected the art of ‘packing light’, there’s always a pesky long flight standing between you and summer utopia. That and endless waiting around at airports, pesky forms to fill and bags to lug around.
I’m going to put it out there and just admit that I’m not the best traveler. I get cranky without a window seat, find it close to impossible to fall asleep on flights and I always seem to be surrounded by crying infants, reinforcing the first two points. Oh and it doesn’t really help when you step out of the airport looking half asleep with morning breath, your hair flat and your skin resembling an oil rig.
Luckily, I’ve picked up a few tips along the way for a smooth sailing (through the air, anyway). Here’s what I pack in my purse (my home away from home) that takes me through security and immigration and out into the real world, ready to take on my vacation looking and feeling fresh.
AT THE AIRPORT
There are always forms to fill out, baggage tags that need details and credit card slips to sign at Duty Free. The most annoying thing is standing around waiting for someone else to finish using a ‘public’ pen or borrowing one from a stranger, so I always carry my own.
I’m blind as a bat without them and have had horrid experiences at airports when I can’t read what’s on the screens or even identify my own bags from afar.
For obvious reasons. Though slipping mine into a chic case always makes the travel experience a little more glam. A friend got me this vintage pin-up girl printed number from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London a few years ago. I haven’t taken it off since.
For co-ordination, last minute goodbyes, beating your high score on Fruit Ninja while you’re waiting to board or posting airport selfies on Instagram (we all do it).
5. Visiting Cards
You never know who you may meet at an airport. I’ve met potential work contacts in transit on a number of occasions, which is why I always like to have them on hand.
6. Zip lock bag
When you get to security, they make you get rid of all liquids and aerosols that are more than 100ml in quantity each. Which is why I always make sure I carry tiny, travel-sized bottles and place them in a clear bag for security checks. This is also great because in case one of your products leaks due to cabin pressure, the rest of your things remain dry and protected.
7. Band Aids
Sometimes, in anticipation of my holiday, I buy the perfect shoes for the journey. However, more often than not, they end up giving me terrible blisters even before I take off! Band-aids help immensely when I start to feel a little discomfort. Trust me, your feet will thank you a day into sight-seeing.
ON THE PLANE
I don’t like wasting any time, which is why I spend plane journeys brainstorming ideas for stories and photo shoots, making lists to get more organized or writing down rough blog post drafts on my iPad. Or, if I’m taking a break, I’ll read a book or a magazine (currently on my Kindle app – ‘#Girlboss’ by Sophia Amoruso and the latest issue of Porter magazine).
I don’t always feel like having my iPad on my lap, which is why I still carry my old-school iPod with me everywhere. I usually listen to a playlist I compiled of relazed, summery poolside music to get me in the mood.
3. Eye Mask
When I finally do decide to try and get some sleep, an eye mask works wonders for blocking out light, so fellow passengers aren’t inconvenienced on my behalf if they decide to do some reading or open a window. Earphones are great, too, for blocking out sound (here’s looking at you, crying babies!) and finally getting some shut-eye.
I have a bad back, which is almost always aggravated by plane seats and lifting luggage. So I make it a point to always carry around the medicines my doctor has prescribed if I start to experience pain, rather than putting a damper on my whole trip.
BEFORE / RIGHT AFTER I LAND
I lightly dab one across my face to blot away excess oil. These are also great to have on hand for food / drink spills, and with me, that is often.
I take my Chanel Poudre Universelle compact with me everywhere to combat shine and leave my skin feeling clean and fresh. Sometimes, I even carry a little concealer and dab it under my eyes so I look a little more fresh and awake, in case I haven’t managed to get enough sleep on the flight.
3. Mouthwash and mints
I do a quick gargle, then pop a mint in my mouth to combat morning breath after sleeping on a long flight.
4. Lipstick and lip balm
Nothing like a little touch-up to leave you looking polished and put-together. Sometimes I even dab a little lippy onto the apples of my cheeks if my skin is looking dull or sallow after a flight.
5. Sanitizer and moisturizer
Call me a germophobe, but I always sanitize my hands diligently in transit. You never know what infections people are carrying around, and it’s better to be safe than to ruin your trip with a flu. And, since all that sanitizing can leave your hands dry, I carry around a scented lotion (‘Chance’ by Chanel rocks my world these days.)
6. Teasing Comb
My hair often tends to fall very flat after a flight and gets knotted after sleeping in different positions. I use my comb to untangle any knots, then use it to tease my hair a little to give it some volume and leave it looking bouncy and full of life again.
And lastly, I carry a small vial or a tester of a perfume around (it doesn’t have to be your favourite) and spritz some on to feel refreshed and rearing to go. (Tip: You can always spray yourself using a Duty Free perfume tester, or even ask them for a sample vial).
That finishes my last of 21 little life-savers that keep me going when I’m in transit. What are your airport essentials? Share them with me in the comments below, or on Twitter (@bombaybubble).