Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones who are making a dash for the sun during the Easter break. But, it’s coming early this year and before you know it you’ll be in a mad rush to pack. So here’s our time-saving plug and play solution to making the getaway easy. Simply buy item number one, place all of the other items in it and leave it in the hall. On the day of departure, decant the usual contents of your handbag into it. Add passport and any other regular travel items. And off you go. Ready-made hand luggage that transitions from check-in to city or resort break without any additional effort.
1. Lipault Lady Plume Large Tote – at nearly 40cm and almost as deep, this bag is big enough to get in all your personal tech, purse, travel documents, small umbrella and make-up bag as well as the six essentials we recommend. There will still be enough space left over to get in some local delicacies that take your fancy when you’re out and about. It comes in a range of colours from the bright and bold to the demure. Produced by the high-end French luggage manufacturers, it’s made to stand up to the rigours of travel. Yet, it’s stylish looks are far more affordable than most other premium brands. The zip is essential, both for ease of getting it through the scanners without losing all your contents and for keeping things secure from thieving fingers in bustling markets.
2. Large scarf – it doesn’t really matter whether it’s cotton or linen; whether you spoil yourself with luxury silk or find something cheap ‘n cheerful on a market stand. The issue is that it needs to be as large as possible – not that helpful given this season’s trend for long narrow scarves. Whether it’s showing some respect in a shrine in the south of Italy or for local customs in Morocco, a large scarf is the easiest way to cover your head or any offending flesh. It’s also great for covering any skin that’s becoming too red or affecting a dressier style as you step from beach to restaurant. A tip: light colours reflect light and, therefore, heat. So, best to avoid black or very dark colours if you want to stay cool where the sunshine is strong.
3. Sunglasses are about your eyes as much as their look. Always keep an extra pair best suited to travel in your trusty tote. What works well every day or are this year’s statement frames may not be the best option for travelling. Something like Oakley’s Oval Sunglasses in a neutral colour are a good option, in part because they’re born of the brand’s background in high-performance sports equipment. Stylish and fashionable, yet practical and easily matched to anything when travelling light.
4. A good sun protection cream – Even if you’re not going to be lounging around the pool, you should block those harmful UV rays. Most dermatologists would rather we never exposed ourselves to the sun, not something they believe without good reason. The middle ground is something like Lierac’s Sunific Invisible Cream SPF 50+ which comes with all the anti-wrinkle, anti-spot goodness you need. If you want the best of both worlds, use one of their self-tanning products weeks before you leave and arrive with a ready-made tan while covering up invisibly.
5. Lexon Take Time watch – available in three different sizes and a rainbow of colours, these watches are the ideal travel companion. Loop it around the handle of your tote for ease of keeping an eye on the time in the airport terminal or while out sightseeing without having to fish around in your bag. But, the rubberised chord just as easily loops around your wrist –or neck as a pendant with the XL version. It’s waterproof too so you can take it into the sea with you.
6. Crinkles – it doesn’t really matter whether it’s crushed linen or silk, crinkle cotton or Pleats Please. Nor does it matter whether it’s a simple tunic style dress or a number in Indian block-print cotton that’s totally in keeping with this season’s hippie style. Choose what suits you. The important point is that you pack a garment in a fabric that you can readily carry around in your tote all day that will come out looking good when you need it. Crinkles, wrinkles and permanent pleats are the ideal fabrics because they don’t need ironing. A quick costume change in the facilities of a local café and you’re ready to go straight on to a sophisticated dinner, even if you don’t have time to go back to your hotel to change.
7. One of the most common causes of painful tendinitis in women is mistakenly thinking that holiday flat shoes are better for sightseeing and walking more than they might do on the average work day. So, unless you practically live in flat shoes and are used to walking long distances in them, carrying a pair of shoes with a moderate heel in your tote makes sense for more than one reason. Something like these Kurt Geiger Libby Wedge sandals could literally save you from excruciating pain if you change into them at the first tell-tale sign of tension in your Achilles tendon. And they’re good for easy transitions from dress-down to dress-up locations without being too space-consuming or heavy in your bag.