Two stylish experts lay out the items they never leave home without.
If you had to give others a list of just a few things they must carry with them when they travel, what would be on that list?
I was intrigued by the unusual choices that California stylist Christina Burns gave Virtuoso Life magazine when it interviewed her for its “How To” column for its September issue.
Her advice for women: “Always take a trench coat. A trench coat is one of those magic pieces, stylish and comfortable with a European look,” she said. She also recommends a scarf — but a big scarf that can do triple duty as a scarf, sarong or blanket.
Instead of a lot of jewelry she takes a “simple, delicate” necklace that can be worn with every outfit.
She takes inexpensive sunglasses, leaving more expensive ones at home. Her other must-take items are ballet flats and a travel-sized atomizer from the drugstore (she fills it with her favorite perfume).
Here’s something else: She always packs exactly 10 to 12 pieces of clothing, and that’s it.
While Burns’ advice may not work perfectly for you, I like the concept of having a packing routine that makes you feel relaxed.
When we start feeling anxious, we tend to overpack, stuffing our suitcases with clothes and amenities for every possible encounter, most of which never come to pass.
Personally, I never travel anywhere without bringing these five things: a small flashlight, two clothespins for hanging up laundry, a hat that folds flat in my suitcase, a pashmina scarf and a tiny packet of powdered Gatorade.
The flashlight has come in handy many times, especially when my hotel electricity failed when I was traveling in Nicaragua. The clothespins have held up laundry drying on the line on many trips.
The hat? I have a non-crushable black and white striped hat that can be worn everywhere and a more safari-like beige Tilley hat that has been around the world with me. The scarf rolls up around my camera in my carry-on, can be used as a blanket on long flights and works as an evening wrap. And the Gatorade was my emergency go-to when I became dehydrated in Mexico.
I also agree with Burns about the trench coat. In any city setting, a trench coat always looks smart and appropriate. Mine is navy blue, which is fine except for the one time at Detroit Metro Airport when I was mistaken for a Delta flight attendant.