You might think I’m a pro at traveling and vacation and, in a way, it’s true. My passport is in my purse, my suitcases are always within reach, and I can pick up your bag and tell you in a split second whether it weighs more than the regulation 50 pounds.
However, I’m writing to you from Hawaii, where I’m stuck in bed, bright red from a sunburn even though I brought three different super elaborate sunscreens. Biafine? Nope, I don’t have any. I do have two litres of anti-mosquito cream, though. But I haven’t seen a single mosquito since I arrived here.
I’ve got 75 different t-shirts but, after four days, I’ve already reached the end of my underwear supply. I’m not sure how I managed that, since I brought a whole colony of panties with me. I guess it has something to do with the swimming to shower ratio.
If I were my sister, or Martha Stewart, I’d probably be washing them by hand right now instead of writing this post buried in the bed. But I have a headache because of my sunburn. And I forgot my Advil, of course.
It’s always been like this.
I’m the girl who arrives at her destination with a suitcase so full she can barely get it to roll, and who needs to find the nearest pharmacy immediately upon arriving because she forgot her toothpaste.
But at the same time, I’m not sure how you all do it.
Actually, I’ve got a theory. For me, the major luggage problem for the modern woman is the toiletry bag. Beauty products weigh a ton, they take up space, and plus, they explode in the plane.
So one day, in a grand gesture of minimalism, (mostly because a big portion of my trip was on EasyJet — my biggest nightmare) (anything but EasyJet !!!) (I’m the girl with her bag open at the counter, spreading her whole life out in front of everyone because she’s trying desperately to divide the weight between two bags) (sometimes, I’m also the girl who gives up and pays $400 in excess baggage fees – yep, that happened to me in Milan, after a Fashion Week that was particularly full of crazy last minute purchases) so I tried to lighten my toiletry bag.
I bought tons of little bottles (travel size) and felt really clever, like, it was exactly what Gwyneth Paltrow would do if she weren’t traveling in a private jet.
I poured all my huge bottles (so annoying to do, but whatever) into tiny Muji bottles and went on my way, light as the wind, ready to drop a new post: The Art of Traveling Light by Garance Doré.
Mmmyeah. Little bottles are great. Except that three days after I arrived, I had no shampoo left, no conditioner, and no body lotion.
Hey, it takes some elbow grease to be like me: a perfect vacation babe!
So back to square one I was.
The worst of the worst is summer bags. If you follow my shop, you know my favorite fashion is summer fashion. What’s not to love? It’s colorful, light, hand-washable for the Martha Stewarts among us… summer fashion is the best thing ever invented!
Summer fashion – I love it way too much. I dream about it at night. I dream of wicker baskets, immense beach blankets big enough to share, amazing hats, and liters of Monoi oil on my bronzed skin.
But where are you supposed to put all of this nonsense?
Summer fashion, real summer fashion, the kind you can’t wear in the city, is the most frustrating, because you can’t really fit it in your suitcase either.
Have you ever traveled with a Panama hat? You can’t put it in your suitcase – it would obviously get crushed. So you HAVE to be that girl wearing her hat at the airport, and it doesn’t work at all in the plane because you can’t lean your head back when you’re wearing a hat. And if you try to put it in the overhead bin, you’re taking a big risk. You have no idea what to do with your #%&$ hat, so you just try to stay composed, because you already look silly enough as it is.
So here you were dreaming of Panama hats, and talking about them all over your blog, and you can’t ever manage to wear one at the right time, that is – while sipping a cocktail on the patio in Capri. I know what you’re going to tell me: “Buy one when you get there!” Yes, but let’s not forget the trip home, kids. After investing more than five times in a beautiful Panama hat bought on vacation and finding it smashed in my return baggage, from now on, I only buy discount hats on trips, which don’t look as good and which, in the particular Hawaii case, I didn’t have time to do when I arrived, which probably played an important part in my current sunburn situation.
Yes, yes. I have a foldable cloth hat. It’s just never going to be as pretty as a Panama hat, sorry.
(Phew, I must really have something against the Panama hat on vacation)
As for those stupid, enormous, sublime beach blankets – so soft, so comfortable, so chic (weight = ten pounds) I have another theory. They are only for people who have a vacation home. Seriously, because traveling with a beach blanket, I just don’t know about that. Ok, it might be classy, but I’ve given up on trying. Too heavy. I use a pareo.
No need to write you a poem on the litres of monoi oil I’ve found exploded at the bottom of my suitcase, all over my beautiful leather vacation bags. As for the wicker basket, just lol.
And the worst part is, even when you’re at that point, sacrificing your most beautiful summer fashion dreams, you also have to leave room in your suitcase for vacation purchases, a.k.a., The Hardest Thing in the World. Because, as we all know, not filling your suitcase to the brim is next to impossible for any self-respecting person.
So there you go. You understand my distress. And honestly, I’ve come a long way. I’m a lot better now. As the years have gone by, I’ve put a few rather successful systems in place, and I’m going to share them with you, if you promise not to make fun of me.
Make yourself a travel kit, with everything you need for traveling.
Mine includes: a wool scarf, a pair of noise-canceling headphones, ear plugs, a sleeping mask, wet wipes, and an all-purpose moisturizer (Rodin)!
Make yourself a checklist.
Mine is on my computer and I print it out before every trip. At first, it was for my technical equipment (camera, cords, hard drive, tablet, etc.) but it’s gotten broader over time, and now it includes the things I know I forget EVERY TIME (nail polish remover: have you ever found yourself on the other side of the world with a horribly chipped mani that you just want to tear off?) (tweezers: have you ever found yourself on the other side of the world with an enormous hair in some unspeakable location that you just want to tear out?) (razor: have you ever found yourself on the other side of the world with legs that look like…) Anyway. CHECK. LIST.
There’s a new app I like for this (mainly because it’s pretty, I admit. It’s called Travel List).
Take at least half a day to pack your bags.
No need to go nuts laying out your outfits and taking polaroids of them like for Fashion Week, but there’s also no need to do like I do and pack your bags at 4 o’clock in the morning with a hangover (is it a hangover if you’re actually still drunk ?)
And then, edit it all like a crazy person and try to color coordinate a little. And always take more underwear than you think you need :)
Translated by Andrea Perdue