Luggage for the Long Haul: Tips for travelling
There’s nothing better than travel. Jetting off to a foreign destination can be an enjoyable experience for many reasons; to experience a new culture, meet new people, expand your business ambitions, or simply to top up your tan and indulge in a spot of well-deserved R&R.
But it’s not without its downsides…
Lost luggage, missed transfers, leaking toiletries… These are all issues experienced by the modern traveller, to name a few. And we haven’t even touched on the stress of airport security! In order to make the most of your time abroad, we’ve put together a few tips to ensure your travels run as smoothly as possible.
1. Fail to plan, plan to fail
Today, our lives are far busier and full of distractions than they’ve ever been before. Having a plan in place means you won’t create extra, unnecessary stress for yourself, which in turn makes the travelling process that much smoother. It’s a good idea to utilise the notes section in your phone to jot down a trip itinerary. This includes essentials such as addresses, travel timings and transfer details. Most airlines now offer an app service for your boarding card – make use of it. It’s one less thing to carry with you and potentially lose, but just double check you’ve packed your phone charger! Finally, make sure you have plenty of foreign currency with you before you get to the airport. The exchange rates and service charges offered at airport kiosks aren’t great, so you’re more likely to save time and money if you prepare. We prefer to order currency and get it delivered to home in advance.
2. Less is more - The Dopp Kit
Like a good cologne, less is more when it comes to packing your Dopp kit for your travels. It’s a necessity to pack the essentials you need to look sharp and well-groomed abroad, but it’s important not to get carried away. The following are pretty obvious, but there may be a few ideas you hadn’t thought of:
- Toothbrush - there are some pretty cool collapsible ones available now (like this).
- Small toothpaste – don’t waste your luggage allowance taking bigger things than you need.
- Travel size shampoo and shower gel bottles (like this) - You can fill these up with your regular products from home. We also like to transport these in plastic bags in case of any unforeseen leaks!
- Safety razor & shave oil - Not only do safety razors offer a better shave with less irritation, they also reduce your environmental impact. As opposed to throwing away chunks of plastic and metal to landfill every time the blades lose their edge, a safety razor blade is easily recycled. Shaving oil is great paired with a safety razor, as a small amount will offer a 3-in-1 solution to prep, moisturising, and blade lubrication.
- Deodorant- especially important if you are heading somewhere hot.
- Comb- For either hair or beards, a comb will drastically smarten your appearance with minimal effort.
- Nail Clippers- Did you know that in sunny places, the extra vitamin D causes your hair and nails to grow at a faster rate? Don’t get caught out and make sure you pack these.
- Lint roller- If you’re heading away on business, this is a great one to take. These compact lint rollers make perfect sense.
- Lip Balm- Hours of sitting in an air conditioned environment can leave your lips dried out and sore. To stop the chance of this putting a downer on the start of your trip, make sure to put some on before you get to the airport. It will act as a barrier and stop your lips from drying out on route! We like this 100% natural one from Burt’s Bees, the peppermint is especially refreshing.
So now you’ve sorted your toiletries, where are you going to put them? The bag itself is just as important as what goes inside. For a Dopp kit with class, the only choice of material you should consider is leather. It may cost you more, but it will outlast any cheaper nylon alternative, and will grow to become something you cherish as much as the memories from the places you took it to. Check out these stylish British Bag Company leather wash bags.
3. Last in first out
This tip is advice passed-down from one of our staff's high-flying relatives, who seems to spend more time in the sky than on land. A man who’s travelled for business more times than most of us have even left the country. In doing so, he’s gathered an impressive amount of air miles, and two vital rules to swear by when packing suits and shirts:
- Use a shirt bag (like this) to keep your clothes clean and fresh. You don’t want your shoes, or anything else, to make your clothes dirty before you’ve even worn them.
- You can try and fold your suit and shirt in as many different ways as possible, but the only thing that matters when it comes to minimising creases, is how long your clothes are folded up for. Anything you want to stay as crease-free as possible should be the last thing in your case, and the first thing you hang up wherever you are staying.
4. Do you speak English?
There’s nothing worse than the stereotypical Brit abroad shouting English at some poor waiter who’s forgotten a side of chips with their Full English Breakfast order. As a nation, our overseas reputation has somewhat deteriorated in recent years, but it’s also one you can avoid inheriting yourself by taking just a few small steps. Before arriving at your destination, jot down a few key phrases in the native language. Not only will you feel more confident, but locals will show more warmth and hospitality if they recognise the effort you’ve put in to respect their country. Be a good ambassador and learn the lingo.
5. Luggage – Buy cheap, buy twice.
Need we say more? There are a number of very important elements to consider when choosing luggage that’s right for you. Keep these tips in mind when you’re next on the hunt to ensure you choose wisely.
With such a vast number of bags available on the market, it’s easy to buy the first thing you see as a response to the overwhelming selection. This method is nearly always guaranteed to leave you with an item that isn’t exactly what you want. Before heading out on a spending quest, think about a few style features that you want the bag to have. Will it be a soft bag or a hard bag (like a suitcase)? Soft bags are easier to carry and fit in overhead lockers, but they do compromise on the protection a hard case offers. Do you need many pockets or storage dividers? This largely falls down to how you pack, with a more structured packer preferring to have plenty of options to segregate their belongings. We’ll also point out that investing in luggage with wheels should be done with care. If the wheels aren’t high quality, then you run the risk of luggage becoming non-functional if one of them were to fail. If you buy a wheeled case, make sure it’s either high quality, or one you can replace the wheels on.
Too big or too small, they both have their drawbacks. Make sure you think carefully about the items you need to pack. Personally, we prefer using a small bag, as it forces you to prioritise what it is you actually need to take!
Synthetic materials come in all sorts of great colours and shapes, but it’s often at the expense of quality. Put the polka-dot case down and invest in a waxed cotton or leather bag instead. It will soak up the wear and tear of travelling and transform it into a beautiful aged patina. Make sure any zips or hardware are high quality to prevent you being left with a bag which is permanently open.
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for, and luggage is no exception. By spending more upfront, you’ll secure yourself a travel companion which won’t let you down. The hidden cost of cheap luggage means you’ll more than likely replace your holdall every couple of trips; with poorly-designed zips, material, and structure struggling to keep up.
Make sure your luggage is easily identifiable, and that it can be returned back to you in the unfortunate event that it’s lost. If the bag doesn’t have a built-in luggage tag, add one yourself. If you love high quality accessories, then try one of these Italian leather luggage tags available in colours to compliment any style. Don’t forget these tags can also be personalised!
“Just because you have baggage doesn't mean you have to lug it around.”
― Richie Norton