In which I gush about handy products, gadgets, apps and doodads that have lifted my packing and travelling game.
For Packing: In need of a way to keep button-up shirts and the occasional fancy dress spruce in my luggage (without having to crack out a hotel-room ironing board) I picked up the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder: a thin plastic board that you fold your clothes over, then fasten inside a nylon folder. It’s super light-weight so doesn’t interfere with my minimalist packing strategy (and is pink to boot).
For Photos: Before a month-long trip to Italy last year I decided to switch from my bulky Nikon DSLR to something a bit lighter and more compact: the Olympus OMD e10. It’s a fantastic camera and takes a damn good shot, it looks divine, and has WIFI functionality so I can connect it to my iPhone then upload photos straight to email or Instagram.
For Music: The UE Mini Boom Bluetooth Speaker was a godsend on the Italy trip, getting a tonne of use when shoddy AirBnB iPod docks just didn’t cut the mustard (which was always). This tiny and lightweight speaker wirelessly connects to your smart phone to deliver much-needed post-sightseeing tunes.
For Maps: The dilemma of how to navigate confusing European roads without a GPS is well and truly solved with Navmii, a free offline maps App that functions without phone data or wifi. Every country/region has it’s own App, and they’re a great penny-pinching alternative to a pricey rental-car GPS system.
For Language: It’s always handy to get a basic grasp on the local language before travelling (despite the fact that you will absolutely butcher it later), and the Duolingo App makes it fun. Cheered on by the App’s adorable green owl mascot, you’ll be ordering una tazza di caffè like a pro in no time.
For Hydration: Aeroplane air-con and unfamiliar climates wreak havoc with my skin’s moisture levels, so I keep it hydrated and happy by slathering on loads of Go-To Very Useful Face Cream, a super nourishing and anti-oxidant-rich moisturiser that smells amazing to boot. For my inevitably dry and chapped lips, it’s the tingle-tastic Blistex Intensive Repair all the way.
For Sleeping: Whether it’s beauty sleep on the plane or a quick jetlag-fighting nap, I can’t go past the mulberry silk sleep mask from Slip. It’s incredibly luxe, has an adjustable strap, and is shaped to perfectly cover the eyes.
For Walking: A comfortable and practical pair of shoes are a deal-breaker on the road – you’re pounding the pavement from monument to monument, climbing exasperating quantities of stairs in Cathedrals, and walking for miles around museums and galleries. My weapon of choice is a pair of Nike Frees, which pay sweet dividends come the day’s end.