My Travel Essentials

Last year, I took an amazing trip to France.  OK, I try to take an amazing trip to France every year, but last year I was delighted when my good friend and travel guru, Becky Lukovic wanted to join me.  While I go to Burgundy nearly every November for the Trois Glorieuses celebrations (Chapitre at the Clos du Vougeot, the Hospices de Beaune auction, and the Paulee de Meursault), we agreed to add a few days in Paris (and amazing days they were) at the beginning of the trip.

Becky and I flew together from Atlanta (her home base) and it was great to share travel tips as well as travel necessities for an international flight. You can see hers here in her latest FaceBookLive video. I’m not quite that sophisticated yet when it comes to social media, so here are my own travel and packing essentials, especially for looking and feeling fresh after a long-haul flight.

1) I check my luggage. (Yes, I know, but Delta has that nifty text notification for when your bags are loaded on the plane.) I try to take a large tote for my carry on that tucks in my iPad/keyboard, books, a few pairs of shoes that wouldn’t fit in my suitcase, and my travel “freshen-up” kit.

2) In my carry on (or briefcase for shorter flights), I generally carry two small travel “kit” bags.

First is my electronics bag. It’s designed to control the chaos and make it easier to find USB charging cords, iPhone/iPad converter tabs (a lot of hotels still have docks with the old connection), camera card readers, an extra dongle for iPhone 7 users, a lipstick-sized Anker battery with charging cord, charging cord for a bluetooth keyboard, an extra set of earbuds, and a limefuel dual USB international charger. I don’t pack a converter anymore since Apple electronics don’t need it. Don’t forget plug adapters, though! Take a few extra since I always leave at least one in a hotel room somewhere. They’re inexpensive on Amazon or at the Container Store. The green and grey cord keepers are also from the Container Store.

Limefuel charger Anker battery Container Store cords
Electronics travel bag for international travel with chargers, cords, and Apple add-ons.

2) Next is my personal bag. This is the one with EmergencyC packets (they’ve saved me more than a few times), Advils, allergy pills, sleeping pills, cough drops, antacids, Band-aids, perfume, saline, earplugs, and yes, even a condom or two. (A girl can dream.) Plus, a mirror, an eye glass cloth and my favorite Herban Essentials wipes. In mint, lavender, and lemon, they’re crucial for freshening up on a long flight. This bag fits in my purse.

personal travel bag for purse or briefcase
Personal kit for travel to fit in purse or briefcase.

3) Then I pack a little overnight kit. Sometimes I sleep on overnight flights, sometimes I don’t. (Oooh, shiny object! I’m too excited to sleep!) So, on an overnight flight, I’ve found that it helps if I go through a morning routine to reset my body clock. Unlike Becky, I take my kit and go stand in line so I can have a few minutes in the lavatory to freshen up. I’ve re-purposed a Delta One bag from a couple of years ago to fit what I like. Mouthwash, deodorant, toothbrush, facial wipes (oh, they feel so good!), then good eye cream (I like Merle Norman’s revitalizing eye gel, lip balm (Burts is my fave, but Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 is also soothing after a long flight), and your favorite facial and skin creams. And an emery board is a MUST (I always have a broken nail). Some sort of stain-remover is a good idea, too. (I’ve always spilled or dripped something on me.)  As Becky notes, airplanes are dry, so anything you can do to cleanse and moisturize is going to make you feel like a new girl.

international travel freshen up kit
A kit in your carry on to freshen up for international travel

4) Compression socks! Becky has been evangelizing what I call “cankle spanx.” I started wearing them a couple of years ago and they are total game changers for me. It’s amazing to arrive in Europe and have your shoes fit!

It makes such a difference to deplane with my skin feeling refreshed, not dry or dirty. This year, I might also throw in some dry shampoo for a hair fluff. (You can get the small “sample” sizes via Birchbox.)

Is there anything else I like to take on international trips that I consider essential? Of course!

  • Bluetooth keyboard. Once I started traveling with only an iPad and Logitech keyboard, I found I could do nearly everything I needed to do without a laptop. Writing is a cinch and it makes me feel 10 times more productive.
  •  Journal. I like a travel journal where I can keep my itinerary (with contact information), confirmation numbers, postcard addresses, budgets, quotes, and writings. My favorite is out of print, but even a plain Moleskin will work. Write, draw, record sounds, and keep track of keywords for a strong hashtag game.
  • Market bag. In many countries, you’re expected to bring your own bag to the grocery store or market. I love this little foldable, lightweight option from iKEA. I always tuck it into my handbag.

    Foldable light weight market bag for travel
    Always useful for any European vacation.


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