While you may think that the SUITCASE team has nailed down a foolproof system for breezing through airport security in style (please keep thinking this), we do find ourselves juggling a bag of 100ml products alongside various other “necessities” more often than we care to admit. Whether we’re headed for Paris or Papua New Guinea, this is what you will find in (or spilling out of) our hand luggage – featuring everything from cooling face mists to bumper bags of Reese’s Pieces.
Firstly, a tote bag or basket – in the summer I use a Nannacay bag which also saves me some space in my suitcase. Everywhere I go I carry a Smythson notebook and pen for those moments of inspiration. AirPods and a good book are also vital; I just finished Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan which is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever come across – reading makes for a nice alternative to re-runs of Friends. When I’m travelling from a London airport, I also always go to the Crème de La Mer counter where they have a range of free facials they can give you; it’s one of the best-kept airport secrets. Failing that, Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream is always in my carry on.
I’m a pretty light flyer, so you won’t catch me with anything but my phone filled with downloaded shows (not sure what I’m going to do now Love Island is over…), a pair of headphones and a bottle of water on short flights, but for long-hauls my must-have item is a pair of cosy velvet-lined tights (full disclosure: mine are from Primark). Those flights are absolutely freezing, so I usually wear a jersey/cotton dress that I can put the tights on under once we’re in the air – they’re so comfy! I am also addicted to this soothing aromatherapy jet-lag pulse point roller ball that someone gave me once and I now can’t stop using – can’t say it helps with jet lag, but the scent just relaxes you instantly.
It may be “for men” but I always wear this flight hoodie by Aether – it’s lightweight and has an oversized hood which you can pull over your eyes when you want to nap. Coupled with my Olivia von Halle eye mask, I usually manage to get a solid amount of sleep. I often get cold on the plane so I carry a large Zara shawl to wrap around me – they’re relatively inexpensive so it doesn’t matter if turbulence throws my breakfast down my front. I don’t tend to wear make up on long-haul flights but good eyebrows go a long way: I give mine a once over with Glossier’s Boy Brow before landing. Snack-wise, I have an unhealthy obsession with salted peanuts (and am furious when anyone on-board dares to have an allergy). Those and dried mango.
I nearly always carry a water bottle and bamboo cutlery set in my bag whether I’m at the airport or not. Some of the reusables are so well designed. Not only do they help cut down on waste but they come in handy when travelling too. Win, win. Just make sure to empty your bottle completely before going through security – I had one of my favourite S’well bottles confiscated. Heartbreaking! I hate the way your skin feels so parched after a flight. To help tackle this, I usually fly make up-free and slather my face in serum and rosehip oil on board. I’ll also put some essential oils on my pulse points (Tisserand roll-ons are really handy for travelling) before nesting down with my book and some snacks/energy balls I’ll have brought with me from home.
As much as I long to be the kind of glamorous traveller who won’t get on a plane with less than $10,000 worth of ointments and an all-cashmere lounge suit, sadly I tend more towards the grab-it-and-go end of the flying spectrum. Consequently, the only essentials you’ll find in my (normally woefully undersized) cabin bag are a big scarf to drape over my head; all the free newspapers and magazines I’ve snaffled en route alongside a soon-to-be-dog-eared book; a pair of flight socks to ensure I don’t get DVT like my dad did and an extra pair of glittery ones to mask their hideousness; and some eyedrops and a pair of glasses for when my eyes get so dry I can no longer focus on the 10-year-old rom-com in front of me. Plus a duty-free bag of Reese’s Pieces, obvs.
With a behemothic fear of flying, I usually ask myself not what would make my flight comfortable but what will stem a sure and sudden panic attack. My emergency kit includes a small bottle of cognac (consumed at any time of the day or night because turbulence never sleeps), nicotine gum and in-ear headphones to drown out the nasty cacophony of aeroplane sounds. Outside of my emergency kit I always carry a large scarf to burrow into – my favourite is by Max Mara (they are incredibly warm, lightweight and don’t take up much room). I wear open-toe sandals in anticipation of my feet inflating, or ballet pumps in the winter (never anything too cocooned). I also like to use Omorovicza’s face mist throughout the flight and a rose balm to keep my nose, lips and eyes from drying out too much.
My in-flight mainstays are predictable, pedestrian and plane-approved. Once airborne, I like to slip on some slouchy socks from Avoca Handweavers and whip my hair into a top knot (I can’t think clearly with my hair down). My mainstay in-flight items include: a book (I’m currently readingThe Fashion Conspiracy by Nicholas Coleridge), Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm (hydration is key), a toothbrush, a Muji pen for scrawling and plotting and thisworks’ In Transit Camera Close-Up – it’s a mask, moisturiser and primer all-in-one. Being the planner (and pathological worrier) that I am, I also like to have a spare change of clothes (incase my luggage gets lost) and a miniature clothes steamer in tow – a confusing and contradictory combination, I know.
If I’m flying really early in the morning, I take a neck pillow and a cosy sweater or a scarf so I can sleep on the plane. If it’s a “normal” flight time, then I definitely take a book to catch-up on reading and make the time go by faster as well as a moisturiser to keep my skin hydrated.
My main airport essential is a clear case for my 100ml items – it’s exactly the same size as the plastic bag that they give you at the airport, so I don’t have to waste time at security. I also take a bamboo toothbrush with me now because I always forget one and it’s environmentally friendly. The one I have is from Bahasa of The Sea. I also never forget my moisturiser from COOLA, which smells like a mimosa.