Flashpacking for chicks
Your ticket’s booked, the itinerary’s locked and loaded and it’s time to face the dreaded pack-a-thon that goes with a gloriously lengthy trip overseas. You sit, surrounded by piles of multi-seasonal attire options, a makeup case overflowing with ‘essential’ items and wonder how the hell you’re going to fit it all into luggage the size of your lingerie drawer. The answer? Flashpacking, girlfriend. You need to know it, and you need to own it.
Forget fancy-shmancy here, in order to flashpack like a pro you’ll have to be a little practical. Backpacks are ideal for overseas travel, because they’re lightweight, durable and, if you choose the right one, will mould to your body allowing you to literally skip around the globe like a glorified turtle.
Just like you would your jewellery case, embrace compartmentalisation, ie. buy luggage with lots of pockets and zip-up sections and invest in some packing cubes that will allow you to separate different types of stuff (cruddy shoes plus freshly washed underwear equals grossness).
And don’t forget a day-to-day bag (an over-the-shoulder satchel can double up as an evening bag) that can carry around daily essentials like your water bottle (bring your own stainless steel version and refill it), rain jacket, camera, phone and mini jooshing kit.
The general rule here is to choose fashionably classic items in solid colours that you can mix and match. Black (though often considered frightfully passé) is a great staple that goes with almost anything and you can always fancy up an outfit with accessories like jewellery, scarves and a hat or two. And if you’ll be travelling to colder climates, imagine you’re a Danish pastry and layer, layer, layer.
Bottom basics? Pack multifunctional items like your favourite pair of jeans and a pair or two of capris or shorts for warmer weather. Leggings also offer flexibility and can be worn under a pair of jean shorts or even longer pants if it gets chilly. Lady-it-up with a black skirt or two (one long and one short) and as per Chanel’s advice, don’t forget the low maintenance, non-iron LBD.
Up top, consider a few colourful singlets for layering, breathable T-shirts (don’t forget stripes never go out of fashion) and a few longer sleeved tops for going out (denim shirts are also always on-trend).
For cooler weather, pack a fabric-appropriate sweater or cardi, a casual jacket (again, denim’s a great choice) and a warmer coat that is stylish yet squishable (try outdoor retailers).
Lastly, often poo-pooed as decidedly granny-like but amazingly multi-functional is the scarf. Available in a host of colours, fabrics and sizes, it can double up as a blanket, sarong, beach towel, hair accessory and add pop to almost any outfit.
First up, you’re going to need a pair of super-comfy traipse around numbers for daytime (fit them out with insoles for a cloud walking experience). Then some dressy flats for more formal outings, a pair of thongs (don’t sigh, they’re not all daggy) and lastly, a fancy-ish pair for going out. Embellished sandals or a pair of wedges (they’re super-comfy height adders) will do for warmer climates, while a pair of boots is ideal for chillier locales.
The key here is to get it into your neatly pimped head that you’re unlikely to be travelling to a destination sans retail outlets. Meaning, that you will most likely to be able to purchase almost anything you desire once you’ve arrived. But if you’re a stickler for your favourites, mini-up on everything. Body wash, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, hairspray and moisturisers all come in micro versions these days that you can refill once you get there.
Take along a basic first aid kit (band-aids, pain relief, makeup wipes, hand sanitizer and the like), invest in a good travel towel (perfect for the beach as well) and when it comes to makeup, tone it down. A tinted moisturizer, blush (doubles up as eyeshadow), waterproof mascara (no panda bears please) and a tinted lip gloss will do. Polyfiller is so not a good look on anyone.
A couple of randoms that may also up the flashpacker enjoyment factor include an eye mask (aromatherapy ones are divine), earplugs (adios screaming child) and an inflatable neck pillow. They look lame, but may help you get some extra zzzz’s on a long haul flight.
Gadgets put the ‘flash’ into packing, but they’re also incredible multi-functional tools that will help document your trip and keep you in touch with the peeps back home. You wouldn’t even consider not taking your smartphone as it’s literally a hand extension, however it’s also a great calculator, note taker, stereo, calendar, alarm clock, camera, GPS, translator, video recorder and torch.
Via a cyberland full of travel apps, it can also help you explore the top sites in your location, convert your currency, satisfy you craving for a local takeaway and find the nearest ATM. Just make sure you download them before you leave to save on fees.
Laptops are great for on-the-go entertainment and organising photos, eBook readers a smarter choice for bookworms and of course, a decent camera is a no-brainer, as long as you’re willing to sacrifice the room!
If you’re a Miss Fixit type of personality, then you can’t go past the Miss Army Kit. About the size of your favourite lippy, it’s crammed with essential tools including a corkscrew, perfume bottle, flashlight, mirror, tweezers, knife (woah!), nailfile and a needle and thread. Just leave it out of your carry on or you might not take off.
Love the smellies? This compact atomizer is unsmashable, fancily finished in a ‘luxurious leatherette’ and fits neatly into your pocket. Fill it with your favourite fragrance for a little bit of glamour while you’re on the road.
And if you’re after a bit of sophisticated refreshment, forget the povo plastic cup and take along your own wine glass. Lightweight and shatterproof, remove the stem and store it inside for your portable, cheering pleasure.