Monday, 22 January 2018

How to make it easy to travel around Europe (or anywhere) by train or plane

If you’re planning a trip to Europe (or anywhere else for that matter) and you’re going to be visiting different places for short or long stops there are certain things that will make travel so so much easier.

Having done this many times, in Europe and the US, I’ve brought this down to a fine art so that, from luggage, to tech to toiletries I can always tote my own stuff.

The tough but lightweight 4 wheel large or medium suitcase - because you’re always going to have to move your bag from one place to another and having it glide along on four wheels makes such a difference over the two wheel variety you should consider nothing else, no matter how much of a ‘friend’ you consider your ancient 2 wheeler.

If you’re going for a long trip consider taking two of these, as I just did when away for a month. Or you could take…..

Your cabin bag small 4 wheelie  - useful if you’re flying to take on board, great to take the weight of your tote, excellent for packing extra stuff when you’re going on the train. Make sure, again, it has four wheels… you’ll be thanking me for this later.

Lightweight Tote/Duffle with Suitcase Handle Slip – This is the one where you probably say ‘she’s bonkers – she has so much luggage’ – but hear me out. This is the bag that slips over your suitcase handles when you’re walking through the station/airport. The bag that sits on top of your cabin bag on your way to the plane.

It will hold your laptop, iPad/Tablet, bottle of water, snack and in the front pocket your passport phone and ticket so you don’t need to struggle to get at anything at check in. It’s so roomy inside you can forget where you’ve put things if you’re not careful.

Then when you get on the train you park your suitcases and take this with you.

On the plane you take out what you need and shove it under the seat. Put your cross body tote inside and use it as a foot rest. This a multi tasking bag I would never ever travel without. There are many, but Liphault is my favourite make.

Finally in the bag category there’s my every day tote or smart handbag. And in case you’re wondering how I get through airport security with the extra bag that’s the best about the Liphault bag above, you can put your handbag inside.

When picking out the tote/handbag to take with you travelling make sure it has a cross body or long shoulder strap. Because nothing beats hands free for at one piece of your travel gear.

A hanging wash bag is indispensable particularly if you’re travelling around a lot. It’ll keep all your toiletries in one place and provided you don’t go for overkill in the toiletry department it’ll make sure you pack neatly.

Much as I love having all of my toiletries with me and setting them all out wherever I am, particularly for short stops this is marvellous as you don’t have to unpack anything. You just hang it on the hook in your bathroom door and take out what you need when you need it.

For those items you want to be able to scoop up off your makeup shelf and take with you everywhere the ‘again’ indispensable Camouflage Company Cam’pouch is wonderful. Put your eye pencils, serums and brushes in here – zip it up and off you go, and it weighs nothing.

Cashmere wrap or stole. Because you never know how chilly it’s going to be. I find that planes are always chilly, cinemas (particularly in the US) can be freezing, and you can never go wrong packing, or wearing, a lightweight cashmere wrap. My favourites are by Perilla whose quality is second to none.

Make sure you don’t invest in something too small, you want it to go round your neck and act as a blanket if necessary…..

This is probably my most coveted travel accessory, particularly by those that don’t have one. For long train journeys or plane rides where there isn’t a seat plug in a portable charger is absolutely invaluable. I freely admit to having two which I rotate, one charging and the other in my bag.

Be careful choosing here, you want a portable charger with enough oomph to charge fast but that’s light enough to be portable. I find this Anker 6700 mAh charger is perfect in both ways.

Compact and multi-functional a multi charging cable is brilliant for travel. Keep it with you at all times and charge up pretty much anything on the go.

Finally I never go anywhere without my trusty headphone splitter – it’s not that I’m so good at sharing, but if on a long train or plane journey and if I have something to watch (and someone who wants to watch as well) this makes it easy to share music or video and not have to share headphones – I find that never works at all.