How to pack for a long, long-distance trip

A queen* (or a king for that matter) always has to travel in style

That’s an axiom. On the other hand, packing style in a suitcase, enough to last for a month, is not the easiest thing. It begs for a method.

So how do you prepare to travel long distance, for a long time, in style?

Let’s have a look at the basics.

Pack multi-purpose clothes that can take you from a business meeting to cocktails.  This gorgeous dress is by Elisavet Kapogianni 


For long haul flights, the baggage allowance is more or less as follows:

  • One suitcase 23 kg
  • One carry on 7 kg
  • One personal handbag 5 kg

Some airlines go +1 on the handbag and carry-on – for perfection, check your exact ticket’s allowance, otherwise stick with the conservative estimate. You have a total allowance of 35kg and you must fit everything within it. Important note: the total allowance doesn’t count as “in total”. You can’t have a suitcase of 18kg and move the extra 5kg to your carry on. Stick to the numbers and avoid costly mistakes – no matter how captivating a personality you have, companies are done with making exceptions. If, for whatever reason, it is essential for you to carry an extra suitcase, make sure to order it online in advance, as opposed to showing up with it at the airline counter. The cost difference is significant.

The breakdown
Stuff your handbag and carry-on with the valuables. Electronic devices, medicine, jewelry, an expensive pair of shoes – anything you’d regret losing. Travel documents, money and mobile phone, goes without saying, you carry with you at all times. The rest goes in the suitcase. Speaking of, pack a change of clothes (and underwear) in the carry-on, in case the suitcase gets lost (it won’t but better safe than sorry).

ATTENTION: No liquids. You are only allowed a total of 100ml in cabin. In view of how damaging cabin atmosphere is however, you need to have access to some cosmetics when flying. You solve this problem by using sample products (the real tiny ones). Do you need make-up? The 1ml flat confection will hardly set you back. Do you want to take it to the next level? Pack a moisturizing sheet mask and wear it during the flight. You place it all inside the special clear plastic bag (proactive ladies already have this in their kit – the rest will pick one up on the spot at the airport). Don’t forget a nicotine patch if you are a smoker (smoking is bad for you though!).


But what do you pack when you have to go on a long and faraway trip?
In one word: everything. You just need to have a system in place.

Keep it neutral

There is no way to go around this: you need to think minimal & strategic. Detach yourself from that floral lace corset that makes you look super-cute and select flexible, multi-purpose clothes that mix and match (think capsule wardrobe). Add a couple of bright colored tops & little dresses for variety and that’s it (plus colorful underwear of course). You don’t need 3 jeans. Athleisure wear is better than leisure wear and sports gear. An overcoat that can take you from morning to evening is better than 2 separate ones. Wherever you are headed, it is most likely that some shopping will occur. To avoid overweight charges, on’t forget to leave room in your luggage in advance.

This is the trickiest one because, duh, it is shoes! It does of course depend on the season, destination and your overall lifestyle but, in any event, you can only skimp so much.  A pair of trainers (or otherwise comfortable flats for walking if you are a hater), flip flops for home (and the beach if  applicable), 2 pairs of heels, and a pair of boots (if season-relevant) is what I’d call the minimum. Wear the trainers for traveling and keep the flip flops on your carry-on. Fill the rest with shocks & tights to make expert use of space.

Keep it simple. A golden rule would be one of everything, but it can be 2 scarves or other accent pieces that can transform your basic outfits. You will have to decide on one evening clutch and one day bag. Make them count and make them neutral, to fit with everything. Neutral doesn’t necessarily mean boring – it may very well mean gold.

A major space and weight eater, no matter how you slice it. It is however key to maintain the same level of personal care (and swag) while away from home – traveling is no excuse to be going around with dull skin and unhinged looks. This means you more or less have to take EVERYTHING with you. Your best friend? Travel size products. Note: travel size does not mean sample (although these come in handy as well). They are confections specifically designed to cover the needs of traveling. Ranging between 10-100 ml, depending on the product (in this scenario an eye cream would be 10 and a body cream 100), you can use them to cover most of your needs. Don’t stress much over common basics (shampoo, body wash, etc): if you run out you can always go to a local supermarket and replenish (while at the same time discovering wonderful new brands you cannot access at home). As a cosmetics & toiletries lover I only pack travel size and buy everything again at my new destination. Once back home, they connect me with the aura of the place of purchase. Boom!

Don’t forget the boring essentials – toothbrush AND toothpaste, hand-scissors, tweezers, cotton wool, hair brush. I’d highly recommend a travel-size hair dryer / iron.

Proper size everything

You do not want to be the person holding everyone back in order to take off her overcoat / undo her shoes / empty her bag from profuse amounts of devices etc. You don’t want to start beeping all over while going through control. You don’t wait until you are at the front of the line to tackle all this. You are born ready. You wear comfortable clothes (ideally no metallic details) that come out easily, you don’t have forgotten loose change in your pockets, you take your jewelry off. At passport control, you have your passport in hand – no fishing through your bag for it. For speedy process and personal ease, you keep a small pouch with all the traveling essentials: passport, boarding pass, money, credit cards, mobile phone.

Steer clear of alcohol (tempting as it is to sink baby bottles of free wine), the in-flight dehydration is simply not worth it. Drink one glass of water per hour instead. Don’t omit some stretching exercises. Stand up and walk around the cabin every now and then. While it is important to have a few hours sleep, it is even more important to try and keep current with the time zone of your new destination. If the math doesn’t add up, opt for power naps instead – you don’t want to be messing with your internal clock from the word go.

Put on some moisturizer, relax and enjoy the process. Soon you will be in an exciting, new  place.

Landing in Abu Dhabi

*This article is intended for ladies but the basic principles apply to gentlemen as well.


(MAIN IMAGE: Miss Van mural, Wynwood Walls, Miami)


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