Going far and long requires a drastic selection of what you take with you. In this 10kg of luggage, is there a small place for elegance?
It’s not always easy to be chic, presentable and well-ironed when travelling long distances. A backpack is not a dressing room, you have to make choices. Yet I often hear “Ou la la! You travel super chic! ». Well yes, I hate looking grungy, sloppy, dirty. No way! Of course, I don’t work for Karl Lagerfeld, but looking neat is the minimum. So the question of comfort arises. Spending hours in a bus, train or plane requires comfortable clothes. But that doesn’t mean you have to travel in pyjamas. Soft trousers, a hooded sweatshirt (for air conditioning) and it works! With a few tricks and an adapted wardrobe, you can meet the man of your life without blushing.
The hairClean, of course. If they are long and the last shampoo is far away, wear a bandana, scarf or make a neat ponytail. If they’re short, it’s even easier, well combed, it always comes out. You can find hairdressers all over the world. If you are not afraid to entrust your mane to an Indian or an African, it will cost you little but you will not be sure of the result! The technique, the products, the style and above all the language barrier sometimes make the operation delicate. On the other hand, there are “luxury” hairdressing salons everywhere that will style, colour and cut your hair the French way, but the cost will be much higher. I have a photo of my favourite haircut on my mobile phone. In the picture, the colour and cut are immediately clearer for the hairdresser.
Stay clean, neat and tidy in all situationsNamely, smell good soap, fresh deodorant… and your clothes should smell like washing powder and softener. Forget dirty, holed, stale and misshapen tee-shirts, torn trousers, dubious underwear. Yuck! Otherwise you’ll look like a homeless person in distress or a stray hippie.
Wear clean, fit clothesIf you’re really the kind of person who likes to wander around, opt for synthetic fibres instead, as they deform less.
NailsBeware of the varnish, it flakes, it ages badly and it’s ugly. Hands or feet, same treatment: natural nails, cut short, it’s clean, you are a traveller not a Bimbo.
Banish the whiteAvoid white clothing. It gets dirty very quickly! Heather grey, bright colours, it’s pretty and it stands up much better to a night in a bus or a trek in the mountains. Also think that the places where you will have your clothes washed don’t sort white, dark and colours. The beautiful, immaculate t-shirt may come back yellow, pink or grey! In countries with cooler climates, a simple black trouser with a top in any colour or style is perfect in any situation.
Quality clothingInstead, choose quality garments that will withstand hand washing without wrinkling or pilling. I find the new generation microfibre T-shirts perfect for travelling. They are easy to wash, dry at the speed of sound and stay in great shape. And the sports style is much more chic. That goes for trousers too. Rather dark colours if possible.
Light (and pretty) dressesThis is obviously easier if you travel to hot countries. At the bottom of the bag, roll two or three pretty light dresses into a tube. No need for high heels, with a pair of flip-flops, it fits perfectly.
A big scarfTo cover his shoulders in the evening, to protect his neck, his head when it is cold, as a pareo, a pillow or on a dress, a large scarf is always useful. So choose it in good quality and beautiful design. It will accompany you for a long time!
A slim-fitted (black) jacketAnoraks sold on the market are often composed of 2 dissociable parts. Mine is an exquisite hibiscus pink on the outside and anthracite black on the inside. It gives me a nice slim-fitted black sports jacket to wear over a skirt, trousers, it looks clean and neat.
Simple, simple, simplePlain colours, simple shapes. No exuberant laces of over-exuberant shapes. Chic is often simple, and it’s so much more elegant!
Throw it away!As soon as your clothes start to look like rags, throw them away! You’ll find plenty of places to get clothes on your way! I prefer the classic, so I buy from H&M. They have them in almost every country and they have a Basic line at a good price. Simple colours, timeless shapes, there’s something for every taste, even sport.
The jewelsI don’t travel with jewellery, but I do have a simple pair of earrings of lesser value for special occasions. You will find many cheap bracelets and necklaces on your way to the most beautiful effect. They take up quite a bit of space and if you lose them on the way, it won’t be as bad as for a valuable piece of jewellery.
The make-up… and the hairNo need to stuff your toiletry bag with a whole lot of make-up. Forget foundation. You’ll always look good, even when you’re not at home. A Kohl pencil, a mascara, a tube of lipstick if you like to wear it, and basta. Just because you’re traveling in a feral mode doesn’t mean you have to look like a yeti. An electric depilator takes up a bit of space. In Asia, hair removal is so cheap that you can do without it, but elsewhere… In Central Asia or Africa, it’s about as expensive as in France, if not more.
Relaxed but elegant: a white light pantYes, I have just told you to banish white but… I like to have in my bag light white trousers that are a little loose. With any top, it works very well. A nice slim-fitting T-shirt, a loose shirt, a tunic, it goes with anything and it’s immediately elegant.
UnderwearI strongly advise against taking your La Perla silk bras and slips with you, they will not withstand the shock. Washing, rubbing, ball storage, they will disintegrate after two months. Prefer a cotton line, rather grey or coloured, and a sporty shape, interlocking for more comfort.
The shoesThat’s where it gets stuck. In a backpack, you are allowed two pairs of shoes: one for walking and climbing mountains and a pair of flip-flops. If I really don’t weigh much, I buy a pair of Converses to be lighter in the city, but that’s it. So in trousers to go out in the evening, it’s a little complicated to do in super chic… but in a dress, in shorts, flip-flops if they’re pretty, go everywhere!
Any questions about travel?
Hiker or not, a pair of walking shoes is imperative. Bad weather, stony paths, streets full of rubbish will crush your pretty shoes. So which pair of shoes to choose?