I do this to myself every time I get ready to travel: I pack, unpack, repack, analyze, unpack, repack. And somehow, I always end up with a ludicrous amount of extra baggage I never needed. It just doesn't fail.
On a recent trip to St. Thomas, I thought I was doing super-well when I managed to get everything in a carry on. Everything for 5 days, including a laptop, my digital camera, all of my toiletries, 3 hats, 2 sunglasses and a crazy number of shoes. I was so excited. So proud. I had finally conquered that need to take everything and more.
But, it was the islands. And the weather was hot. I didn't need much.
So perhaps, not a practical success; more of a personal victory.
But I'm now in Europe, traveling through the continent and totally regretting not having edited down my traveling wardrobe. I have only worn 60% of my packings, though I've committed to wearing each pari of shoes for the sake of not feeling like a complete tool for bringing so much. And even more disappointing is that I've only needed 20% of my toiletries and makeup. So even though I brought three (and more) of everything, I have managed so far to stick to a few that have just worked marvelously every day, no matter the weather (because as you can imagine, every city has dished out something wildly different) or occasion! And that minimized the amount of times I mulled over which products to use.
So now that I consider myself graduated from the school of proper packing for extended travel, I'm going go share what are the perfect essentials to travel with which allow you to get by for a month! It'll free you from over-packing and being that weighted bag lady!
Facial wash: This is the only thing I don't bring in travel size because with all the walking around and exposure to the elements, I figure I'd be washing my face a few times a day... I didn't picture it but Aveeno's Skin Brilliance skin brightening wash is glorious with its super smooth feel and gold sparkle.
Toner: A small bottle could do tho I ran out last week! I typically keep Artistry Beauty's travel size stocked up but it's so good I go through it too fast. Set the face for everything that's too come.
Moisturizer/SPF 50: A must-have no matter where you go! Keeps you protected from the sun even tho it could be cloudy. I've been swearing by Artistry Beauty's Ideal Radiance SPF 50 from their latest skincare collection. It offers great protection and a great base before applying my makeup without that cake-y white opaque look others do.
Skin Smoother: This is something relatively new in my regimen and I'm now swearing by it. After I apply my SPF, I run a quick layer of L'Oreal's Youth Code Texture Perfector to give me a super- supple effect. Next to their Miracle Blur gel, this is everything! This is the regular size and fits your ziplock bag if you're forced to put everything in one of those.
CC or BB: This isn't totally necessary but it's been extremely helpful when I want to go super-light on makeup. Peter Thomas Roth's CC cream has been magical! It's given me a great even toned layer before a bit of blush. Even after the SPF and Code Perfector, it's still light enough to not feel over done. I skip pressed powder when I use this yummy stuff. The travel size is enough for a month! A bit a day will go a long way!
Night Face Oil: I can't get enough of Orico London's Superico Face Oil! I need supersize bottle of this stuff! This is now my 3rd bottle. I use it only at night to revive my pores after a super-long and stressful day of moving around so much! It's like butter on your face! And it smells like the best spa you could ever be treated in. Its $43 but so worth the effect. I've written about it here and here Treat yourself to this. You will not be disappointed.AT.ALL.
Eye Cream: Only necessary if you're moving 100 miles a minute and traveling to 5 countries. Your eyes will show the tiredness. A light but effective eye creme will revive the happy look.
Travel Size Perfume: Because I'll never make the mistake of carrying a full size bottle of my favorite perfume again. I did that in 2006-- and left a $300 bag full of makeup on the plane in Nice, France. I learned my lesson good and well. Little sample tubes are perfect! Plus, they don't occupy space or add on weight. Take three: one for day, one for night, and one to switch it up. Jo Malone is ideal.
Hair Elixir: Matrix has you covered. Curly, straight, textured, or processed hair is in good hands with their Exquisite hair oil. This isn't a travel size but it's such an essential to keep your hair looking bright during the stress of on and off planes, trains, cabs, hotels, apartments, etc... Not to mention the changing climates! Trust me on this one. It's almost like having a little bit of gold in a bottle! A smaller bottle would have been better but they didn't have one. SO.... you know I did bring a 2nd option, better sized, but it just hasn't been as wonderful as this. Stick to what's good!
Never leave home with 10 lip glosses. Or 5 tubes of lipstick. Ever. We've established I'm carrying way too much so I've narrowed down what works just perfectly on an long trip! You just can't go wrong with these selections for every day. There are a few things here and there I've left out... but that's mostly for contouring and a more dramatic look in the event you have a cocktail party or black tie soirée to attend.. and I did which is another reason I'm overloaded. But who's to tell a girl that too much makeup is too much?!
Mascara and lipgloss are like water. We just need them. Don't ever leave the house without! Where'd I'd typically defer to L'Oreal's Voluminous mascara I pulled out the fancier stuff since I had some fancy events to go to. Lancome's new and ultra sexy Grandiose mascara is full of drama for night. But it's lovely for day, too, since it gives a bit of daily umph we don't always go for. It stays on ALL day and doesn't run. That's what counts.
10 glosses is too much. Seriously. But it's what I brought. After trial and error the first few days, I realized all I really need is a good red to act as bold at I need to at night. A good and pretty pink for all day. A rose-y balm for in between the selfies. And a great dark mauve for evening on nights you're taking a break form the cherry red. I left out a neutral colored gloss, but it's essential. It tones down any color. Lancome's mauve gloss is super-yummy and lustrous for night fetes. Aerin's new red gloss is perfect for black tie. Her rose balm is even more practical. Artistry's plum pink from last year is a fab option for all day. I've done well without proper lipstick.
Going light on these long trips will also keep you free from going mad trying to have different looks. Make it easy for yourself.
One blush. One eye palette. One eye liner. One pressed powder. You already know I bought a few of each. And you already know I found the perfect one of each for every day.
Lancome's new Color Design 5 Pan eye palette in Bronze Amour is more than stupendous for a fall look. You have all the colors you need to go light, bold and sexy. Clinique's latest chubby stick for the cheeks in a soft mauve is gorgeous and last longer than powder blush. And finally, Aerin's Essential Brown liner from her latest fall collection pairs well with any look you go for.
This is all tried and true. I'm on Day 20 of this fabulous Eurotrip and I've fared oh-so-well with these! Trust a traveling girl!
A few more essentials I've found super-helpful that you may want to consider; and also avoid having to buy while on the road -- like $11 for a small bottle of nail polish remover! Yup. Had to do that.
Nail polish- two colors max : Nail polish remover wipes : Tweezers : Nail file : Chapstick : Hand sanitzer : tissue : travel size hand lotion : makeup remover wipes or facial wipes -- Korres makes a really great one : Aspirin or Tylenol (trust me on this one!)
I'll address perfect travel essentials for your wardrobe!
Check out these other travel posts and series:
Winter Travel Essentials...The Beauty Edition