Next week John and I head to New York, London, and Venice for the Thanksgiving holiday and we have compiled a list of travel essentials just for you.
We have rented an Air BnB apartment in Venice’s wonderful, central San Polo neighborhood, and we will be joined by a friend from Hong Kong whom we met on our recent hiking adventure in Sicily with Backroads. My parents have also decided to fly in, so Thanksgiving will be together at La Serenissima’s iconic Da Fiore restaurant. The Venice portion of the trip will be book-ended with Air BnB stays in London’s Pimlico neighborhood, a favorite part of the city as it is very residential and feels a bit removed and yet sits but steps from the action.
And, yikes, Venice has just been hit with the worst flood in decades… Water, water everywhere! Well, we are sending good thoughts towards the resilient citizens of this incredible island community, and we are packing our knee-high Hunter boots just in case.
So what are the Top Ten travel essentials, items that I cannot do without on our frequent adventures around the world–from Venice, Italy to Venice, Florida…
1. A Quilted vest
You can never have enough pockets when you travel–and I am a huge fan of anything quilted–so the Barbour Lowerdale Gilet from Orvis is a must when I hop from city to city with passports and such in tow. Plus, the gilet looks so chic when paired with a colorful sweater and scarf.
I like to listen to music from Spotify on the plane, so my AirPods are essentials. There is nothing better than listening to your favorite music on a long flight over the Atlantic. It’s also a good distraction from things that are going on around you so you can sleep or work more effectively.
Pro Travel Tip: I like to create a destination-geared music play list before traveling that will get me in the mood for the places we are visiting.
3. layers, layers, layers!
I tend to get cold on airplanes so my go-to uniform is a grey cardigan from Uniqlo that looks as spiffy as it is cozy. Cheap and cheerful to boot. Layering is absolutely essential for travel.
Pro Travel Tip: On an airplane I wear a polo shirt under a cardigan and bring a pashmina scarf in a fun color that can serve both as blanket and scarf. I hate looking sloppy on airplanes. You would never see me in flip-flops or shorts.
4. A classic watch
I have two watches–a vintage Rolex from the early 1960s that my father gave me and an Hermès Cape Cod watch with a double-wrap leather band. I pack one or the other on every trip. The Rolex or the Hermès adds just the right amount of extra style to every outfit.
Pro Travel Tip: A good watch is like good shoes. Pair a great watch with jeans and a T-shirt and an easy sport coat and you can go anywhere in style.
5. Well-Cut jeans
Bonobos jeans are a travel essentials and carry me from meetings to dinner in style. I love, love how my Bonobos jeans fit so perfectly. And the price is just great!
6. High-Function luggage
Away luggage is the absolute best! I had expensive Rimowa rolling bags for a while, and they were crazy expensive and the case cracked on numerous occasions. Away, hooray! Beautifully priced, hard wearing, and loaded with room. I pair my Away rolling suitcase with Away packing cubes, and my bag arrives so perfectly organized.
7. Signature Scent/s
Every time I travel I like to carry a different fragrance from my arsenal of fragrant go-tos that reside upon a bureau in my dressing room. I have about six different fragrances that I wear. I think that I will wear Carnal Flower from Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle with its especially heady fragrance in London and Venice.
Pro Travel Tip: Never load-on too much fragrance–you don’t want to smell like a bordello.
8. Chic Kicks
On every trip I pack one pair of stylish sneakers and a pair of crepe-soled dress shoes that can handle lots of walking. A classic go-to kicks is the Converse slip-on that I wear with hidden socks. You can create custom Converse slip-ons online with fun colors, prints, and patterns, but I also love a good basic such as the navy hue, above, that works beautifully with jeans and a sport coat. Cheap and chic.
9. carry-on Chic
I have been carrying an L.L. Bean Hunter’s Tote Bag long before they became something of an “in” thing. Mine is ancient but has held up beautifully. I don’t love that it doesn’t have inner compartments, so I carry a Filson bag within with the Bean bag that give me lots of storage options for my laptop, files, notebooks, etc. Wacky, huh, but it works! I need to define a simple bag with pockets that can fit into an L.L. Bean tote…
10. diary of dreams
I am mad for my Smythson of Bond Street Cosmic Travel Diary, and I have carried various colors of this diary for almost twenty years. The signature pale-blue, day-per-page system keeps me organized and absolutely on time. I would never store my diary electronically, but I also couldn’t function without my ever-present iPhone 11. I will purchase my 2020 Cosmic Diary in London next week, an annual ritual. John prefers the Smythson Soho Agenda to keep him on the ball.