A well-packed bag can make a world of difference to a holiday or business trip. There is nothing more frustrating than having to empty out a suitcase at the airport because that one thing you need right now is hidden right at the bottom. There is also a fine balance between not packing enough or taking too much and being that person at the airport who is performing a balancing act with numerous bags slung over each shoulder, holding up the security screening queue. I travel a lot for work and with experience I have become more efficient with the way I do it. I’m currently on a three-week work trip and I thought for my Monthly Six post, I would share a handful of tips that could make your next trip away, a little bit easier. Particularly if you are a perfume collector, nothing kicks a trip off on the wrong foot more, than opening your bag at the hotel to broken glass and your favourite perfume is everywhere.
Pictured: Profvmvm Santalvm, a sandalwood scent I collected on a trip to Rome. Every time I smell it, it reminds me of my summer holiday in this ancient city. Santalvm is a masculine scent that features an overdose of sandalwood, shrouded in spicy amber.
Tip 1: Lay everything out on the bed before you begin packing. Similar to Ikea furniture, it’s easier to see the big picture first, instead of packing as you go and realising at the end you have left no room for that extra pair of shoes you want to take. Once you have gathered everything you can start packing. Heavy items should go at the bottom. In a typical suitcase this means packing them to the right so when the case is stood upright, the heaviest items are already at the base and they won’t crease or crush everything else. Pressing and folding shirts with the collars turned up will help them survive the trip relatively crease free. If you need to pack a blazer or suit jacket there is a technique for doing it that you can easily find on Youtube. If you have ever seen a suit being made, you will know the tailor uses a lot of padding and layering to create the shape of the shoulders. If this structure is not protected, the longevity of the suit may decrease and over time it will loose its sharp appearance. Once you have your biggest items in place, pack smaller items around them. Good packing means nothing should move about inside your luggage.
Pictured: Last year, Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque inspired me to travel to Morocco. The rich floral scent, which is paired with notes of spices and leather, perfectly mirrors the rich culture of smells found inside Marrakech’s medina walls.
Tip 2: Many hotels provide cloth bags for visitor’s dry cleaning. I usually take one or two when I check-out because they are great for separating dirty laundry from clean laundry as you travel and they make excellent shoe bags. Having a few bags in different sizes is always a good idea. Today, most high-end brands provide dust bags with their shoes and belts. These bags are perfect for travel; you can use them to protect your perfume bottles. I use the space inside a pair of shoes as a storage area. You can roll a pair of socks around a perfume bottle before putting it inside the shoe. This also stops your leather shoes from being creased, so if you aren’t filling the shoe with perfume, make sure you fill the space with socks, underwear or a belt. Wooden shoe trees are the ideal but they are impractical in this day and age with airline weight restrictions.
Pictured: Tom Ford’s Grey Vetiver is one of my favourite fragrances to wear to work. It is a clean, crisp fragrance that gives the added complexity of vetiver. It is perfect for freshening up after a long-haul flight when you need to hit the ground running.
Tip 3: If you plan to do some shopping at your destination it is a good idea to pack a non-rigid garment bag or similar. This can be folded up inside your luggage and used on the return flight home to give you more luggage capacity. They are also a great place to hide heavy items when you know you are over weight. Airlines will often want to weigh a trolley case but they rarely ask to weigh a garment bag. I’ve been guilty of putting laptops and shoes in my garment bag just to get past the check-in counter. An alternative to a garment bag is a garment cover that is usually given when you purchase a suit. It can serve the same purpose.
Pictured: Olfactive Studio is a relatively new artistic brand that pairs photographers with perfumers. The collection offers a varied range of odours, from the dark oriental Chambre Noire to the effulgent Lumiere Blanche. Autoportrait is one of my favourite travel companions; it is easy to wear and is versatile enough to take me from day to night, business to casual.
Tip 4: When I travel, I pack at least 3 or 4 fragrances per trip. Usually they are recent purchases that I am still getting to know, or something that I haven’t worn for a long time. I also use the time away to test a number of samples that have found their way into my hands. Samples are easy to travel with and they take up less space than a full retail sized bottle. Last month in New Zealand I was travelling with the entire Les Parfums Keiko Mecheri collection of 50 fragrances in this way. Needless to say there was never a morning on that trip where I was able to say I had nothing to wear.
Pictured: Hermes toiletries courtesy : ) of the Sofitel in Paris. Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermes is a classic citrus, no doubt inspired by the traditional and refreshing eau de cologne concept. It’s always nice to travel with a familiar scent that makes you feel at home.
Tip 5: Hotels have varying degrees in quality when it comes to the toiletries they provide. I don’t condone stealing, but let’s just say; I will appropriate the hotel’s mini-toiletries if they have good ones. I keep a box of them at home, which I use for short trips. I try to have travel size products for everything from toothpaste to shoe polish. Hong Kong is the best place to stock up on skincare miniatures. Although most of them are brand gift-with-purchases and not meant for resale, you can find chain stores around Hong Kong that individually wrap these 2ml-20ml miniatures in cellophane, which sell for $5-$20.
Pictured: Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Pour Homme is the masculine counterpart to the YSL perfume of the same name. It was authored by perfumer Jacques Cavallier and designed by the house during the era of Tom Ford. It is a fougere style that most men would be familiar with, a good travel accessory for times when tried and trusted is the best path to follow.
Tip 6: No one likes to queue. I keep a stack of departure cards at home I can fill out before I travel, so I simply collect my boarding pass, check luggage and head straight to immigration. If you travel regularly, take a handful of departure cards next time you are checking into a flight for future trips. When I am lucky enough to be travelling business class, I always check the queue at immigration and customs. Most airlines give business class passengers an express card to access a dedicated priority lane. If the airport isn’t busy, I keep my express card for another time, when I am flying economy and the airport is busy. Particularly with arrivals into Sydney, beating the crowd to the taxi rank can shave 30 minutes off your queuing time in peak hour.