Full disclosure: I’m always the one on trips with the large bag that can fit everything but the kitchen sink. This is part due to my magazine/book-reading habit, my iPad, camera, et cetera.
However, it isn’t the most practical way to travel. Sure, you need something to do on 13-hour flights when the in-flight entertainment sucks, and your phone dies. It might be a good time to unplug from technology, in my opinion. And so, we embark on the last part of my packing guide, on using your handbag as a survival kit through the journey and destination.
On choosing your handbag
Photo from Deliciously Organised, via Pinterest
Think about how you’re going to use your handbag on your trip.
If you cannot take a spare bag of smaller size for walking out and about, then try to use a reasonably sized all-purpose bag, and limit your books, technology, and other items you carry. The point of using a handbag as a survival kit on flights is lost when you have to stow it on an overhead compartment. Plus, a reasonably sized bag will serve you well while sightseeing too.
If you’re travelling within the country however, you can carry a larger bag but take necessary precautions.
Remember your day bag must also fit your wallet, passport, and sunglasses at least, so that it serves its purpose.
2. Choose your books well.
A single book that isn’t too thick, which you could devour in a few readings should be okay. If you’re travelling with company, ask them to bring a book each so that if you finish it on the plane, you can take their books.
Buy a magazine at a store, and probably leave it in your room/plane if you’re done devouring it.
Alternatively, consider subscribing to magazines & even buying books on your phone/tablet, so that you’ll always have something to read, in a desperate situation. It’s a great time to bring back the reading habit.
If you are a doodler, take a pocket size notebook and two pens for writing or doodling whenever you feel like it. You’ll thank me later. It’s a great time to learn a new skill. Maybe try Zentangle to keep zen.
If you don’t like books, this will be the start of a wonderful habit.
3. Pick a bag that can fit your camera.
Photo via Pinterest. This bag is from a brand known as Ona, which makes stylish bags for your camera.
Isn’t it adorable?
I don’t like carrying my camera bag. This time, I’m thinking of leaving it at home, or at most, the hotel, and putting my camera in my day bag. Unless you have a cute, handbag-like camera bag, you could do the same. I don’t want to leave my DSLR at home, and there’s only an extent to which your phone can capture.
ALSO, take only one lightweight lens, if you are not a professional photographer going for a story. One lens will do. Don’t burden yourself with tons of lenses and then worry about keeping an eye on all of them in a pickpocket-prone city. If you really think you can’t take care of your tech, get them insured & back up your photos or use different memory cards as much as you can.
Alternatively, make any bag a camera bag if you’re good with needle and thread! Tutorial here.
4. Organisation is key
#travelhack. Photo from gurl.com via Pinterest
No one likes a tangle of wires, headphones, and chargers in their bag. Keep it clean and fuss-free by putting them in sunglass-cases. Not only will it save you from irritation, it also prevents further messes. Win.
5. Keep the beauty basics basic
Photo from Refinery29
You don’t need to carry all your makeup and skincare. I already talked about this here, but I would like to reiterate it. Unless you have a skin problem, and require specific treatments, try to take little in your handbag. Tinted lip balm, and moisturiser (less than 100ml on flights) should be more than adequate, unless you’re hitting the town running, in which case, take eyeliner or an SPF foundation. Don’t carry nail polish or perfume, because you might make others uncomfortable while using it. Pack solid perfume as a last resort.
- lip balm
- breath mints (gum is annoying)
- hand sanitiser
- matte-fying powder
On long flights, it is suggested to moisturise every few hours with an intensive cream or serum to prevent your skin from drying out. So I might try that out. Nothing wrong with some moisture.
Photo from Nordstrom via Pinterest
So important, and so easily overlooked. Take a woven scarf (in a soft material– see how comforting the material in the picture looks?) to double up as a blanket on modes of transport, which can be so cold. Plus, this will help in mixing and matching clothes later on your trip.
7. A snack
Full post here, from Buzzfeed
On my flight back yesterday from Mumbai, I realised that hunger pangs were the worst thing to deal with. The food was woefully inadequate. I’m definitely going to take a granola bar or one of those Nutri-Choice single package biscuits to keep me sane. Or try my hand at one of these from Buzzfeed.
That’s all I’ve got. What are your handbag essentials for a long trip? Tell me in the comments!