Just when you think being TSA-approved was enough to qualify you for celebrity status, you realize the general line is shorter. Rather than arriving two hours before your flight, you might as well drive to the airport on the previous Wednesday, completely nude, to ensure you make it through security and to the gate in a timely manner. Traveling on an international airline is often much cushier than on our domestic airlines. Even the terminals are chicer, offering finer cuisine, top-tier spirits and well-dressed passengers. It’s not until your return that you get that first glimpse of yoga pants, or “athleisure,” and somehow find yourself holding a Big Mac from McDonalds.
Packing can be equally challenging for such hauls. As a Destination Event Planner who has placed tablecloths in my own carry-on simply because I despised the venue’s selections, I know what it takes to get across the pond stylishly and efficiently. Traveling for a destination wedding can be a headache, so I’ve composed a few helpful notes to help you navigate the longest day of your life.
Make sure you have a spinning bag that has a hard case surrounding it. Even if you’re traveling First Class, your bag is still handled by a WWF wrestler who seems to think you’ve packed two pillows and four pairs of socks. The suitcase needs to have a zipped section on one side and a buckled-in section on the other. This helps everything stay in place as Hulk Hogan searches your bag at random. The last thing you need is Macho Man Randy Savage walking around the concourse in your brassiere.
Once the perfect bag is selected, I always spray my fragrance of choice in the bag to engulf my clothes and give them a fresh, clean smell when the bag makes it to its final destination. Naturally, you should identify your bag with a ribbon and a personalized luggage tag, especially so it stands out on the carousel.
For the love of God, only pack what you will wear. For instance, pack only two pairs of formal shoes, two pairs of casual shoes and one pair of sneaker or tennis shoes. Depending on the climate, replace one of the casual shoes with a sandal. No need to take up space with shoes and boots that you will never wear. As for clothing, I can see you now—staring at your closet, trying to differentiate between the new, old, and wash-me-now piles. Let’s simplify: You must wear what fits, what you feel comfortable in, and what looks best for each day. Your suitcase should contain two formal ensembles, and all of their counterparts (evening bag, cufflinks, etc.). Nothing white or cream should be seen at a wedding in any country (the bride’s gown is worth more than eight of your airline tickets). Bring one stylish, yet casual, jacket or blazer (which, pro tip, you can wear on the plane).
Don’t forget black pants and several tops to interchange with the jeans, pants, and of course, the jacket. Once you have chosen each day’s shirt or blouse, you can pair them with the appropriate pant, short or jean. Scarves are fantastic to include, as they add just the right touch of style to each day of the journey. Ladies, there’s nothing like a chic blazer and fantastic Hermés scarf casually draped, as if it fell from the sky. And for you gentlemen, remember to bring a hat or baseball cap of your liking for rushed travel and quick fixes.
Now, for toiletries. You will need to purchase the travel containers and fill them with all of your favorite potions. This makes for more room in the suitcase and keeps the TSA from disposing of your prized shampoo, which we all know, really gives you that lift. Once all tubes are filled and all travel-sized versions of your favorite products are purchased, neatly place them inside a “Space Bag” from Ziploc. These genius bags are large and can be filled to the brim, then once zipped, you simply roll all the air out the other end.
- Always make sure you have an international electrical converter for all of your appliances and hair equipment. Some hotels have these, but many do not. The last thing you need is your hair dryer blowing up while you’re trying to get ready.
- Always print a boarding pass, for a million reasons (do you really need me to explain a glitched iPhone to you?)
- Don’t forget to take a photo of your airline luggage tag so you will always have it handy. You never know.
- Be sure to make three copies of your passport and write your passport number down. Take two copies with you and leave one copy at home, in case anyone should need it while you are away.
- Check with your doctor and health insurance carrier to make sure they know of your travel plans and your coverage is acceptable.
- Learn the conversion rate of the country your visiting so there are no surprises when you arrive and make sure all of your credit cards have been notified and are approved for purchases.
- And last, but not least, research the events of the region you’re visiting to avoid traffic issues and register or purchase any local activities you would like to participate in before you depart.
As the departure day lingers ahead, and all eight of your alarms are set on your phone, you will always have that sinking feeling of what am I forgetting? Fret not, it’s a perfectly normal stressor when traveling abroad. Just deep breathe—as long as you have a credit card and your passport, the world is yours.