Taking requests: A few things I never travel without

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“Would love to see a post on what you wear and carry with you when you travel and what you pack for your stay/how you organize things,” writes a reader named MP. So let’s start with the one item that always goes in my carry-on no matter where I’m traveling: a silk-and-cashmere scarf from Chan Luu, because—and we can all say this together because I’ve said it so many times—it’s the perfect weight (nicely light), and airplanes can be temperature torture chambers and I chill easily.

I am committed being a carry-on person, even if I’m going to be away for a while, because it is my philosophy that we always wear the same few things on vacation, and it’s just a question of accurately predicting what those items are going to be. Right now I’m liking this suitcase from Away, which I got before my Miami trip over the winter. It’s relatively lightweight and you can cram  an awful lot into it.

A brand-new acquisition:this tote from my pal Fabiana Trosman of Not Rational. I like how the camo print is nice and dark—it doesn’t clash  if I’m wearing a print. And it was Fabiana’s idea to place a star next to my monogram, which I think it’s aces.

I can’t read anything too serious on vacation, and definitely not on the plane: Samantha Irby is stupidly hilarious, a little dark, and very smart. And her essays go down easy.

If the weather is warm where I’m headed, I always take along at least one of my Maria Cornejo silk jersey dresses. They are eminently cool and flattering and just so easy. Here’s my most recent acquisition.

If I’m going to be somebody’s houseguest or,  will be seeing people first thing in the morning before coffee (as was the case in Italy), I bring my Emerson Fry caftan, because it’s super-comfortable for sleeping and suitably modest.

As far as what I wear on the plane goes, I play it simple: for the trip to Italy I wore these Nili Lotan trousers.

And a sized-up striped button-down.

And clogs, because they’re so easy on, easy off at security (you do have to walk barefoot for a few feet, which is a little unsanitary-seeming, but I’ve gotten used to it).

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36 Thoughts on Taking requests: A few things I never travel without
    y.k.
    9 Aug 2017
    8:18am

    that tote is perfection – the dark camo as you say, the font , the colors of the stripe&what appears to be the heavy weight of the leather. it’s on my short list of next birthday presents. er, for me.

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    Mindy!
    9 Aug 2017
    8:24am

    Do you ever wear flight compression stockings on your long haul flights (4 hours or more) to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis? I do and my biggest problem is finding a cute outfit as I don’t like the look of trouser socks with shoes. Boots or booties work but I don’t usually need them at my destination. Not the biggest problem in the world I know, but the struggle is real!

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      Eloise
      9 Aug 2017
      9:49am

      Check these compression socks out – not high fashion, but at least a bit cheerier – and a bit easier to get on!! (I usually wait till I get on the plane to put them on- not a pretty sight, but these are easier!)

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        Eloise
        9 Aug 2017
        9:53am

        https://www.newzill.com/collections/all Yes, it helps to include the link – oops!

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          Dana D
          9 Aug 2017
          10:07am

          Those are sweet!

          I wear compression on long flights now as well (and also if I’ll be walking all day), but I also don’t put them on until right before take-off (which is trickier now, as there is less and less room to maneuver).

          Air travel is just simply un-dignified these days.

          These tips make it somewhat better…

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      Nicole
      9 Aug 2017
      10:06am

      I do! I’m a distance runner, and I bring my CEP socks and slip them on right before I get on the flight. I just went to India, and had no issues (total travel time with layover was 26 hours each way). I usually wear Lulu joggers and slip on sneakers to fly. The socks are a non issue. I take them off just before I land.

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      Viajera
      9 Aug 2017
      11:06am

      I like compression socks, and I wish I could find mine. I got them I think at a drugstore and they worked really well.

      Do you-all keep them on for so little time because you find them uncomfortable? Just curious. I admit it has been a while but I don’t remember them being annoying, though I could be wrong. Sometimes I wear them shopping. Mine were plain black which may be why I can’t find them – they blend!

      I am in the market for some to give as a gift. I tried to go high-end at an outdoor equipment store but the salespeople were all too young to know anything about them, plus they ended up being the wrong size. I need plain ones because they are for a male relative. Maybe it will be back to the drugstore.

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        Dana D
        9 Aug 2017
        7:50pm

        REI has good ones…for guys also!

        Or, the drugstore!

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          Stephanie
          10 Aug 2017
          1:12am

          I wear compression socks almost daily since experiencing major swelling while pregnant. I bought a bunch of these https://www.brightlifedirect.com/allegro-ladies-diamond-support-socks-18-22mmhg.asp and love them. There are a bunch of other options on here too. I am completely unaffiliated with this company — just was delighted to find them after Nordstrom stopped carrying these compression socks! They don’t itch, they last for years, and they are priced well.

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          Viajera
          10 Aug 2017
          2:17am

          Which ones do you like? That’s where I went! I started off with these sleeve things and they didn’t work. I can try again though.

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    suz
    9 Aug 2017
    8:36am

    Surprised clogs aren’t on the TSA “no” list 🙂
    These are great picks, particularly that dress and the scarf/wrap.

    Getting the book now.

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      suz
      9 Aug 2017
      8:37am

      Realized I just turned you into an Oprah for book rec. Sorta.

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        KimFrance
        9 Aug 2017
        8:53am

        Hahaha

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    Kimberly
    9 Aug 2017
    9:12am

    That caftan is beautiful! (But at 5 foot it would probably dwarf me)

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      c.w.
      9 Aug 2017
      4:16pm

      Kimberly, I purchased the Emerson Fry caftan and it is beautiful, but at 5’2″ it now belongs to my 5’9″ daughter. (sigh)

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        Christine
        10 Aug 2017
        11:37am

        I’m 5’2 and have been hemming and hawing about that Emerson Fry caftan for years ever since seeing it on the first time on this blog, so thanks for the petite feedback!

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    M.E.
    9 Aug 2017
    9:17am

    I love this. I’m reading this on a layover. I’ve got my cashmere scarf, my fave. I also love noise canceling headphones, lavender oil, and throw in a cashmere beanie if it gets super chilly. My headphones are a bit worn out, and I’m hoping to get the Cocoon ones soon. 💗

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      Amy
      9 Aug 2017
      10:30am

      Yes!!! to noise cancelling headphones, always! I’m a longtime Bose user but will check out Kokoon, thanks…..also a fan of compression sox for long hauls. And just tried a new tip: fill a lightweight toilet kit or pouch with in-flight necessities and hang from tray top or seat in front: no more awkward rummaging during the flight! Finally, I also pack tons of herban essentials or EO towelettes to wipe down tray table,etc.

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    DeDe
    9 Aug 2017
    9:40am

    That tote! I am in awe of it. Also, I got that very suitcase for a trip after you recommended it a few months back and you’re right – a girl can get a truly impressive amount of shit in there. Twentyhundred Chan Luu scarves, even, should that ever be necessary.

    Sam Irby’s book is on my short list right now – I’ve been a fan of her blog for years and am thrilled for her that she’s got an NYT bestseller with this one (and a TV show in development, apparently?!?! With Ilana Glazer?!?!?!? No amount of punctuation can adequately express my glee!!!!!!!!!).

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    Eloise
    9 Aug 2017
    9:49am

    That tote is droolworthy. Unfortunately, so is the price tag. Sigh.

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    Susanna
    9 Aug 2017
    9:55am

    I love my Emerson Fry caftan, too, though it’s never occurred to me to sleep in it. But I would like to know whether you, Kim, and others consider the caftan appropriate as street attire (as opposed to beach/loungewear), even though EF seems to bill them as such. On a steamy NYC summer afternoon, it’s so tempting–but I don’t know whether I can get away with it.

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      Leslie
      9 Aug 2017
      10:31am

      Yes — at least, this woman looks incredible:

      https://www.thesartorialist.com/photos/on-the-street-bowery-new-york-3/

      the high-end accessories help — and the attitude.

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        Christine
        10 Aug 2017
        11:43am

        That looks like a Pero caftan. I love their stuff, and they seem to work for a shorty such as myself, but they never go on sale, alas!!

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      Tara
      9 Aug 2017
      2:24pm

      I am so glad to see some real-life insights–I love the look of the EF caftan, seen first on this blog when Kim featured it…but as a non supermodel I didn’t know if it would just be a rather spendy sack. I have almost pulled the trigger so many times, maybe I should just go for it and see!

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      Debra K
      9 Aug 2017
      6:18pm

      The caftan look works for me if it hits above the ankle and isn’t too billowy, see through or super brighly patterned. More towards Moroccan and less towards Palm Beach seems to be the sweet spot.

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    Alexa
    9 Aug 2017
    10:46am

    That tote is absolutely fabulous.
    And out of my league, price-wise. Still, it’s nice to have something to fantasize about.

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    E
    9 Aug 2017
    12:33pm

    Good Morning
    Is your tote the Mini? Looks more square with shorter handles than what comes up in your link. Can you wear on your shoulder. Thank you

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    Suzanne
    9 Aug 2017
    1:02pm

    Great post! I’m a flight attendant & live out of my carry on. Yes to the big scarf, closed toe shoes are a good idea, have a small kit with meds/decongestant/lozenges just in case you have troubles with your ears and baggies to contain product leaks. Remember to drink water! Safe travels!

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      Heather
      10 Aug 2017
      7:51am

      Great reminder re water. I always bring my mini-Nalgene empty, and fill once I get through security. (My local airport has a water bottle filling station.) I resent paying $6 or wjhatever for bottled water.

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    SC
    9 Aug 2017
    4:14pm

    Just got back from travel – packed light – missed all my good clothes and want to burn everything I’ve been wearing over and over.

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    Velma
    10 Aug 2017
    8:22am

    I was in No.6’s neighborhood yesterday, so I popped in and bought a pair of Old School in clover suede; they are the most divine green. White jeans now, anything autumnal later. I have always avoided clogs: narrow foot and they always felt too heavy. But, now I might be converted and become a No. 6 devotee too.

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    Elle
    10 Aug 2017
    2:46pm

    Love these comments!

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      Jenny
      10 Aug 2017
      9:45pm

      Me too! For an upcoming trip to Italy, I bought compression socks and (gulp) two giant, nubbly, woolly scarves for the plane on these recommendations (scarf-shop.com is my preference — durable, not-itchy, snag-resistant with a bouncy texture). And I’m about to pull the trigger on Kokoon headphones! I may have to stop reading the blog while my bank account recovers.

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    Tara
    11 Aug 2017
    11:22am

    One more tip that is totally Captain Obvious yet I fall prey more frequently than I should: Don’t pack at the last minute! We just got back from the trip of a lifetime–5 weeks mostly in Italy with some time in Switzerland, France, England and Iceland. I was proud of getting everything in my smallish carry-on bag but it was so jam-packed it was a pain in the neck. Granted we needed clothes for heat and cold so that made it trickier but I definitely could have been a better editor/purger and not had to wrestle with that darn bag (again MY fault, not the bag!) every time we moved from point A to point B! Leave some space for a cool travel find–there were sales all over Italy in July but I didn’t even look as there was no way I could cram anything else in my bag. Happy travels.

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    Heather
    23 Aug 2017
    5:39pm

    Just wanted to tell you that I’ve now bought THREE things from Fabiana at NOT RATIONAL! A “straight” glasses case, a customized glasses case and now — she is making a tote for me with artwork I supplied.

    She’s wonderful!

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About

Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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