The formula for travelling with ease and poise
The golden age of travel may long be over, but there’s no reason why those of us on the move can’t emulate the élan of our predecessors. All it takes is a few grains of insight and a spot of preparation…conveniently supplied by THE INDY’s three step guide.
Step 1: Before you go
The first step is also the most vital. Your baggage needs to stay within that shifting, easily shot line at which enough lapses into overloaded. The trick to transitioning is to remain as unencumbered and unburdened as is reasonable.
If it’s going in the hold it’s got to be bold. You’ll need something tough, functional and protective, but also inexpensive – don’t fork over for a piece that’s going to be punished.
THE INDY suggests: Think Travelite rather than Louis Vuitton. Hard shells only – you may be wanting to return with a fragile bottle of that hard-to-find Japanese whisky. Quality wheels are important – reserve your energy for walking the Champs Elysees not for pulling a recalcitrant case through CDG airport. Built-in locks – your bag should be the only thing carrying your stuff.
On shorter trips take a cabin case so that you can glide past without breaking stride whilst others congregate like cattle at the conveyor belt. Efficiency is of the essence.
THE INDY suggests: The Victrinox Spectra is light, robust and impeccably-engineered – and if not licenced then at least dressed to kill, in its cool, matt carapace. You could take it to a black-tie dinner without anyone blinking.
Does anyone travel anywhere without their laptop these days? You’d likely feel naked without it. Your laptop will need a bag – one that’s able to accommodate a few other necessities as well: notebook, e-reader, cables, passport, and the like. Ensure that this bag includes a padded shoulder-strap and a pass-through to slip it over the handle of your suitcase – you’ll want to set out with your sword hand hand free.
THE INDY suggests: Thule is best known for its exceptional roof racks, but it puts out a mean set of bags as well. The Subterra 15” hits the sweet spot with its travel-busting, rugged outer skin, its chamois-lined sunglasses pouch (one of a multitude of convenient pockets and pouches), and its slick well-thought out design.
Clutter is the enemy, but there are those bits and pieces that you ignore at your peril. Get adaptors before you go – our local plugs are virtually unique (the odd Indian socket notwithstanding). And remember the travel restriction on liquids – you’ll need to decant these into small containers.
THE INDY suggests: The chaps at GO Design specialise in travel accessories. They’ve got those adaptors and bottles, and pretty much every travel related item that you can imagine.
Step 2: In transit
Comfort is king. The flights and the in-between flights will set the tone for your trip. Time away is premium priced, so you’ll want to get to the other side well-rested, relaxed, feeling fresh and ready to seize the day.
The single most important influence in accomplishing this objective is your choice amongst airlines, which are not all created equal. Some offer more than others – whether it be in terms of space, coverage, catering, entertainment, amenities, and ground support. Pick wisely.
THE INDY suggests: Emirates has become, in a very short space of time, the world’s second largest conventional, international airline. With good reason. It is industry leading in almost all respects, from its fabulous footprint numbering 150 odd destinations, its consistently razor-sharp pricing, and its fleet of modern aircraft, to the bars on its cavernous A380’s, the chauffeur-drive to and from the airport, the free in-flight internet, and the complimentary meal vouchers and hotel rooms for extended layovers. It is virtually unrivalled. Whether in economy, business or first – and we tested each cabin, and the accompanying lounges, on a recent trip to make sure – you’ll get unsurpassable bang for your buck.
When you’re stuck in a seat for hours, the boredom pinning you fast on all sides, you’ll be desperate for some reprieve. On most airlines the entertainment system offers a double-edged surprise: pleasant in that the options of movies and shows are plentiful, nasty in that the headphones with which to listen in are disappointing – ranging from diabolically bad in economy, to mediocre in business and first. BYO good people. And don’t forget the adaptor.
THE INDY suggests: Go in-ear – remember the golden rule: unencumbered and unburdened, and noise cancelling – an aircraft is droningly loud. Which bring us to the Bose Quiet Comfort 20, unanimously (to the best of our knowledge) rated by credible reviewers as the best in-ear, noise cancelling headphones in the world. You’ll not look back.
At some 40 000 feet you have limited hierarchy of concerns. You want to avoid plummeting from the sky. You want to be fed. You want access to a lavatory. Your most pressing needs assured, you’ll move on to entertainment – as already covered. That leaves sleep. Glorious sleep. You can best beckon the sandman, frustratingly elusive on an airliner, by properly equipping yourself with earplugs, eye shades, and a travel pillow.
THE INDY suggests: With products based on NASA cushioning technology, Tempur has been at the forefront in foam, the material of choice for your sleep inducing requirements, for decades. They offer the typical travel “doughnut”, but this works for some and not for others, and it’s useless in the upper cabin classes. You’ll sleep tightest with our hands-down favourite: the slumberous, travel-sized version of their standard erganomic pillow. Tempur also supplies eye shades – which are soft, comfortable, and easy on the eyelids.
Step 3: At your destination
Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure you’ll want to be primed for action – looking good, and feeling confident. Don’t leave these things in the lap of the gods. It pays to be prepared.
At THE INDY we believe that one should always be impeccably turned out, presenting oneself to the world to the best possible effect. To make this happen on your travels you’ll need to have your grooming essentials securely packed and conveniently accessible.
THE INDY suggests: Tumi’s ballistic-nylon luggage has become iconic amongst die-hard travellers, and it includes a range that represents something of a zenith in toiletry kits. Check out the Hanging Travel Kit for extended voyages and the Split Travel Kit for shorter sojourns; both sport a well-organised, stylish layout, and an aura of rugged invincibility.
You can’t be carrying everything that you could conceivably need, but if your destination is prone to precipitation, then you’d be well advised to sacrifice space for a brolly. You’ll be wanting after all to maintain a crisp comportment in any given set of conditions.
THE INDY suggests: The Blunt XS_Metro is a compact umbrella that’s slightly overgrown its class, but what it costs in size, it repays tenfold in strength and build quality. Rain has the nasty habit of running with wind, the mortal enemy of most umbrellas. Not of this one though. As a bonus it’s available in an array of funky colours.
You’re walking about sightseeing, folding and unfolding one of those damned hotel maps, clueless tourist written all over your face. What do you do? Your historic predecessors would have hired a cicerone, but that time has passed and you wouldn’t want a stranger harshing your vibe anyhow.
THE INDY suggests: Ulmon’s CityMaps2Go app offer interactive, easy-to-use, offline maps (no roaming required, it works using GPS) for most of the world’s major cities. You’ll stay so effortlessly orientated, and informed – with its photos and insider tips – that you might even be mistaken for a local.
– Pack your clothing rolled. It’s amazing how much more you can fit using this format.
– Check-in online and download your boarding pass. You’ll get your choice of seating, and you’ll avoid those long, dispiriting queues on arrival at the airport.
– If you don’t have frequent traveller status, review your banking package for lounge access privileges.
– Travelling across time zones wreaks havoc on your internal body clock (the so-called “jet lag”). Speak to your doctor about supplementing with the natural hormone melatonin to assist with the adjustment.