Things that always go in the suitcase & the best things to bring home
Melatonin. A god-send for long-haul trips.
Cashmere pashmina ring shawl. A friend bought mine back from Rajasthan. It’s light, super-soft and makes economy flights a tiny bit more bearable. Doubles as a pillow on planes, trains and automobiles (thought not if I’m at the wheel). My friend Abi sells some lovely ones here.
Instant upgrade kit (of sorts). When I’m on a long-haul flight, I try to make things a bit more bearable with the above items (melatonin + ring shawl), plus a pair of cashmere socks, an eye mask, ear plugs, moisturiser, face spritz, lip balm, toothbrush + toothpaste and lots of water. It’s a little that goes a long way (crucially not all the way to the front of the plane though). Otis Batterbee does some snazzy kits with mask and pillow, but if you don’t want to splash out on the £145- full works, invest in the lavender-filled eye mask, which comes with a lovely tie-ribbon and velvet backing.
Sarong. Great on the beach, obviously (particularly for protecting bits of sunburn), but also for covering a grubby train berth before you go to sleep, or covering bare shoulders/legs at a temple, church, mosque etc. I used to have a nice batik one that belonged to my mother, but may have lost it. I now have one picked up at an Allegra Hicks sample sale, but anything light, bright and soft will do.
Bag with lots of pockets. One that you can sling across your body to keep a tight hold, and an eye on it. The one I take is a ragtag affair from Hennes, but I wouldn’t say no to an Anya Hindmarch or Marc Jacobs either. But really, the Essex Messenger (see above) from Madewell is a stylish and sensible compromise, with sturdy stud closure, a zip pocket inside and separate compartments.
And some thoughts on what souvenirs ought to be: ind.pn/12Q0IDP