I have a strange thing for travel kits. When I was growing up, our bathroom cupboards were full of in-flight toiletry bags filled with nylon socks, eye masks, creams to keep your skin soft in dry aeroplane air and strange-tasting mouthwash. Dad would bring them home from his frequent business trips and we were sometimes lucky enough to be given our own if we were upgraded when travelling with him. Even today, when I find myself flying business class, it’s the travel kit I go for first, before taking a single sip of the complimentary champagne. I guess that tells you a lot about my interests.
At one point, my mother had sufficient small bottles of Hermes Caleche scent to keep her smelling sweet for years, simply because they were included in a particular kit for an airline that Dad travelled with a lot of the time. We had exotics such as pepsodent toothpaste in miniature tubes when they didn’t sell this American brand in New Zealand, plenty of spare toothbrushes and disposable razors for forgetful guests, and used the empty bags to store all sorts of small items around the house.
In recent years, most skin care and cosmetics companies have introduced their own travel kits. Filled with trial sizes of their most popular products, they allow us to pop one in the overnight bag without the hassle of decanting lotions into plastic travel bottles. One of my friends has given me travel kits two years in a row for my birthday. They’re a wise choice of gift showing that she really understands me and knows that the kits will be used because of my Incurable Travel Bug.
First up was the Eve Lom travel kit, containing facial scrub and muslin cloth, mask, two types of moisturiser and a hand cream. I used it on a one-week trip last year and, apart from the facial scrub which was so divine that I continued to use it at home, I have yet to finish all the products. The packaging is a white faux-leather zip-up box which is small and practical, and because of its shape it’s impossible to squash the tubes inside. £50.00 from Harrods. Ouch. But I have to say that I am seriously considering saving up for the facial scrub (£48.00 for 100ml) because it smells citrus-y and edible and made my skin incredibly soft.
This year, Wise Friend gave me a Liz Earle kit which comes in a plastic zip-up envelope containing facial scrub and cloth, a toner and two moisturisers (again). It’s already been used for a visit to my parents and will come in handy for upcoming weekends away. Checking out the Liz Earle website, there are lots of different kit combinations (£15.00-£50.00), depending on how much product you think you’ll need on your travels. There’s the Pampering Weekend Kit, the Ski Kit and even a London Marathon Kit for those of us who think pounding the pavements for 26 miles is fun. (Not me.)
I like Decleor’s travel washbags. Jo Malone makes luxury travel kits, too, as does Molton Brown, Bliss, The Sanctuary etc etc. However, it’s also easy to make our own, Bespoke Travel Kit, and this way, you can use exactly what suits you. They also make great gifts, especially if you use products you know your friends will like.
Pick and choose from the following travel kit contents:
- use a clear, plastic case. That way, if you’re flying, it’s easy to whip it out of your carry-on at security for the liquids spot check. Depending on how many of the following you decide to include in your kit, you may like to use a regular washbag, but keep any liquids in a small, clear zip-lock bag packed inside it. At present, all liquids must be in containers of 50ml or less. Check with your airline before flying to ensure you meet all current requirements.
- re-use an eye mask from a previous travel kit or buy a new one. For added relaxation properties, find a lavender-imbued mask.
- Invest in a pair of long, soft socks in 100% pure cotton. They’ll be far more comfortable than the nylon versions found on planes and pure cotton on your feet will help eliminate in -flight static.
- Pop in a pair of ear plugs to block out noise.
- Toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste + small pack of mints
- nail file and orange stick (for removing under-nail grime)
- mini hand cream
- mini face wash
- mini moisturiser
- a selection of cotton buds and cotton pads
- individual sachet hand wipes for sticky moments
- individual sachet dry-cleaning wipes (great for removing spots on clothes. Try De-Solv-It Stain Wipes, £2.99 for 10)
- individual sachet nail-varnish remover
- a facial spritzer. I like Evian’s brumisateurs. It’s not always easy to find the purse-size sprays, so when you see them, pick up half a dozen. Failing that, order them on-line.
- soap. Crabtree and Evelyn make packs of soap papers which dissolve into soapy suds on contact with water. Really practical to travel with.
- mini deodorant
- travel pack of tissues
- a couple of sticking plasters (band aids)
- lip balm – to prevent in-flight chapping.
- a travel sewing kit (but without scissors if you are flying, due to security restrictions)
- sweeteners, if you use them. I also carry a couple of herbal teas (camomile to calm me down and peppermint to pick me up). Then all I have to do is ask for hot water.
- Chaps – throw in a travel razor and sachets of shaving foam. However, do check with airlines to make sure razors aren’t considered dangerous items so they don’t end up in the amnesty bin.
- Lastly, put a pen with a cap into the kit. That way, if you need a pen and can’t find another, you’ll know you have at least one, and where.
A couple of optional extras which I find useful to keep in the kit:
- bottle opener (but not corkscrew if flying – as this is a dangerous item) . How many times have I been in hotel rooms where I can’t find an opener, and inexplicably, nor can Room Service? Once too often…
- mild multi-purpose painkillers. Helps with headaches, colds and sleepless nights.
- a couple of elastic band/s for bad hair moments. One is never enough…
And did you know…
that camomile tea bags are great deodorisers? If you are ever caught short in a smelly moment, soak one in cold water and wipe under your arms. It’s a great temporary fix. Do the same for mosquito bites if you don’t have salve with you – the camomile acts as a basic anti-inflammatory.