Friday, June 21, 2024

I’m a fashion editor and this is what I’m glad I packed (and wish I didn’t) for a month of travelling

Must read

As a summer person, I often try to escape UK winters by heading to warmer climates to chase the sun. So back in September 2016, when my friend messaged me the six words “let’s go to Bali in January?”, I jumped at the chance to embark on my first backpacking trip. 27-year-old me booked a six-week sabbatical from my fashion editor job at a magazine to explore Bali, Thailand and Cambodia in 2017. Having never been travelling to Southeast Asia before, I ended up being the girl dragging my (exceptionally large) suitcase through the sand on the islands of Koh Rong and Gili T. Loaded with heels, hair straighteners, my favourite going out dresses and a full make-up bag, it was only a matter of days before I was in Bangkok posting the belongings I knew I wouldn’t need back to my London home address. After realising I would mainly be wearing the iconic elephant-print trousers, denim shorts and a few crochet tops I had bought from local markets along the way, of course.

Now 34 years old, I decided my itch to head back to this side of the world needed to be scratched, so I cleared my diary for a month (I’m now freelance, so no bosses who needed persuading this time) and booked flights to the Philippines with my boyfriend. After staying in the cheapest hostels available in my 20s, this time round, I wanted to stay in hotels instead – especially as they’re still reasonably priced.

Harriet Davey wearing a Zara maxi dress

But when it came to packing, I knew the struggles of having a suitcase in these areas – including how they get thrown on and off different transport – so a backpack was essential. I found a hybrid version with wheels so I could choose to pull or carry it. When it came to packing said backpack, I knew the over-packer in me (I once took 11 pairs of shoes on a three-day trip to Dubai) had to be specific with what I actually needed to take.

First things first, I bought compression cubes to keep my clothes in order as I knew with over 7,000 islands in the Philippines, we were going to be staying at a lot of different places. I was right – we boarded 10 flights and stayed in 10 hotels over the month. Now, no matter where I travel to in the future, the cubes will be coming with me – they’re so light and useful. I also left my heels at home this time, instead, taking three pairs of practical sandals: one Velcro Teva-style pair from Arizona Love, classic Birkenstocks and a leather slider mainly for evenings. I packed four dresses (I would only pack two if I went again), along with five light layering shirts, vest tops, shorts, skirts and a maxi skirt and waistcoat that I wore once – but they were most similar to my style when I’m at home, so I don’t regret taking either of them.

Latest article