As longtime host of G4’s X-Play (not to mention all-around adventuress), Morgan Webb has traversed the globe for work and pleasure. The frequent traveler has whittled her go-to assets to a pretty genius collection of items that make travel lighter, more comfortable, more efficient, and generally more pleasant. Read on for Morgan’s top picks, tips, and tricks:
“I try to travel as light as I can, and consequently as many items as possible need to have dual uses. I can get a full week’s worth of travel necessities into a carry-on rolly bag that always fits in the overhead the only way to insure the laser-eyed flight attendants will always let you on the plane: the short way.
An oversized (but not blanket sized) cashmere scarf is a must for any cold weather adventure. Those little cashmere airplane kits, with a blanket, slippers, and an eye mask seem like great luxurious gifts, but as they are single-purpose items they are not worth the space. A generously proportioned fluffy soft scarf can be used on the plane as a shawl, balled up as a pillow, or as an eye-wrap to help you get that much needed shut-eye. It will also shield you from the terrible in-flight movie. When you get to your destination, the scarf gets worn every day as an essential component of layering. Mine is a wonderful deep fuchsia as I tend to wear grey and black, but you may want a more neutral camel, navy, or grey.
To do professional-looking makeup, you need to ditch the little sponge wands in favor of a travel brush set. There are a number of kits available at any price point. Mine are double sided because I like having a wide variety, but choose a set that has your most-used brushes included.
As for makeup, these days I’ve been using the Bobbi Brown travel kit, but there are many choices. Unfortunately these kits can mainly be found in international duty free, so next time you’re traveling abroad be sure to check the selection. Find the smallest one you can in your color palette. These all-in-one kits are also sometimes sold at department stores during the holidays. Avoid kits that have 20 eyeshadow colors and nothing else — these are fun holiday gifts but they are not made for travel.
Alternatively you can get the Mac counter to put together whatever eyeshadow colors you use most in a quad. Four neutral colors in your preferred tone can give you a large number of looks — everything from a casual day to a smokey evening.
I have searched long and hard for a good jewelry solution. After a brief flirtation with the beautiful leather jewelry roll from Aspinal of London, I finally found the answer at Muji.
These little plastic organizers have removable separators to make room for chunkier pieces, and best of all, they lie flat so you can drop them in into the nooks of your carry on bag. Add up to three organizers into a large mesh bag from Muji and you can keep everything safe in almost no space.
While I use a gaming PC at home, on the road I always have my Macbook Air with a custom leather laptop case from Etsy. I was having trouble finding a case that stayed on the computer all the time. There are a number of wonderful envelope-style cases available, but most of the time these envelopes, with their hipster friendly retro manilla-style cord closures or ironic ‘real book’ weight, are just a pain in the ass. When the computer is being used (and scratched) around the house, the envelope is just cluttering up the place. I found a thin leather case that stays on the computer permanently. It’s tough, and despite being white, still looks great. Best of all it doesn’t add much bulk to the computer.
After all my talk about space conservation you will probably laugh at one of my essentials. I don’t pack a portable gaming device — their batteries aren’t long enough and I’m not much of a casual gamer in any case. My Xbox Slim goes into my carry on, and the plug and controller go into my luggage. The trick is that you have to call the hotel in advance to make sure their TV has an HDMI in. Many hotels actually cover their ports so you can’t plug in auxiliary devices – they want to keep you hostage on their system. Most offensively, some hotels, especially in Vegas, will charge you an exorbitant daily fee to roll in an “unlocked” TV. It’s best to call in advance.
- Collapsible nylon laundry bag. It folds tiny, weighs nothing, and best of all, just like the clothes inside, it’s washable.
- For work trips when you have to look your best, consider the Rowena travel steamer. It’s a big space premium so this is only for special situations.
- On longer flights (5 hours or more) I take the space hit and bring my Audio Technica noise-canceling headphones. They work better than the Bose (in my opinion) and cost half as much. They cut out the whine of the engines and the whine of the kid in the third row. Listening to music or podcasts on the phone isn’t an option on a long flight (we must conserve our battery for arrival, after all) so I toss an old iPod into the case as well.
Bonus drool-worthy item:
- I am not going to buy this, because $1,130 for a dopp kit is one of the funnier things I’ve ever seen, but it is gorgeous and I like to pretend.
Travel pro tip:
Pack everything on the wire hangers you get from the dry cleaner. They are thin enough to allow you maximum capacity, and when you arrive at your destination, you are unpacked in an instant. As you wear your clothes you can toss the hangars into recycling.
Travel pet peeve:
I am a fairly mellow traveler. It doesn’t bother me when people are confused at the security checkpoint. The rules are byzantine and understandably confusing for an infrequent traveler. It also doesn’t bother me when people don’t get out of the aisle and let others pass during their long discussion of how to stow their overhead bags. What really bothers me is when grown human beings dressed in ratty bunny PJs walk around the airport clutching pillows. People: The airport is still outside your house. When you go outside your house you have to put on clothes. I’m not asking for anything fancy. A track suit is fine. Hey, you can even wear sweat pants. But you do need to get dressed.”
You’ve all hereby been warned to get dressed. And then use all these great new ideas to prepare for takeoff!