carry on packing list

What Travel Bloggers Really Pack (and how they get rewards for it!)

The Equipment
First and foremost, I pack my life partner (my 11-inch MacBook Air – shop) and my new Canon EOS M3 (shop) which doubles up as a pretty stellar still photography and vlog camera. Though both are in their respective cases, I also cushion them in the centre of everything else I pack to ensure they don’t move during turbulence or transit in general.

The Clothes
As ladies and gents that find ourselves in front of the camera as much as we’re behind it, clothing tends to take up the majority of carry-on space. These days, a gargantuan and Instagram-friendly hat (like an adorable straw “Vacay” hat – shop) is as imperative as lightweight dresses I can accessorize for five days straight. Bonus points for crazy prints, reversibles, and things you can wear back to front for an entirely new look (you won’t believe the number of reversible V neck dresses I have in my closet – shop). It is infinitely easier to throw wraps or scarves (like Very’s embroidered gem, aboveshop) over basics to dress them up or down and – generally being lighter than clothing – gives you many more space-efficient style options.

As I can rarely be bothered to wear makeup when travelling, I also highly endorse a pair of face-distracting sunglasses (the Wildfox Ivy Deluxe cat-eyes are my current obsession – shop) to do all the face-beautifying you need in seconds.

The Beauty
As a rule of thumb, I do not go near make-up or liquids in my carry on (see: sunglasses, above) but still like to look after my skin. The vitamin-rich Lancer make-up wipes (shop) cleanse and nourish unlike anything I’ve used before and Shiseido’s UV compact works as an intensely moisturising – yet dry – SPF for both face and body (shop). Rather than any sort of “real” fragrance or liquid, I also pack double-duty Tom Ford Neroli deodorant (shop) which smells like the Italian Riviera and keeps you fresh all the live long blogger’s day.

If the trip is adventure and/or fitness-heavy, I’ll sometimes even pack a Suquu face stretch mask (shop) to wear on the return flight to luxuriate in travel vibes as long as possible.

The Unexpected
Though I can make a good carry-on pack last seven days, most airlines will allow women a handbag plus a carry-on so I tend to pack my everyday bag inside a larger handbag for longer trips. By doing so, I can fit any extra clothes around my day bag and get about 30% more packed than I would with my carry-on alone. Each airline has their own dimensions for what qualifies as a “handbag” so do check it before you go, but bags of Michael Kors’ “JetSet” size (shop) tend to work without raising a single eyebrow.

This is also where I keep my Groupon (shop) vouchers so I don’t lose them in my inevitable carry-on chaos. Before going anywhere, I always check the site to see if any unique experiences or restaurants have deals available during my stay and have saved £100s in my adult travel life by doing so.

How do I get rewards from packing?!
Through the Avios eStore, you can spend the travel rewards currency (aka your Avios) gained from everything you already buy – including everything I’ve linked above – on flights, hotels, car hire, experiences and more! Avios has over 1,000 retail partners including ASOS, M&S, John Lewis,, Apple and many others who allow members to earn Avios as they shop simply by accessing their sites through their portal. You pay nothing more and than you would otherwise and can quadruple your travel experiences by doing so!

Even better, this week (Thursday 25 May to Wednesday 31 May) launches the Avios eStore triple week where you will earn triple Avios on all purchases made via the eStore from selected retailers (including John Lewis, Currys, Argos, ASOS, Screwfix, Debenhams, and Apple). We’re talking a click or two away from return flights to Paris, guys – don’t miss out!

disney world 3
Almost twenty-five years since my first visit, I took advantage of my month-long Floridian adventures and returned to Walt Disney World.

With a terminally busy schedule, I was only able to commit one day to Disney and everyone I shared my excitement with responded with a troubling instinct – “can you do Disney in a day?“.

I had no idea. But it was all the time I had and, silver lining style, I knew I’d be able to at least let you guys know if it wasn’t…

disney world 19

A dream is a wish your heart makes. 💫

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disney world 24

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frosty boy
I’m beginning to lose my mind, guys. After living out of a suitcase for two months, I would almost rather burn my five packed outfits than think about wearing them again. At the same time –
with more than enough clothes in storage back in London – I really don’t need to be spending lots of money contributing to transatlantic closet, either.

Luckily, a friend raved about the surprising quality of 599 Fashion (where everything is under $10!!) and helped save my sartorial sanity. As far as the eye can see, the pieces look far more expensive than they are and my $50 haul (which you’ll see much more of) has survived multiple outings and washes, to date.

(If you want to get in on the fast fashion fun, the code AR414 will also save you 20%!)

What I Wore:
Lace off the shoulder dress with bell sleeves
Open-toe black heels (out of stock but genuinely phenomenal for under $10!)
Round keyhole sunglasses

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frosty boy
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hamburger mary drag brunch
As far as I’m concerned brunch, drag queens, and broadway are a few of the more glorious thrills this wide world has to offer. The combination of all three? A dream brought to life by Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando.

Each Sunday, their ‘Broadway Brunch’ welcomes patrons old and new to enjoy some gargantuan-plated American brunch classics while The Minx, Nicky Monet and around a dozen of their drag queen compadres put on an always-changing song and dance review.

During my visit, I enjoyed as much of the Country Biscuits and Gravy breakfast (two hot & fluffy biscuits sitting atop two sausage patties, covered with sausage gravy, and served with 2 scrambled eggs) as I could stomach before two hours of seat-dancing through a dozen performances – everything from naughty Disney mashups to outstanding Sister Act renditions.

Though their Sunday brunch menu (served from 11 to 3 – timed perfectly with the show’s midday start) features omelettes, pancakes, chicken fried chicken, et al, the brunch is not about the food. It is about the love, family-friendly hilarity, and passion of the drag community.

That and enough mimosas and skinny margaritas to lose all your dollar bills in two songs or under.

Whether you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate a birthday, bachelorette, or basic boozy brunch – Hamburger Mary’s is the best solution Florida has to offer.

hamburger mary drag brunch
hamburger mary drag brunch
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proper dtsp
Proper Kitchen and Cocktails (monikered Proper DTSP) is the most frequently praised love child of King of 1st Avenue South, Stephen Schrutt – the trend-savvy owner of Proper’s equally successful neighbours, The Avenue and Park & Rec (the latter of which offers its retro game-playing patrons a micro pickup menu from both siblings).

While opening three restaurants in a competitive row hardly sounds like a stairway to entreprenerial heaven, each hot spot’s respective identity keeps the crowds returning night after night. To celebrate my last evening in St Pete before heading to the Midwest, it only seemed – for love of a pun – proper to end up at the craft cocktail beacon of Schrutt’s epicurious trifecta.

Not to say Proper is all drank and no play. Far from it. Their culinary calling card is their wood-burning smoker and the idiosyncratic creations inspired by it.

To kick things off, my dining companion and I loaded the table with wood-fired oysters (stuffed with chorizo & chili garlic butter on the half shell), gator bites (a Floridian specialty pumped up by cilantro crema and chili garlic aioli), and a grilled sweet watermelon salad (blending arugula, gargantuan feta chunks, candied pecans & cornbread croutons under balsamic vinaigrette).

Individually, each dish was incredible and only intensified by the arrival of an Old Man & The Sea (Mount Gay Black Barrel, Benedictine, Banane Du Brasil, Tiki Bitters & Angostura) and 10 Lords A Leaping (Monkey Shoulder Scotch, honey, fresh lemon, and St. Elizabeth​ All Spice Dram).

Do not visit Proper without planning a tour of the cocktail menu.

As one can only go meat or go home in such an establishment, we then turned to taste tests of their four signature sauces (classic, gold, sweet & spicy, and the killer smoked habanero) before settling on ribs and lean-cut brisket. The latter, in all its ample Angus glory, lacked the punch I expected after throat-tingling my way through the smoked habanero but worked perfectly with the accompanying cornbread and ‘slaw. The half rack of St Louis cut (read: rectangular) ribs, however, blew me away; phenomenally meaty, tender, and seasoned to perfection. Even for a woman who avoids meat on the bone.

Though we struggled eating half of what we ordered, our waiter Josh waxed so genuinely lyrical about their Nutella bread pudding we decided dessert (which changes daily) couldn’t be desisted. A decision worth every gooey, bouncy and naughty spoonful.

Do cocktails. Do chill vibes with a strong – albeit nostalgic – playlist. Do enough food to feed you for weeks. Do it proper.

proper dtsp
proper dtsp
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