January is almost over! And I don't know about you, but I have that 'can it be spring now, please' feeling. I'm tired of running in negative degrees, and although the frosty mornings with clear skies are undeniably beautiful, I kind of really want some warmer weather back.
It's probably all the holiday adverts on TV. My mum says that now is the prime time to book getaways, since we're all bored of the mundane that hits us quite hard after New Year's is over, and need something new to look forwards to. (Also with the way the news is at the minute, I really don't blame people for wanting to switch off for a few days...)
So with that in mind - and my own big move arriving at an alarming speed (it's basically three weeks now, jeez) - I've been looking at a few bits and pieces that I've been meaning to upgrade or replace for a while now, as well as some other travel essentials.
The weekend bag
I've been meaning to replace my 'weekend' bag for a good few months now. The one I currently use is very much on it's last legs, the metal fastenings have all but given up, I have to tie the shoulder strap on, there's a lot of wear to the lining, and only one of the zips fasten properly. To be fair to it, it is nearly 8 years old, and for an Accessorize bag that I used almost daily for a year and a half during 6th form, and then on multiple occasions where I've tried to ram my life into it ever since, it's done incredibly well. I can retire it.
The replacements I've been looking at are all a very similar style: simple, durable, more of a tote-frame than a holdall, something that can work as a large bag for daytime if I'd need it, and something that I won't 'grow out of' in style or print.
I was introduced to the Longchamp style by a couple of you on twitter, and I fell in love, but ouch at the price! For a quality, durable, bag that will do me for a good few years though, I guess it's more of an investment. I did find a pretty good dupe though (and we all know I do love a good dupe)! Mi-Pac have some that are 35L capacity in a variety of colours and textures, and you can buy a few through ASOS if you want to utilise a cheeky discount!
Whilst perusing the internet in search of weekend bags, I did notice that I was drawn more to a couple of the mens' styles rather than the womens', mostly because they were more simple.
The 'for safe keeping' trick
This year I'm planning to do a lot more 'solo travel'. I'm really excited about it, since planning trips away is definitely a right of passage into adulthood. My mum is always so organised when it comes to having everything ready to go; passports and other important documents like reservations, are practically glued to her side to minimise the damage 3 tired millennials could do. But when it comes to solo travel, you don't have 6 extra pairs of hands to hold everything, so I've been looking at alternatives to keep my valuables (visa documents, passports, plane tickets) away from sticky-fingered opportunists.
Although I initially scoffed at them, bum-bags are an insanely good options for keeping everything safe that needs to be kept safe. They're physically attached to you - unless you're doing some serious Shakira moves - so it takes away some of that nervousness that comes with setting passports in carry-on luggage; they're also separate from your main luggage items so there's no need for rooting through your bags when you need to find them. Or accidentally checking your passport into baggage in the hold.
I mean, I've never done that but you never know. Super early flights, jetlag, overexcitement... so many possibilities.
Skatehut have a fab selection of both plain and patterned Spiral Harvard bum-bags that I'm definitely going to be considering, and they're not all loud prints or festival chic either (though the tie dye style is fun) if you'd rather have something a little more understated or a little more inconspicuous. Forever21 also do a few in their activewear range Even if they're not the height of airport or travel fashion, I'd rather be practical for once. Mum would be so proud of me.
skatehut spiral harvard tie dye festival bum bag - £4.99 // skatehut spiral harvard 'jewel black' bum bag - £11.95 // skinnydip flame detail bum bag - £18 // skatehut spiral 'glow speckles' bum bag - £9.95 // asos leather bumbag - £25 // mi-pac classic - £15
The last time I flew to Korea, I had 2 massive suitcases, but in the time since, one has migrated to my sisters' place in London. It also lost the function of one wheel, so would probably bring me endless amounts of frustration if I were to jet off with it. Large suitcases are expensive - like, really, really expensive - especially if you want them to be durable, secure, and identifiable enough they're not going to get mistaken at baggage reclaim, but generic enough they're not going to get stolen. Seriously, I have no idea how people travel with the really pretty Ted Baker suitcase sets and not worry that someone's going to nab them. I guess the upside is they're really easy to spot though.
The beginning of the year is a really good time to find suitcases for your travels, as a lot of the large department stores have sales on luggage items. Also, you definitely don't want to be frantically running from store to store a few days before you fly. Can confirm that this results in required measurement mistakes and a few refunds.
Oh, it's also a great idea to check with your airline what your baggage allowance is, and what the size of your case(s) should be!
carlton tube 4 wheel hard suitcase (large) - £79.99 (reduced from £139.99) // dickens & jones vintage trunk in cream (8 wheel large) - £160 // samsonite cosmolite 3.0 in copper - £365 // it luggage duralition hard shell suitcase - £39.99 // radley vintage dog dot hardside large 4 wheel case - £159 // ted baker take flight large spinner - £295 // it luggage large tiger emboss crystal eyes suitcase - £59.99
IT Luggage does some absolutely amazing cases at really affordable prices - we have a couple of their softer cabin cases, and they're so light it makes travelling really easy. I haven't tried their larger hard suitcases, but if I decide to go with them I'll let you know how they stand up.
The Dickens & Jones vintage trunk is beautiful, isn't it? They have it in three colours (the cream, navy, and red) and I don't think I've ever seen something that makes me want to travel so much. It's a tad pricy at £160 for the largest size, but it looks pretty secure on the inside, with a sturdy affixed combination lock. I'd worry that I might not see it the other end, but urgh... maybe one day. IT actually does one in a very similar colourway, not quite the vintage style binding on the front, but it's wildly more affordable at £59.99 or £69.99 depending on whether you want the medium or large.
My best advice for suitcase shopping is to work out what you want, the size and weight of the case is really important, and then pop it into a search engine to find all available prices.
Ahhh, looking at all the pretty suitcases and handy travel things has made me so excited. Let me know which item is your favourite, and your opinion on bum bags - super useful, or still a fashion faux pas?
*This post is written in collaboration with skatehut. All words and opinions are my own.