I look forward to curating a travel gift guide each year. It’s a chance for me to discover awesome new products, like the Carry-On Cocktail Kit, and share a few of my standbys. While I would love to find this tribal necklace or this adorable calendar under the tree, I wanted to share more practical items this year. The 4-in-1 international charger worked out perfectly in Brussels, as did this mini power strip with USB ports. It’s a must for any hotel room with a shortage of outlets. One thing I wish we had was the luggage scale. We brought back a lot of hard-to-find Belgian beer and incurred a $200 overweight baggage fee as a result. Oops! It’s not a glamorous gift by any means, but the recommendation will be worthwhile if it helps just one couple pack more strategically! You also know how much we love our Floto duffel bags. We’ve used them for every trip over the last three years and they’re getting prettier with age. It’s a splurge, yes, but it will be a gift that lasts a lifetime. (May I also recommend upgrading the shoulder strap to this one? It makes a huge difference.)
[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]I[/dropcap] have a romanticized vision of traveling overseas and penning endless observations in a journal each night. And, try as I might, I’m just not that kind of girl. I’m more likely to return to the hotel armed with an iPhone full of photos and a purse brimming with receipts, ticket stubs, and coasters. However, the new Moleskine Voyageur notebook takes a unique approach to travel journals, offering flexibility and plenty of features to satisfy various journaling–and travel–styles.
- The worrywart will find comfort at the beginning of the book. There’s a place for personal data, local emergency numbers listed by country, time zones, and a reference for local dialing codes. Other must-haves can be tucked in the interior back pocket.
- The planner will appreciate detachable packing and to-do lists.
- The social media maven will love the removable paper band that features “I AM HERE” written on the reverse side. It’s ideal for destination selfies and Instagrams tagged #m_IAmHere.
- The serious traveler is no match for the journal’s sturdy canvas cover.
- The perfectionist will gravitate to the online tool to format itineraries, photos, and journal entries to print and paste into the Voyageur.
I’m taking the latter approach (mostly because I was such a lazy writer on vacation) and am using the journal as a scrapbook. I’ve been sifting through mementos and recalling obscure stories to include along side of some of my favorite Instagrams.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary Moleskine Voyageur notebook for the purposes of this post.
[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]T[/dropcap]he day after we visited Bruges, we went to Ghent, another medieval city in the Flanders area of Belgium. It still has the same gothic charm as Bruges, but with the hustle and bustle of a real city with people who aren’t tourists. It’s also much bigger and we didn’t anticipate the walk from the train station to be as long as it was. (Definitely take a bus or tram to the city center if you visit.)
We spent most of the afternoon poking around the canal and side streets, but did manage to check off two cultural must-sees:
- Belfort en Lakenhalle: This is the building in the last photo of this post. We went up to balcony under the clock for fantastic views of the city. Inside you’ll see the historic dragon weather vane and, if you’re a beer drinker, you’ll recognize it from the Gulden Draak label. Learn more about the building’s cultural importance here.
- Sint-Baafskathedraal: Inside this elaborate cathedral is perhaps one of the world’s most influential paintings: The Ghent Altarpiece. Commonly known as Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, the work by van Eyck also has the misfortune of being one of the world’s most stolen pieces of art. (A panel is still missing from a 1934 heist.) I urge you to read about its storied–and fascinating–history here.
[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]F[/dropcap]inding the perfect personal bag for in-flight essentials is a daunting task that leaves me feeling a bit like Goldilocks. There are plenty of bags that are too big, too small, too heavy, or too cumbersome, but not many that are just right–which I quickly learned after opting to use an L.L. Bean tote for our trip to Belgium. I spent half the flight checking and double checking to make sure nothing spilled over the open top and it was surprisingly heavy to carry through the airport. My next flight is going to much less stressful, thanks to the O.M.G. bag from Lo & Sons.
The O.M.G., an acronym for “Overnight Medium Gym” bag, is incredibly lightweight, water resistant, and has plenty of pockets for travel must-haves, including a padded laptop sleeve and a side pocket for your flats so the rest of your items don’t get dirty. I tend to be a light packer, but all of the items below fit inside with plenty of room for my camera, lenses, and a cribbage board (can’t leave home without it!).
Top: Banana Republic (similar) | Skirt: LOFT | Shoes: Sam Edelman | Bag: c/o Lo & Sons | Bracelet: Hermes | Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington | Rings: c/o Vrai & Oro, c/o Cynthia Jones, c/o Lacee Alexandra | Necklace: c/o Gorjana | Sunglasses: c/o Rivet & Sway | Lips: Stila “Fiore”
[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]I[/dropcap]f you’re following along on Instagram, you’ve already had a sneak peek of the surprise Leatherology sent over. As you may remember, I featured the brand in this post and admitted that I didn’t know much about the new-to-me leather goods company. As it turns out, the company was founded in 2008 with one goal in mind: to create the perfect men’s wallet. After mastering the billfold, the company expanded its leather offerings to a wide range of high quality personal and travel accessories, without an exorbitant price tag.
I received the deluxe luggage tag and an adorable key cover. Each item is crafted with supple leather that feels like it will hold up over the years and monogrammed with debossed letters (much better than initials that are just painted on). The brand’s attention to detail is also reflected in its thoughtful packaging, as you’ll see below.