Lou Harvey’s travel essentials

By Renate Engelbrecht

Mon, May 25

Seasoned traveller and South Africa’s much-loved material girl, Lou Harvey shares her tips and tools for your next trip.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will be able to board long-haul flights to exotic destinations again and when that day comes, I know I want to be ready. Lou Harvey says the key to a good carry-on bag is to pack as light as possible to save space for those inevitable duty-free purchases and to carry light.

A designer handbag might turn heads, but it is not always so practical. Rather opt for a small sling bag for all your most valuables (like your passport and boarding pass) and then pack other items in a backpack or overnight bag. Save your passport in a brightly coloured Lou Harvey zip wallet to be sure not to miss it when reaching for it in your bag.

Here are Lou Harvey’s top travel essentials:


Although it’s not necessary to wear makeup on a flight, having a few things at hand for touch up before landing is not a bad idea:

  • A light, non-sticky lip gloss
  • A face cream (airplanes are notorious for drying your skin out)
  • Lip ice (to keep your lips soft)
  • A good under-eye concealer (for those tired eyes)
  • A mini perfume or test perfume (sometimes a quick squirt of your favourite fragrance can help make you feel human again after a long flight)
  • Hand lotion
  • Mascara (to open up your eyes)
  • A pair of sunglasses for the airport (just in case you don’t want to bring all the other things along)
  • Hair ties
  • Mini dry shampoo (a great short-term solution before your next hair wash – check out Sorbet Drybar’s cute travel size hair kits)


  • Mouthwash (a disposable toothbrush and toothpaste is great, but airplane water is not always the cleanest. Save these for on the airport when you have a layover).
  • Mini roll-on or spray deodorant (rather not use the spray in a confined space like on the airplane, though)
  • Wet wipes and sanitiser (airplanes are a cesspool of germs – freshen up every so often)
  • Eye drops (if you’re prone to dry eyes)
  • Bactroban for under your nose (this helps to safeguard you from nasty bacterial infections)
    (Ensure that all these items meet standard airline regulations)


  • Use a bag like Lou Harvey’s double small cosmetics bag for chargers and other electronic stuff.
  • If it’s not essential for you to take your laptop, rather opt for a tablet with a mini keyboard, which is much lighter to carry.
  • Make sure you have a charger for the country you are travelling to in your hand luggage in case something happens to your main luggage.
  • Depending on the duration of your flight, it might be a good idea to pack a portable charger in your carry-on luggage.

In-flight comforts

  • Even though a neck pillow can take up a lot of space, it certainly goes a long way in making your feel more comfortable on a long flight.
  • If you’re a light sleeper and don’t want to be disturbed by your in-flight neighbour’s reading light or a screaming baby two rows down, an eye mask and earplugs might also be essential.
  • Bring along medication like painkillers, nausea pills and muscle relaxers for in case.
  • A few snacks might also come in handy. Pack some nuts and raisins, hardboiled sweets and gum for when you get peckish between airplane meals or during your eight-hour layover when you don’t want to buy expensive airport snacks.
  • If you don’t have a Kindle, bring along a book that’s light in weight and in content or a magazine that you can easily dispose of.
  • If you have space, pack an extra item or two of clothing for if your bag gets lost or you have an unexpected flight delay.
  • A notebook and pen are also a good idea (for when you get that brilliant business idea on the plane). I suppose a pack of post-its and a pen will also do the trick.
  • A warm pair of socks for when it gets cooler on an overnight flight.



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