All the things you need for an island escape.
If you’ve been following my Instastories, you already know that I’m prepping for our honeymoon in Asia – we are literally counting the seconds until our three-week trip to Thailand, Myanmar and the Maldives. I can’t remember the last time I’ve spent more than 10, maximum 14 days on any one vacation, since we usually prefer to split our vacation days so that we’re able to take multiple trips throughout the year. For our honeymoon though, it seemed like the perfect idea to do three full weeks and truly enjoy both the “traveling” part as well as the romantic, “island escape” part of it. Of course, I’ll be sharing our travel itinerary and our insights after the trip, but in essence we’re going to spend New Year’s Eve in Bangkok, go to Northern Thailand from there, cross over to Myanmar after to take a river cruise down to Bagan from Mandalay, and end up in Yangon for another few days. After those 10 days of exploring, we’re up for another 10 days on a secluded Thai island and then the Maldives. I’m sure with all the scuba diving, yoga and the other various activities, getting bored won’t be an option.
If you’re planning a warm-weather escape over Christmas, New Year’s or in the icy months ahead, I’m delighted to share my list of must-buys before you go.
BEFORE YOU GO
But first, let’s talk about how the only downside to going on a summer trip just after Christmas (unless you’re way more disciplined than I am) is the not-so-summer-ready body. My legs haven’t seen a ray of sunshine in about 3 months, so I am in desperate need of some extra color. Aside from a trip to the gym (in my case, my yoga mat in front of the TV), there are some magic helpers to prep you for the beach – such as this bronzing mousse that allows you to get a light to deep effect depending on how long you leave it on (plus it doesn’t smell). For the face, I’m loving this overnight mask with a natural bronzing effect. Before you bronze, be sure to book a hammam session including a body peeling at your local spa, or use this amazing body scrub in the shower. It removes all your dead skin and intensely moisturizes your skin. Other than those things, I like to book a mani-pedi and a hair appointment before I go. Since my hair lightens up to quickly in the sun, I usually pick a shade darker and ashier than I actually want, so that I don’t come back with yellow-blonde. Now here’s a question for you – one thing I’ve been wanting to try is eyelash extensions for traveling – any insights on that?
BEAUTY & SUN PROTECTION
Depending on where you’re headed, it might be a tad difficult to find your go-to cosmetics products in the local stores – or they’re just 3 times as pricey. I try to make sure to pack a full package of all of my favorite products like shampoo and mascara for any longer trip. Here’s my favorite beauty products that always come with me:
Of course, it’s so important to protect your skin from the sun – even more so when your skin is currently used to cold and dry winter air and indoor heating. Since I have rather oily skin, it’s so difficult for me to find suncreens that won’t make me break out or look like a piece of bacon being fried. Here’s two for the face that live up to my demands: this one by Avène (one of my favorite brands, also love their mattefying emulsion) and this one by La Roche-Posay. On my body, I need a bit more moisture, and I love this sunscreen by Avène. For this trip, I’m also trying this SPF 50 setting mist that you can spray on top of your makeup for extra protection, which seems so convenient! What we tend to forget is to also protect our hair and scalp from the sun – whether it’s with a cute hat or with a sun-protecting hair mist like this one (again, by Avène, my favorite sun brand). Last but not least, I like to add some extra glow with this amazing new bronzing contour wand and/or this bronzing powder!
Guess what – I seperate my work / office clothes from my vacation clothes entirely. They’re in two different closets and I even shop for them at entirely different online stores. In my daily work life, I love clean, modern cuts and even masculine items on occasion – lots of black, white, beige and blush, lots of structure. But when I go on vacation, I suddenly become drawn to bohémian dresses, floral prints, brown leather (that I never wear at work) and bold jewelry. As you can imagine, I “needed” a few more of those for my honeymoon (my husband will read this and strongly disagree, but you’re on my side, high five).
CITY BAG + BEACH BAG
Over the past few years, all I’ve bought when it comes to bags are structured business totes or small, elegant evening bags, preferably with gold chains. While I love my growing little collection, none of them are really suitable for traveling countries like Nepal or Myanmar. Also, I noticed on our last trip that I just needed a one-fits-all bag to wear with everything, every day. So for the upcoming honeymoon, I’ve finally invested in this Chloé beauty (also available here or in suede) that is exactly what I needed: a small cross-body bag with enough room to store my everyday items, a gorgeous bohémian style that goes with all of my travel outfits, and great quality and robust brown leather but without a big brand logo. For the beach and on the plane, I’m also carrying my beloved beach bag for larger items like magazines, and I’m going to pack my favorite bamboo clutch for candle-lit dinners.
In some Asian countries, wearing overly revealing clothing can be inappropriate. While Thailand is a bit more relaxed, wearing strapless tops or micro shorts in religious temples is never a good idea (always pack a scarf just in case). I personally love wearing longer, flowy dresses, preferably in natural materials – they look cute but appropriate, and they are perfect for heat and humidity. Find my favorites below!
BIKINIS & PAREOS
On any sunny vacation, a cute bikini is a must-bring. I currently love browsing for them at Revolve, and my personal favorite is this yellow Marysia Swim bandeau bikini that’s even on sale right now! Also, I wore this high-waist one from Tularosa (in white) on our wedding pool party, and it is such a flattering one. I usually stick to bandeau bikinis for tanning, but I love one-pieces or high-waist bikinis for lounging and having a drink at the pool bar.
SANDALS & SLIDES
Oh my, how I love the current shoe trends! They’re beyond convenient and so pretty. At work, I’m dying for the sock booties (finally something to wear with my work trousers), and for my upcoming travels, I’m totally into flat slides or mules like these ones I purchased recently. So cute and comfy! Other shoes I’m definitely bringing are my classic Converse low-top sneakers in leather – they’re the perfect pair of sneakers to wear with everything and everywhere, easy to clean, comfortable beyond measure and just an absolute staple. I always bring them for full days of sightseeing. Two more pairs I’m packing are a pair of heels for nights out (in Bangkok, for instance) and a classic pair of leather sandals for beach days. What more do we need?
Last but not least, I love wearing statement earrings and hats on vacation. Since I can’t really wear any of those to the office, I enjoy a few fun, standout pieces. But most importantly – great sunglasses are a must!
AFTER YOU RETURN
Once you get back, it’s so important to treat your skin to some extra moisture and prolong that tan. I love using this lotion or this one! Also, these tan booster drops supposedly work wonders (I have yet to try them though). Other than that, I like to cherish my photographic memories by printing them in a photo book – guests love flipping through them and it’s such a different experience compared to just looking at them on a computer screen. I have recently discovered MILK BOOKS for high-quality photo books and albums – i love that their books are wrapped in linen and that you can choose between different types of paper. Also, their online tool is really easy to use.
Now, I think that’s most of it! Currently our bedroom hosts a big clothes rail with plenty of the above-mentioned items – so it’s time to choose and get packing. Excuse me while I’m off to bathe in some bronzer….thanks for stopping by!