Someone once said that life’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. The contrast between destination and journey is one which comes into sharp focus in regard to stylish travel. For some, travelling in style is all about the journey – whether that’s something as simple and luxurious as a pair of cashmere socks, or access to a never-ending fountain of Champagne having splashed out on a four-figure First Class ticket. For others, stylish travel is always connected to the destination you choose and the sights, sounds and experiences that take place once you’ve touched down. Travel editors and journalists, style bloggers and fashion designers – we asked the experts what stylish travel means to them.
Laura Fowler – Senior Editor, Conde Nast Traveller
I’m not sure why, but many people dress for a flight as though they are expecting to crash-land in the East Siberian taiga and will have to bivouac until they’re rescued. Put something nice on! Spruce up your hair! It’s a holiday, not an orienteering course! Unless of course you are going on an orienteering course.
Ursula Lake – Owner, Violet Lake
My work life involves a lot of long haul travel so I like to think that I have the flight part of any trip down perfectly after years of practice. By and large I am in nothing other than cattle class so I try to take a few things that make the trip more comfortable and stylish for me. These are a huge cashmere blanket, Bose noise-cancelling headphones, Bach’s Rescue Remedy night tincture and Oskia’s Bedtime Beauty Boost night cream.
I am often travelling with a lot of clothes for photographic shoots so my sartorial needs take a back seat – I pack things that are chic, simple and multi-purpose. For example, my Violet Lake Caruso one shoulder swimsuit is great on the beach, but also doubles up as a chic one-shoulder top when paired with a skirt in the evening.
Tom Marchant – Co-founder, Black Tomato
I look for new restaurant openings that are generating buzz (use key food sites and local contacts to get this information). I then drop in, chat to the staff, the owners and more. A restaurant is often at the heart of – or becomes a key part of – a community, so talking to the people there brings to life the area around me and gives me the lowdown on where to go and what to do from a style perspective. And more so than galleries which at times can be stuffy. The nature of a restaurant or café is to talk, engage and connect. Use the local staff’s passions to introduce you to what is going on.
Mark C.O’Flaherty – Editor-in-chief, Civilian
Stylish travel to me is something refined but more than that, unexpected. I like arriving in a hotel and discovering a unique look, or way of doing things. It has to be sensible and service-oriented, but I like to see individuality and a holistic vision come to fruition with a wickedly huge budget. Usually, the more expensive something it is, the more conservative or safe it is. I don’t ever want to see anything that Starck-designed before 2010, ever.
Sarah Walter – Founder, Style Passport
My definition of stylish travel is to look comfortable and have everything you need in the most compact and easily transportable way. A smart wheelie case ideal for gates which are a distance from check-in and a neat hand luggage bag with compartments for all your travel documents is a must-have. Slip-off shoes mean that you won’t spend ages going through security, and sunglasses ensure that you arrive looking glamorous and hide puffy eyes. A large scarf which doubles as a blanket is essential for the flight, as are beauty touches such as lip gloss and cheek tint so you look fresh and as good as you can – upgrades may come your way!
Neily Alimohamadi – Blogger, Cherie City
The key to stylish travel is knowing your destination well and searching for cool places and hidden gems to make your trip memorable. Stylish travel doesn’t have to be expensive and with a bit of research, interesting design-led hotels to suit all budgets can be found. Before travelling, scour the internet, read blogs and lifestyle publications and ask friends and colleagues for personal recommendations.
Of course, some of the best places can be found spontaneously, so keep your eyes open and climb the steep hill or step off the main street to find out what’s there. You might discover a great rooftop bar, chic terrace café or a cosy bookshop. Some of my favourite stylish finds include Tippling Club in Singapore, Drake Hotel General Store in Toronto and Le Cours Julien neighbourhood in Marseille.
John O’ Ceallaigh – Editor, Telegraph Ultratravel
For me, stylish travel means considering comfort first, with fashion concerns coming somewhere after cultural appropriateness, clothing weight and ‘foldability’. It’s nice to look nice abroad, but I think tourists appear most stylish when they treat their hosts with courtesy and smile constantly – travelling should be fun so if you’re doing it right you should automatically look happy, healthy and pretty.
Margot Bowman – Artist and Designer
Stylish travel is stress-free travel – not queuing for hours and not being treated like a battery chicken. I think that Eurostar does it the best. Its all pretty laissez faire; get on the train at a station you can walk to from home (if you were so inclined), pick up some magazines and some M&S grub, and then find a seat and ta-da! You arrive in Paris only a few hours later.
Dr Paul Johnson – Editor-in-chief, A Luxury Travel Blog
Everyone’s perception of style varies, and so what makes travel stylish will be a matter of personal taste and opinion. For me, stylish travel is about doing something different to the tourist masses. It’s not about shopping in designer stores or being at the cutting edge of fashion – it’s about finding unique experiences and opportunities when you travel. Stylish travel is about original and exclusive travel adventures that you’ll be likely to remember for the rest of your life.
Eve Thomas – Styling Director, The Outnet
Although comfort is key when travelling and as tempting as it may be to reach for the most casual pieces in your wardrobe, it’s not necessary to forego your usual style. Looking smart and chic ensures you start your trip on a high! I often travel in a neutral-toned jersey dress. This is an easy piece to work into your holiday wardrobe as it can easily be worn from day to night. Flat shoes are a travel essential – think ballet pumps for a classic look (and they’re practical for sightseeing) or in winter, biker boots are a fashionable favourite. An oversized leather tote from a great designer like Anya Hindmarch carries me from through the seasons and is the perfect style companion while travelling abroad. A lightweight wool scarf helps combat the air-conditioning chill on the plane and adds a pop of colour – try Diane von Furstenburg‘s printed cashmere pieces.
Bermuda is a very stylish destination. I’m half Bermudian and visit my family there every year so perhaps I’m biased! My favourite place there is Elbow Beach, which is just a few minutes away from my mother’s house. The soft pink sand and coral reefs surrounding the island makes it the ideal spot for snorkelling. While I’m there, I tend to wear pieces that are comfortable and versatile, yet stylish in their simplicity.
Diana Verde Nieto – Founder, Positive Luxury
Stylish travel is about quality and comfort. My hand luggage bag is hugely important, it needs to be stylish and it needs to be the right size and the right weight; too small and it won’t fit my ‘can’t live without’ essentials such as my iPad, phone, documents, washbag and all-important cashmere socks; too big and too heavy and I’ll arrive at my destination with a hernia. All things considered, my Simple Clipper Black-Cognac Scotchgrain Mulberry bag is the perfect travelling companion.
Tremayne Carew Pole – Founder, HG2: A Hedonist’s Guide to…
Stylish travel is all about the destination and the people around you – finding a destination, hotel or restaurant that is implacably elegant and individual. Hotels need to be intimate with superb attention to detail and wonderfully discreet personal service. Travelling essentials start with a good bag or suitcase, there is nothing better than seeing your Globe-Trotter whisked off by the bellboy or seeing your baggage shine as it comes off the luggage carousel.
Any destination can be stylish, visitors just need to choose selectively and make the city their own – try and avoid the clichés (Paris for example) and see if you can find elegance and sophistication somewhere a little bit unusual. Shopping is a must, but eschew global brands for local boutiques and take a little bit of the city’s individual style du jour back home with you.
Anna Kreeger – Designer, M. Hulot
For me, travelling in style is not so much about the perfect attire but about going somewhere memorable and personal – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. My favourite destination is India. I’ve been to both Rajasthan and to Kerala and although very different, both are inherently stylish. What could be more elegant then the brightly coloured saris, ornate and historical palaces and majestic tigers of Northern India? In the South, there are the lush green landscapes, winding backwaters, breathtaking tea plantations and fresh curried seafood to die for! Both parts of India have the beautiful old colonial buildings, which make for wonderful places to stay.
In many parts of India it is respectful to be covered up, so the holiday wardrobe becomes about long and loose layers. There is something very naturally stylish about wafting around in culottes or a maxi skirt, and the fact that you would rarely dress like this at home makes it all the more special! Of course, I am lucky enough to have my pick of M.Hulot bags to complement my outfit, and always find my Prussia satchel the perfect choice for stashing my purse and sun cream safely.