Travel to Italy

Six Surprising Travel Tips That Will Save Time & Space

Monica Tindall

When I’m travelling for The Yum List, time is short. We’re on the go dawn to midnight wanting to capture it, eat it, drink it and experience it all. There are not many quiet moments, and as such, I prepare as much as I can before I leave to make the most of my time while away.

Of course, shorter weekend trips are a cinch to pack for but extended travel to Italy (stay tuned for those posts over the upcoming weeks) requires a bit more planning. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with general packing advice like rolling up your clothes or storing your shoes inside shower caps: there are 100s of those articles online. This one is all about preparing ahead so that not a moment of the adventure is wasted. Here are my:

Six Surprising Ways to Save Time and Space When Travelling

Shoes with Interchangeable Heels

Why pack three pairs of shoes when I can pack just one? The clever lasses from Mestrae have designed stylish footwear that can morph from day to evening with the switch of a heel! Created by women for women, these shoes manage both elegance and comfort in one. One pair of shoes can transform from a flat to a 2.5 or 3.5 inch heel – either block or stiletto. Not only do I save on precious packing space but it also means I have no need to return to the hotel when out exploring. I can easily slip a pair of detachable heels into my bag, exchanging comfortable flats for trotting the streets to more graceful stilettos for the evening.

Last year I was introduced to Mestrae 1.0, which took not only Malaysia but the world by storm with their reach in 20 different countries. This year, I’m fortunate to try Mestrae 2.0, which sees an improved design, some stylish new models and even a comprehensive range of vegan shoes. I LOVE the new line. The shoes are more stable and the device for slipping the heels on and off is even easier to use than the first. These guys are serious about keeping their initial clients too and offer a free upgrade to the latest technology for heels from the 1.0 range.

Travels to Europe require a certain fashion and so my pick of the new range is the handmade premium Italian leather Jolene collection. These come with a standard flat cover and a 3.5-inch chunky heel. It gets even more fun when you can choose from a bunch of funky heel accessories including sparkly gold, zebra stripes or cheetah spots.

Mestrae Interchangeable Heels 2.0
Mestrae Interchangeable Heels 2.0

Hair Straightening

You might be wondering what on earth hair straightening has to do with travel but did you know that following a treatment, blow drying and styling time is cut in half? Besides, some accommodations don’t provide a hair dryer and with my minimalist, light-weight focused packing philosophy, that is equipment I’m not going to add to my kilo allowance. Jerry at Groom Artistry has just introduced a new formaldehyde-free product, which I love and that is one of the first things I did in the week preceding take off. Besides reducing styling time, I want to look my best for those travel pics too! Before and after shot below and more on the low-chemical straightening treatment here.

Formaldehyde-free Hair Straightening
Before and After Hair Straightening Treatment at Groom Artistry

Teppy Portable Wi-Fi

With the amount of travel (and blogging) that I do, portable Wi-Fi is essential. Roaming costs are expensive and picking up a SIM card or signing up for pocket Wi-Fi devices every time I head overseas is time-consuming. This year I’ve solved the problem by purchasing my very own pocket-sized personal WiFi hotspot, Teppy. Functioning in over 100 countries, and with unlimited Internet (that’s right, none of these silly daily limits), all I need to do is activate when I’m ready to go.

Tep comes with a number of additional features that are particularly useful. Kitestring creates peace of mind when travelling alone especially as you can set it up to check in on you with a text message. If you don’t reply, Kitestring sends a personalized alert message to your emergency contacts. Tep Guru connects users with local experts, much like a concierge service, and Prime WiFi means I can even connect in-flight on selected airlines! You can see if Teppy is the right device for you here and also get a 10% discount if you like it using the code THEYUMLIST.  (I’ll get a little stipend if you sign up here which will help with the costs of running this site.)

packing for Italy
Teppy Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot

Intensive Paraffin Feet and Hand Treatment

You probably know by now that Energy Spa & Wellness is my go-to place for relaxation. They’re also top of my list for an appointment a few days before departure for extended travel to Italy for their Intensive Paraffin Feet (75 min RM 150) and Hand (60 min RM 120) Treatments. These hard-core sessions exfoliate, scrub and rub away all of the excess dead skin from my poorly treated extremities. I forego nail polish in favour of buffing so that my hands and feet still do well even after a month of travel. Following the initial shedding of dry skin, hands and feet are covered in warm wax promoting circulation, relieving dryness and leaving the skin’s surface feeling renewed and soft. The intensive mask also serves to strengthen nails and cuticles, which means minimal maintenance is required while on the road. * Bonus tip: For jetlag and tight muscles post trip, their Urutan Malaysia massage works wonders.

Urutan Malaysia, A Signature Massage Based in Malay Traditions
Energy Spa & Wellness

Oral Sunblock

Besides developing an allergy to sunscreen as I age, slathering on thick layers of sticky cream in warm weather is not my idea of convenience. Complaining about the irritation to my dermatologist, Dr Siddique, he recommended trying an oral sunblock, Heliocare (RM 198). The antioxidants in the product’s primary ingredient, Fernblock®, reduces free-radicals by up to 50% and hence reduces hyperpigmentation caused by the sun’s UV Rays. It has also been found to increase the skin’s resistance to sunburn by up to 300%. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be lying around in the sun for hours fully exposed but it does give me an extra sense of security and freedom. You can pick up a bottle and/or get professional care for your skin at Lyfe Clinic.

Travel Preparation for Extended Travel to Italy
HelioCare – Oral Sunblock

A Fun Pair of Earrings

Lastly, and again you might ask, “How on earth does a pair of earrings save you time?” If you have the right pair, a snazzy accessory is all that is needed to smarten an outfit from day to night. No need to change clothes and therefore no need to pack unnecessary weight. Change my heels, switch my bag, glam up with a statement piece and I’m set to go. Vicky G is my gal for whimsical works, designer of the set I picked up for Italy pictured below. Check out more of her creations here.

Travel Preparation for Extended Travel to Italy
Vicky G Earrings

What do you do to prepare for long journeys?
Share with me your travel secrets in the comment box below.

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  1. Kitty Lang

    Packing Cubes! My life has changed since discovering these space savers.

  2. I want that shoes! So convenient especially us ladies when pack for holiday.

    Portable WiFi sound great to get connected as not all places come with free WiFi overseas.

  3. Useful tips!

  4. Great tips!
    I honestly didn’t know there are shoes like that
    what a brilliant idea.


  5. Great travel tips! I need a portable wi-fi. I like the earrings!

  6. The WiFi sounds great must have a look but I do not travel so much so it may not be the answer for me. I have naturally curly hair, short it dries naturally always in place – so lucky. Interesting tips, my most important thing is my list and I must keep to it! Cheers Diane

  7. Tips for the ladies! I would make sure there is drinking water available at all times, may get dehydrated.

  8. Love the shoes ! Oral SPF is an Interesting concept however I’m super sun concious very fair Aussie gal who happens to also be a skin consultant for R+F products created by Dermatologists. To travel light I’ve just purchased many travel-sized skincare kits (including face sunscreen). Happy to help anyone else with travel-sized personalized skincare too!

  9. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten out of the country much. Travel has also been limited to caring for the mother-in-law who gives us the German guilt if we ever leave for extended periods. I’ve been learning to pack light by doing more laundry on-site. I’ve also been investing in iron-free shirts or wick-free shirts that dry in 1/5 the time of a “regular” shirt. Enjoy your time in Italy!!

  10. I am fascinated by those shoes. I have not seen anything like them before.

  11. caning jaramillo

    The Heliocare tablets must be great also for people with skin reaction to sunscreen lotion 🙂

  12. Great tips! Especially, the Oral Sunblock. I hate applying sunscreen as my skin is oily. So your idea is just priceless.
    I also do my best to minimize my luggage while travelling. But I don’t pack any high heels at all since I wear none. Instead, I purchase a neat and comfortable pair of sandals which suit both pants and skirts and are suitable for long-time hiking, as well as night outings and parties.
    I don’t fancy imitation jewellery, but I do understand a bright detail changes one’s everyday image into a festive one. Thus I’d rather pack one extra fun scarf instead of earrings. You can put it around your neck or use it as a hair accessory and it always looks impressive.

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