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Travel

Gearing up for a long-haul flight? Whether it’s for work or play, traveling can be exhausting. And let’s face it, for the majority of travelers, unless you’re in business class, flying can be seriously uncomfortable. When I worked in consulting, I traveled every week. I was flying to and from my client site every Monday and Thursday – sometimes from coast to coast. During that time, I became very familiar with making long haul travel as efficient and comfortable as possible. I learned how to navigate airports, hotels, and the world of credit card points and travel loyalty programs.

Although I switched jobs a few years back and no longer travel for work, I still make a point to travel as often as I can – now for fun! Traveling can bring out the worst in anyone (dealing with delays and other cranky people doesn’t make for the best experience), but I always try to keep my cool and make the flight itself as comfortable as possible. I’m fortunate that I’m relatively petite so I don’t have too many issues with the seats, but even then long-haul flights can leave me feeling depleted and less than 100%. Over the years, I’ve developed a bit of a “travel pack” – a set of items I consider to be my long haul flight essentials that I seriously will not get on a flight without.

But first, a few general rules of thumb I always follow when I travel.

Tips for long flights:

Drink water!! And then drink some more water.

Flying dehydrates your skin and body like crazy. Ever notice how sometimes your digestive system gets all funky after flying? It’s partially because we become so dehydrated during our flights, making it more difficult for food to digest and move through our systems. I try to drink at least a cup (8 ounces) of water for every hour I’m on a plane, but truthfully the more the better. Splurge on a 1L bottle of water at the airport or bring your own refillable bottle. If there’s one thing I always do on planes, it’s drink a TON of water. I’ll usually choose the aisle seat too so I’m not that annoying person that keeps getting up to use the bathroom ; ).

Avoid eating plane food.

As a general rule of thumb, I won’t eat the food on planes. Airplane food is loaded with sodium and preservatives, not to mention your taste buds are totally different at a higher altitude (meaning you can’t taste food the same way you do normally, hence why plane food has so much sh*t in it to make it taste palatable in the sky). Also, fasting during long haul flights supposedly helps with jetlag. Sometimes I’ll bring my own snacks but usually I just try to wait until I land to eat. Same goes for alcohol – 9 times out of 10, I won’t drink on a plane.

+ Dress comfortably.

Or at least pack a change of clothes for the plane. It is so worth it. Sometimes I’ll grab the slippers from my hotel room and wear them on the plane. The more comfortably dressed you are, the easier it will be to fall asleep – that’s my rationale at least!

Bring your own entertainment.

The last thing you want to be on a long haul flight is bored. You can hope for the best on the in flight entertainment (which I will admit usually occupies me for the majority of the flight), but it doesn’t hurt to pre load some movies or shows on your laptop or tablet, download all of your favorite music from Spotify, and bring a book or two. You know, options.

Then of course, you want to be Mary Poppins with everything that’s in your bag. Noise cancelling headphones, a water bottle, and a toothbrush aside, here are some of the things you will always find packed with me on a long haul flight.

Travel Bag Essentials for a long flight:

1. Slip Silk Eye Mask

Sleeping on planes can be hard. A luxurious silk  eye mask helps. Keep out distractions with headphones and this luxe eye mask. You might even forget where you are and temporarily drift off into a peaceful state of sleep…

2. Kiehl’s Ultra Hydrating Hand Cream

Back when I lived in Chicago, I relied on this stuff to get me through the crazy cold winters and the nasty dry and chapped hands that came with them. The formula is super thick and hydrating – one of the best hand creams I’ve come across ever. Also, yay for Sephora carrying Kiehl’s now!

3. A Sheet Mask

Forget the strange looks you’ll get from your seatmates, your thirsty skin will soak up a sheet mask and thank you for it. There’s no better way to fight dry skin and fake looking fresh and wide awake (and pretend you’re at a spa and not on a plane) than with a sheet mask. Opt for a hydrating, soothing mask to calm your skin down.

Travel in Comfort - Long Haul Flight Essentials | by The Luxi Look

4. Emergen-C

The last thing you want is to get sick on a long flight. Lack of sleep can weaken your immune system, so even if you don’t normally take any vitamins or supplements, consider bringing some along when you travel. Call it a placebo effect or not, but I notice a tremendous difference in my ability to fend off the beginning stages of a cold or illness when I take vitamin C. I’ll down a couple Emergen-C packets in a day and with proper rest and nutrition, it’s usually enough to nip a cold in the bud.

5. BYOT (Bring Your Own Tea)

In the same vein of staying hydrated, I usually try to drink a cup or two of tea on a flight. No matter what I’m wearing, I ALWAYS find myself super cold on planes. Hot water helps (you could even bring your own lemon to make hot lemon water), but a couple herbal tea packets of your choice will usually come in handy at some point during your trip.

Travel in Comfort - Long Haul Flight Essentials | by The Luxi Look

6. Moisturizing Lip Balm

I’ve shared my love for Glossier before and I’m doing it again now. This balm is so reliable, comes in different tints and flavors, and is like vaseline on crack. SUPER hydrating, keeps your lips and any other dry parts of your face or body moisturized, and travels well.

7. Face Mist

Yes, Evian facial spray is a little bougie. But flying just sucks all of the moisture out of the body, you know? Between the altitude, time change, and any food/alcohol you may consume on the flight, your body is screaming for water inside and out! After you’ve chugged all the water you can handle, refresh your skin with a super hydrating face mist. You’ll feel better instantly and look more awake. Try to avoid heavy makeup on planes (you wouldn’t go to sleep normally with a face full of makeup on, would you?) and opt for an au naturale, dewy glow from this face mist instead. Bonus: it comes in a travel friendly size (less than 3 oz!) so you can bring it on the plane in your carry on.

What are your long haul travel tips and essentials? I’ll take any advice and recommendations I can get to make the journey a little easier and more comfortable : ).

Safe and happy travels, everyone! xx

Call me basic, but there’s really nothing better than Europe in the summertime. I’m still dreaming about the trip we took to the South of France and Barcelona earlier this summer. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen snaps of my trip. I wanted to quickly recap with a travel diary South of France & Barcelona so I can share all the details on what we did in case you’re planning visiting any of these incredible places (lucky!!).

We started the trip by flying into Zurich and then renting a car to Alsace, France where we attended a friend’s wedding (which was absolutely stunning). From, there we flew to Nice and spent almost a week in the breathtaking south of France. After visiting Amalfi last fall, we were convinced that it was our favorite summer vacation destination in Europe, but we truly fell in love with the South of France. The vibes, diversity of food, French culture, and gorgeous beachside towns made it a destination we’re itching to go back to ASAP.

Travel Diary South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

Travel Diary South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France

Where we stayed:

We chose Nice as our home base after doing some research on where to stay. We loved how easy it was to get around (Uber is great in the South of France) and the proximity to neighboring towns via a short drive or train/taxi ride. If you choose to stay in Nice, we loved our stay at the Hyatt Regency which was located centrally along Promenade des Anglais.

Next time we’d love to stay in Cannes, St. Tropez, or our favorite – Cap Ferrat. Another option is to rent a car and drive up and down the entire coast, stopping along the way : ).

What we did:

Walked around Nice – we spent every morning visiting Cours Saleya for the daily market. Although Nice is the fifth largest city in France by population, it was still very walkable and felt cozy. The older I get, the more I enjoy staying put in one location longer – a stark contrast to the way I used to like traveling (as many destinations as possible in one trip).

Visited the beach – Nice has several beach clubs and public beaches, we opted to visit a couple neighboring towns as well to experience different beaches. AJ and I are huge beach lovers, so we always try to spend a couple days of a trip on a nice beach with a bottle of rosé (or two – when in the South of France…). In Cap Ferrat, Paloma Beach is a must visit (one of our favorite days of our trip!). In Antibes, we loved Plage Keller – the octopus salad is a must get.

Sights – Antibes is home to an incredible Picasso Museum, Nice is home to several wonderful art museums and exhibits as well.

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

What we ate:

We started off every morning with a light breakfast of espresso and a pastry (usually a croissant). Lunch and dinner varied, we typically ate lunch wherever we were during the day (at the beach or sometimes we would pick up something casual at the market) and dinner was usually in Nice. Some restaurants we ate at and loved: Le Sejour Cafe, Bistrot Chaud-Vin, Les Deux Canailles, La Merenda. Restaurants tend to be small and only have 2 seatings an evening, so we always called in advance for a reservation.

Now, onto Barcelona! One of my favorite cities in Europe. It was such a joy to be back in this vibrant, gem of a city.

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi LookSouth of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

Barcelona

Where we stayed:

We stayed in an apartment in L’Eixample neighborhood for the majority of our time in Barcelona. We always spend a couple nights at the W in Barcelona, which is one of our favorite hotels. The views from the rooms are to die for, and a day by the pool is the best way to unwind after a couple weeks of traveling.

I’ve heard wonderful things about the new Soho House in Barcelona (you don’t have to be a member to stay). We’ve previously stayed in El Born neighborhood, which I highly recommend to everyone (seriously the cutest neighborhood and the location is perfect for sightseeing). The Gothic Quarter is popular as well for tourists (without feeling too touristy!).

What we did:

I actually had several days to myself in Barcelona – so while I did not partake in the famous nightlife, I did spend my days wandering the Gothic Quarter, visiting the markets (La Boqueria is always a must visit, even if it is teeming with tourists), and taking in all the Gaudi I could handle. There is so much to do in Barcelona, all I can say is there is something for everyone. Whether it’s food and drink, the beach, nightlife, culture, or anything else – Barcelona will have something you will love.

Where we ate: 

Again, mornings for me typically start very light in Europe. A coffee of some sort and either a small pastry or some fruit. I noticed Europeans don’t tend to eat large breakfasts, which is more up my alley than huge stacks of pancakes and massive omelettes (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE breakfast and brunch, but a giant meal first thing in the morning isn’t always ideal). Then of course, lots of tapas! True to its name, I was able to snack and sip my way through Barcelona, even when I was on my own. I’m not a very experienced solo traveler, but I always felt safe and comfortable when I was walking by myself in the city. I never had any trouble with strangers and was able to eat and drink alone in peace.

There are so many types of Spanish food, but tapas are my personal favorite (you must go to El Xampanyet if you can!). I really enjoyed following this guide to Barcelona (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it), but you really can’t go wrong with any restaurant. Be sure to eat a lot and definitely try the local vermouth!

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

South of France and Barcelona Travel Diary | by The Luxi Look

Until next time, Europe!

xx, Amy

I visited Joshua Tree with my family over Christmas and all I can say is WOW. It was a bit colder than we were expecting, so we didn’t get to fully enjoy the park the way we wanted to (it snowed on Christmas Eve!). The park is absolutely stunning – the rock formations, plants, and trails are awe inspiring and the sunsets are absolutely breathtaking. Not to mention the little town of Joshua Tree is so quaint and filled with little gems. It is truly worth visiting if you live in or are visiting Southern California. The desert is my favorite getaway, so I will definitely be going back soon and doing a more extensive trip recap (seriously everything is so unbelievably photographic and beautiful). In the meantime, here are a couple photos from my short trip to Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding area.

xx, Amy

Joshua Tree National Park | The Luxi Look

Joshua Tree National Park | The Luxi Look

Joshua Tree National Park | The Luxi Look

Joshua Tree National Park | The Luxi Look

Nothing like an open road.

Joshua Tree National Park | The Luxi Look

Absolutely breathtaking sunsets.

Joshua Tree National Park | The Luxi Look

A succulent lover’s dream.

Joshua Tree National Park | The Luxi Look

Joshua Tree National Park | The Luxi Look

Cholla Cactus Garden – my favorite.

Joshua Tree National Park | The Luxi Look

Joshua Tree National Park | The Luxi Look

The best stargazing from our adorable Airbnb.

Our final stop in Italy…Positano!! (Read part one of my Italy Travel Diary). I’m so excited to share my Positano travel guide with you guys because it was by farrrr my favorite part of Italy. Getting off the ferry in Positano was a VERY different experience than in Capri. So much more relaxing and calm, I felt instantly at ease in the small coastal town. Positano is seriously even more beautiful in person than photos! I wish I could have captured its full beauty in pictures but I really think it’s a place everyone should visit at some point in their life!
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look
Similar to Capri, there isn’t TOO much to do in Positano. We spent 5 days there and mostly just walked around (there are basically only a few paths in the main part of town so it’s very easy to explore, and then you can hike around the town on the main road if you want something different – I think the loop was maybe 2-3 miles?), went to the beach/pool, and ate. You can also rent little boats to zip around the coast or take day trips to other towns along the Amalfi Coast. Normally when it comes to travel I’m a huuuge planner and like to keep things moving, but my boyfriend is somewhat the opposite and much more spontaneous when it comes to travel. Our last couple of trips we took were very non stop, so I think the slower pace of Italy was a welcome change.
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look
Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look

Wherever you stay in town, be prepared to walk uphill a lot! These mini hikes we took every day were really the only justification I had for the amount of fresh pasta I ate. To be honest, by the time we got to Positano I was a little gelato-ed out, and definitely at my limit with pasta. With that being said, the food in Positano is wonderful. My favorite restaurants were:

Da Adolfo – you have to call in advance to make a reservation (be sure to reserve beach chairs as well) and take a little boat (look out for the one with the red fish on it!) to the restaurant’s private beach. The menu is handwritten and seasonal, and entirely in Italian (google translate helped tremendously) – and everything is amazing. Be sure to get a pitcher (or two) of their house white wine with peaches.

Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look

Chez Black – the oldest restaurant, Chez Black restaurant Positano Italy, is a must see! This place is an institution. Given the location, you would expect it to be entirely touristy, but surprisingly it isn’t. The food is wonderful and the restaurant is still run by the original family. We ate here several times during our stay in Positano.

Next 2 – a bit of a walk from the main square but Next2 Positano is one of my favorite meals in Italy. Think slightly more upscale and modern Italian food. The service is great, and the reviews of Next2 are always positive, I promise you’ll love it!

La Sponda – go for a special occasion (or just because you’re visiting Positano) – the restaurant is beyond stunning.

Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look

You’ve probably seen photos of Le Sirenuse on Instagram or Pinterest – the hotel is stunning and the bar, Franco’s is a must for sunset cocktails and views. No better way to end the day. And if you’re looking for music and dancing, check out Music on the Rocks.

Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look

Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look

Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look

Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look

Positano Travel Guide | The Luxi Look

Positano is so gorgeous any time of year, but if you have the option, definitely visit during the summer. The town is so lively and bustling with energy – even at the end of September you could already tell the town was beginning to shut down for the winter. It’s definitely a place I’m planning on returning to in the summer as soon as I can.

Vacationing in the Amalfi Coast was so incredibly relaxing that this was honestly the first vacation I’ve taken where I was truly ready to come home. Don’t get me wrong, Italy is beyond a dream and probably one of my favorite countries in the entire world. You wouldn’t have to twist my arm to get me to stay and extra week or month or year ;). As dorky as it sounds I was super excited to get back to work and blogging!! There are some exciting projects in the works for the month of October and I’m really, really excited to share with you guys!

I hope you enjoyed this Positano Travel Guide. Don’t forget to check out part ONE.

xx, Amy

Ciao! Apologies for the delay on this post, I’ve been dying to share our Italy travel diary but jetlag and catching up with life in LA got the best of me, so here we go! Today I’m sharing Rome and Capri, next I’ll share a Positano Travel Guide, so get excited!

Prior to this trip, I’d been to Europe several times before but had never visited Italy. Even before going, I already knew Italy would become one of my favorite countries. My boyfriend and I love to travel and make a point to take one big trip a year. This was a bit of a last minute trip but fortunately we were able to book flights and most of our hotels on credit card points (the best way to travel, seriously!).

Although the Amalfi Coast (Capri + Positano) were the main highlights of the trip, but we were able to get a glimpse of Rome as well. If you’re flying from the West Coast, Europe can feel a bit far – it’s a much easier trip for our East Coast friends (in fact, almost everyone we encountered in Capri and Positano were from Manhattan). If you can fly directly into Rome or Naples, DO IT, because international travel + layovers can be a nightmare.

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

dress: band of gypsies

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

We only spent a couple days in the Eternal City. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you certainly can’t get through the city in a day. I could honestly spend weeks exploring the city. Instead of doing all of the typical tourist attractions, we decided to skip the crowds and lines and instead spend the time we had in Rome walking around the city leisurely. Knowing that Italy is definitely a destination we’ll return to, we felt fine skipping the usual “must-sees” and simply wandered around the city.

Going against my extreme type A / obsessive planning tendencies, we enjoyed Rome slowly, wandering from piazza to piazza, stopping regularly for spritzes + gelato. My favorite spots for apertivo time: the courtyard at Hotel de Russie and Ai Tre Scalini.

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

You really can’t have a terrible meal in Italy, but there certainly are tourist traps (and lots of them). If you’re looking for local and authentic joints with a neighborhood vibe, your best bet is usually to follow your eyes and ears.

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

From Rome we took a quick 1 hour train to Naples and caught a short ferry to Capri. It’s much easier to get to the Amalfi Coast if you fly directly into Naples as opposed to Rome, but there is so much more to do in Rome! I would choose Rome over Naples any day. If you have time, stop in Naples for the pizza. They’re famous for their extremely thin crust pizza. We made a pit stop at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele and it was one of the best decisions we made.

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Seriously, life changing pizza.

We’ve done trips where we covered a different city a day in the past – while that is a lot of fun it is also so exhausting and you never really get to “know” a place. A lot of trip guides say you can cover the Amalfi Coast in a day or two, but I HIGHLY recommend staying longer!

Capri actually isn’t pronounced the way it’s spelled (like capri sun, or those awkward 3/4 length pants we all used to wear…) – Italians pronounce it “cahhh-pree!” and will pretend as though they don’t know what you’re talking about if you say it any other way.

When you first arrive in Marina Grande, you’ll want to get the hell out of there. Loud, crowded, and full of tourists – you’ll be wondering why the f*ck did I come to this place?! Every day between 10-4 the cruise ships arrive and it’s a clusterf*ck but towards late afternoon the crowds leave and the town is peaceful and quaint. For this reason you should spend at least one night on the island and experience the real Capri.

Once you get out of the Marina and into the main town square or venture even further out to Anacapri, you’ll find that the island is truly lovely and magical. We spent 3 nights on the island and it was the perfect amount of time for us.

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look
Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look
Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look
Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look
bikini: triangl | hat: similar | sunnies: karen walker
Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look
dress: vici

Pictures don’t always tell a full story and although we got several days of sunshine and beautiful weather, it rained on as many days as it didn’t during our week and a half in Italy. Obviously this was entirely out of our control, and while a little bit of rain was fine in Rome, it did limit what we were able to do in Capri.

If you do visit Capri and get beautiful weather (which if you go during the summer months, you should!) here’s what to do:

Visit the beach clubs. The day we spent at La Fontelina was one of our favorites of the entire trip. Get a bottle of rose or a pitcher of sangria, and alternate between lounging on a beach chair and dipping into the sea.

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

La dolce vita indeed.

We didn’t get a chance to check out Il Riccio (near the famous Blue Grotto) due to the rain, but we heard great things about it as well.

Visit Anacapri – it’s a quick taxi or bus ride from the main square, for some reason we thought it would be a good idea to walk. Little did we know the path to Anacapri is a full on hike with what felt like thousands of stairs. Between the intense hike (seriously, dress for the occasion and bring water – we were so unprepared) and the stunning views from the top, it’ll take your breath away.

Go shopping in the main square. You could easily spend the day browsing the many designer boutiques on the island. If you’re looking for souvenirs or trinkets, Capri is known for their linens and custom handmade sandals.

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Eat! Some restaurants we ate at and loved –

Villa Verde – because of the rain, we didn’t want to stray too far from where we were staying. Villa Verde was a solid option in the main square with the usual suspects on the menu – pasta, pizza, and a variety of mains. One of the better options to have dinner in the town.

Al Grottino – set “in a grotto,” we loved this restaurant for its intimate feel and simple, home cooked meals. We ate here several times and fell in love with the staff. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu!

Da Paolino – you may have seen photos of this restaurant with its many lemon trees. Although the restaurant was beautiful and lemon scented, it did feel slightly touristy. Still worth a visit if you have time as the ambiance is beautiful in the summer.

Buonocore Gelato – this was definitely a daily (or twice a day) habit for me. They make their waffle cones fresh on the spot, it’s practically impossible to walk by and smell the fresh cones and NOT get a gelato.

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Italy Travel Diary | The Luxi Look

Rent a boat – 100% do this if you have a chance – we had originally scheduled a boat tour for a day but had to cancel because of the weather. I was a little disappointed that we did not get to see the famous Faraglioni rocks up close, but it’s really just an excuse to go back to Capri ASAP ; ).

Honestly, there isn’t TOO much to do on Capri. If you’re looking for a jam packed and action filled itinerary for this part of the Italy Travel Diary, you’ve come to the wrong place. The pace of living on the island is very slow, and we honestly spent our days walking around the town, hanging out at La Fontelina, and drinking spritzes. If this isn’t your thing, one full day might be more than enough for you.

Stayed tuned for the second half of my trip + Italy Travel Diary (my personal favorite) – A Positano travel guide!

As always, thank you for reading and if you ever have ANY questions about my Italy trip or are trying to plan your own trip, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.

xx, Amy

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