I Just Spent 3 Weeks Traveling Non-Stop and These Are the 6 Essentials I Can't Recommend Enough

Add them to your packing list.

Nikki Ogunnaike
(Image credit: Tyler Joe)

The below is from editor-in-chief Nikki Ogunnaike's weekly newsletter, Self Checkout. Subscribe here.

With close to 20 years in the fashion industry, I’ve not only seen it all—but also know how to parse through the endless sea of stuff. What’s worth buying? What’s not? In Self Checkout, you’ll find my highly specific recommendations with a few picks from my most knowledgeable, stylish friends.

Friends! I’ve missed you dearly. I’m coming off of a whirlwind three weeks of travel—from Italy to Greece; New York to California and back to Milan; and finally to Paris, France. But don’t cry for me, Argentina. While this has been mostly work travel, there’s been some fun (like running a Nike relay race with 40 other people from the base of Mount Helicon to the base of Mount Olympus on Global Running Day). Packing for all of these different types of trips has given me an opportunity to hone in on my summer travel essentials and I’m excited to share them all with you.

Nikki Ogunnaike at Fashion Week

Editor-in-chief Nikki Ogunnaike and Nicole Martine Chapoteau.

(Image credit: Tyler Joe)

My Go-to Luggage

I’ve been able to tackle packing for four to five days at a time in a Rimowa suitcase and Longchamp duffle. Two items I’ve recently added to my must-haves in the carry-on are this cord organizer and this audio transmitter that allows me to connect my Bluetooth headphones to my airplane TV. Game changers!

My Travel Uniform

I’ve recently been wearing Nili Lotan’s Shon pants because they’re basically as comfortable as sweats, but more polished and can be worn straight off the plane. They’re also lightweight enough for hot weather. As for tops, I’ve been wearing two to three light layers that could be styled individually in other outfits, like a white tank top, a polo shirt, and light blazer or hoodie. For shoes, I go with sneakers like the Reebok Club C that I can wear with suits or casually sightseeing.

My Work Essentials

I spent part of my trips speaking at a Marie Claire summit and taking brand meetings. For those moments, I wanted to feel put together (business casual-ish) but not totally dressed up. Suiting separates and loafers saved me time and space in my suitcase.

My Just-for-Fun Pieces

This is where I can let a bit of my true vacation style shine through interesting cuts and barely-there sandals.

My In-Between Items

These are the things I pack just in case I have a moment to steal away for myself—whether that’s laying by the pool, squeezing in a workout, or strolling around the neighborhood.

My In-Flight Entertainment

As my friends over at A Thing or Two said last week, we are in a golden age of podcasts. I’m currently listening to Fashion People, Lemme Say This, The Full Bleed (if you’re reading this, I’d like to be a guest) and of course Nice Talk (Marie Claire’s newly-launched podcast, hosted by me!). Each takes a chatty form tackling topics within the media and fashion industry, pop culture writ large, and money and power dynamics.

So many summer reads have dropped just this past week alone that my stack is quickly piling up. At the top of the list? The Myth of Making It: A Workplace Reckoning by Samhita Mukhopadhyay and I'm Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself: One Woman's Pursuit of Pleasure in Paris by Glynnis MacNicol. I can’t wait to crack them open on my upcoming vacation.

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Nikki Ogunnaike

Nikki Ogunnaike is the Editor in Chief of Marie Claire US. She has previously held roles at Harper's Bazaar, GQ, ELLE, Glamour, InStyle, and Vanity Fair. You may also recognize Nikki from her time as the host of Snapchat’s Online, IRL and IGTV's The Run Through. Based in Brooklyn, New York, in her free time Nikki enjoys running half marathons, learning about wine, and watching reality TV without an ounce of shame. You can follow her at @nikkiogun.