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Paris-based South African blogger Chantal Dewolf gives her 10 travel essentials…

Every travel blogger has a list of can’t-live-without items that are essential for their gallivanting. While some of these items are pretty obvious packing choices, others are not so evident and are great insider tips.
 In the interest of looking like a respectable travel blogger; I have compiled a list of the 10 essentials that I always pack.


If I was drawing up this list a few years ago, I would have said: my mobile phone, a notebook, local maps and a good book or two. But nowadays, I just take my iPad, preloaded with the relevant travel maps, a literal library of book choices, and Evernote. Also, FaceTime kicks regular phoning’s butt any day!


Whilst the iPad can wear so many hats, I am not one of those people you find holding up my iPad to take photos from a bus, ship or plane. We have wonderful, belly-aching laughs when we spot these people. Don’t be one of them. And if you are, know that you are severely judged. But wait, what’s that you say: “They wouldn’t have put a camera on the iPad, if you weren’t meant to take photographs.”

Sorry, I couldn’t hear you over all the laughing.


So versatile when on vacation! Use it as a blanket in a chilly airplane cabin or a sarong on the beach. It can be used to dress up a plain dress for an evening out, or a towel in case of emergency. I sometimes take two, in different colors. Also remember, a large scarf will work just as well.

Beauty product

I don’t like endorsing beauty products merely because everyone I know has their tried and tested favourites. So while I won’t tell you which moisturiser or mascara you simply shouldn’t live without, I’ll put this out there: Elizabeth Arden’s 8-hour cream is a god-send! Use it to calm sunburns, or as a rich hand treat. Employ it as glamorous lip-gloss or to soothe cracked heels from long days of sightseeing. Use it to slick back unruly, windswept hair or use a little on the collarbone or legs for mega-shine.

Multi Plug Travel Adapter

If you’re like me, you can’t be bothered to research the voltage specifications of every country you visit. And if again, like me, you never travel without your GHD; save yourself some heartache, and invest in a quality multi plug adapter.


My feet are always cold. And I can never seem to get comfy, let alone sleep when my feet are icy. On long haul flights, when the air temperature in the cabin seems to mysteriously plummet, I always don a pair of thick, warm socks. The look may not win me any beauty pageants, but at least I get a bit of shut-eye.


Everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Dita Von Teese has advocated the necessity of the Little Black Dress in every woman’s wardrobe. I’m advocating the necessity of the LBD in your suitcase. Nothing is quite as versatile as a LBD. Perfect for everything from afternoon cocktails to a glamorous dinner on the town. Make sure your LBD is simple and structured. You can then play around with different accessories to ensure multiple looks with one nifty little dress!

Trail mix

You can always find little packets of dried fruit or nuts in my handbag. It’s perfect for a pick me up when the sightseeing runs a little longer than expected, or for those inevitable times when airplane food lets you down.

Large hold-all/tote

If you’re like me if you’re a woman, you carry practically your entire life around in your handbag. It’s why a stylish, large tote is indispensable. I like ones with multi-pockets where I can stash my iPad, mobile, travel documents and sunglasses.

A winning attitude

Travelling is not always fun and it’s not always easy. Missed flight connections, bumbled hotel reservations or even a terrible sunburn can lead to you having a miserable time on your vacation. A positive attitude is vital on days like these, when everything seems to be going wrong, and all you want to do is pack up your stuff and go home. Make the challenges a part of the adventure.

No one’s going to want to hear a story about how you reached the airport on time, then read a magazine while casually waiting for your flight to board. Tell them the story about how you missed your connection to JFK, and had to spend the night sleeping on the terminal floor before being flown out to New York via Reykjavik, and you have them eating out of your hands!

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