Travel Like an Editor: What InStyle’s Claire Stern Packed for Her Trip to Portugal
My mom grew up in five different countries, so I'm very lucky that both she and my dad instilled a love of travel in me at a very young age. Whenever I go on big trips, it's usually under their wing, and our collective itineraries could give Frommer's a run for their money. Suffice it to say, the bar is high for any international excursion.
After some deliberation, I landed on Portugal—specifically Lisbon and Porto—as my destination(s) of choice. Why? Because spring break, and everyone seems to be buzzing about the country's rich history, majestic façades, fresh fish, and delicious vino (port wine is produced exclusively in Porto's Douro Valley region).
Here's what I managed to fit in my carry-on.
Forever scarred by an experience in Asia where everyone in my family lost their bags, I'm adamantly opposed to checking. (The anxiety is too much for me to handle, and, given a larger suitcase, I'd definitely bring more than I actually need.) This slick carry-on by Away, a new direct-to-consumer luggage brand, is sized to fit on most major airlines, and its inset wheels (which spin 360°) offer 10 percent more packing space. Plus, it features two USB charging ports, so you can charge your phone and tablet simultaneously.
Away Carry-On, $225; awaytravel.com
The flight time from New York to Portugal clocks in at just over seven hours, so I knew I'd need some quality headphones to watch movies—and muffle the sound of babies crying. This pair has plush on-ear cushions and 12-plus hours of battery life, in the event of any delays.
Skullcandy Grind Wireless Headphones, $90; skullcandy.com
AN ENTICING BOOK
An alluring read is crucial (especially if you've already seen the majority of in-flight movies). This trip, I began digging into The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, which follows an affluent yet troubled Manhattan family whose four adult siblings reunite after years of estrangement to squabble over the fate of their joint trust fund. So far, it's worth the hype.
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, $17; amazon.com
A GOOD PAIR OF JEANS
The forecast in Portugal was low 60s, so I knew that denim would be my best bet. These high-waist cropped flares are not only comfortable—they can be easily dressed up with ankle boots.
Mother Hustler Ankle Fray Jeans, $218; shopbop.com
AN OFF-THE-SHOULDER TOP
The bare shoulder trend is still going strong, and this flowy top is the perfect companion for the above wide-leg pants. The lightweight denim fabric doesn't easily succumb to wrinkles, and, as an added bonus, its forgiving silhouette concealed my food baby.
Tibi Neo Twill Off-the-Shoulder Tunic, $295; tibi.com
One of Portugal's most charming qualities is its cobblestone streets, but they're also steep, windy, and painful to walk on. Comfortable shoes were essential, and for me, that always means sneakers. This classic Adidas style works well with dresses and skirts, too.
AN EVENING-APPROPRIATE LBD
A CHIC BACKPACK
I love a good handbag just as much as the next person, but it can get old after hours of touring, especially if physical activity is involved. This slick leather design by cult brand KARA, with a silver metal zipper and adjustable leather straps, has all the trappings of a stylish cross-body.
KARA Small Backpack, $440; barneys.com
A VERSATILE NECKLACE
I'm not a huge fan of bringing jewelry on vacation (anything delicate is just begging to be lost in transit), so I banked on this gold plated necklace by New York designer Julie Vos to accent every outfit. The 2-inch-long pendant was difficult to misplace.
Julie Vos Coin Pendant, $165; julievos.com
I took a red-eye on the way over, so sunglasses were my best friend when I deplaned. This menswear style is like a cross between a cat eye and a wayfarer (read: ample face coverage).
IVI Bonnie Sunglasses, $200; shopivivision.com
As previously mentioned, the flight was long. Thus, it required an arsenal of travel-size beauty products to combat dry skin, protect against sun damage, enhance my natural lip color, and tame frizz for beachy, windswept softness. These four did the job.
From left: Glossier Generation G in Like, $18; glossier.com, Benefit Dream Screen, $32; benefitcosmetics.com, Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray, $15; bloomingdales.com, Goop Revitalizing Day Moisturizer, $100; shop.goop.com
A HEARTY APPETITE
Okay, so I didn't pack this per se, but I can assure you that it was with me at all times. As an aspiring foodie, a large part of my agenda consisted of trying as many restaurants as humanly possible, and this French toast at Majestic Café, an ornate pastry shop with Belle Epoque-era interiors in Porto, was the tops. Incidentally, it's also where J.K. Rowling conceived the idea for Harry Potter. It's easy to understand why.