JetSetter Series: Stephanie Yoder of Twenty-SomethingTravel.com

Each day at Victorinox, we are surrounded by extraordinary women who inspire us. In celebration of the launch of Victoria – our first collection designed by women, for women; we’ve teamed up with some inspiring ladies who love to travel as much as we do.

Stephanie Yoder, author and writer of travel blog Twenty-SomethingTravel.com can’t sit still. Since 2010, she has traveled all over the world – living in some places, visiting others – and even met and fell in love with her husband along the way. Read on for Stephanie’s story, as well as her top travel tips.

 1. What sparked your travel itch?

My senior year of college, I studied abroad at University College London and just fell head over heels with the freedom and excitement of travel. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation, but I knew I had to explore the world. I’ve pretty much been on the move ever since!

2. What makes a great travel partner? 

Compatibility is a really tricky thing. I think that the most important thing is being on the same page in terms of budget, travel style, itinerary etc. If one person wants to go out partying every night and the other one prefers to sit in and read, you’re going to have friction.

I also think it’s important to be able to give each other space and alone time when needed. Split up for the day or at least take a walk by yourself. My husband and I have become really talented at being alone, together.

3. What are some of the benefits of solo travel in your twenties? 

I really believe everyone should travel alone at least once in their twenties. It gives you such great insight into your own personal preferences and travel style. You have to really listen to your inner monologue and make your own decisions, which isn’t always easy if you are used to going along with someone else.

It’s important to get used to spending time alone. You can practice this when you’re not traveling by going out to dinner or the movies by yourself. It feels really strange at first, but with experience you start to feel more comfortable. All of a sudden a whole new world opens up.

4. How long do you typically spend at home in Washington DC? What are some of your favorite spots there?

It really varies a lot. Earlier this year my husband and I spent seven months in Mexico; before that we were in DC for almost six months uninterrupted. We are actually moving out of the area very soon and we’re not sure what our home/travel split will look like.

I grew up in the DC area so I have a lot of favorite spots, but one of my absolute favorite things to do is to visit the National Monuments at night. There are barely any tourists out after dark, the monuments are all lit up and it’s just beautiful.  

5. For someone who’s always on the go, what are some little conveniences that keep your life running smoothly? 

Thanks to travel, my most prized possession is my Kindle. I’m a huge (and fast) reader and I used to lug around two or three books in my suitcase at a time, which got really old really fast. I bought a Kindle and never looked back. It’s so great to have my entire library in my hands, no matter where I go.  

Victorinox Travel Tip: Protect and easily access eReaders and tablets in many of the new Victoria Collection pieces, including the Charisma, Sage, Divine and Harmony day bags and Brilliance wheeled carry-on, all of which feature padded pockets to guard tech gear on-the-go.

6. How do you keep yourself organized on the go?

I try to keep things simple: minimal make-up, clothing that matches and one or two comfortable all-purpose pairs of shoes. I try to pack light and make liberal use of space organizers like packing cubes and a toiletry bag with many compartments. Having everything in its place makes it easy to repeatedly pack and unpack.

My husband is more of the “throw everything into a suitcase and stir it up a bit” school of packing, and he can never find what he needs, so I like to think my way is better! 

Victorinox Travel Tip: Organize essentials with the Lifestyle Accessories 3.0 Packing Cube Set and hanging toiletry kit like the new Victoria Muse. The convenient detachable zippered pouch even allows you to take a few beauty items on the go. 

7. What are your top 5 travel essentials? 

  • My Kindle (naturally)
  • My Laptop – I am always working on the road so I can’t live without it!
  • Sunscreen – no matter where I’m headed
  • Comfy sweatpants – great for lounging around the hostel or hotel
  • Snacks – granola or crackers fend off low blood sugar bad moods

 

8. At Victorinox, we believe it’s important for every woman to have a little piece of luxury. What’s yours? 

Really good face moisturizer. I go back and forth on the brand, but I always have some in my suitcase. Travel can be terrible for your skin: changes in weather, dry air on planes and hours out in the sun. A good moisturizer feels so luxurious after a long day on the road.

9. Of all your travel experiences, why was “A Year Without Makeup” the most significant lesson learned? 

The title really encompasses an entire philosophy of life and style rather than in the literal sense. Yes, I didn’t wear makeup for a year, and I still usually don’t bother to put any on, unless I’m going out somewhere nice. The bigger lesson however, was that I learned that beauty standards are basically arbitrary, and that I can pick and choose the ones I want to prescribe to. That is very freeing.

So, while I still like to get dolled up on occasion, when I’m traveling I generally choose comfort over sex appeal. You will never catch me in heels. Being able to walk for hours through a new city is more important to me.

 10. Where are you off to next?

My next big adventure has been a secret for awhile: I’m actually moving cross country – to Seattle! I’ve never lived on the West Coast of the U.S. and am really excited for this big change in scenery and lifestyle. That doesn’t mean I’m done traveling though. I simply refuse to sit still.

Designer’s Corner: Inside the Hybri-Lite™ Collection

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Victorinox is excited to introduce the new Hybri-Lite Collection to travelers in the U.S. The collection was first introduced internationally due to the overwhelming need for ultra-lightweight luggage in these markets. But you know Victorinox. We are never willing to sacrifice quality or durability so the result – an innovative new take on lightweight luggage. Hybri-Lite has become a staple for today’s global traveler. To give you an inside look, we sat down with the designer to learn more about this unique, one-of-the-kind Hybri-Lite collection.

What was the inspiration behind the Hybri-Lite Collection?   

We were inspired by the trends in the automotive industry. In the past, vehicles were very neatly separated into groups: cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, etc. Today many models are more difficult to classify. There are “hybrids”, and I don’t mean that in terms of the engine. This made us think about what hybrid luggage would entail – luggage that could also meet multiple needs and preferences.

So what is hybrid luggage?

We focused on combining the strongest aspects from hardside and softside luggage into one case. We used a polycarbonate chassis covered in durable nylon fabric. This unique construction allows you to enjoy the best of both. With Hybri-Lite™, your items are protected with polycarbonate just like in a hardside case, but you can enjoy packing flexibility like in a softside case. No one else in the market has anything like Hybri-Lite™.

The Hybri-Lite Global Carry-On weighs only 5.45 lbs. It is the lightest Victorinox bag yet. How were you able to achieve this?

We focused on making every aspect of the case as light as possible while still maintaining our standards of durability. By combining a flexible nylon exterior with a highly resilient 100% polycarbonate frame, we were able to reduce the weight of the bag without sacrificing its durability. The polycarbonate plays a large role in this. It offers a high level of protection and ruggedness while being very lightweight.

There are many lightweight bags on the market, what makes Hybri-Lite so special?  

Most lightweight bags on the market do not have framing, the structure that protects your packed items. Hybri-Lite includes a polycarbonate frame made of the same material used to construct some of the best hardside luggage cases on the market. We also kept all of the amenities like pockets and expansion. Hybri-Lite has all the features travelers expect in a fully framed bag. Additionally, Hybri-Lite was held to the same rigorous testing standards as the rest of our Victorinox luggage. There really were no compromises with this collection.

What are other features make this collection stand out from other luggage in its class?

With Hybri-Lite, you can truly expect more from your lightweight bag. The collection features premium Hinomoto wheels. The Hinomoto brand is known for high quality casters that minimize resistance for smooth roll. In addition, Hybri-Lite features an air-craft grade aluminum dual-trolley handle system that locks into three different positions so you can choose the one that is most comfortable for you. And did I mention that this bag has more packing capacity than any bag in its class?

What type of traveler will appreciate this collection the most?

This is a great option for the global traveler whose biggest concern is weight. International airline carry-on regulations are stricter than those in the U.S. putting more pressure on people to travel light. The Hybri-Lite Global Carry-On was developed to meet this need and make traveling abroad a little easier.

Have you traveled with this bag and where did you take it?

Recently I took the Hybri-Lite 20 Global Carry-On to New York for a three-day trip. We stayed in the Meatpacking District where we did quite a bit of walking. We visited the High Line as well as local galleries and restaurants. The bag coped with the cobblestones very well. I was able to pack everything I needed for the trip in just one carry-on and still had room for the clothes I purchased there.

From your personal experience, what is your best advice when choosing luggage?

Because you asked for my personal opinion, first, choose Victorinox luggage because it is going to outlast the competition. There is a reason why the Victorinox brand has built a reputation for unsurpassed quality and reliability. Second, if you are looking for ultra-light luggage, choose Hybri-Lite. It looks good and you will not have to worry when you throw it on the scale at the airport. Depending on how you pack, of course. I can’t help you if you insist on bring six pairs of boots on a five-day trip.

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2014 Red Dot Award Winner: Spectra™ 2.0 Dual-Access Global Carry-On

31318102__000_L3We are very excited to share the news that Victorinox Travel Gear has won a 2014 Red Dot Award for the Spectra 2.0 Dual-Access Global Carry-On!  A 40-member international panel of experts tested, discussed and evaluated 4,815 entries from 53 countries in this year’s competition.  True to the motto “In search of excellence”, the jury selected the best achievements in product design to receive the sought-after Red Dot quality seal.

We congratulate the Victorinox Travel Gear design team who worked so hard to bring this innovative new hardside luggage design to market!

About the Spectra™ 2.0 Dual-Access Global Carry-On

Victorinox brings innovation to hardside luggage in the Spectra 2.0 Collection. Uniquely designed to make traveling with hardside luggage more convenient, the case is equipped with an integrated front zippered quick-access door and removable electronics panel to give you on-the-go accessibility to the things you need most while traveling – like a laptop, tablet, tickets, passport and more. This dual-access construction 31318003__000_Falso accommodates your personal packing style and your travel essentials by allowing you to pack two ways – through the front quick-access door using a traditional top down method so you can organize clothing in a neat stack, or through the main opening using the 50/50 split to separate your belongings into two compartments. Engineered to be ultra-light without sacrificing durability, these 100% pure Bayer polycarbonate cases feature a scratch-resistant matte finish, protective corner guards and two layers of premium Bayer polycarbonate which absorbs impact without breaking or cracking. The material is 28% stronger than typical ABS plastic and is also used in football helmets, police riot shields and as a component in bulletproof glass. To ensure a stable roll, the case features eight wheels and an adjustable three-stop dual-trolley handle system. The dual-caster wheels feature a reinforced inner wheel housing and metal ball bearings for a smooth roll across virtually any surface.

Click here to read more about the award in the official press release.

Innovation Opens Doors And Wins Awards

IMG_1110_2We are thrilled to announce that the Spectra™ 2.0 Dual-Access Extra-Capacity Carry-On has been selected as Best Luggage in the 2014 Travel + Leisure Design Awards! Victorinox Travel Gear Vice President of Product Strategy & Design, Dan Tarala and Travel Gear Senior Designer, Jacob Lusson accepted the award in New York during the tenth annual Travel + Leisure Design Awards gala last night. 

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A distinguished jury chose the best of the year based on the idea that “innovative design makes travel better.”  We couldn’t agree more. “It’s very exciting that Spectra™ 2.0 has received this award for best luggage design. We really wanted to design a case that is stylish and practical—something that makes travel and packing more convenient. This acknowledgement from Travel + Leisure confirms that we were able to achieve this,” said Senior Travel Gear Designer, Jacob Lusson.

 

The Spectra™ 2.0 Collection pushes hardside luggage design to new heights, offering travelers a convergence of style, protection and convenience. Specifically, the Spectra™ 2.0 Dual-Access Extra-Capacity Carry-On is equipped with an integrated front zippered quick-access door and organizational panel to give the traveler on-the-go accessibility to the things they need most while traveling like a laptop, tablet, tickets, passport and more. This dual-access construction also allows you to pack two ways – through the front quick-access door or through the main compartment opening.  Additionally, the entire collection, including this award-winning style, is designed to be ultra-light without sacrificing durability.  These 100% pure Bayer polycarbonate cases feature a stylish, scratch-resistant matte finish along with protective corner guards.  And to ensure a smooth, stable roll, eight wheels and a dual-trolley handle system round out Spectra™ 2.0 to deliver a performance-focused design at every turn.

 

To learn more about this collection and its innovative design, check out the exclusive interview with the collection’s designer and visit spectra.victorinox.com.

Victorinox and T+L Design Awards
Nancy Novogrod Senior Vice President/Editorial Director, American Express Publishing, Editor in Chief, Travel + Leisure presenting the award to Victorinox Travel Gear Senior Designer, Jacob Lusson. Photo: Diane Bondareff / Travel + Leisure.

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Designer’s Corner: Inside the Spectra™ 2.0 Collection

spectrasketches“Innovation is in our blood here in Switzerland – since the beginning, we’ve always tried to make things better” says Mr. Elsener, chief executive officer of Victorinox, in an interview from 2010.  This statement still rings true today.  The all-new, Spectra™ 2.0 hardside luggage design has taken the Spectra™ Collection to new heights, with endless packing possibilities and unique travel solutions. We sat down with Senior Travel Gear Product Designer, Jacob Lusson, for an exclusive sneak-peek of this collection, which is set to launch this fall.

1.    What was your inspiration behind the redesign of the collection?

To be honest, the success of Spectra™ was the inspiration. We listened to feedback from customers and retailers and tried to build upon all of the positive aspects and remedy any negative ones.  Automotive, sport and consumer electronic trends also influenced the design.  The new matte finish was a product of that.

 2.    What is your favorite feature of this collection?

My favorite feature is probably the one that will go least noticed by most users: the new casters.  We went through several iterations where we tweaked the durometer of the outer tread material to get it to roll perfectly regardless of what surface the case is on. Little, obsessive stuff like that is what I’m most happy with.

 3.    The Spectra™ 2.0 carry-on is now offered in two styles, one with a Quick-Access Door and one without.  Which version fits your personal travel and packing style?

I’ve switched to the Quick-Access version. I occasionally use the electronics panel but most of the time I still prefer to carry my laptop in an Altmont™ backpack, so I remove the panel that separates the front pocket from the main compartment and just load everything through the front Quick-Access Door. I can just cram all my clothes in and go.

4.    How do you pack your hardside case?

I pack in the same way the Man Vs. Food guy eats a sandwich. It’s chaos. That’s what’s best for me. I know Dan, the Vice President of Victorinox Travel Gear Product Design, likes to roll his clothes and then separate them by type of clothing using the case’s 50/50 split divider wall.  I would expect that most people would pack this way, too. This way you stay organized and can utilize the compression straps that keep your items from shifting during travel and the zippered pockets for smaller items.  To each their own…

5.    Where have you traveled with this bag and where did you take it?

My Spectra™ 2.0 case has seen three continents so far. And Wisconsin. Is Wisconsin a continent? It should be. Go Pack Go!

6.    What color of Spectra is your favorite?  

It’s so hard to choose; I like all of the variations of Spectra™ 2.0.  I tend to travel with a black Spectra™ Dual-Access Global Carry-On, so I would say that is my favorite.

7.    In the past, the Spectra™ Collection has introduced many limited edition colors. Will this continue to be the case with Spectra™ 2.0?

The red, black and white colors are tried-and-true, but we will do limited editions for more adventurous folks.  That’s all I can say. I’ve said too much as it is.

8.    The Swiss Army Knife heritage of this brand is very engrained in this collection.  When designing this luggage collection, what inspiration comes from the knives? 

The Quick-Access styles are the Swiss Army Knife of luggage, for sure. It’s a bag equipped for any travel situation.  They can be business bags with sleeves for your laptop and tablet; pockets for phones, pens, and chargers; and they hold enough clothes for short trips. You wouldn’t even need a briefcase or backpack.  They are also a great choice for leisure travel.  They are stylish, lightweight, protective for any souvenirs you may acquire and they offer great packing flexibility.

9.    Not only is this bag lightweight, it is very strong and durable. What kind of testing is performed to ensure its durability?

They are thrown through the wringer; abused in more ways and more times than even the most disgruntled baggage handler would have the energy for.  And then we do it again to make sure the results are repeatable.  We have the highest testing standards of anyone in the industry and our testing lab upholds these standards to the fullest.

10. Tell us about the Spectra™ 2.0 material

It is made from two layers of 100% virgin Bayer polycarbonate. Meaning the polycarbonate hasn’t been recycled and remolded. Recycling materials greatly reduces the integrity of the material and weakens it.   A pure polycarbonate on the other hand creates a high-quality, high-impact resistant travel case that can withstand the toughest of travels.  Another benefit of polycarbonate is that it can bend. Through testing, we have determined the ideal thickness of polycarbonate to allow it to flex and absorb impact without breaking or cracking.  What I’m trying to get across, in many words, is that this material is protective, lightweight and durable; that’s why it’s commonly used in football helmets and police riot shields and it’s why we currently use it for our hardside luggage.

11. What obstacles did you face when designing this collection?

Whenever you change something that’s been successful, you run the risk of screwing it up. So we made sure everyone who came in contact with the new cases during development felt they were even better than the first ones.

12. What was your favorite part of designing the collection?

The best part is always the beginning; you have a blank sheet of paper and the possibilities are endless.

13. What’s the future of hardside luggage?

It’s here, with Spectra™ 2.0.

Thank you to Jacob for this exclusive insight into the newest generation of our popular Spectra™ Collection; coming to www.victorinox.com this fall!

Jetsetter Series: Expert Tips for Traveling Abroad

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At Victorinox Travel Gear, we are all passionate about travel and seeing the world.  Jason Hodge, our Director of International Sales based in the United States, has been immersed in the world of travel practically his whole adult life. Prior to working for Victorinox Travel Gear, Jason spent many years backpacking across Europe before landing a job as a Travel Director at a travel agency – giving him the opportunity to travel to 5 continents and about 60 countries thus far.  With all of his travel experience, we went to Jason to soak up some of his vast knowledge on traveling abroad…
Booking Travel:
•    Research Flights:  When finding flights – go to multiple travel sites and look at different ways to fly: going city-to-city direct versus going through airline hub cities.  In some cases you’ll find cheaper fares, in other cases, shorter travel times.
InFlight•    Plan to arrive in the late afternoon or evening: If you don’t sleep well (or at all) on overseas flights, like me, try to arrive in the afternoon or evening, get a good night of sleep in a bed so you can start the journey fresh. There’s nothing worse than arriving in the early morning at your destination and feeling like a coffee-sipping zombie all day.
•    Don’t cram everything in:  If you are going to more than one place on your trip, don’t cram in several overnight flights just to save time. You won’t be able to fully enjoy yourself during daytime hours. It’s better to space these overnight flights out, or wait until your return-home flight to book overnight flights.
•    Choose the correct mode of transportation: Depending on the location and the amount of time allowed, the method of travel can vary. Boat/ferry travel is ideal for short trips from mainland to islands like La Ceiba, Honduras to the Bay Islands, or a very affordable option to get from places like Dover, England to Calais, France.  Trains are the method of choice when traveling between smaller cities within Western Europe, seeing the amazing natural topography of Western Canada, or experiencing the one-of-a-kind bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. They’re usually very reliable and fast, although ticket prices can be as much as airline tickets sometimes. For those with limited time, air travel is the probable method. You may lose the opportunity to see the smaller cities and towns, but you’ll cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.

Hotel Accommodations:
•    Location, location, location:  Of course it depends on the purpose of your trip, but location always plays a big role in determining the accommodation. If you’re closer to the sites you want to go to, you save time…time to enjoy a coffee in the Hotelmorning or a drink in the evening. Although metros and taxis can be fun, walking is the preferred method of travel for me. So, I look for accommodation that puts me in the heart of things. Factors such as room size, deluxe amenities and included breakfast play less of a role.
•    Boutiques are hidden gems: Modern boutique hotels always catch my eye, and are often run by a husband/wife. These hotels are hidden value-added hotspots – like having family or best friend and concierge all in one spot.  In the past, I’ve had success finding these types of hotels by looking at reviews on travel blogs and forums.  Once I find a hotel that peaks my interest, I go to their website for pictures and location before making my final decision.

Packing Preparation:
•    Choosing luggage: in the past couple of years I’ve been traveling more with the Spectra™ Extra Capacity Carry-On hardside luggage with four wheels. Hardside cases are stronger, more secure, sleeker and MUCH easier to roll through airports. I like to bring my Deluxe Travel Pillow and all my tech gadgets in my black Altmont™ 3.0 Dual-Compartment Laptop Backpack.
•    Research the location: I do some research on average temperatures and altitudes for each destination. You may not want to pack a coat when going to South Africa in January (their summer).
•    Pack light: I always try to pack light, and bring clothes that I can mix and layer in different ways. Carry-on luggage is the way to go. You save so much time before and after flights, and it prevents a lot of awkward and physically-exhausting moments in/out of taxis and hotels. In a carry-on I can usually pack 7 days of undergarments, 3 days of clothes and shoes/clothes for exercising. There might be one or two key items that need washing on the trip, but it’s worth the hassle of checking bags.

In-Transit:
•    Keep busy: Because I very rarely can sleep on long flights, I need things to help me pass SandDune_Walkingthe time. Essentials are a fiction novel, an iPod, good-quality over-ear headphones (ear buds starts to hurt after awhile), and my laptop (I try to do at least 2-3 hours of work). I like to connect my camera and edit and file photos as well – a great time filler.
•    Stay powered:  I usually bring my normal power cords and my Worldwide Adapter Plug with USB Charger. Some planes will have universal outlets in your seat. For others, I have to use a 12V DC power outlet (cigarette lighter outlet) – which comes in my All-In-One Charger Set.
•    Stay hydrated & well nourished: I always buy two extra bottles of water, a bottle of Gatorade, and a sandwich in the terminal before getting on the plane. I don’t like to rely on when the flight crew decides to distribute food and drinks. Also, the air on planes can be very dry, and drinking lots of water really helps me with jetlag.

Staying Safe:
•    Lock up:  For air travel, TSA locks are essential, and I always bring a few extra. Inspectors in certain countries often don’t understand that a TSA master key can open the locks, so when I pick up my bag upon arrival, the locks are clipped or missing. For trains, and especially long train journeys, a Travel Sentry® Approved Loop Lock is great. You can lock your bag to a pole, and rest a little easier that the bag won’t be taken. This is a good habit, whether traveling through India, Germany or really, any other country. Always keep your money, passport and valuables either on you, or in a backpack next to you.
•    Explore during the day:
A reputable tour company may be a little pricey, but for developing countries it can offer a safe way to see the sites. If you can’t afford a tour company, I’ve noticed that renting a bike or moped can be a great way to safely get around, especially when there are a lot of people interested in stopping you and trying to sell you something.  Overall, explore during the day, dress conservatively and if you need directions, ask professional-looking women; they usually know English and will be kind.
•    Keep your money safe:
Keep most in a safe back at the hotel, some in your wallet and some in your sock. When I backpacked through India, I had a tailor put in a hidden pocket in my shorts. I put my passport and money in there when I would travel from city to city. Most travelers choose to use a Deluxe Concealed Security Belt or Deluxe Concealed Security Pouch, but make sure these are worn properly – underneath your clothing and out of sight – otherwise they are ineffective.

Money:
•    Convert some money before you leave: It’s nice to have some pocket money when you arrive.  If you have an opportunity to convert a little bit of money before you leave, it can be really helpful. You might not get a great conversion rate doing this though, so just convert a little. Upon arrival, exchange kiosks and hotels are very convenient, but the fees are usually way too high and they ask for your passport. The way to go is an ATM. Look for ATM’s when you arrive at your destination airport. You pay a bank fee, but you also get bank rate. It’s quick and easy, but usually only gives out large bills. Caveat: know the approximant exchange rate before you draw money from the ATM. Most will only show the amounts in the local currency. You don’t want to draw $1,000 when you only want $100.
•    Use credit cards for big purchases if you can: Not everywhere will take your credit card, so cash is important to have on-hand. But if you can use a credit card, especially for big purchases such as airline tickets or hotel bills, I suggest doing so because you never want to carry that much cash. It’s also important to notify your bank when you leave the country – let them know what cities you’ll be in as well as your travel dates – this way you’re credit card won’t go on hold for suspicious activity.

Whether you’re packing your bags for the sunny beaches of Bora Bora or preparing to backpack across Europe, we hope Jason’s expert tips will help make your travels smooth, safe and fun!

Jetsetter Series: Traveling with Celebrity Stylist Nicole Chavez: Packing Tips, World Tours with Celebrities & More

 

The Victorinox Travel Gear team recently caught up with Nicole Chavez, celebrity stylist, creative force behind ShoeMint.com and avid traveler. Chavez is a major influence within the fashion industry as one of Hollywood’s most highly sought after stylists. Nicole was named one of the “Top 10 Superstar Stylists” by Forbes Magazine. She was also ranked #20 on The Hollywood Reporter’s “Most Powerful Stylists in Hollywood,” and “Star Stylist Extraordinaire” at the Hollywood Style Awards in recognition for her exemplary work in styling. With clients including Rachel Bilson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kristen Bell, Nikki Reed, and Katherine Heigl, Nicole’s keen eye for detail and fit has firmly landed her at the forefront of fashion.

 Below, Nicole shares her top personal and professional packing tips, her favorite pieces from Victorinox Travel Gear and her own jet-setting agenda for her family and son Zev’s first holiday season. 

Victorinox Travel Gear: How long have you been working as a stylist and what is your favorite part of the job?
Nicole Chavez: I have been styling for about eight years now. I started in the costume departments in TV and Film.  I was working on “The OC” when I met my dear friend, first client, and now business partner, Rachel Bilson, when I decided to go off on my own.  I love that every day is different – there is definitely never a dull moment. I love fashion so it is a gift to be surrounded by beautiful pieces of art all day.

VTG: How much time do you spend traveling?
NC: I travel once or twice a month, but I slowed right after having my son, Zev, earlier this year. Now I am back in the air, going wherever the ladies need me! 

VTG: How would you describe your personal travel style?
NC: Comfortable and chic. I always want to look presentable and pulled together anywhere I go, but I need comfort when I travel. 

VTG: What is your most memorable travel experience – good or bad?
NC: My best and worst experiences actually happened on the same trip! I was on a world tour with one of my clients; we visited seven countries in nine days. It was an amazing, but exhausting trip – we spent all day sightseeing and attended the movie premieres at night.  Our last stop was Berlin and we were trying to get home in time for Christmas with our families.  There was a HUGE storm and absolutely no flights. We ended up being stuck for a few extra days and I finally broke down at the airport. All I wanted was to get back to my husband for the holidays. To cheer myself up I spent the following 2 days in Berlin at the spa. With travel, when you want to get home, you want to get home!

VTG: What are your top packing tips?
NC: When I am packing for myself or for my clients, efficiency is always key due to baggage weight limitations.  Personally, I always try and do a bit of research before a trip: what’s the weather going to be? What is the culture? I even sometimes research the local street style online.

My top overall tricks:

  • For my clients, I always pack a, “911 kit” which typically includes all the essentials one needs to avoid any fashion catastrophes:  a needle and thread, moleskin, top stick [double-sided tape], Band Aids, static guard, lint rollers, scissors, etc.
  • Pick a color theme and stick with it to make it easier to edit out extraneous items.  Everything should work together – eliminate the shoes that only work with one outfit and go for the pair that works with multiple!
  • If you have time, take pictures of outfits (accessories and footwear included) so getting ready on the road is a breeze – no thinking required.

When packing my suitcase or my clients’, I make the most of every square inch of space!

  • I start with a bottom layer of rolled garments such as knits and cottons that don’t easily wrinkle, to save space
  • In the middle I place the heavier, folded items then the lighter items (e.g. bathing suits and workout gear) on top.
  • I always wear the heaviest pair of shoes I’m bringing, and place the others in shoe bags to avoid heels poking through delicate fabrics or dirtying clean clothes. Overall, I try to bring one casual pair, maybe flats, workout sneakers and one pair of heels – unless of course I’m headed to Fashion Week! To maximize space, I wrap belts around the perimeter of the bag and tuck small items like chargers and sunglasses inside my shoes.
  • Another trick – I always use garment bags or dry cleaning bags to divide the layers and keep my garments clean and protected, just in case any toiletries leak!
  • Also, for packing with ease or when you have little time to think in advance, there are several easy packing lists you can download online and print/check off as you go.  These always keep me organized.
  • I also always bring an expandable or foldable/packable extra bag to tote back souvenirs, gifts and purchases made on the road!

Victorinox travel tip: To save space and organize your belongings like Nicole, try the Victorinox Lifestyle Accessories 3.0 Packing Cube Set

VTG: Do you prefer hardside or softside luggage?
NC: I love hardside cases – specifically the Spectra Collection from Victorinox. It’s lightweight, easy to maneuver, efficient and sleek. I’m always surprised that even when I think the Spectra won’t close, it somehow does! I love the protection of a hardside case but room to fit everything I need. The Global Carry-On is a great weekender size. I always recommend Spectra to my clients. I even use the amazing color selection to color coordinate their luggage on trips or press tours (e.g. all gowns are in red Spectra, while all casual clothes are in the blue).

Victorinox travel tip: This holiday season you can find the Spectra Collection on SwissArmy.com in WhiteThis special color, a favorite in renowned international retail locations such as Harrod’s London, will be available to U.S. shoppers for a limited time!

VTG: Are there travel accessories you can’t live without?
NC: I always tuck a small cosmetic bag containing my license, passport, and other travel documents in my purse so it’s organized and easy to access. For jewelry, I use a makeup case – like a Hanging Toiletry Kit – to avoid tangling and so I can see everything more easily.

Victorinox travel tip: Try the Lifestyle Accessories 3.0 Travel Organizer to easily organize and access passports and important documents on the go!

VTG: Why do you recommend Victorinox Travel Gear for travelers of any kind?
NC: I use Victorinox because it’s luggage that lasts. If you’re a frequent traveler like me, it’s important to have quality cases that still look chic and cool and I’ve experienced that firsthand with Victorinox.

VTG: Backpacks are a big fashion statement this season! Do you use them when you travel?
NC: I’m a huge fan of backpacks.  They relieve stress on my back by distributing weight, keep my hands free and are great for overhead compartments. I also travel with a tote handbag  to store items that I need to quickly and easily access. When traveling with electronics, I usually keep my laptop in my backpack and iPad in my tote.

VTG: Will you be traveling anywhere this holiday season?
NC: I went to Seattle for Thanksgiving and am going to Hawaii for Christmas and New Year’s. We’re taking the baby with us. Traveling with a baby now is crazy. I feel like I have to take the entire nursery!

 

VTG: What travel-related gifts do you hope to receive or will you be giving this holiday?
NC: I haven’t started my shopping yet, but travel gear would be great for my husband and in-laws. The Victorinox Spill Resistant Pouch SetAll-in-One Charger Set and All-in-One Adapter Plug are great stocking stuffers!

We hope these helpful travel tips from industry pro, Nicole Chavez have helped you take the edge off of your holiday travel stress! Check back on SwissArmy.com early and often for the latest Victorinox Travel Gear additions and from all of us at Victorinox, have a very happy holiday!

Spectra Featured in Luxury Activist

The Spectra Travel Gear Collection was featured in an article titled “Traveling With Style” on the Luxury Activist blog!

Writer José Amorim has spent the last 14 years developing long-term marketing strategies for luxury brands and, after traveling with Spectra luggage says “you definitely need to check (out) this collection.”

Click here to read his article and learn more about the Spectra Collection from Victorinox.