Six Things You Need for That Quick Cold-Weather Getaway
If, like me, you live somewhere that's beginning to resemble the North Pole (though in New York the snow is much, much dirtier), nothing sounds better right now than hopping on a plane for a warm weekend away. Just typing that sentence has me tearing up. (Or is it the arctic wind?)
Now, a proper weekend jaunt requires careful packing—you want all the essentials and indulgences, with none of the bulk. And forget about checking a bag, that's for amateurs only. Here are the five things that will drastically increase your odds of relaxing the right way (and the bag to toss them into for good measure).
The Camera: Olloclip Telephoto + CPL for iPhone 6
In this case, forget everything I said about buying a real camera. Still buy one, but leave it at home for your short trip. Olloclip recently updated its line of mobile photography lenses to include a few options for the iPhone 6 (the new shape took some crafty engineering to accommodate). Their most complicated model might sound tempting, but what you really want is the combination telephoto and circular polarizer ($99). This gives you some genuine zoom capability. and the polarizer will make sure the water in your beach selfies looks blue and inviting, instead of like a solar flare. The Olloclip fits in your pocket and costs less than a tray of those umbrella-laden Mai Tais you'll be throwing back.
The App: Booking Now
You want to get away now, not in June. The success of last-minute hotel-booking apps such as HotelTonight has led Booking.com to release Booking Now, a brand new iOS app that lets you lock down reservations on whatever timeline works for you. Already on the ground at your destination? No problem. Tell the app what area, price, and amenities you're looking for and it will search nearly 600,000 properties to find you a room. Now go buy that plane ticket and stop stressing out.
The Earbuds: Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2
Save your packing space for clothes and shoes and stick to more modest-sized headphones. You might not want to jam the Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2 ($180) into your jeans, but they can easily fit in a jacket pocket, and the updated design (hence "Series 2") is extremely comfortable. They're not noise-canceling, so you don't have any battery to worry about, but the snug fit goes a long way to block out external noise, and the sound quality is excellent. You don't have a vacation playlist yet? Seriously?
The Jacket: Aether Ultralight
It's February, so no matter how warm your destination is, chilly nights and morning aren't out of the question. Plus, with hundreds of thousands of air miles under my belt, I have yet to spend time on a warm airplane. The Aether Ultralight ($165) is exactly what it sounds like: a really lightweight jacket that's warm and water-resistant enough for that early walk on the beach (or even just the ride to and from the airport). And if you end up not needing it, the Ultralight can easily be squashed down tightly at the bottom of your bag without coming out worse for wear.
The Battery: Nomad Plus
Face it: Even though you plan on being away from your desk and walls, you're not going to get a full day of battery life out of your phone—especially if you're using maps to find your way around unfamiliar territory. (Not to mention listening to music, catching up on Instapaper reading, or Instagramming pictures of your feet by the pool for the benefit of your work-bound friends.) The Nomad Plus ($39.95) goes between your phone and its wall charger, charging as soon as your phone is full. This means one less thing to remember to plug in, and if you're out of the country, you don't have to get a separate adaptor for your phone and your extra battery.
The Bag: Lotuff Canvas & Leather Holdall
You're traveling light, not going to Coachella, so don't try to cram everything into a hiking backpack. Lotuff has been making incredible leather luggage in the U.S. for a while now, but an all bridle leather duffel bag is almost too heavy to carry when it's empty, let alone after it's packed. The new canvas and leather collection is much more practical, and the holdall ($825) is big enough for even a heavy packer like me to make it three or four days (especially if you're loading up shorts, not sweaters).