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UPDATE: It’s with great sadness that we share that Rachel with Hippie in Heels passed away in May 2019. We are grateful to have been a part of her journey and wish our deepest condolences to her family.
This week’s Travel Fashion Girl is Rachel. She blogs over at Hippie in Heels about glamorous travel on a reasonable budget. She gave up a career in nursing for the tropics, fashion, and love. She traveled the world for almost a decade, residing in Goa and later moving to Merida.
Interview: Rachel with Hippie in Heels
Originally published June 6, 2014
Q: How would you describe your travel style?
A: I like to be fashionable while I travel. I call my style boho-chic and love travel kimonos, wide leg trousers, big sunglasses, maxi dresses, and the jean short/crop top combo. I like to wear unique items that are handmade by designers I meet abroad which is why I started featuring them in a series on my site.
Q: Do you prefer to travel carry-on or with a regular size suitcase or bag?
A: It depends on the length of time. Within India for domestic flights I’ll take a carry on size backpack, but I finally got a gorgeous hard shell roller bag for when I make the long India to USA flights and I pack that thing to the brim! While traveling for a month or more at a time, I take a 65L backpack and check it.
To learn more about traveling carry-on only, read this.
Q: Do you recommend any particular bag or suitcase brand/model?
A: My 65L REI backpack (similar item) has lasted me for 4 years, most of that traveling in Asia and Africa. It’s been beat up but still not a single thread came lose. Although, if it had, it would be covered because REI has a great policy of broken products for lifetime!
Q: Are you an overpacker or do you underpack?
A: I under pack because I shop like a mad women while I travel. I love to pick up bits and pieces along the road. Sometimes jewelry is my focus which is great because it takes up so little space, but sometimes I bit up big items like ponchos or wall-hangings. I usually only pack a half full bag.
Q: How do you stay stylish while traveling without access to an entire closet?
A: Well, it took years of practice but I’ve realized layers and accessories are important. Always take cute sandals instead of flip-flops. Add a thin silky kimono over any outfit or add big chunky earrings, a bindi, or headpiece, or a belt over a dress and keep your hair flowy and natural.
Q: What are your three must have travel essentials?
Q:What destination was the most fun to dress for?
A: Goa, where I live now! It’s so open-minded and unlike the rest of India. I can dress up for Halloween if I feel like it. I let my hippie side loose and wear what I want which is usually a little over the top.
For more packing tips , please read this India packing list.
Q: What destination surprised you the most with the ways locals dressed or their type of clothing?
A: Uganda was fairly surprising because it was so conservative. It’s more conservative than India. Shoulders are covered as well as legs and people were wearing traditional tribal dresses in the villages.
Q: What’s your preferred travel outfit on a plane?
A: I wear loose linen pants, a lacey seamless bra so I feel cute with a loose t-shirt and my crochet kimono over. I always wear my glasses instead of contacts and take socks.
Q: What are your favorite travel beauty essentials?
Q: Do you have any specific hair or makeup products that work great for travel?
A: Burberry Body is amazing after a long flight and I use either Toni and Guy or Bumble and Bumble salt spray… but you can make your own easy if you do a little google. I think taking one travel size bottle of OPI is perfect for manicures at places that have cheap polish and makes me feel exponentially better when I’m grimy from say, a 16 hour train ride!
Q: How many pairs of shoes do you travel with and what styles?
A: I take burlap Toms, Chacos, which is a hiking sandal, and don’t tell the extreme light packers, but I take simple cream high heels! When I travel to the Himalayas, I take Keen hiking boots and tie them to my backpack.
Q: Do you have any recommendation for cute and comfortable footwear?
A: Chacos are a little pricey but mine have lasted forever, are insanely comfortable, and can be worn in the water while in rocky areas or white water rafting.
Q: What was your biggest travel fashion or packing mistake?
A: When I went to India, I was told I could buy anything there, but I didn’t realize it’d be such touristy looking clothing. Now I know better and advice girls over on my site about what girls actually dress like.
Q: Finally, any travel packing tips for new travelers?
A: Don’t take things “just in case” and don’t take clothing you think must be “great for travel”. Take items you would regularly wear and don’t overthink it. Whatever you pack, take off one pair of shoes and half the clothes. I take travel size toiletries to take space although it doesn’t save money.
Thank you to Rachel for sharing your journey with us. You will be missed!
For more traveler interviews, please read:
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