Travel Tips and Must-Haves from our Favourite Travelista


Whether you’ve got a short and sweet winter getaway coming up or are currently planning that splurge trip around Europe, it’s always great to get an expert’s advice on dos, don’ts, and must-haves. Our fave photographer ever, Samanta Katz (who shoots all of the gorgeous photos you see here on Spark each week!) is also an avid world traveller – her 2017 travels alone included 45 cities/towns, 15 countries (some more than once), 33 planes, and a grand total of 4.5 months away from home. She’s picked up some major tips and tricks along the way, and she’s spilling her secrets here on everything from the perfect carry-on bag to on-the-go beauty tricks. Be sure to follow her on Instagram for more constant travel inspiration. 

Paréo 6-Ways-to-Wear wrap
Swimco, $18

We admit to being fully in awe of Sam’s ability to travel for weeks with just a carry-on, and still somehow cause us endless style envy. One of her tricks to pulling this off is to choose versatile pieces. “I travel for weeks at a time, and its important to have things that serve multiple purposes. For example in Asia, beach cover-ups can be used to cover shoulders or knees to go into temples.”

Satin Lipstick
MAC Cosmetics, $22

Speaking of simple ways to look great, one of Sam’s favourite beauty tricks while on the road is a great lipstick. Having the perfect lip colour at the ready is not only a “quick way for looking good” but she loves that a simple swipe can take an outfit from day to night. Her go-to shade? Classic MAC red.

Vogue Eyewear cat-eye sunglasses
Sunglass Hut, $179.95

Sunglasses are a must for all of the obvious reasons, plus the added benefit of blocking out the world around you if you want to catch some ZZZs on a plane, train, or boat. Sam has a slightly retro bent to her style that we love, and she picked the perfect cat-eye for our next adventure.

Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector
Hudson’s Bay, $37

Sun protection is of course always a must. This Shiseido formula is designed to protect the face, is water-resistant, and is compact for easy packing.

KMS Hair Play Makeover Spray dry shampoo
Aura, $19.95

Meet your new secret weapon. “Dry shampoo is great for cleaning but also styling hair,” says Sam about this go-to item. “I always keep this in my purse when traveling, to keep my hair looking good without having to bring too many products.”

Fjällräven backpack
Blackwell, $95

This Fjällräven bag caught Sam’s eye for a few key reasons – it’s “lightweight, versatile, folds small to fit inside a bigger bag or suitcase… and its cuuuuute.”

Smartphone battery pack
Bentley, $44.99

“I use my phone a lot when traveling, for Instagramming, editing photos, referencing maps... pretty much everything. A battery pack that holds a couple of charges saves me from having to stop throughout the day to charge and makes sure I am always connected for safety reasons.”

Oil of Oregano
GNC, $19.99

Getting sick is a bummer anytime but it’s especially annoying when you’re travelling. Pack a little bottle of this magic oil that Sam swears, “CURES EVERYTHING. Seriously, this stuff is amazing. If you take a few drops with water when you feel a little cold coming on or a tingle in your throat, it will get rid of it before it even becomes something.” Full disclosure: it “tastes like pizza.”

Sephora Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes
Sephora, $10

“Keeping my skin clean is super important to me and I have a pretty extensive routine at home, but on-the-go I bring the things that are a must,” Sam says. These Sephora wipes are perfect for removing makeup, sunblock, and dirt, and “again, minimizes the amount of things to bring on the road.”

Nike running shoes
Blackwell, $90

Form meets fashion in the perfect pair of Nike running shoes. Long live athleisure, are we right?

Kobo waterproof e-reader
Chapters, $249.99

While she theoretically loves the idea of book exchanges in hostels, as a practical traveller Sam has to concede that “BOOKS ARE TOO HEAVY! I find that if you want to bring a travel guide and one or two books to read, the weight and space becomes an issue.” Grab an e-reader to solve this problem – this particular Kobo is even waterproof.

S’well water bottle
Chapters, $45

Sam is downright passionate about her S’well water bottle. “It’s pretty much the only way I can make sure I drink all the water I’m supposed to in a day. Reusable, environmentally friendly, and keeps water cold FOREVER. On a +35/40 hot day, that bottle will save your life.”

Where are you adventuring to in 2018? Wherever we find ourselves, we’ll be using Sam’s tips to make the most of the trip... while trying to maintain an Instagram half as stylish as her feed. It’s good to have goals, right? Be sure to follow along, as she shares photography tips as well as travel and style inspo. And before your next flight takes off, read this checklist to make sure you’re well-rested and ready to adventure.

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