In less than a month I will be packing my bags for my first trip south of the equator. I am traveling sans guidebook this time, so I’m not totally sure what to expect. And if I don’t know what to expect, how can I know what perfume to pack?
Fortunately, I was contacted by MyPerfumeSamples.com, who decant authentic luxury perfumes into travel-sized vials and spray bottles so that you can pack a full travel perfume wardrobe without taking up half your suitcase (and without worrying about breaking an expensive, full-sized bottle). They invited me to shop their site and build a wardrobe of perfume samples that are perfect for any situation that might arise on any holiday. Read on for my scent selections!
Before You Go. If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to sleep the night before a big trip. You might be desperately searching for your passport, using two hair dryers to dry that last piece of clothing you want to pack, or simply too excited to relax. Lavender and vanilla are known to be soothing, relaxing scents, so spritz on a little bit of LaVanilla Laboratories’ unisex Vanilla Lavender eau de parfum in the late evening. By bedtime you should be ready for rest.
On the Plane / Train / Bus. In a cramped, enclosed space it’s important to tread lightly with your fragrance. Either go scent-free, or choose a perfume that smells fresh and clean, with light sillage (sillage is the distance a scent radiates from your body). Eau de Merveilles by Hermes is a contemporary classic with a blend of different citrus notes combined with woody notes reminiscent of a fresh forest. Apply lightly at first and touch up when you’re on a mid-day layover.
At the Museum. I don’t think it matters if you’re viewing the Old Masters or if you’re looking at a pile of milk cartons and calling it “art”, when you’re visiting a museum you want to project an air of good taste. Like its name suggests, Salvatore Ferragamo’s Signorina Eleganza radiates elegance and good taste. It opens with a fresh pear scent before mellowing into its delicious almond-patchouli base notes. This is a new scent that just hit the market in 2014 so you won’t have to worry about smelling like everyone else.
A Cafe on the Terrace. Sitting at a table on the sidewalk, sipping a cappuccino and watching the crowds go by… this is a timeless way to spend an afternoon that requires a timeless scent. The house of Robert Piguet is famed for such classic scents as Fracas (which was introduced in 1948), but I am in love with the more-recent Calypso. It’s a simple, classic rose scent with warm, powdery base notes. Pair with a wide-skirted floral dress, big sunglasses and a scarf.
Out Shopping. Even though I travel on a budget, I do have enough money for the occasional indulgence (an occasional night in a nice hotel or an interesting local spa treatment tend to be at the top of my splurge list). I also tend to set aside some money for clothes shopping during my travels. Wearing a tasteful perfume that doesn’t smell “cheap” can help signal to shop owners that even though I’m a backpacker, I’m a potential customer with money to spend. Roses de Chloe is similar to Calypso in that it’s rich with the scent of roses, but it differs in that it leans more towards freshness rather than powder. I would recommend it for younger travelers, whether they are backpackers or business travelers, who want to be taken seriously.
At One with Nature. I don’t tend to wear perfume when I’m specifically out to enjoy the great outdoors. I have a (totally unfounded) theory that it attracts mosquitoes and the smell will alert the cool animals that I actually want to see to my presence, making them less likely to cross my path. That’s where L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Premier Figuier comes in. It smells like figs. Just figs, pretty much. Fig leaves and fig fruit, with just a touch of sweet almond and coconut. This smells like fruit, not like perfume, making it an interesting nature-inspired option (and if you’re not sure how you feel about smelling like figs, starting with a sample vial is a great idea!).
On the Beach. You don’t have to be baring it all at the beach to want to spritz on Sensuous Nude by Estee Lauder. This is a scent that evokes tanning lotion, pina coladas, fresh salt water and blossoming flowers, but its musky base keeps it being too juvenile. Sensuous Nude wears close to the skin (which is important on hot days) but offers enough longevity to make it through more than a few hours of suntanning and cocktail-sipping.
Out for Dinner. By “out to dinner” I mean “out for a rich, five-course dinner with a little too much wine” (as opposed to “out for street falafel with a beer because it’s cheaper than bottled water”). Guerlain likes to play with its classic Shalimar base, recently intensifying the gourmand vanilla, chocolate and caramel notes in Shalimar Ode a la Vanille Sur la Route du Mexique. Wear this scent when you’re indulging in dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant… you can be dessert!
Wild Nights. When you’re heading out to explore an exotic nightlife scene, you need a stand-out scent. This is a bombshell scent (spray lightly at first!) that blends innocent sweet and floral notes with deeper, darker amber and musk. You might have a hard time fending off the local men, and you might get the side-eye from the local women, but you will inevitably have a night to remember in this one!
Thanks to MyPerfumeSamples.com I will be packing 1 ml vials of all of these scents on my upcoming trip. With this travel perfume wardrobe I’ll be ready for anything that South America may throw my way!