Summer, it must be said, is perhaps the finest time of the year, where smears of thick SPF, days broiling in the high-heat of the sun, and hazy afternoons spent with those you love most are a near-permanent fixture for a blissful stretch of three or so months.
In the UK, where the calendar is largely dictated by the grey and grim, and when rain is as relentless as a Spotify single on loop, the hot season has played a fair hand so far this year – yet, given the erratic track record of the climes here, it’s likely you’ll still have to look to destinations afar in the coming weeks.
Of course, before you do jet off, there’s some prior homework to be done; after all, though the notion of spontaneous travel is an alluring one, a lack of preparation can leave you in myriad unwelcome situations, whether that be tussling with the crowds in Santorini, facing aggressively fiery climes with the wrong holiday gear, or, what is often the case, being sucked into the hellbroth that is the airport.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
To help chaperone you through the precarious minefield that is holidaying, we’ve partnered up with Orlebar Brown, specialists in luxury swimwear and resort attire, to provide an easy five-step guide on how to make your journey from the terminal to the pool as easy and effortless as possible. Here’s what to consider…
Building Blocks: How To Pack
Of course, this is a matter that is subject to your destination; however, we’ll narrow things down by zoning in on two popular destination types – beach and city – and suggest our usual ethos when it comes to dressing, which is to go for neutral colours and in pared-down styles, as both notions help maximise versatility (which is ideal, given that your on-the-go wardrobe will be limited for space).
If you’re heading to the coast – perhaps for a classic surf experience at Waikiki; or for an end-of-the-world-style getaway on the Bay of Biscay – we’d suggest you revolve your wears around a smart pair of tailored shorts, the type of which can work seamlessly from the water to the bar to strolling around cobbled streets. A neutral pair, such as these ones, will do just fine, in our opinion. Then, given the soaring temperatures, you’ll likely rotate your upper-body attire frequently, due to regular perspiration; with that in mind, a handful of T-Shirts, like the ‘OB-T’, should be high on the list, and this polo offers a dressed-up alternative.
With regards to hitting urban landscapes, we’d nudge you towards a smart-casual capsule. Indeed, it can be tempting to jettison your blazer at home given that the mercury has now risen – but, in destinations such as Tuscany, say, or Lyon, a piece of tailoring is an essential for restaurants and bar-hopping. Of course, we’re aware that this may be the bulkiest piece of kit in your carry-on or suitcase, so, in this situation, and given the season, you’ll have to lean towards a featherweight item with a stripped-back construction. The ‘Ullock’ blazer, here, is crafted from linen, features soft shoulders and can be dressed up with this punchy geometric-print short-sleeve shirt and stretchy chinos. To give it a casual slant, try this cotton polo in a vibrant checkerboard pattern.
Scrubbing Up: Pre-holiday Preening
Sorting out your complexion and grooming needs before checking-in should also be given equal importance, for several reasons: of course, travelling beyond your home borders is one of life’s greatest delights, and so, on a sort of spiritual, psychological and aesthetic level, you should match such joy with the effort you put into presenting yourself when there – we’ve often found that the satisfaction derived from seeing new sights and walking new streets is subtly amplified when you’re feeling your best, whether that’s in terms of getting a fresh haircut or having a recently trimmed beard. Also, on a practical level, taking a bit of volume out of your locks and facial hair helps when dealing with the swelter of summer.
If you’re looking to tame the stubble, we’ve got a comprehensive guide to the best trimmers for styling this particular area (or, if you’re a purist, we also have the straight razors sorted); for anywhere below the neckline, try our feature on the modern-day way to manscape; to decipher the sharpest cut to suit your face shape, we have you sorted, here; and, to keep your follicles et al in check, these products will have everything up top looking in healthy condition.
Parts Unknown: Go Off The Beaten Track
“Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown,” once said feted traveller Anthony Bourdain, a quote and an ethos that we often stick to, in the sense that, instead of always hitting the usual spots that top must-visit listicles, we try to veer to second or third cities.
Of course, there is beauty to be seen in the Sistine Chapel, but, the experience, it has to be said, is stained by the throngs of Canon-toters that join you. Tulum can be a glorious thing, all sand, getaway, and a deep feeling of coastal delight – but the TikTok crowd just takes a little of the magic away. And a long weekend in Amsterdam is indeed a traveller’s bucket-list item – however, the frenzy around the network of canals leans more towards pain than pleasure.
The spots worth making a beeline for, generally speaking, are the little siblings of their major-capital counterparts: in tiny San Sebastián, for example, which we visited last year, you’ll find subtle thrills in the weathered pintxo bars and the storied restaurants flavoured with history and a sense of community; rather than Rhodes, Corfu or Crete, go off-piste with these five lesser-known Greek islands, which offer hiking trails in the Aegean, tradition, and history; or if wanting a slice of the never-ending Scandi fever, but are hoping to avoid the hoards in Copenhagen or Stockholm, try this low-key living pod in the middle of the Finnish forest.
It’s Not About The Destination, It’s How You Get There: Acing The Airport
The airport can be a miasma of disasters – the outspread families, the coughs, the lost baggage, the relentless queues, the delays. Often, this cluster of unfavourable circumstances can create a cocoon of dread and terror, perhaps facilitating tensions being raised between you, your family or friends, an unwarranted dynamic created even before the plane has departed the runway.
Cathay Pacific lounge
If you have the freedom to do so, check-in to a lounge (Air France’s La Première lounge, at Paris Charles De Gaulle, has a dedicated wellness area in which guests have access to half-hour ‘botanical’ treatments; choose from over 1,000 bottles of wine at the Swiss First Lounge, at Zurich Airport; and celebrated interior designer Ilse Crawford oversaw the scheme at Cathay Pacific’s The Pier First Class Lounge, at Hong Kong International. Grab a novel (we recommend these), find a seat, file away the Mac, and enjoy the purity of early-morning or late-evening silence.
Life’s A Beach: What To Pack For Your Day To The Coast
San Sebastián, Spain
This section is aimed specifically at those who’re seeking out the toes-in-the-sand feeling this summer, and now that the suitcase is packed, you’re looking prim and proper, the destination has been chosen, the moshpit of the airport has been circumvented, and you’ve checked in to your hotel, it’s time to put yourself on out-of-office mode.
To make your daily jaunts to the beach that more pleasant, consider a tight edit of daily hot-weather essentials. For protection from the rays, try any one of the items we highlight in our selection of the best SPFs on the market right now. Re-hydration after a few hours under the sun comes courtesy of Kinto, whose rich-hued ‘Day Off Tumbler’ adds a pop of colour into the tote bag.
Then, following a day of front crawl in the sea, you’ll likely head out to the local bar or dining spot: Orlebar Brown’s ‘Terry Towelling’ polo is defined by its plush feel and off-duty placket; if seeking a more dressed-up style, the ‘Giles Linen’ shirt, with its lightweight feel and easygoing palette – and ideal with these light-hued chinos – is perfect for dinners by the water.
Want more travel inspiration? These are the 50 hotels every gentleman should visit before he dies…
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