For the traveling gentleman, there is a rather extensive list of accessories the average man will take with. From cufflinks and ties, to watches and grooming products, the traveling man will always need something to carry his prized possessions in.
Although quality is always paramount, one important aspect to always consider travelling is weight. The leather bag, garment bag or iPad case may not seem like anything on their own but trust me, once you add everything up, it is heavy, and you don’t want to be the sweaty guy at the airport who tries desperately to haul his stuff around. Hence, always think twice if you really need to bring something along and when in doubt, go with the lighter option.
Messenger / Photo Bag
In this day and age a messenger bag is almost essential to have when you travel, because you can easily access your gadgets at any time. If you travel without camera gear, you have literally thousand of options, and while leather is great, bear in mind that canvas is lighter. However make sure that it can take some abuse because you don’t want to realize that the handle of your messenger bag comes off easily while travelling. If you travel with your laptop, camera and lenses, it really pays to get a special photo bag, because you can fit all of your gear securely in one bag that otherwise would take up twice as much space. ONA makes some nice bags, and depending on the size of your laptop, the ONA Berlin comes highly recommended. I tested mine for a while now, and I can bring my stuff in one bag now instead of two bags before.
A classic passport holder or cover is made of leather and it has many little compartments good for cards, a driver’s licence, luggage tag, cash and all the other little things you might need when travelling internationally. I suggest you go with a leather passport cover that can stand some abuse. For some reason, alligator or crocodile embossed covers seem rather popular but I suggest, you skix the faux leathers an either go with the real thing or choose regular calf leather or cow hide. This Alligator Passport holder from Tom Ford goes for $1,900, but can find calf leather ones for a fraction of that price.
Business Card Cases by J.A. Shapira
A gentleman’s most powerful advertisement is his business card. It is a direct reflection of him, the brand he represents and the quality of the service or product he provides. My business cards are on an exceptionally heavy stock of paper with a foil, rounded corners and double sided. Since I place so much value in my business card, it stands to reason that I wouldn’t just shove it into my wallet or pocket. Therefore, regardless of whether I’m traveling for an hour or for a week, I always carry with a calling card case to protect my valuable advertisement.
I probably own four or five business card cases in various materials, but my favorite is my leather calling card case from Fort Belvedere. If you own any Fort Belvedere products, you know that I don’t need to be sponsored in any way to be a great supporter of the company. In fact, I’m not sponsored by them and like you, have to pay for any of the products I want. Therefore, I have no allegiance to the brand and only speak highly of them because of the fact they do make the highest quality products available on the market.
The calling card case I own is made of a high quality long grain leather that encases a metal skeleton. The interior is lined with contrasting red authentic goat velour leather that is supple to the touch. What’s nice is that the case can be opened with one hand using the clasp and offers two pockets that can be used to store your cards, as well as the card of business associate upon receipt. I constantly receive compliments on my card case and carry it proudly wherever I go. It’s slim and elegant which makes it ideal for travel. In fact, I often use it as a small travel wallet if I don’t want to carry a larger wallet with me. It holds my driver’s license, a credit card and a few bills without issue. That of course is in addition to a few calling cards.
Business Card Case for Men in Leather by Fort Belvedere
In theory, garment bags are a good idea to travel but in reality they are heavy. Sven Raphael Schneider used to own a nice leather garment bag from the bridge, but it was simply impractical and heavy. The same is true for heavy cotton garment bags, they are just too heavy but you should definitely protect your jackets and suits but we suggest you get one or two thin nylon garment bags. They are thin, do the job and don’t add much weight.
iPad or Tablet Case by J.A. Shapira
Most of us travel with our electronics. Years ago it would have been rare to see someone carting around a typewriter, but almost every seat in the plane today will have someone with a laptop or tablet. Personally, I always try to leave my laptop at home and travel with my iPad instead. Granted, I do own a small MacBook Air which is ideal for a traveling journalist, it’s rare that I actually work on the plane. Therefore, traveling with an iPad is much easier. I can write if I need to, surf the net, watch movies on Netflix or just play a round of golf or a game of cards.
For those like me who use it for work, often it’s beneficial to have a case that holds a bluetooth keyboard as well. There are many companies that make functional cases for tablets and one of the best places to find them is amazon or ebay
While some cases are merely protective, others come with built in stands, and other features. At the end of the day, the choice is up to you.
Watch Roll by J.A. Shapira
Personally, unless I’m traveling for a few weeks, I typically try to bring a single watch with me and usually a daily wear or travel watch that can be used in a variety of environments and with different attire. Occasionally, I will take a second watch with me and this is more so if I need a dress watch or just want a different color to match with a wider range of outfits. The jewelry case from Fort Belvedere is a perfect size to carry a single, smaller watch in.
There are many collectors however who opt to travel with a small selection of watches and for that I recommend a Watch roll rather than a hard case. They’re easier to pack and they usually hold anywhere from three to six watches securely. I wouldn’t trust it to protect the watch from a big fall or smack, but it is ideal for preventing scratches and scuffs. They come in a variety of materials including nylon, but I always try and opt for leather. You simply slide each watch into a section of the roll and roll it up and tie it or latch it to carry on the go.
Dopp Kit by J.A. Shapira
A dopp kit is a necessity for every man. A place to carry your hair products, shaving kit and manicure set, the dopp kit is really just a bag for accessories. Some offer various pockets designed for specific items like nail files, toothbrushes and combs, whereas others are just open pouches, but more often than not, Dopp Kits are heavy, especially when made of leather.
When I don’t check my luggage, I prefer the open pouches without individual pockets since NSA and many other airport security agencies require that each bottle and product be packaged in securable plastic bags. If you have each product in an individual pouch it’s much more difficult to quickly repack it into a plastic bag when requested by a guard at the airport. In addition, I also find the open dopp kits offer more room to store more products.
If you want a quality Dopp Kit, be prepared to spend $200+ for a version in decent leather. A stronger, thicker and more high quality hide will protect your products better and in the event of a spill, typically clean up easier as well. Many dopp kits will feature an outer leather shell with a wipeable nylon lining. If you carry a razor for shaving in your dopp kit as most men do you also want a dopp kit that won’t tear from the blade rubbing against it.
Shaving Accessories by J.A. Shapira
I love my DE razor but when flying on a plane you either have to check your dopp kit or switch to a cartridge or electric razor. Neither is ideal, but I prefer the electric shaver.
Men’s Jewelry Case by J.A. Shapira
If you wear a suit and read Gentleman’s Gazette, chances are you wear French cuffs over barrel cuffs. If so, obviously you travel with cufflinks for your shirts. Certainly, many of us can get away with a simple metal or black cufflink, but like many accessories, these are an extension of our personality. As such, we often travel with multiple pairs that can accessorize various outfits. Fort Belvedere has an exceptional jewelry case that is absolutely ideal for travel. It houses your cufflinks, a signet or pinky ring, collar pins, , tie bars, clips or tags, collar stays and it’s even big enough to carry a small watch. At just $195, this meticulously designed jewelry case is more than capable of carrying anything. It offers separate sections for two sets of cufflinks with a separate box that can hold accessories. In addition, there is also a small pocket perfect for holding a few extra calling cards, an emergency credit card or collar stays.
Men’s Jewelry Box in Leather Handmade by Fort Belvedere
There are many tie cases available on the market and one just needs to do a quick search on eBay to find them. The problem with most tie cases is that they are small, stiff and only provide space for 2 ties, otherwise the ties will get wrinkled. For that reason, a case made of fabric similar to a watch roll is preferable because it is flexible and you can easily add 6 ties and fold it on your suitcase however you want. Alternatively, you simply use a clean cotton towel that is long enough so your ties fit in when folded in once. You can add 3-12 without a problem. Fold in the sides of the towel, then fold it in half. Of course, if you want a better version you can have a custom tie case made. For bow ties or pocket square, a little gift box just like the one from Fort Belvedere is perfect. otherwise you just put them in-between your shirts when you travel and they should be just fine.
Manicure Set by J.A. Shapira
A lot can be said by a mans nails. A true gentleman will always have perfectly manicured nail beds. He won’t bite his nails, he won’t have excess skin or hang nails and his nail beds will be clear of dirt and debris. For men who travel for more than a few days at a time, carrying a manicure set is a must. A good set will include a very accurate cuticle clipper, a powerful nail clipper, precision tweezers and a nail file. Ideally they’ll be made of INOX stainless steel or another high quality metal and will come in an equally high quality case that perfectly maintains their shape.
The manicure set by Fort Belvedere is second to none. It’s made in Solingen, Germany which for any cutlery or shaving aficionados, you’ll know it as the mecca of quality razors and knives. The case it comes in is handmade using top drawer long grain leather that matches the jewelry and business card case exquisitely. It’s the same embossed leather used by Hermes save the obtrusive logos and markings. It also contains only the highest grade, uncorrected aniline dyed leathers so you can see the actual pores, something most companies don’t do and instead use pigment dye.
Inside the case is lined with a resplendent red calf leather which is optically enticing and yet very durable. The red contrast stitching really separates it from the competition and showcases it as a high quality, sophisticatedly elegant accessory. Best of all, it complies with TSA requirements for carry-on luggage so you can travel without restrictions or fears with the manicure kit in your carry-on luggage.
At just $125 it’s really quite the eye catching deal.
Men’s Manicure Set Travel Kit Leather & Stainless Steel by Fort Belvedere
In an ideal world, men would travel with a suitcase dedicated just to their shoes. Unfortunately, weight restrictions don’t allow most of us to travel like it was 1910 and so you should go with cloth shoe bags instead. They are lightweight, protect the shoes and your clothes, and since you saved so much weight, you can bring one pair of shoe trees on your trip. Also, they have enough room for a little cotton cloth and a small tube of clear shoe polish which is all you need when you travel. That way the shoes you wore that day can rest with the shoe trees over night, elongating the lifetime of the shoe over time. When you travel, make sure to bring at least 2 pairs of shoes, better 3 pairs so you never have to wear the same shoes two or more days in a row.
Travel Shoe Horn
One of the best way to ruin your shoes is to put them on without using a shoe horn. When you travel you don’t want anything big but something small and handy, just like the travel shoe horn from Fort Belvedere. It will protect your shoes and it basically doesn’t take up any space. It is made of genuine buffalo horn and you can bring it in your carry-on.
Back in the day, when men wore hats, you would bring a travel hat box. In this day and age, it is a huge hassel to carry on another bag with you, especially since you will likely have to carry on your electronic equipment. If you want to travel with a hat, I simply suggest you wear it, otherwise of course, get a travel hat box that is not too small for your hat.
Suitcase or Weekender?
If you just leave for a few days, a weekender may be all you need. Styled like a duffle bad it is important that it is durable and can handle heavy loads. Canvas bags are lighter than leather bags but make sure it can handle some weight. Sven Raphael Schneider once had a duffle bag from Smart Turnout London, that ripped immediately. Solid leather duffel bags are good as well but a little heavier. The current weekender I use is from Moore & Giles, which is made out of a beautiful leather. I haven’t really used it enough to reach a final verdict, but so far so good. If you travel with suits, you should always bring along the biggest suitcase you have, ideally a 28″ -29″ suitcase because that’s the largest airlines will take without charging you extra . In order to save weight, go with the new polycarbonate suitcases. Rimowa probably makes the best ones but they are rather pricey. Samsonite or Delsey work just fine.
I hope this overview was helpful in the sense that you will travel more lightly and relaxed next time around! What’s your favorite travel accessory?
This article was written by Sven Raphael Schneider & J. A Shapira