Born in New Zealand and raised in Ireland, Tara likes to think of herself as a hobbit raised by leprechauns. From ninja training in Japan to ice-climbing in Finland, she loves a good adventure. When she’s not testing my limits, she can usually be found in the spa or just sitting in front of her laptop.
Tara is a bit of a chatterbox and a complete iced coffee addict. She’s been travelling all her life, but she’s been on the road full-time since 2014, which is also when she started her travel blog, WhereIsTara.com. Her blog will take you on a stylish, colourful adventure around the world. She’s all about luxury, adventure and wellness travel.
Tara has been to over 40 countries, lived in 4 different countries and visited every continent except Antarctica. On a completely different note, she is also a registered pharmacist in the UK and Ireland. With regards to her travel style, she’s all about comfort (as much as one can be while testing her limits).
She doesn't do backpacking anymore, and her shoulders and back love her for it. She uses her Cabin Zero carry on for short trips, or she uses a suitcase and carry-on for the longer trips. She stays in hotels, AirBnBs, private rooms in hostels and occasionally she glamps! Oh and she’s a vegetarian. That's as much as you're going to get right now as Tara likes to keep a little mystery.
In this interview, Tara will share her top packing tips so let’s start, shall we?
What's usually in your carry-on?
I always keep the most important stuff in my carry-on so that I have eyes on them at all times. My laptop, chargers, action camera, adapters, 2017 diary, headphones, phone, money, passport, enough clothes to last if my suitcase gets lost, hair brush, tooth brush, a small bag of cosmetics/toiletries, an extra pair of shoes. They all go in. I guess I pack a lot into my Cabin Zero bag!
Tell us about the usual type of clothes you bring when travelling? Do you pick your wardrobe meticulously, plan a day by day outfit, etc.?
Haha. Not at all! I try to pack minimally. The most outfits I can get out of the least amount of items is what I aim for. Though I do think a lot about the environment, I'm travelling to and what colours would stand out most for photos. That's mainly because I'm really into my Instagram.
What's the best packing tip anyone has given you? Who gave it?
One of my best friend's from school got me into rolling my clothes when packing instead of layering/folding them. In the beginning, I was super resistant, but now if I have a lot to fit in my bag, I always roll my clothes.
What is the best thing about packing light/heavy?
Packing light is just such less stress. I love just having a carry-on and not needing to queue for bag-drop or check in. And I love not having to stop at baggage claim on the way out. And if you have a tiny hotel room (like most of them in capital cities) you don't need to worry about trying to fit a suitcase in there.
How does your packing for a travel routine look like?
Oh, I'm a pretty last minute packer. In fact, since I travel so often it's usually just a case of dumping a few things out of one bag and into another. When I first started travelling long-term in 2014, I took weeks to decide what to pack. But now I've started buying duplicates of things such as toothbrushes, chargers, hairbrushes, dry shampoo and just leaving one set in my bag at all times ready for the next flight. I'm basically on auto-pilot when I pack now. I throw everything in the bag the night before my flight and lay out what I plan to wear on the plane. Then that's it, ready to go in the morning. Even when I've had a few too many cocktails and have an early flight, I always manage to pack my bag the night before.
How do you deal with "excess baggage" situations? Do you pay extra? Lessen your load?
Hahaha. I've only ever had this happen to me once when I'd been living somewhere and then had to move with only one suitcase. I ended up just leaving a couple of things with my friend who had dropped me to the airport. I'd never put myself in a situation where I'd need to pay an excess. You just don't need that much stuff. Moving really is the only occasion and in that instance then just pay extra or use another service to send your luggage. Either way, I don't have much time for people that complain about excess fees. The rules are common knowledge nowadays, and it's the passenger's responsibility to be aware of them. Personally, if I am worried I just wear all my super heavy items (boots, coats, etc.) and put other heavy items in my hand luggage (I've literally never had anyone weigh my hand luggage anywhere).
What's your best-kept packing secret?
I probably gave it away earlier with stocking up on the duplicates and leaving them in my bag for quick and easy packing. That, honestly, is SUCH a time saver. However, I also always grab a bunch of those clear liquid bags every time I go through security. Partially because I remember when they used to charge you ridiculous prices for them (eh £2 for a sandwich bag?! No thanks), but mainly because I know that I'll need them and I always end up breaking the zip-lock or getting makeup all over them. So it's handy to have a few extra in my bag.
Favourite region? Any wine region
Favourite country? Ireland (patriotism)
Favourite city? Wellington, New Zealand
Favourite beach? Meadfoot Beach in Devon, UK
Favourite food? Mexican!
Favourite mode of transport? Train or plane
Favourite book? Charlie Parker Series
Window or aisle seat? Aisle
Carry-on or check-in? Carry-on
Hostel or hotel? Hotel
What's your favourite design from the Cabin Zero collection? Any galactic colour in the classic design