Traveling with Tessa: Fragrance Façade

I flew before I could walk. Travel has been a big part of my life as a third culture kid and still is now as a writer who works internationally. When you fly, often or rarely, there are ins and outs that you learn with domestic and international traveling. I’m still learning.

Traveling with Tessa – I’ve been pondering writing this post for quite some time. I’ve wanted to share some things I’ve learned and discovered through my years of travel. I hope to publish a series of these. I’d also love to hear your tips and tricks of the travel trade, please share!

You know the smell. It’s the “I’ve been cooped up in a small space for 11 hours with 300 other people smell.” Sometimes, after hours of flying, you just need a refresher, a spritz of something to freshen.

And, as we all know, liquids are restricted for carry on luggage, so your favorite perfume or body spray may not be readily available when you’d like it. Props to those who have travel-size body spray. (I didn’t until recently)

With international travel, staying fresh and clean for your final destination can be challenging. But, never fear, the answer is in the terminal’s closest duty free store.

Chanel, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Dior, Burberry. They’re your new friends. The friends you wish you could afford but can’t. They’re the friends that aren’t there when you need them the most.

International airports, especially overseas, have duty free stores stocked with the most expensive perfumes and colognes. And, you can test them. Yes.

As I’ve traipsed through terminals, I’ll wander in to a duty free store, survey the collection – trying to appear not too eager or rushed. I look at a few boxes. Maybe I’ll cock my head to one side in the stereotypical thinking pose for good measure.

I’ll survey the store first before entering. Cue James Bond theme song. (I don’t recommend actually vocalizing it, it’s more of an inner soundtrack) I mean, you can’t be foiled in manners such as these. Some James Bond moves also might alert airport security – somersaulting, for instance. Ducking, however, might be necessary in some cases. For example, if you are avoiding an over-eager sales assistant, you can duck down and survey the bottles of perfume or cologne stationed lower to the ground. Crafty, I know. You don’t really want to buy, just borrow – permanently. Or borrow it at least until the fragrance fades.

Sometimes, I’ve found that the busy stores work well because sales clerks might be engaged with another customer. Sometimes, if a store isn’t busy, I’ll find the perfume aisle farthest from the cashier or sales clerk so I can escape without the sales pitch. This sometimes requires the ability to gauge distance, reaction time and spray time.

If you know what a fragrance smells like prior to going in and it’s one you fancy, go for it. If not, it might be best to sniff or spray on a sampler card first before dousing yourself. Having a scent that infuriates your olfactory system absorbed in your clothes and smathered on your skin for the next several hours is not pleasant. Trust me.

When I know I have a fragrance I like, I’ll choose one of the following methods, depending on my personal need and/or the security and scrutiny of the store and the clerks.

Direct Deposit: No one is aware you are there

1. Spray the perfume directly on you if no sales clerk is looking. Fragrance is stronger this way.

Spray and Run: You’ve been spotted

2. Spray the perfume in front discreetly and walk through it like you are going to check out another perfume. This is a fragrance that wafts onto you, creating a light, but noticeable fragrance that’s not as strong as a direct hit. This enables a quick exit.

Nonchalant: When the sales clerk in the next aisle is eyeing you

3. Spray the perfume onto one of the sampler papers, holding the bottle far enough away to get a small amount of perfume on the card but most of it on yourself as you walk through and away from the clerk. This is a diversion, showing your possible intent on purchase and it also accomplishes your mission.

James Bond: You’re being monitored closely or are being shown a product by a sales clerk

4. Spray the perfume directly onto the card, like most people do, and then, when clerk is gone, rub the card on your wrists and then deposit card into purse or carry on for a fragrant sprucing up. You can tell the clerk you need a minute or two to ponder the intricacies of the scent, you need to go to the ATM, or you need to ask your friend/significant other. Make your exit. Don’t run away. Meander, or walk with purpose, depending on the excuse you’ve used.

Stock piling: Same as above, with added bonuses

5. Like the above, you’ve sprayed some of the perfume on a card, used the card on your wrists and put the card in your purse and you also spray some perfume on yourself or spray it so you walk through it. This, of course can be quite tricky, especially on the first go-round. This, usually, is best undertaken when you are not being scrutinized.

Voila. You are rested, and refreshed and ra-ra ready to go. (Father of the Bride quote). You smell like a million dollars. (Well, not quite. Perhaps $100)

It’s an adrenaline rush.

There are other ways to freshen up while traveling internationally. Stay tuned for the next post: Shockeys Showering in Airports

5 Comments Add yours

    1. thaitessa says:

      Thank you for sharing your post! I enjoyed reading it. Glad I am not the only one who enjoys duty free. I enjoyed your post about women’s products around the world too

  1. GL says:

    Yes, you have mastered them all. I am just so, so proud. And thank goodness for SaSa where some of these fragrances can actually be purchased in minuscule amounts for a few bucks.

  2. dreamershope says:

    Hurray! I’m glad that I’m not the only one who does a “spray and run”. I use the same idea when my skin is extremely dry after a long plane run-go tip the closest Duty Free shop to test their lotions.

    Also, when there’s a longer layover, I enjoy reading magazines or books in bookstores.

    1. thaitessa says:

      Haha! Glad to hear I am not the only one either :)

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