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Travel Advice from a White House Correspondent

The key is to pack light. The last time I checked bags on a reporting trip was when I was going to Iraq in 2003, and that’s only because my flak jacket weighed 18 pounds.

I can get a week’s wear into my backpack, which is also good for White House pool duty, when you’re chasing the president and clanging up and down multiple flights of stairs. I wear one pair of black trousers and take a second pair. Same thing for my sweaters and blouses: a couple of turtlenecks, two plain white tees and a sweater that can go over all. Layering is important because traveling means going through different temperatures. Keep in mind that even if you’re in Saudi Arabia in the heart of the summer, you may end up in a freezing-cold ministry building wishing you had a sweater.

For a weeklong trip, it’s important to wear the only pair of shoes you’re going to take with you. During the winter that means my turquoise Frye boots, and during the summer I like my red patent leather, peep-toe, low-heel pumps, which even got me through election week in Afghanistan 2009, a week that included multiple helicopter trips, crisscrossing the country and the requisite hijab.

Alas, much as I love Christian Louboutin and Prada, neither belongs on a reporting trip. But there have been occasions when I’ve wanted to look a little more amped up. For that, I’ve found that my gorgeous moonstone necklace, worn with these beautiful earrings I got in Vietnam that are copies of Bulgari, can make the difference. And the moonstone color matches my turquoise Frye boots!

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