Who doesn’t love going on vacation? And who doesn’t hate forgetting what it felt like to be on vacation? I just got back from a week bopping around Austria, Germany, and Italy with my partner, so all the memories are vivid as a neon sign in my mind. But I want them to stay that way. Enter my go-to memory-making tip: finding a signature scent for every major getaway.
Whenever I’m about to leave on a trip, I go on a perfume reconnaissance mission. This might mean hitting up Sephora or Barneys to sniff out a few new scents and asking for a sample of something I love. (Don’t be afraid to do this! They’re usually happy to give you a generous one.) It might mean digging into the seemingly endless stash of fragrance samples I already have in my makeup drawer at home. The guidelines are simple. One, the perfume I choose should be one I don’t regularly wear, so that it’s inextricably linked to the memories I’m about to make while spritzed in it. Two, something about the smell should evoke some kind of feeling about the place I’m about to go and the kind of adventure I’m about to have.
Something about this ritual feels wildly glamorous, but it’s also pretty nerdy and scientific. Study after study has shown that scents have remarkable power to evoke strong feelings. One working theory is that this might due to the fact that information we gather via our senses of sight and hearing doesn’t pass through as many areas of the brain as information we perceive with our sense of smell, making scents even more emotionally vivid. But those of us who are immediately transported back to the halls of our middle school when we catch a whiff of CK One already knew that.
For this recent visit to Europe, I landed on AERIN Beauty’s Mediterranean Honeysuckle, which is a warm, mildly sweet, energetic scent shot through with grapefruit. The fragrance was summery, romantic, and lively — exactly the vision I had for my trip. Now, every time I take a whiff of that tiny bottle, it will evoke images of languid boat rides and Bellinis in Venice and the way the mist from a waterfall in the Austrian alps felt dancing across my face. And also eating a pretzel the size of my laptop while drinking an entire liter of beer in Munich.
An added bonus to this memory-making habit of mine? A sample size of perfume is TSA-friendly and will easily last you for two to three weeks. And if you’re taking a vacation longer than that? I can’t help you and also don’t want to because I’m jealous.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lindsay Miller