#TravelTips: Army Captain Laura Lafferty Tells Us What She Packs And Where She’s Been
As part of STELLAR's Come Fly With Me feature in the August issue, we chat to Capt. Laura Lafferty about tours abroad, treks with the president, and what to pack when you've a 30kg allowance for six whole months.
Name: Capt. Laura Lafferty
Reason for travel: Assistant Press Officer for the Irish Defence Forces
Beirut and Tel Aviv might not sound like your typical travel destinations, but they’re all in a day’s work for Laura. “I recently flew in and out of those cities on a media trip to the Golan Heights.” She explains: “It’s an area of disputed land between Israel and Syria. The purpose of the trip was to accompany journalists visiting the troops. It was a chance for them to see what the Defence Forces do and the contribution they make in conflict zones.”
Suited and booted
Although wearing ‘smart civvies’ on the plane (she could be sitting beside the President, after all), Laura carries a military uniform and few luxuries in her rucksack. “I’d be a roller,” she laughs. “So I’m rolling up my army shirts and combats. By the time I’ve thrown in the boots (stuffed with socks), and something for the soldiers – maybe some Barry’s tea – I’m down to my last compartment.”
Top packing tip
“I put my clothes in very large Ziploc-type bags, then take the air out. That way you make the most of the space and, if you’re moving through different – and usually dusty – climates, it means that your stuff won’t be damaged by the time you get to where you’re going.”
In the course of her work, Laura’s been deployed on overseas missions twice, to Kosovo and Lebanon. “There’s not much difference in packing for six months as six days,” she says. “We’re allowed 30kg and we have to adhere to the same liquid restrictions as everyone else. You just have to make everything last!” Thankfully, there’s a lot of time spent in uniform. “We’re really proud to wear it, the symbolism is very strong overseas – we’re welcomed so openly by local communities.”
SPF 4 EVA
I’d never be without…
“My shoot ‘n’ scoot bag. It has all my essentials – rain gear, a bit of food, and a hat, scarf and gloves. It just means that if the weather changes I’m effective whereever I land.”
Most unusual way to travel?
“Last year I sailed home from Appledore in the UK on board the LE Samuel Beckett Naval Vessel.” Jealous, us?
My hand luggage haul…
“A small medical kit with painkillers, nausea tablets and vitamins, as well as my iPad.”
I don’t worry about…
“Creases! My fatigues can be worn straight from the wash. They’re suitable for all kinds of weather and are designed to take perspiration away from the body.”
Stay in touch with the troops abroad @defenceforces; for more on how high-flying career women pack, check the August 2015 issue of STELLAR.