Everything You Need to Know About Living out of a Suitcase

  • Amy Bebbington

Living out of a suitcase is a reality for most models. Hotel hopping can be both exciting and lonely depending on the length of the stay and the company. It is the nature of the modelling industry with location photoshoots based in exotic destinations and worldwide runway shows. Even if you’re based in the UK, travelling around London can be exhausting. There is no set way to become a travelling model, it is simply the nature of the job.


Do Modelling Agencies Pay for Flights?

It is important to enquiry about expenses. An invitation to New York, the Caribbean or Scotland sounds exciting yet if you’re expected to fund the trip it can be very financially draining. Some models have been reported to have been paid £6.40 a day after all the unexpected bills were paid.

When asked to visit a country or city with an overnight stay, register your interest and then politely ask if your accommodation and travel will be paid. If the answer is yes, proceed to ask as many questions as possible to find out as much about the trip for reassurance. Do not forget your modelling agency fees, an agreed percentage will be deducted from your wage.

If the answer is no, it is time to think about whether you wish to accept the opportunity or not. It’s more than okay to decline if you will not be earning any money. If you feel as though the role will provide experience then it may be worth considering but a line has to be drawn somewhere. Modelling expenses are tax deductible, meaning that anything bought on your work trip can be claimed against your income.

How Often Do Models Travel?

In answer to the question, do models travel a lot? The answer is yes! The life of a model means jetting off at last minute or hopping on a train at a moments notice. Therefore, a pre-packed lightweight suitcase is the perfect way to be ready quickly. Make sure you have a cosmetic bag with all your essentials plus a pair of PJ’s, a couple of underwear sets, your favourite jeans and tee to feel organised and prepared for your trip. Of course, you may want to unpack and wash the items when you return yet always restock to avoid forgetting that most essential item.

Also, remember any important documents that you may need. Make sure your passport is in date, you have the train tickets if pre-booked and the hotel confirmation to avoid getting stranded or paying extra for your stay. Pack all these items as soon as possible, as again you will feel prepared for the journey ahead.

Packing light is essential. Firstly, you might only have a carry on bag to work with so think about how many pairs of shoes and t-shirts you actually need. Create a packing list and create a capsule wardrobe so that every item you include works together. It makes life easier and sometimes you don’t have much time to pack for a trip. Organising your carry-on suitcase in advance is a lot more convenient and will avoid stress.


Stay in Contact with Family

With video calls, like Skype and FaceTime easily available make sure that you keep in contact with your family on a regular basis. Each phone call, WhatsApp message or email will make you feel less lonely and connected to your loved ones. It can be difficult for young models being so far away from home for long periods of time yet if you make use of these it will certainly help. The time difference can be an issue if you are in America or Japan so make sure that you schedule in times to chat.

Get an Early Night

After a long day at a photoshoot, it is advised to get an early night to rest up for the next day or the journey home. You may be invited for a few drinks once the work is finished yet do not go overboard. It is great to socialise however, try to head to bed at a reasonable hour to look refreshed the following day.

Travelling can be exhausting with different time zones to consider. Sleep wherever possible and eat healthily to avoid becoming ill and over tired. You will be rising early and finishing late so ensure that you look after yourself.


Ask if Your Family Can Accompany You

Models who are under 18 will have an accompanying adult with them to ensure safety and reassurance. It is a daunting prospect travelling to areas that you are unfamiliar with at a young age, never mind different countries. With your mum or dad taking the trip with you, is much less scary. Even those over 18, should ask if a parent is able to travel too, it is not a necessity but worth an ask if you are feeling worried. The industry forgets that models in their late teens and early twenties are still very young and may not be experienced with travelling alone.

Stay Safe

Please be cautious. If you are offered an opportunity to stay away for a night for a travelling modelling job please make sure it is from a trustworthy source. If you are represented by a reputable agency who strives to only work with legit brands, the likelihood of the opportunity being trustworthy is high. However, still check before agreeing to fly across the world. However, if you are a freelance travelling model seeking work independently, please be careful! Do a lot of research before saying yes, and do not trust a message on social media. It could be anyone hoping to lure you in. Always take someone with you and do not trust everyone. Unfortunately, scam artists work behind the comfort of a computer screen. Be aware!


Get to Know the Area

If you happen to have a day off make the most of your time in a new city or country. Do your research and stick to the tourist areas to explore the place a bit better. It would be a shame to travel to an exotic destination or even a new city in the UK to not be able to see the highlights. There will not be an opportunity to explore every time you visit a new city yet if you get the chance, do it! Don’t forget to upload to Instagram to keep your followers up to date on your travels.

Say No

If the schedule is getting too busy, ask for some time off. You may feel worried to ask or you are afraid to jinx your success but there is only so much a person can take. If you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed by your itinerary speak to someone to see if some jobs can be moved around.

It is a fast paced, busy industry to work in, which only the dedicated and determined can cope with. Take time to consider if this is the career you wish to undertake and please bare the nature of the industry in mind. It is hard work!

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Posted by Amy Bebbington

I express my love of fashion through writing, blogging and styling. My creative personality ensures that I produce unique and original work. I am a keen knitter and enthusiatic dancer.