Sunday 23 October 2011

The Travalo: Trending Travel Tackle aka More Things On Poles

The Travalo seems to be everywhere these days. I hesitate to speak of it in the plural, because "Travalos" without an apostrophe sounds like a budget hotel chain (or its Greek equivalent). Now as some readers know, such is the vehemence of my opposition to the deployment of the grocer's apostrophe in plural nouns, as in: "it's raining cat's and dog's", that I will see how far I get without cracking and plumping for "Travalo's" after all. And while we are on the subject of grammar, I am not entirely comfortable with "trending" as a word, but it is a descriptor for topics on Twitter, so it is probably here to stay.

Back to the gizmo in question, a new take on the concept of a refillable perfume atomiser. Here is the description from the company's website:

•pocket sized perfume spray bottle that refills in seconds directly from a big fragrance spray bottle.
•no funnel, no spills, requires no skill
•over 65 sprays

As I observed at the top of the post, the Travalo seems to have taken the market by storm recently - in terms of its distribution at least - I can't speak for the sales side. I first came across one last May at Fascination perfumery - Lynn, the proprietor, let me sample Elie Saab from a pink Travalo she had filled up with the fragrance at the Esxence show in Milan. Then in the summer Penhaligon's kindly sent me 4ml of Juniper Sling in a pretty silver Travalo, and in between times I have spotted them by the till in various department stores and other perfume outlets, and also clocked ads for them in the duty free section of several in-flight magazines.

I have since invested in a pack of four of these refillable fragrance atomisers (there - I think I got away with it!), and plan to use them as travel-sized / purse sprays of a few of my favourite fragrances. For that is the first downside of the Travalo: you can't reuse it, any more than you can reuse a plastic or (I would argue), a glass atomiser. It will be impregnated with your chosen scent forever.

And unlike a conventional atomiser that you can unscrew to fill - such that if you had a number of smaller samples of a perfume you could consolidate them all in the one container - the Travalo only works with a full bottle of perfume. Consequently, when my Juniper Sling Travalo is empty, I can't top it up with my one remaining carded sample of the scent, because there is no way of opening the Travalo to pour the vial in.

No, the way the Travalo works is that it has a hole in the bottom, which you place over the "stem" - or "pole", as it seems to me - of the bottle's atomiser mechanism before pumping away to fill it. (Miraculously, the perfume doesn't then fall out of the hole again, which as far as I can tell is "open" at all times.) So basically, the Travalo is no better than any other pretty brushed metal atomiser except for the fact that you don't need a funnel to fill it. For a seasoned decanter this is no big deal, though I don't doubt that this is a major part of its appeal to the public at large.

As for the pumping action itself, it is straightforward enough. At the outset, I had doubts about whether all the bottles in my collection would really prove to have Travalo-friendly tops. I did my first "pumped decant" with a bottle of L'Agent (modelled below by Mr Bonkers) and that worked a treat. I knew it must also work with Penhaligon's bottles, of which I have four - though crucially not Juniper Sling - so if I want to reuse my Travalo of that I will have to bite the silver bullet it resembles and buy myself a full bottle for that specific purpose.

Right, so I will just go and take a random selection of bottles out of my fridge and report back which ones have "easily flirt-offable tops".

Well, I am happy to say that very nearly all of them passed the test, even Ajne Calypso, in its atypical Bohemian filigree bottle. The tip to remember is to be assertive and assume the top WILL come off. If you are a bit of a wimp about it you may find the top resists, as happened to me intially with one of the Jo Malones.

The only top to cock a complete snook at the Travalo mechanism was my humungous bottle of IUNX Eau Frappée, which - let's face it - is more light sabre or police truncheon than perfume bottle.

So that was a happy discovery, though so far I have still only filled up the pink one with L'Agent. For the most significant thing about the Travalo - given its relatively high unit cost versus a conventional atomiser bought in bulk - is not the mere fact that it is a handy travel format. No, the Travalo's key function is to force you to decide which scents really are your favourites, and worth dedicating one of these refillable sprays to.

Which may be why the other three are still empty.

Would be interested to hear people's thoughts on this apparent trend.

Have you taken the Travalo plunge?

If not, are you *pumped up* to try it?

If so, what scents did you consider "TW" or "Travalo Worthy"?

And do you own any bottle with a non-compliant atomiser mechanism like my IUNX?

Over time I am standing by to compile a list of Travalo Refusenik bottles on this post - though maybe the IUNX bottle was a case apart.

And finally, seeing as the stem of the atomiser sticking up reminds me of a little pole, here again are the other things of poles I saw on my travels lately.

Photo of Travelodge from, other photos my own.


Anonymous said...

Hiya Bonks!

I've got 3 Travalos/Travaloes and I noticed a handy hint on Amazon that addresses the "cleaning old parfume" issue directly.

Apparently "Z. Manning" contacted the company and this is the advice supplied:
"1) Spray all your perfume out then fill it with new perfume and the old
smell fades within about 3-4 sprays.

2)Or put some water and a touch of nail varnish remover into an old
perfume bottle and put through Travalo and spray out.

3) Or go into local pharmacy and get small spray bottle (normally in travel
section) that has a nozzle compatible with Travalo. Fill this with water
and nvm and put through Travalo and spray out."

I pass this on even though I haven't tried the techniques yet, and I think I'd plump for the Nail Varnish Remover and water option. I was curious enough to find out what a drop of non-acetone NVM in water smells like and, surprisingly, it smells pretty darn good; better than the NVM in the first place.

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

Anonymous said...

Oops! I copied "Z. Manning's" initialism and put NVM instead of NVR.


Anna in Edinburgh

Vanessa said...

Hi Anna!

Thanks for this very helpful cleaning guide - I have never come across non-acetone nail varnish remover, but it sounds promising. I am normally so lairy of reusing atomisers ever since I received a decant of Genie de Bois by Keiko de Mecheri that had previously had Chanel No 5 in it. Though the swapper had scrubbed it out thoroughly it smelt markedly of No 5 to the point where I renamed the hybrid scent Genie No 5.

Re 2), this presupposes you have an empty perfume bottle available, which itself will have the vestiges of a previous scent, so in this scenario you are simultaneously trying to clean both it and the Travalo if I understand this right.

You know the way ChickenFreak suffers from perfume postal phobia? Well, I think I may be suffering from "perfume receptacle contamination phobia", though possibly not until they think of a snappier name for it.

Meanwhile, may we know what perfumes you have put in your Travaloes? - am liking the alternative with an "e" : - ) - by analogy with "potatoes" or "The Tremeloes"...

And you wouldn't go so far as to say that NVR with water is a nice enough scent to rival perfume itself? - just in case the whole procedure went horribly wrong!

: - )

Anonymous said...

Hello again:-)

That old habit of pluralising "o" with "-oes" means that "-os" just feels incorrect here to me. (And now I've got "even the bad times are good" running in my head, thanks to The Tremeloes.)

The acetone-free NVR smells as chemically-iffy in the bottle and in use as ordinary NVR but becomes floral/rosy and pleasant when diluted in water. It is pretty nice but I wouldnt' be in a hurry to spritz it all over!

Before I forget again, I first got a Travalo to take "Y" with me, and then found that the fancy-cap doesn't come off "Y". Ho hum.

The Travaloes are currently used for some original "Moschino", some "Lagerfeld Classic" (comparing the 'old handbag' vibes of the two; the latter didn't get into the Travalo easily!) and "Lavender and Acacia Eau de Provence" by Le Couvent des Minimes (as light relief).

Phew. Sorry to witter on.

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

Vanessa said...

Hi Anna,

The fancy cap doesn't come off "Y"? Not even after concerted and assertive tugging? We can add it to the list then. The ones that didn't get into the Travaloes easily - that was on grounds of merit rather than mechanics I take it?

How interesting about the acetone-free NVR smelling nice with water added... I am still not sure my fear of contamination will allow me to take the cleaning plunge, by any mode, but will be interested to learn if anyone else has successfully managed to clean a Travalo!

Anonymous said...

Very informative article, V!
I have two silver Travaloes (see, Anna's spelling is taking off!), they were sent to me by a retailer containing Tom Ford scents, so to everyone knowing Tom Ford it is apparent that I have no hope in hell to ever get those out again. I'm doomed to either invest in expensive Private Blends or have two unfunctional, but great smelling Travaloes.
Therefore I'm not entirely sure of the merit of a Travalo for people like us. Regular, one perfume at a time, people will surely benefit more. But I was still very happy when I got them! :)

Vanessa said...

Hi Olfactoria,

Oh interesting. There's you with your promotional Tom Fords and me with my almost finished and soon to be redundant Travalo of Juniper Sling. I know what we could do - the opposite of "stealth perfuming", namely "stealth siphoning" - whereby we find someone who owns a bottle or just a tester in store, and surreptiously sneak a quick pump when the sales assistant is not looking. Or maybe it could be done openly as a way of making our own samples, as ScentScelf and I did in Chicago that time. The SAs don't need to know there was never any perfume in there before...

But I do agree that Travaloes are ideally suited to the "regular, one perfume at a time" person, or even the person with two or three scents to their name, who doesn't have to go through such agonies of indecision like the rest of us...

And yes, Traveloes is rapidly becoming adopted as the plural of choice. Thanks, Anna!

; - )

Anonymous said...

Re trending being acceptable as a verb: Truth telling time -- "trending" taps title text to top total annual alliteration allotment.

So, now that you've pulled your bottles' spray caps apart, do they work as well when you put them back together? My concern would be that they would be dribbly. And, my feeble fingers have enough problems opening samples without now taking bottles apart.

Can't imagine that any of the Travelo-recommended cleaning methods would do the trick, so absolutely agree that these would be one fragrance only per atomizer.

-- Lindaloo

Anonymous said...

Hello there once more, Vanessa.

Thanks for going along with my fussy vocabulary:-)

The lid of "Y" has the atomiser button incorporated into it, in a rather swish-looking chunk of golden plastic; I shan't grapple with it in case it never goes back on correctly.

It was the mechanics at fault, I think, for the "Lagerfeld Classic". It simply did not want to be pumped into the Travalo! A bit of perfume went outside for every bit that deigned to go in. (Luckily it was the third Travalo by then otherwise I might not have gone any further with them.)

Sometimes I wonder how well the various nozzles fit into the Travalo aperture. I confess that I store those Traveloes upside-down for a good few hours after filling (to allow the apertures to recover!) before taking the blessed things out. I can't help wondering how good those self-healing valves are.

Sorry, I'm wittering on again,

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

PS I still can't smell things properly since my last head cold so I'm not even using perfume at present let alone carrying it around! Talk about daft.

JoanElaine said...

I wanted an atomizer to decant a fragrance from a splash bottle.
A Travalo was recommended by the SA at the pharmacy. I bought the Travalo.

You can imagine how irritated I was when I learned the Travalo was good only for spray bottles. I returned it the next day, and found a good old fashioned atomizer kit (including funnel) at another store.

Vanessa said...

Hi Lindaloo,

'Truth telling time -- "trending" taps title text to top total annual alliteration allotment.'

Hahaha! May I come to you when I am struggling to keep up my alliterative allocation? And as you gathered, I am a pragmatist first and purist second (can you be a purist second?), so "trending" suited me fine. I did toy with "trendy", but it sounded a bit dated now we have "trending" as a trending term!

Just tested the Tiare bottle for dribbles and it was fine. And the tops do come off quite easily, trust me. I will admit I shared all of your concerns, indeed until I wrote this post I was very sceptical about whether the tops of every style of bottle *would* come off, and am pleasantly surprised with the results of my small random sample. The IUNX bottle is a freak of nature after all.

But I am with you as regards my cleaning reservations...

Vanessa said...

Hi Anna,

Was most interested to learn more detail about the top of your "Y" bottle and also your difficulties with pumping Lagerfeld Classic. I had not anticipated that there might be problems with the mechanics of pumping, so you have introduced another possible pitfall. And I love the notion of your storing your Travaloes upside down to "allow the apertures to recover" - a bit like women resting after a difficult birth or other unpleasant gynaecological intervention. ; - )

Vanessa said...

Hi JoanElaine,

Oh dear - how unfortunate that the Travalo was not fit for purpose - splash bottles are actually in the minority I think, so that was unlucky! For those type of bottles I use a pipette rather than a funnel, I don't know why. A funnel would work just as well.

Tara said...

I've been interested in Traveloes so thanks for the low-down.

However if you have to detach the sprayer from the bottle, Chanel Les Exclusifs would be Travelo Refuseniks and those are just the ones I'd want to decant. (Love the word Rufuseniks!)

Vanessa said...

Hi tara,

Interesting about the Exclusifs bottles not playing ball. So the little top thingy really won't budge?

Actually, if there had to be a brand of Travalo Refuseniks, I'd say Chanel Les Exclusifs fits the profile. They have only just deigned to come down to a more convenient size, after all...A flirt-offable top might have been a compromise too far!

Tara said...

Vanessa, I checked the Exclusifs bottles when I got home last night and the caps do come off! So I state for the record that I was wrong - Chanel are not Travelo Refuseniks after all. Hurrah! :)

Vanessa said...

Hi tara,

There you go! From memory I did think they were of the classic top style. The friend I introduced to Roja Dove Scandal said she didn't think she could use her Travalo with that, but as it works on both my bottles, I suggested she have another try, so fingers crossed for her too. : - )

Anonymous said...

I have not yet taken the Travalo plunge. Not sure I will, as I can't see myself wanting more than maybe one or two to refill with very, very favorite scents.

However. I completely sympathize re: the spelling issue. For years, I have written cc-d (as in "I cc-d you on that email") because I don't like ccd or cc'd. (The latter is clearly wrong. Clearly!)

Vanessa said...

Hi anotherperfumeblog,

I quite understand that you wouldn't have much call for Travaloes - I can't see me needing more than the four I bought, because I don't mind decanting my favourites in the classic way.

And I sympathise with your "cc'd" dilemma. In your line of work you must be confronted all the time with grammatical niceties. I am waiting - possibly not for much longer - for the day when the possessive form of "its" is officially spelled with an apostrophe... ; - )

Undina said...

Vanessa, I love your systematic approach! You're a true researcher!

I have only one Travelo. Empty. It was a gift. Since I do not think it can be cleaned I'm not sure I'll find a perfume I want to commit to.

I know about problems with cleaning because I tried to clean a 5 ml automizer from not the strongest (at least on the skin) perfume. I tried water, soap, rubbing alcohol. It took it more than 6 months after all that for the automizer to air out (I left it unscrewed).

I'm really surprised you aren't familiar with non-acetone nail polish remover: I usually have problems finding non-non-acetone one.

I have at least a couple of bottles to add to your list of Travelo non-compliant automisers (it took me several days to think of them: I remembered immediately after reading that I had problems with some just making samples but couldn't pinpoint them): Thierry Mugler Angel, Alien and their multiple flankers (e.g. or ).

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

I am a dyed in the wool researcher, it's true. And I do believe in the power of relatively small samples as well... : - )

Thanks for backing me up on the non-washability of atomisers - I remain sceptical, certainly.

Also, as a chronic nail biter, it is a long time since my nails were long enough to paint - though the last occasion is captured somewhere on Bonkers in a post on Chanel Particuliere! So it may be that the nail polish remover I have is of the non-acetone sort and I simply haven't clocked it, being such an occasional user. I will take a look at the bottle I own when I get home.

Thanks too for adding those Muglers to our list of non-Travalo-compliant bottles!

Undina said...

Vanessa, I have one more for you! Chanel No.19 (EdT, square bottle): spraying mechanism is hidden inside the top part that doesn't look removeable (I found it this morning while applying the perfume):

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Goodness me, yes, I see what you mean! There must be quite a few perfumes with this bottle design as well. Meanwhile I was wondering if the top of Prada Candy or the new Valentina from Valentino - where the nozzle is secreted in the cap - might also prove problematic.

irene said...

Thanks for the guide. This helped me build the confidence to yank off the top of my Chanel Chance. I swear yesterday it would seriously not budge (I stopped trying for the sake of the bottle). But I gave it a light yank after reading this and it (frighteningly) came off without a hitch.

Vanessa said...

Hi Juki Love,

I am so glad this post encouraged you to be bolder in your top-removing efforts in the case of your bottle of Chance. Looks like your authoritative approach paid off! I quite understand your wariness though, for I was exactly the same with almost all the bottles I own. It is not unlike the job of removing a sim card from a mobile phone - it feels like a delicate task and a big responsibility that could all so easily go wrong!

Anonymous said...

Hey there,

I've done it, and purchased the Travalo today. I just read the comments on your blog and quite worried about the cleaning aspect; as I would want to change the fragrances every few weeks or so. Has anyone tried if the scents do air out? or if the NMR trick works? Would love to know.


Vanessa said...

Hi Harry,

Thanks for dropping in with the news of your Travalo purchase. I am afraid I haven't had any further feedback on cleaning techniques from readers, including this promising one involving the mix of NVR and water, so you may just have to bite the bullet and let us know how you get on. Maybe try a fairly innocuous scent first and see how that goes?

At the very worst, it is less than a tenner down the drain, I suppose. I am probably still too nervous about contamination to attempt the cleaning operation, and plan to earmark each of the few Travalos I own for use with a different scent. (Am just taking forever to decide which!)

Anonymous said...

I know I'm a bit late to this, but Thierry Mugler perfumes are all Travalo receptive, you just need to tug hard to get the tops off!!

Vanessa said...

Hey Anonymous!

Thanks for this - good to know, late or not!

: - )

Anonymous said...

Hi! I was searching the internet for Travalo and I came across this thing called Travalo Pure - apparently it's a different kind of Travalo. I'm not sure, but as far as I can see from the pictures you can open this Travalo and then rinse it with water. Let me know if you've used one of these. And btw I've never seen a non-acetone nail varnish remover...

Vanessa said...

Hi Anonymous,

This Travalo Pure sounds pure genius, almost too good to be true. But I would be curious to give one a go. Thanks for the update on the latest technology!

Unknown said...

Unfortunately, the Travalo Pure is just clear - see what they say on their website: "Travalo Pure is totally clear so you never run out unexpectedly, and you never over fill it."
I just recently purchased a Travalo hoping to use it for a splash bottle perfume in order to make it into a more transportable spray. However, I can't find any small spray bottle nozzles that fit into it. Has anyone found any travel size bottles that fit the Travalo (so I can pour the perfume into there and then put it into my Travalo). If not, does anyone have any ideas of how I can get my splash bottle perfume into the Travalo? I don't have any empty perfume bottles at the moment, and am weary of having leftover smells from those anyways. Thanks!

Vanessa said...

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for the heads up on what the Travalo Pure is all about - doesn't seem to be reusable after all. ;(

And I understand the bother you are having with the splash bottle - unfortunately that is a conundrum I have personally not managed to solve. Maybe someone reading will see your comment and come up with a workaround?

Fiona said...

Wondering if anyone has had any luck getting the cap off the Valentina bottle? I just bought the Travalo without thinking it may not work with my perfume. Not sure what to do...

Vanessa said...

Hi Fiona,

Sorry you are having this bother. Maybe see if a store assistant can help? Or does anyone else have any tips?

Anonymous said...

My travalo does not spray after 2 months use. Is there a way to remove the cap from the bottle? The store where I bought it said that it looked like someone opened it and one of the two small plastic hoses? but I've not opened it ever and they look attached. Also, does anyone know what the small hole on the bottom next to the filling hole is for? I'm thinking maybe it's clogged from dirt/dust, etc. Any ideas or suggestions?

Vanessa said...

Very sorry to hear about the trouble you've been having with your Travalo, and I am afraid that I do not have any suggestions for you. Maybe someone from the industry who knows more about their mechanism will see your comment.

Marie said...

I'm also a bit late here. I'm finding I can't use my Tom Ford Black Orchid with my Travelo. I think the bottle top comes too high up and I can't find a travel size in the UK although they sell them in the US.

My Vera Wang Princess works fine with my other Travelo though.

Vanessa said...

Hi Marie,

Sorry to hear you have been having problems with your Black Orchid. Maybe just decant it by spraying into a pretty atomiser. Good about the Vera Wang though!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

None of the hermes merveilles work either, gorgeous bottles though!