Travel Essentials: be prepared with a sturdy umbrella

A life in the sun can make you forget that the rain, almost always, falls elsewhere. You won't get caught in a downpour with these travel umbrellas.

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Having a folding umbrella in your bag when you travel will make you feel very pleased with yourself when the rain starts to fall, as it mostly likely will in northern Europe or anywhere with a monsoon season. If you don't take the precaution of investing now in a decent, sturdily made number, you risk finding yourself at the mercy of street umbrella salesmen who appear to sell salvation and protection but actually dispense infuriating rubbish that blows inside out and snaps soon after you've handed over your Dh30.

Swaine Adeney Brigg collapsible travel umbrella

For the man who suspects there is something unmanly about a compact umbrella comes this: a full-length (90cm) umbrella that can be dismantled for travel. With the handle removed, it measures 65cm, and thus can be tucked into a suitcase, then suavely put together as required.

£241 (Dh1,405) plus p&p (; 00 44 203 471 4090).

Miss Marc printed compact umbrella

You can find plenty of compact umbrellas in different patterns on Amazon, many made by Fulton, the world's leading umbrella manufacturer, for around Dh85. For something a bit more chic, though, such as this by the ever-clever Marc for Marc Jacobs, Net-a-Porter can always be relied on.

£35 (Dh204) plus p&p (; 00 44 203 471 4510).

Black handfinished automatic umbrella

A classic black umbrella has the virtue of going with everything, and, whether you're man or woman, merits a place in your everyday bag when you travel. As well as a wood handle, this has one of those satisfying spring locks that has to be just lightly pressed for it to leap into action.

£85 (Dh495) plus p&p (; 00 44 142 864 8180).