I know everyone’s different but here are some of my tips for life out of a suitcase. Now I am sloooooooooooowwww in a lot of things so I like to say that I can’t travel on a short trip, I have to move there! (b/c I neeeed time to figure things out and absorb the culture/language etc.) Sure, I have loved mini trips (Paris, Istanbul!) but if I have the choice, it’s always 5 days and longer…those Friday to Sunday night “boom-boom-boom” trips are so NOT my thang 😛
Firstly, to note, I have A LOT of things. It is with some shame that I recognize my North American consumerist ways. I remember the older days of travel when an average bag allowance was 32kg / 70 lbs per bags and we North Americans were allowed two per trip. NOTE: I only realized that outside of N.America, most airlines that I’ve seen only allow ONE BAG and it’s nowadays 23 kg / 50 lbs…. It was so shocking to realize that most of my friends in Europe and Asia ALWAYS traveled with one bag…I was like WHAT???!!! And hence started my recognition of being from a continent that encourages shopping and buying and having space and really, using and taking up more resources that most people. UGH, but old habits do die hard and so I can only say I’m changing but not cured or truly reformed.
Anyway, that’s just background thoughts. I was inspired to write this post as I was using baby power this morning. It is one of my fave products for its versatility and I was just thinking how much I love it….so that is TRAVEL ESSENTIAL NUMERO UNO.
TOP TRAVELING PRODUCTS (not really in order but…)
1. BABY POWDER aka BP aka MY SUPERSTAR PRODUCT: OK it’s basically talc and you don’t have to go with a name brand. But man it’s cheap and awesome….why you may ask? Well here we go: 1) it’s a deodorizer rite? So that means for shoes, suitcases, musty corners or moldy hotel rooms, SHAKE THE BOTTLE, open the holes just a bit and puffffff into the air. It’s a mist of light white but doesn’t usually leave a mark…any powder can just be dusted away. And IT WORKS!!! Some don’t like the smell but it is much better than the items before.
2) It soaks up oil and sweat. You may have heard about ‘dry shampoos’ which are basically a mix of powders including talc that absorb the gook in your hair when you can’t get to the shower. Well, BP existed long before these became all the rage. I’ve been using it for years and years. And yes, my hair is black. And so people have asked, have you been left with streaky white in your hair and well, honestly YES of course! But that’s only when I overuse the BP….usually when I’m staying at home or before bed. If you only use a little and this is the norm for me, I can sprinkle in my hair and brush a bit and then it’s just drier and still black and I’m ready to go out
FYI Asian hair can get greasy fast and washing hair with shampoo actually aggravates your oil glands to make it even more greasy so this is a shortcut and helps the hair chill out and not overproduce oil. And when I’m out, I’ve NEVER had anyone ask me why my hair was grey lol—so it’s safe, trust me 😛 Or try it yourself IN THE TROPICS especially, this is a must-have product.
I also use it in my shoes especially if I’m not wearing socks. Shake shake shake and things are smelling and feeling better. In a jiffy, I’ve also used on my skin and face when ‘real’ make-up is unavailable. Again, no problem and no sweat 😛 Man, this is turning into a baby powder endorsement but that is not what I intend. Back to the list 😛
2. A cheap, cute floppy hat: the key to these items is that they all fit into a suitcase or carry-on pretty easily. And this one well, mine can be stuffed in a pocket or a purse and it takes no space. But this lil guy has protected my hair from burning in the hot sun, warmed my head when I was a bit chilly, and protected my eyes from UV etc. Since I mostly wear glasses, I don’t always have sunnies and this hat, well, it serves the same purpose. And it’s cuuuuuute non? From Tokyo, 2007 I believe.
3. A Swiss Army knife, regular or mini-sized: Mine is just the baby version, with scissors, knife and nail file. So small that it’s perfect on a keychain. It’s been awesome over the years. Has cut hair, nails (can you believe it?), cheese, paper, clothing tags etc. and has never been sharpened. SWISS seriously, your knife ROX! Buuuttt don’t forget to put it in your suitcase NOT your carry on….I once forgot and almost lost it BUT the kind airline staff in Danang, Vietnam let me check it in a small bag as a “free” second luggage. Whewf! I don’t like to be without it.
4. Those awesome foldable resuseable durable plastic bags: Again, I’ve had mine for years and though it may look a bit less new or cute than its younger years, it is still working and can be folded up into the size of two fat fingers. Pretty good non? For groceries, random travel purchases or smelly gym clothes, mine has served me very well. And I’ve avoided using a lot of cheap plastic bags over the years too! Score!
5. Trinkets from home: Light, small ones bien sur! I carry along my “pig-oxen” bracelet from my sisters, those are their Chinese Zodiac animals and they found a charm bracelet with an ambiguous animal that we call pig-oxen although it’s probablly a sheep or cow 😛 And then there’s my Periodic Table towel, a gift from Annie Boo that she gave to me instead of her boyfriend–lol–but my love of chemistry is strong and she knows this! Sisterly love for the win! <3
6. Low/no packaging products aka LUSH PRODUCTS: I don’t think I have to sing Lush’s praises here. If you know me, then you know that I love their innovation and environmentally conscious products. If you really know me, then we have been to a LUSH store together Q: OK so what do I usually take with me? A: the dry shampoo bars, facewash, and conditioners, hello, NO PACKAGING and NO LIQUIDS so it is just the best for traveling and it takes no space really and they last a loooooonnnngggg time. My fave for the conditioner is JUNGLE, shampoo varies but I like the cinnamon red one, the lavendar one and the yellow lemon one; for the face, I just love Angels on Bare Skin. Portable and deliciously scented, do check them out! But they make a shower anyway a super experience, especially if you are in a remote village somewhere without much running water! Lush also has moisturizer massage bars, again no packaging and such a treat as you can put them in the freezer and use chilled–again, wonderful for the tropics but great everywhere.
7. A lightweight, gorgeous scarf: so versatile as a wrap, scarf for heat and cold and also as a towel or mini blanket. One can always use a scarf–men too but just don’t have such a girly one as mine?
8. Comfortable but stylish shoes: I splurge on my feet. I know that traveling means walking and hitting the pavement (if there is one!) and so I want to make sure my feet are in good condition. I love GEOX, the Italian aerated shoes that inject air into your soles as you walk but everyone has their own faves. I also bring at least one pair of comfy socks so that they can relax or for the plane because for me at least, socks make my feet feel happy and covered and protected from whatever funkiness we may find on some floors out there.
9. Sturdy yet awesome travel luggage: I have had my babies since Vietnam and they are still going strong. Well, the Japanese suitcase is….but the Vietnamese knockoffs are are their last legs 😛
10. Whoops, almost forgot: A LAPTOP WITH BUILT IN CAMERA: aren’t they all like this these days? But I couldn’t live at a distance so easily if I didn’t have my computer and nowadays phone to communicate with people worldwide. But seriously, there are sooooooooooo many apps these days!!! Some of my friends are on my WA, Skype, FB, Twitter and LI…it’s like soooooooo much! But hey, that’s technology for us these days isn’t it?
SO WHAT WOULD BE ON YOUR LIST? Always good to know what others’ travel essentials are. Sharing is caring, non?
footnote: I always think I’ll just spend a few minutes writing but these posts take some time 😛