Thursday, November 20, 2014

Singapore Bound, and Here!

So, I took a rather impromptu trip to Singapore yesterday.  I didn't really think I was going for meetings on Thursday until Tuesday afternoon.  At home on Tuesday night, it took me a few moments to realize that I had to pack my bag before heading into the office on Wednesday.  And I had to pack it even though I was still uncertain whether I was really going to fly on Wednesday evening. 

As I tossed things into my suitcase, it occurred to me that I have gotten pretty good at packing a small bag for overnight trips since I've come out to Asia.  I love the "top ten things to pack" or "how to pack efficiently for an overnight trip" series, so I've decided to put together one of my own.

I have found that the key is finding clothes that you really like - so you can mix and match and wear over and over again in different iterations.  I find that a white t-shirt or boatneck top, a pair of jeans or black pants, ballet flats (I prefer in a bright color like red or coral), a neutral wrap or scarf, and a black blazer are essentials.

In addition, a compact, tough, light suitcase with wheels is a must-have.

I do have a Mischa travel duffel (the colors on my duffel are turquoise and bronze) that I have used on occasion when I am headed to a tropical destination for leisure, but I find that a wheeling suitcase is essential for work.  I love my travel duffel though, as evidenced by the fact that the handles are starting to separate from the bag itself.  I bought a soft expandable suitcase in a light beige color (a Tumi/Stella McCartnery collaboration) from Gilt a few years ago and it has endured the aggressive scuffles of air travel quite well.  Asia travelers are big fans of Rimowa but I am okay with my little guy.  The more it bears up well over the years the more I take pride in it and the more attached I am to it.  It is a little bit heavy for my taste, but I've surveyed a few suitcases over the years and the weight difference is not so drastic that I feel inclined to change it.

In order to get everything to fit just so, I am a huge fan of bags.  I am such a bag lady, and proud of it!

I like one bag for my toiletries, one bag for my cords and chargers, one bag for my shoes, one bag for my underwear and bathing suit, etc.  I think this is the key to keeping clutter to a minimum in a small suitcase and also for preventing any small objects from inadvertently slipping out.  I like to think of packing as playing Tetris in real life - getting little squares and oblong shapes to fit just so.  It is so satisfying.

Finally, surely you've heard of this one.  Roll your clothes instead of folding them.

This is supposedly de rigeur for flight attendants.  I don't really bother to roll my clothes unless I am really trying to squeeze a lot into a little.  For work trips I don't usually need to roll anything as I bring so little.  But rolling helps keep everything very neat.

The toiletries kit is pretty key too.  I carry everything in travel-size (which I used to find annoying but now I find really cute.  Everything looks so much cuter in mini size!).  I always keep a bag packed ready to go - containing spare contacts, tooth brush, tooth paste, floss, mouthwash, facial wash, toner, moisturizer and sunscreen, all in travel size.  I also keep a spare mouthguard in there so I don't forget it.  If I am feeling whimsical I toss a few sample scrubs or face masks in there too. After a long and tiring flight with bad air and lots of dehydration, those samples are a nice pick me up.

In my carry on bag, I carry lip gloss, hand moisturizer, hand wipes, eye drops, and always, always, always, a PEN.  Those annoying immigration forms!  Having a pen often means the difference of a long wait versus a short wait for getting out of the airport.

On this last trip, I also learned in a very meaningful way that I must always carry some ibuprofen. Headaches at the onset of a flight after a long day are just about the very worst thing...

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