If you scroll down to May of this year, you'll find a blog entry I wrote entitled "Packing Like A Pro" . I figured it was high time to make a second installment and address your concerns regarding TRAVEL again. Today, I'll answer a few questions I've received from my awesome readers via email.
Note: I've purchased most of my travel essentials both here and abroad, but for the sake of convenience, I'm listing down the items that are readily available in the Philippines just so you'll be able to purchase them easily. The products on this list are from the MUJI to GO line, which you can buy in a MUJI store near you :) I just love MUJI! It's Japanese heaven for me! My in laws and I visited the High Street store last Sunday and we hung out for almost an hour! Hehehe! They have a promo until August 31, get 10% OFF on all Muji luggage and 15% OFF when you buy 1 luggage and 2 or more selected travel items. Check them out on Facebook or Twitter for more details.
Question: "There are so many passport holders in the market, which one would you recommend?"
Side story time! So one of our best friends, BJ Albert, got us a fire proof safe as a wedding gift. It was one of the most practical gifts we've ever received and we were thrilled when it was delivered to our condo. The only problem---we didn't (and still don't) have anything valuable to put inside the safe! Hahahaha!! Kakahiya diba! I'm not saying we're dirt poor, my husband has made it so that we live quite comfortably---BUT we really don't have any prized possessions to "keep safe". Our money is tucked in safely in Sun Life and the bank (all 20 pesos of it, hahahaha, I kid!), we don't own any jewelry (except for our wedding rings), we don't have any gold bars or numerous property titles. The only valuables we could find were 1)our birth certificates 2)OUR PASSPORTS! That's it! Indeed, our passports are the most important material possessions we have at home and I would be heartbroken if I lost them. Sure, technically they're replaceable---but how do you replace all the stamps from all the countries we've visited in the past 2 years?!?! And that's why I always encourage people to invest in a good passport holder. Now, I have nothing against the borloloy types of passport holders. If you love Hello Kitty, then by all means, bring Hello Kitty along with you! But personally, I would lean towards the simpler designs for Passport holders. It's best to invest in a case that will be durable enough to keep your passport from tearing, folding or worse---getting wet! Eeep! :) Also, opting for a cleaner and simpler design also doesn't cause unnecessary attention especially since you'll be going through immigrations with it. You don't want to give the immigrations officer a headache with your rhinestone filled passport holder. I'm not saying it'll be reason enough for him to deny you entry, but you never know! If some people judge a book by it's cover, some might judge your passport by it's cover too! Hehehe!
Question: "I'm planning to do a bit of shopping but I'm not quite sure how much I'll be able to purchase. Should I just bring a big maleta just to be sure?"
Of course having a big suitcase is always a sure win for shoppingeras. But I would suggest just packing proportionally, by this I mean you have to pack smart (not under-packing or over-packing). You can opt to just bring a foldable bag with you instead. You can get a bag that folds into a small pouch (a little bigger than a CD case) that won't take too much space in your maleta. Then when you have made your purchases already, you can open it up and voila! An extra bag to keep all your purchases in order. No need to lug around several paper bags to the airport.
Question: "Packing is a nightmare for me. How can I create a system for it?"
I am a big advocate of packing cubes and keeping things in compartments. 1)It keeps things neat and organized. Having your things in order just puts you in a better mood! I'm not saying you have to go full on OC, but when things are easy on the eyes it just makes things lighter! 2)Having similar things together in little cubes makes it easier for you to keep tabs on your travel inventory. If you know you packed 5 pairs of socks, if one pair goes missing it'll be easier to check when they're all lumped together. 3) You'll be able to PACK MORE items when things are positioned properly. If things are folded/rolled well then you'll be able to budget your space more efficiently as opposed to just dumping it all in one go. Aside from packing cubes and space savers, I suggest getting a suitcase that has built in compartments already.
Question: "My husband keeps teasing me because whenever we travel I always bring my whole banyo with me. How can I pack my toiletries properly?"
I can totally relate. I've had my share of packing dilemmas with toiletries also. I have very sensitive skin and so I always deal with bouts of eczema and other skin ailments whenever I'm exposed to abrupt changes in weather. I always, always make the mistake of underpacking my skin care essentials just because I always convince myself that "Oh, I'm sure my skin won't react so negatively"---but of course, surprise surprise!!! I find myself in the middle of Europe with red patches on my skin, rushing to the nearest pharmacy trying to find a cure for my skin problems. So there, I end up spending 15 euros for a tube---15 euros that I could have added to my lunch budget! Hayyy. So I know better now, I always make sure I have all my battle gear ready and place them in small travel safe containers. Since you have the opposite dilemma (overpacking), I would still suggest investing in high quality travel containers so you wouldn't have to bring the family sized shampoo and conditioner you have at home. Sachets are also an economical way to go about it but if you're going for the more eco-friendly route, I suggest going for reusable travel bottles for your toiletries instead. I would also recommend a plastic kikay kit, this allows you to just wash off any spillage that may occur in transit. Sure, your leather cases might look much more sophisticated but imagine the nightmare of trying to scrub off your toothpaste from a leather pouch. Yikes!
So there, I hope I was able to help you guys with my simple travel accessories tips. If you have more travel related concerns, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to compile another Q&A batch :) Wishing you all happy adventures!