Travel Tips

What’s on your suitcase?


What’s on your suitcase?

Are you the type of traveler who crams every imaginable dress in sight, tucking about ten shirts, five pants and three shoes for a 5 day, 4 night trip? Or are you someone who can fit an entire wardrobe choices in a small, carry on backpack.

For this trip: I am carrying:

  • A pair of jeans
  • 1 NorthFace winter jacket
  • 2 black skirts
  • 3 shirts
  • 3 leggings
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • 2 beanies/hat
  • 1 wrinkle-free dress (to be paired with black tights and worn during the trip to the DMZ)
  • 2 long-sleeves sweaters
  • 2 scarves
  • my pink winter boots
  • appropriate number of underwear/socks

Plus: my “blankie” — the old bear stuff toy I always carry with me wherever I go

When I first started traveling, I didn’t know any better. I will cram every imaginable dress in sight, the same as my accessories and shoes (like three types of shoes for a 4D, 3N trip!) — I was that clueless. Thus, I was always the one waiting on the baggage carousel, lugging heavy bags and basically looking like a complete klutz every time I emerge out of the airport and/or airport train.

My grand aspirations to look like this, has remained nothing but an aspiration:


It was until a particularly inconvenient and annoying dragging of the luggage in Busan and Seoul in 2012 that I finally said to myself that I had to stop carrying my whole house, save for the cat, each time I travel. I ditched the last-minute packing, stopped myself from carrying my shoe collection and instead learned to identify key pieces in choice colors in my wardrobe. Hence, I limit my colors to two or three colors then pick a shoe that would work best with the clothes I have at hand. I also got myself a 10-kilo luggage with expandable zippers so that I no longer have to check my luggage at the plane.

In the end, I learned to edit, edit and have one final edit of my clothes the night before the trip. This way, I save luggage space which I can then use for my souvenirs (which are also not that many, considering I am not a big fan of omiyage shopping).

I also referred to the internet for good tips coming from well-known and experienced travel writers on how to pack smartly and efficiently. Here’s a really good one from Rick Steves.

Little by little, I have learned to pack smartly until I have learned to plan ahead the clothes I will wear — often times, I will bring clothes that I can wear more than once, like good sturdy jeans and sweater (if its cold). I also opt for soft, wrinkle-free items.  I also managed to limit my toiletries to small items, usually in small carry-on, clear bottles and packaging. In packing and sealing liquids and gels, know that bringing zip-lock is your best friend.

When I went to Tokyo, I updated my luggage to 20 kilos but still made sure to pack smartly. While I will need to check-in my luggage for the Seoul trip next week, I have already managed to whittle down the things I will bring, taking into consideration that I will need to also bring thick jackets, scarves and warmers since it’s already winter there according to Accuweather.

I will still do a final edit of the items above the night before my trip. I am sure that I will still manage to limit the things I will bring, making way for the early Christmas shopping I can do in Seoul.