May 17, 2016

Vacation season is upon us! Before you know it, you’ll finally be jetsetting off on that holiday you booked six months ago – and we’re right there with you! While packing may be quite the chore to most people, it doesn’t have to be; especially if you know just what to pack to help you travel smart. We rounded up some of our must-have travel essentials of all time – tried and tested to have made a difference in our own travelling adventures.


Packing cubes

You know those collapsible nylon container bags you sometimes use to organise your undies from your regular clothes? Exactly.


Buy similar from: Lazada, $17.50

A ton of my favourite YouTubers were raving about how these packing cubes made everything so organised, so I decided to try them out for myself. (They’re really cheap anyway, so no major losses regardless.) Long story short: they changed my life. I thought I was already a neat packer to begin with, but having different sized compartments to store your clothes – tops in one, jeans in another; even one just for undergarments – made pulling outfits out on holiday that much easier. Plus, your clothes don’t slide around in your luggage and end up wrinkled.

Bonus tip: These are a godsend on short-haul trips; I just use one large cube to fold all my clothes neatly into – which leaves me with the rest of my carry-on luggage space to fool around with. – Amanda


Passport organiser case

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Buy similar from: Muji, $19

Ever spent an embarrassingly long time scrambling around your backpack to find your passport at Immigration? Or had to force a sheepish smile at a storekeeper as you furiously body-searched yourself for spare cash to pay for that ice cream cone? Us too; though never again with this handy accessory.

A passport case; mine’s from Muji, and I’ve had it since 2012. It holds my passport, pen, money, cards – basically everything, in it. When I’m travelling, especially between countries, i prefer to have all my essentials – money, cards, passport – in one place. It’s also a lot easier to carry! – Adam


Multi-plug extension cord

I first noticed my friend packing it along on a graduation trip two years ago, and it proved to be such a necessity because all of us could charge our gadgets at the same time using just one socket and one travel adapter. Now I bring one along to any holiday so I won’t be fighting for free sockets and adapters with my travel companions.

Bonus tip: For anyone going on student exchange/summer school, these will save you a lot of money and hassle than if you just bring along one universal adapter. – Tami


A hat

41 degrees Celsius. Not kidding — that’s what the weather app told us when I was at Thailand recently for a media trip. And that crazy, scorching temperature lasted all the way till sundown, meaning you’re bound to get a tan or work up a sweat, even if all you’ve been doing is stand under the sun for just ten minutes.

Somehow, we get a bit conscious about hats in Singapore, so an overseas holiday is the best time to bust it out. Mine lasted me by the beaches of Samui, proving to be the best accessory to give off those chill island vibes, and protecting my face against the merciless sun while we were hiking at a national park in Chiang Mai. It’s the kind of thing your mom would tell you to pack – so very useful, while also making you look hella stylish for the ‘gram.

Aside: On top of that, if you’re going somewhere humid I’d highly recommend an old-school rattan fan. They passed me one and I hastily chucked it aside, only for it to prove highly useful when the AC in our transport van just wasn’t cutting it. – Amelia


A foldable tote bag


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Forever 21, US$1.50

I always have one with me, because you never know when you’ll be buying extra stuff and needing that additional space. Actually, no; you’ll definitely be shopping overseas, so you want to be prepared to have extra room – to stuff more souvenirs or those last minute buys! On my recent press trip to Osaka, I managed to squeeze in some shopping and chucked my buys into my tote. Duffle bags work too but they take up a bit more space in your luggage; a tote bag is guaranteed cabin check-in size, but be sure to get one that’s made of a lightweight, easily foldable material.

The one I use is actually a Rick Owens shoe dust bag that came with the shoes – but it’s the shape of a normal tote bag and the size is tua, so it’s all good. I’ve ended up reusing it as a tote, and anyway, doubling up your buys into reusable totes saves the earth! – Josiah


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