I can’t believe that I’ll be in China by the end of this week! Packing certainly has not been easy. I’m so glad I started so early, because every day I think of something else to buy or bring—which is probably also terrible for packing lightly. But until you move to another country for an unknown amount of time and plan to travel Southeast Asia, it’s difficult understanding just how far ahead you have to think about what you’ll need. Not so sure I can rely on Amazon Prime in China, and with my limited Chinese skills, Taobao won’t be that helpful.
So check out some the crap I already have in my carry-on:
1 — Comb. Since I can’t fit everything I’m bringing on board into a nice little photo, I put this comb in to cover other hygiene-related essentials, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, face wash, moisturizer, and perfume—all travel size, of course. You may not need these for shorter flights, but I find myself bringing a small bag of toiletries for all transatlantic flights. If you’re not flying first class or some amazing airline that provides these for economy class that I haven’t heard of, you’ll have to bring your own. Even if you don’t like using the cramped bathrooms inside the plane, it’s nice to be able to freshen up before and/or after a long flight in the airport.
2 — Glasses. I wear contacts, so if I’m not already wearing my glasses to the airport, I bring them with me to wear when I’m ready to take a long nap. Sunglasses aren’t necessary for a flight, but I bring them anyway since they’re too fragile to pack away in my luggage.
3 — Notepad. I got this cute notepad as a gift. With an iPhone, I don’t need an actual notepad if I need to jot anything down on an airplane. And it’s not that my phone will die (thanks to bringing a portable charger), but it’s light enough to bring just in case. I also like having notepads around in my room for reminders that I prefer writing down.
4 — Passport holder. I also got this Kate Spade passport holder as a gift. Interestingly enough, passport control officers always took it off when handling it, so it may be more of an inconvenience for international travel. But maybe you want to remain mysterious while standing in line about where you’re from. LOL alright I’m stretching it. Passport holders are cool and stylish gifts, but in practice…
5 — Pens. I got the multicolored pen at Muji in Shanghai to write my farewell/thank-you notes at the end of the semester. I’ve used it on many occasions to write colorful notes, either for other people or for myself for study guides. I bring it everywhere. The second pen (kind of hard to see in the photo) was yet another gift. It happens to be the No. 1 fountain pen on Amazon, so I can’t wait to use it.
6 — Business cards. I’ve been carrying these around ever since I got them. I found them more useful when I was a student (omg can’t believe I’m old enough to say that…) since opportunities to meet new people are everywhere. I admit I have not used them while traveling. Because vacation. And despite knowing that WeChat IS China’s business card, I feel uncomfortable without bringing them. Plus, they’re MOO!
7 — Mints. LOL um so as I typed VerMints, I realized what a terrible name for mints that is for how close it sounds to vermin. Anyway, I got these today from my local organic market, one in wintergreen (looked like the most popular based on number of boxes left) and another in chai (never heard of a chai mint). The chai is great and not too strong, so it’s perfect for a flight so you don’t overpower your neighbor with a minty smell. Any mints are nice to bring along when chewing gum seems too tiring 😉
8 — Tissues. My mom loves the Hong Kong brand of tissues called Tempo, because they don’t break down when you use them and are more like soft napkins. But since I’m going to HK, I’ll just bring what I have—Kleenex. Tissues are absolutely necessary in Asia, by the way, where you won’t have the luxury of stealing handfuls of Chipotle napkins.
9 — Granola bar. Airplane food is dreadful, no matter how hard airlines try to improve it. Do your digestive system a favor and bring a few healthier snacks on board, such as my favorite Kashi chewy granola bars.
10 — Vitamin C. I really wanted to find the Nature Made Vitamelts packaged like this, because my sister and I swore by them for immunity when we went to China two years ago. Anyway, this bottle is still compact enough. I prefer the other packaging because it’s easier to open and toss one or two out—like Tic Tacs. I feel like Westerners tend to rely on shit like this that may not be too effective, but I think even the placebo effect is enough to briefly stave off initial sickness.
11 — Lip balm. That recycled air = dry skin. Don’t forget to moisturize. I got a five-pack of eos from Costco that will last me for a long while.
12 — Hair tie. These hair ties are all the rage, and I don’t like using any other kind since converting to band elastics. I’ve gotten all mine as gifts (I guess my friends and family know me well sometimes), and I even use them to tie cash. Yes, cash. A glittery silver one, too. Don’t knock ’em ’til you try ’em.
13 — Light read. I haven’t been reading as often as I used to or would like to, especially given—again—gifts of interesting reads from friends. As much as I would love to bring my hardcover book about China, I’m giving some consideration to my shoulders and packing instead a super light paperback that I read last year but want to reread.
14 — Gum. I love cinnamon gum and decided to give Pur gum a try. For being organic, it’s good but my all-time favorite remains Dentyne fire cinnamon. But like the organic mints, these won’t overpower your neighbors.
Hope you found this interesting and/or useful! (I’ve left out some obvious choices, such as headphones and my laptop.)
Let me know what you can’t fly without!