By Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Packing smart is often my goal when I travel. Listen to world travelers and you’ll find some helpful hints to make your trip more enjoyable and stress-free.
My list of world travelers in this article showcases some prominent members of our region. Port of Seattle Executive Director Stephen Metruck has served 34 years in the Coast Guard and retired in 2015 as commander of the Fifth District. Shaunta Hyde, Managing Director of Community Relations at Alaska Airlines, needs no introduction to her rich travel experience. Vice President of MG2 Architecture, Mona Lee Locke, was the First Lady of the State of Washington and former wife of Gary Locke, who was the U.S. Ambassador to China. Former mayor of Tacoma Marilyn Strickland, now CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, has traveled extensively to build bridges nationally and globally. And Debadutta Dash, co-chair of Washington State International Relations Action Committee, travels often between India and other parts of the country.
Occasionally, I will share my own personal insights, too.
The goal of your trip will help you decide the essentials to pack. According to Metruck, “Pack by priority, be prepared, keep it simple.”
“It is vital to have common devices paired with chargers and my iPad mini,” said Metruck.
“Portable chargers like the Anker PowerCore are a must. It recharges itself in 10 hours, and works for multiple devices, providing a fast, high-capacity charge,” said Hyde.
If you have special medications, you need to take with you the doctor’s prescriptions, too, said Dash, just in case you need refills. Also, buy tablets from drugstores to put in the water to kill bacteria when you drink and eat.
Dash also likes ION Water Purification Drops or Coghlans drinking water tablets (Amazon) to kill pathogens and bacteria in drinking water. It’s also good for bug and mosquito bites.
“Wear natural fabrics that can be layered to help adjust to changes in temperature,” said Strickland. “It might be cold when you leave Seattle, but hot and humid when you land in Atlanta. Comfortable shoes are a must.”
“Business and casual wear, and layers for various climates, rather than a single heavy jacket,” said Metruck.
Workout clothes are what Locke would bring along.
“A long shawl or scarf — I bring one or two with me because they allow pure comfort, whether the airplane cabin is too cool or warm,” said Hyde. “They also become an additional
versatile piece of clothing to my wardrobe.”
“Buy clothes made of organic fabric,” said Dash, “so you can wash them easily and dry the next day. Organic fabrics are usually lighter, so you lighten your baggage.”
What’s the ideal food to take?
“I keep two protein bars and a water bottle in case I get stuck somewhere, as not all airports have the wonderful food options that Sea-Tac International offers,” said Metruck.
“Peanut M&M’s, Red Vines, and Skittles because I secretly have a sweet tooth,” said Locke.
“Oranges are the ideal travel snack,” said Strickland. “They taste good, quench your thirst, and the rind smells nice.”
Assunta: My husband always brings me a bag of nuts in case we are hungry on the plane or in our hotel room.
“If I am traveling internationally, I always buy Dream Water, which is liquid melatonin to help me sleep, no matter what time zone I enter,” Hyde said.
Assunta: My sleep enhancers are a banana and magnesium pills. Eat them one to two hours before bedtime.
“Mario Badescu Rosewater Facial Spray. I travel with this because it allows my skin to feel fresh and breathe during and after flights,” said Hyde.
“Travel can be physically demanding, so I strive to feel comfortable, clean, and properly hydrated. Water, heavy lotion, and lip balm are essentials,” said Strickland. “So is a handkerchief and hand sanitizer with aloe.”
Assunta: I carry a small spray bottle with filtered water to spray on my face and neck during my plane ride.
How to organize your packing
“My final and best item I no longer leave home without are the Amazon travel packing cubes,” said Hyde.
“They allow me to break up my clothing in an efficient way, so if TSA needs to look in my suitcase, very few items are touched.”
“Bring a copy of your eye-glass prescriptions in case you have to replace glasses or contacts,” said Metruck.
“If checking bags, I usually put my toiletries in my carry-on, in case the checked luggage gets lost,” said Locke. “When I travel, the most important thing to take, if possible, are my kids! They add fun, adventure, and challenge to every trip!!”
Assunta: I bring some one dollar U.S. bills for tipping. U.S. currency in many foreign countries works like magic. It saves me the trouble of having to change to foreign currency. It’s a nice way to make the hotel maids and room service workers smile.
Assunta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.