Having just returned from a three-week trip abroad to Hong Kong and China, I thought I might reveal a few of my own tips (both things I wish I had packed and things I’m glad I packed) from my experiences.
- If you’re traveling in Asia, or anywhere really, pack a few packages of travel-sized tissues. In Asia particularly, many restrooms do not have paper of any kind so you really need to pack your own. Some restaurants even charge a fee for napkins or tissues in an effort to be more “green”. The theory being that if you have to pay for napkins, you won’t use as many. Right.
- A small backpack can be the perfect overnight bag. If you are making a day or two jaunt away from your hotel of choice, you can leave your larger suitcase behind with the concierge and take the small pack. I used a pack as my “plus one” on the plane to carry and extra sweater and my can’t-live-without toiletries in case my luggage went astray. On days when you are out shopping, a backpack can be a great carrier for purchases and maps and such. Just remember not to put your passport or any valuables in your pack in case someone gets wily and tries to pickpocket you.
- If you plan on packing an extra pair of shoes, choose a pair you wouldn’t mind losing if you need to free up space in your luggage on the return trip. I dumped a bulky, old pair of shoes in order to make more space for items I collected on my trip.
- As much as you may want to take advantage of the convenience of pre-packaged, travel-sized bottles of toiletries, be careful. I switched brands of lotion and facial cleanser and halfway through the trip suffered from major skin irritation that lead me to wander desperately through the aisles of a Hong Kong drug store in search of a more gentle replacement. Don’t switch horses mid-race. Trust me on this, I looked like I’d run into a belt sander with my face for a whole week.
- Many nice hotels (at least all the hotels I stayed at in China and Hong Kong) stock the desk with paper, envelopes and even postcards. If you’re in a really nice place, they may even stock the desk with an array of office supplies. Don’t steal shampoo. Steal office supplies. Or put them to good use and write to friends and family back home.If you are away from your home country, ask the concierge to mail your letters for you.