Pack Like a Pro

We asked a few successful, globetrotting women on how to pack light—without suffering the consequences.

Cheryl Tan-Ahern, country manager for Singapore, Spectrum Group

“Do your research. If you’re traveling with your children, check if your destination has shops where you can buy nappies, emergency formula, or wet wipes, then pack what you need for the outgoing and the return flight. Buy from those stores for what you need in-between.

That’s what I did in Thailand. There was a 7-11 outside the hotel that sold travel sized-items: laundry detergent, four-pack nappies, and wipes. You really need less than you think. For phones, bring one charger with a split cable, so you don’t have to bring two.

And most importantly: if you’re going on vacation, leave your work computers behind. Sure, you think you’re going to check in here and there but in actual fact, things can wait.”

Deborah Tan-Pink, former journalist and now head of content, Asia

“Check into hotels that you know will provide quality toiletries. This saves you a lot of trouble of checking in your bag. For instance, most Japanese hotels use good shampoos and conditioners so you don’t ever have to worry about packing these in.

For light winter clothes, Uniqlo is a godsend. Its down jackets can be reduced into small packs, and the Heattech range means you can layer for warmth.


Travelers swear by Uniqlo’s Heattech. All photos courtesy of the brands mentioned.

Be practical about your footwear. If you invest in a decent pair of boots, it should do for most occasions, save for skiing! Don’t bother with accessories—seriously. No one is going to see your necklaces and bracelets under all those layers.”

Dulce Masilang, former flight attendant, Saudia Airlines

“Never pack denim—they’re heavier than most fabrics. If absolutely necessary bring only one pair, and make sure you’re wearing it during your outgoing and return flights.

Buy thermal leggings and tops. Bring only one pair of comfortable shoes. If hats are your thing, bring only foldable ones. You can lease workout clothes from many hotels, such as the Hilton. So ask if the property offers these before packing in your sneakers and sweats.”


Hilton’s member hotels offer athletic clothes for rent.

Writer’s advice:

“Bringing your entire makeup arsenal is unwise, and in many cases, a tube of lipstick—which can also serve as a blush and eye shadow—will do. Bring along a compact foundation (not a liquid one) and you’re good to go.

Sticking to your ten-step skin routine when traveling is not a good idea. Ten bottles, no matter how small, is not a practical move. Cut it down to three (cleanse, tone, moisturize) and spend the time you have saved by snoozing off on a daybed by the pool.”


Lippies can also be used as blush and eye shadow.

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