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Illustration: Ho Ler Lim

5 Awesome Things To Pack In Your Luggage

1. Absorbent kitchen paper towels

Pack an entire roll of these in your luggage. Why? They aren’t only for cleaning up spilled coffee or for de-greasing dirty plates in your short-stay apartment. Paper towels come in really handy when your hotel room or apartment doesn’t come with a hairdryer – or when you are just too lazy or (too late) to wrestle with those perennially tangled up cables and wires. Blot wet hair with a few squares of paper towels and you will be good to go.

2. Old newspapers and magazines

You’ll be glad that print media still exists when you buy a really fragile vase at the flea market or are tasked by your friends to cart home jars of homemade chutney from the farmers’ market. You will want to wrap these up nicely and safely in layers of cushiony recycled paper. For smaller items like jewellery, old socks are perfect.

3. Cutlery

Now this is as important as your passport if you must tuck into a styrofoam bowl of instant laksa-flavoured noodles in the midst of a 14-day trip in Alaska. Most overseas supermarkets now sell some form of instant noodles for your in-room dining plans but these generally do not come with thoughtful touches, like an attached plastic spoon or chopsticks. If you have ever tried fishing out oily noodles with a pair of toothbrushes or hotel stationery pens like we have, put cutlery at the top of your Very Important Things list. Now.

4. A big scarf or shawl

No, this isn’t a fashion tip. If you are roughing it out in a hostel or a two-star hotel, you’ll be grateful to have something of your own over a stained pillowcase. Or to keep you warm when the blanket’s smelling funky. Or to keep the light out when your hostel mates leave their lamps on. Or to shield your nose when your fellow plane passengers reek of stale perfume or day-old sweat pants. The possibilities are endless.

5. A S-shaped hook

If you are on the road a lot and have to use public toilets which may or may not have door hooks for your heavy backpack (you could leave it on the wet, grimy, pee-soaked floor, of course), you’ll be happy to have your own hook. Just sling it over the top of the door.

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