Growing up – we traveled all over the place doing all sorts of things as a family. Thankfully my parents were the ones who kept track of all my stuff back then. I just got told where to go and what I needed.

In 2009, there was this George Clooney movie that came out – Up in the Air, which was about this guy who had to travel a ton for work. (I also feel like this was the first time we were really introduced to Anna Kendrick? Maybe I’m wrong – whatever.) Anyways, there was this part of the movie where he’s taking her through how to be the most efficient traveler. In the security check point scene where he’s deciding who to line up behind he says: Bingo. Asians. They pack light, travel efficiently and have a thing for slip-on shoes.

My affinity for easy shoes at the airport or wanting to be an efficient traveler has nothing to do with being Asian. But nonetheless, I am always focused on being as prepared as I can be to make a headache free travel day. Here are bunch of random things to help you become the most efficient traveler you can be:

Travel Private!

(jk jk – I mean definitely do if you can, it’s great, but if you can’t see the actual tips below.)

TSA PreCheck & Clear

This isn’t new information to anyone who flies more than 4x per year, especially around shitty parts of the year to travel like the holidays. If you can afford it – my tip to you is to have both of them as Clear isn’t in all airports. TSA PreCheck means basically all of the inconveniences like taking off your shoes or pulling out liquids don’t need to happen. Sometimes if everyone has the same idea, the lines can be long – but they’re probably long everywhere if that’s the case. Clear means you have access to faster security lines which is why sometimes it can be better than TSA PreCheck as it bypasses everyone. You do have to take off your shoes once you get to the other side though. Benefits to both? You most likely don’t actually need to get to the airport 2 hours early to sit around and do nothing.

Carry On ONLY

I used to be a classic over-packer. I always checked a bag. Now that I keep hearing all these issues with people losing their luggage (especially after the Southwest debacle) I’m woker than ever about keeping my luggage where I can see it. I’ve only had the airline lose my luggage once but thankfully it was on the way home it didn’t make it, so I wasn’t stranded without clothes. On top of not being able to lose or worry about damage to your luggage, you don’t have to wait at baggage claim. This method is not for crazy souvenir buyers, but if you’re all business – do yourself a favor and pack smart.

Packing Cubes

There’s like this new thing where they have space bags for your suitcase and small air vacuums for like a keychain. That still seems like a lot more work than my favorite packing cubes, which do zip around to squeeze down a bit. Linking here! Cheap, lot of color options, breathable, etc.

Phone Holder

I’ve seen people on reels doing their own make-shift holder with the puke bag. I finally saw it in real life on my trip to Phoenix earlier this year. What I also saw on reels was this cheap enough option to not have to do that. I’m not an iPad person, so this was a great solve for not having to hold my phone for 4+ hours. It also means you can use your tray table without disrupting your movie or show. It’s surprisingly sturdy too. 10/10 cannot recommend enough. Buy Here!

Multiple Toiletries

This is probably more applicable to women as most of the men in my life are satisfied with using body wash as shampoo, but if you care about what you’re using on your face or in your hair – do yourself a favor and get a home set of whatever toiletries you’re using and get a travel set. If you need to decant into the 3oz bottles, use these! That way you don’t have to worry about losing, misplacing the stuff you need at home. And you don’t have to worry about leaving your favorite products behind to go use hotel branded stuff, which let’s be real – if you’re not staying at a Westin or above, the quality of product varies. I leave my travel toiletry bag packed all the time and only have to double check if I need to refill before traveling.

Clear Bags!

If you’re joining on the carry on only lifestyle, buy these. TSA approved sizing and sturdier than an actual ziplock bag. Try to pack in a convenient place to get to for going through security if you opt not to get TSA PreCheck, and you’ll never have questions or issues. Double check before traveling internationally!

Easy Shoes

Again – if you’re opting not to go TSA PreCheck, think about easy shoes. Slip ons, flexible knit shoes, etc. Give yourself more time to repack your stuff, like your laptop in your bag and less time worrying about how to put your shoes back on.


Like I said, all of this has nothing to do with me being asian. I blame it on the pandemic being “over”, my job becoming a lot more specialized or not limiting my dating radius to within 5 miles. Other tips include dressing comfortably and snack food on any flight longer than 4 hours. Living out of a suitcase has my belief of “more is more” with clothing making more sense than ever, for better or for worse – but in regards to extra clothes and toiletries for travel – it’s definitely for better! Next stop – the lake!

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