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kotmj

The Technique of Travel

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The one thing which strikes me with people nowadays is just how much they are involved in personal logistics. They are constantly going here and there. They travel a great deal for business; the curious thing is they also like travelling for leisure. So they are constantly in transit, lugging suitcases in and out of cars, keeping a close watch on flight schedules, going up and down airports, breathing the recycled air and enduring the low pressurization and uncomfortable seats of flight cabins and basically spending a lot of time in this activity they seem to like so much called personal logistics.

 

I was cured of any interest in travelling during my student years by having to live out of a suitcase -- and lug said suitcase around to whichever town I had found myself a student job in the twice yearly semester breaks. I also lived out of a suitcase when writing my various thesis. I seem to always be in this or that town and had to make do with whatever environment I was in, and these environments never, ever had a good lamp for you to study by. I still had to study and pass exams. So for years I had a good fluorescent lamp in my suitcase. Today, I travel occasionally for my business, and I find it a chore. A whole lot of trouble. For me, the greatest luxury is idleness, going nowhere instead of going here and there. The only thing that would make me endure travelling is revenue.

 

The fact remains that people travel a lot. Some thoughts on business travel:

 

1. Bring only one jacket, and wear it on board. Jackets are ideal to travel with because the various pockets let you stow currencies and documents and passport. It also keeps you warm in chilly cabins. You can have the cabin crew hang up your jacket somewhere if you do not need it. The alternative to wearing the jacket is keeping it in the suitcase where it will come out crushed and crumpled.

 

2. I only have the shoe I am wearing.

 

3. For many, the suit/jacket they bring along is mission critical, so they choose not to surrender it to the hotel's laundry service for pressing, in case it does not come back in time or is misplaced. So you will have to get the wrinkles out of it yourself. Which you won't have to do if you wore it on board.

 

4. I have a small handheld digital scale I use to weigh my bags with. It helps in optimising the distribution of weight between check-in luggage and carry on.

 

5. Unlike the jacket, it is best to keep the suit trousers in the suitcase.

 

6. I would be wary of bringing along shirts with French cuffs. I like the stuff I use to be functional in and of themselves, instead of requiring external accessories like cufflinks (easily misplaced or forgotten) to work.

 

7. For the above reason I also prefer trousers with side adjusters. They do not require an external accessory by the name of a belt to work. Also, the buckles in side adjusters go through airport security with no problems, unlike belts.

 

 

Now for your thoughts.

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A very good suitcase is critical. This is one I've been using for several years. It's built very much like the Muji suitcases but costs a small fraction. Bought it in Hanifa in Masjid India. The orange colour is intentional -- it helps the bag stand out from the other black bags on the conveyor belt. It's a hard case, so is relatively impervious to liquids and is resistant to crushing.

1-IMG_5371_zpsukeecexm.jpg

 

The weakness of this suitcase is the wheels. Some suitcases have each rubber wheel mounted to a steel ball bearing. Not this one. It has held up well, and the Muji ones do not have ball bearings either, but I would look closely at the wheels before buying a suitcase.

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I have the exact same suitcase, I think. Is it Eminent? There's a video out there of it in a series of stress tests and it comes off in the top two or three. Agree that is is incredibly good and good value. 

 

I find it hard to travel with one pair of shoes. I often want one 'dress' and one casual. On my current trip to New York for example (typing this from Times Square), I have one pair desert boots, one pair slippers and just bought a pair of flyknits. 

 

The thing that does take up a huge amount of space is trousers. I think the way to go is wear the jeans, pack a 'dress' pair and that's it. Add a pair of shorts if the weather allows. 

 

I also like to pack knit ties because they don't wrinkle. I wear knits in general, anyway. 

 

Packing for cold weather is a whole other ballgame of course. I like to wear a cardigan, usually shawl collar, and pack one crewneck sweater; maximum two. Critical also to pack appropriate trousers, so corduroy, flannels etc. Let the Uniqlo Heattech and wool socks do the rest. 

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In terms of suitcases, I was suitably convinced by a 40-something kg lady jumping up and down on a polypropylene bag to illustrate its hardiness over a polycarbonate case (which usually looks nicer due to its sheen). Of course, some also prefer PC suitcases because they're lighter. I also use one, but mainly as cabin luggage.

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Yes, it's Eminent. I didn't know it is a "brand". I thought it is just a no-name Chinese manufacturer that also makes for Muji. Turns out it is even stocked by Galeria Kaufhof which normally only stocks pretty good stuff. I bought it in 2013.

 

I bought this maximally large suitcase from Hanifa (Masjid India). It was RM350 or thereabouts. It works great! It's quite high quality.

DSC01053_zpsaf6cb91e.jpg

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Some really good insights.

 

I'll add that for multi-week trips, I'm a fan of plastic shoe trees. Cedar is too damned heavy. 

 

I also also have Muji's travel house slippers rather than actual flip flops. Again, lighter, and easier to stuff into your hand carry as they come with a travel pouch.

 

Also in my bag:

- Travel sized bottle of mouth wash;

- Face wipes; 

- Spare undershirt/ socks.

 

My mug gets pretty oily over the course of the day hence the wipes, and the rest make me feel like a million bucks before heading out for after-work dinner/drinks or hopping back onto the flight home if I'm on a day trip.

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Wow... how large is your bag if you travel with cedar shoe trees? I like to travel as light as possible, although I still habitually overpack. 

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With a big check in luggage, I may travel with shoe trees. Most times, socks rolled into balls suffice as a makeshift.

 

And as far as gym shoes go, New Balance Minimus Zero Road shoes are a godsend. They pack very well, and they look pretty good as casual shoes too (at least I think the first gen range is). Of course, one may need to get used to forefoot strikes, in the first place.

 

I also have the same habit of overpacking, but it is mostly limited to additional underwear. And maybe an extra t-shirt. And maybe an extra pair of pants.

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I have a phobia of underpacking. On my recent trip, I brought 2 suits - a fused number in the garment bag and the FC worn on the plane, with jeans and oxfords. My garment bag also housed 5 pre-ironed shirts and my suit trousers. A bunch of t-shirts, undies, toiletries and stuff went into another bag. I packed ngam-ngam 20kg for the flight, and to my horror, my flight only allowed 15. Had to improvise.

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I pack really light. Almost nothing in the suitcase belongs to me. 80% is cloth books and other people's new clothes.

 

I find something like this indispensable. You loop it around the handle of your bag and lift with the plastic handle, which then displays the weight. Bought at Hanifa for almost no money, I think maybe RM25. The device itself weighs almost nothing.

1-IMG_5870_zpskhfx2aso.jpg

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So you guys wear a suit jacket on the plane, but with jeans rather than the suit trousers (which are packed in the suitcase)?

I've thought about doing this, but not sure if it would look odd.

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I just wear the suit on board. Polo shirt/knit underneath for extra douchiness. 

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I wear the entire suit on board the plane. Or Jacket with jeans (usually dark) and long sleeve t shirt.
Or wear something really comfortable and have the suit in a garment bag.

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If I don't check in my baggage then I'll wear my jacket otherwise it's packed in the luggage, or if i need to go to a meeting straight from the airport. Travelling long distance I like to be comfy, polos, jeans sneakers or loafers and a sweater. Agree with 6 wet wipes are essential, toothbrush or mouth wash usually airline will provide unless you doing low cost airline then you need to pack that. And to me most important gears are music, book and iPad that help to make the time pass faster.

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My preference of how to transport jackets, from most to least preferred:

 

Wear it

In garment bag

In suitcase

 

Any creases the jacket gets from being in the garment bag will disappear if given sufficient time to hang. But I never have several days for a jacket to hang when travelling.

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I would think fresco. But I have travelled with several kinds of regular worsteds (VBcs and such) and if I wear them they travel well. I have up to 8 suits belonging to other people in my suitcase at times, and after even a short flight they are all creased, including 60% English mohairs. So I think method of conveyance is more important than type of cloth.

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but wont your suit get super rumpled after being worn on board?

Not that I ever noticed actually. Any wrinkles normally straighten out by the time I get to work.

 

I find the wrinkling is worse if I pack it in my suitcase.

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This is probably the right place to talk about garment bags/suit covers. All tailors will deliver your new suit in one. It's not something I've paid much attention to, which is why my suit covers suck. Just yesterday I was asked if I'd like to carry the Scabal books; I was told each suit length I order comes with a Scabal suit cover and Scabal buttons. I checked both the suit cover and buttons out -- they're made in Singapore by the regional distributor of Scabal. Buttons are meh, but the suit cover is the nicest I've seen in real life. It's not super high quality, but enough quality to be really serviceable and to look yau ying.

IMG_20150612_180351_edited_zpsfpbushgm.j

 

The best I've seen (but via pictures, not in the flesh) is probably this vintage number by the storied but defunct Pan Am. This was from a very different era of aviation from today, from a time when flying was very prestigious.

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maroon6414-img450x600-1418310768v9yhif17

 

Everything about it looks so straightforward, so tasteful.

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Beside method of conveyance, I am also interested in hearing method of unwrinkle. 

I also carry my jacket on board, so first time after ariving the hotel is to unpack my pants and shirts. 

 

I try the "fill the tub with hot water" and use the steam to straighten out the wrinkle way....is there another more practical way ?

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