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Ten Travel Must-Haves by Cheryl Tiu

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Cheryl Tiu – the Working Gypsetter, at Lago di Como and in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Associate Publisher and Deputy Editor of Lifestyle Asia, One Mega Group, Columnist for the Philippine Star and Writer for CNN Travel, with all these things on her plate along with a very busy personal blog www.cheryltiu.com, it’s a true wonder that she even finds the time to jet set across the globe. This seasoned traveller, who is ready to get up and go at any minute, wherever work or pleasure will take her, shares with us her the ten things she always has with her while on the move.

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In India with children; Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro; Il Duomo in Milan with Bryan Boy; breakfast by the Mara River, Serengeti, Tanzania with Christine Dayrit

1. Rosary, prayer cards and Holy Water – I am always grateful for the opportunity to travel, and I never forget to thank the Lord for that. I also always ask Him to take care of me and keep me safe throughout all my journeys.

2. Iphone + Battery Pack – In this day and age, this is already a given. But I’m particular about having a smart phone because while previously I would always get a local sim to put in an analogue phone, these days, iMessage, Whatsapp and Viber has made communicating with anyone anywhere in the world much easier, more convenient, and cheaper. Plus, there’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to document and communicate photographic memories to share with family and friends. The World Clock function is so useful for travelers, too. I bring a MiLi Power Crystal Plus with me all the time because I don’t want to risk my phone dying out me and having nowhere to charge.

3. Canon S100 Camera – While I adore the Iphone camera, the colors and sharpness of a real camera cannot be beat (especially at night, when there’s minimal or no light). Plus, as a journalist, I often find these pictures useful for future stories I didn’t know I was going to be doing right then and there. This is precisely why I take photos of everything. Family and friends who tease me all the time, please take note. J

4. Sunglasses – My Ferragamo pair is the only one I wear. Apart from protecting my eyes from the sun, I wear them when I sleep on the plane. They shield my eyes yet I can still somewhat see what’s going on—I like to be able to know what’s going on around me all the time, therefore I never wear those pitch-black-can’t-see-a-thing eye masks that take time to pull off.

5. iPod – Music is essential to make it through long journeys—whether on plane, car, train, bus and boat rides.

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Blending Wine at Ravenswood Winery in Sonoma County with Stephanie Holmes

6. Medicine Kit – I never leave for a trip without these essentials anymore—Time-Cee Vitamin C 1g (I take it whenever I feel I’m about to come down with something and it really helps), Advil, Biogesic, Dolfenal, Neozep Non-Drowsy, Lormide, Berocca, Eye-Mo, Serc. Once when driving by a town in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, I was plagued with the worst eye allergies. We had no choice but to stop by a shady-looking sari-sari type store. I kept telling the guy I needed “eye drops,” pointing to my eyes but he had no idea what I was talking about. Luckily among the five words of Spanish I knew, I spotted a little bottle that read, ojo rojo. I knew that rojo meant the color red, so I put two together and figured ojo meant eyes. Unfortunately, we took so long that my eye had gotten so infected I had to icepack it the rest of my stay. Lesson very much learned. (**I also pack with me mini bottles or sachets of my favorite shampoo and conditioner here as I don’t trust all hotel shampoos. Once I accidentally spilled shampoo onto a wooden table in my resort in Phi-Phi Island in Thailand, and it immediately bore a hole and turned to white. Since then I never use hotel shampoos unless they are from trusted brands).

7. Foldable Yosi Samra ballet flats – Nowhere else in the world do you get picked up from your house and dropped off door-to-door in your cocktail dress and high heels apart from in Manila. Most elsewhere in the world, you have to walk or take the train, as sometimes taking a taxi can cost you an arm and a leg. (I’m talking to you, London, São Paulo and Tokyo!) For dressy events I attend overseas, I try to wear wedges so I can still walk around the place, but I usually pack my Yosi Samra foldable flats into my purse, in case I have to switch to flats on the way there or home.

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Bar Brahma in Sao Paulo during the 2010 World Cup; Riding a camel on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem with Uma Khouny; on the inaugural flight of Qatar Airways to Sao Paulo, Brazil with Christine Dayrit; Masada Fortress in Israel; at a wedding in Playa del Carmen, Mexico; after a hippie tour at Haight Ashbury in San Francisco with Stephanie Holmes, Brandon Widener and Liesl Hlista

8. Multi-socket adaptor – This is the best travel investment I have ever made, since every country around the world has a different socket, and this one carries up to about 72 countries. I highly recommend getting one. They have it at the big international airports and also onboard some flights.

9. Longchamp Le Pliage Tote – Apart from being so light, versatile and water proof (even if it gets rained on, everything else inside is kept dry), you can fold and pack it into your suitcase so compactly that it hardly takes up any space. I usually bring two every time I travel—the big one to carry all my junk when I’m on flight, and a smaller everyday one for when I get to the destination.

10. Foldable umbrella – In some countries, it rains and stops as much as five times a day. (Vancouver, Portland, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, anyone?) I learned the hard way when one sunny day in Kuala Lumpur, I walked to Pavillion Mall. Half an hour later, it was pouring like crazy. I spent two wasted hours ambling around the mall, waiting for the rain to stop. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and just put a magazine over my head and ran as fast as I could. I was soaking wet by the time I got to my hotel, but I also never leave without a foldable umbrella anymore.

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The Author

Stephanie
Stephanie
Writer. Traveller. Wino. Foodie. Bohemian at heart. "You can not travel the path until you have become the path itself." - Buddha


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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.

We are The Gypsetters.

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