ChiChai@Empire’s Travel Essentials & Tips

I’m out “on the road” once more and, this time, for six weeks. I’ll be in Bangkok for a few days and Manila for six weeks. Before the adventure begins, I want to share with you some of my travel essentials and tips.


I had a friend who once said that if you ever find yourself bored from doing nothing, you should probably use that time to do something. Whether I’m simply going to school or a cafe or going all the way here in Manila, these items are almost always found in my bag so that I can be productive no matter where I go.

Pencil Pouch – Seltzer Goods

This 6.25x10in pouch perfectly holds all my go-to office supplies: pencils, pens, highlighters, and post-its. I’m also hella particular with my pens (my planner is color-coded with 10+ different pens…) and, happily, this pouch holds it all!

Notebook- Shinola Detroit

Because I am currently working on my master’s thesis, I carry this notebook with me everywhere to assure no sporadic ideas and thoughts regarding my thesis gets forgotten.

Creative Roll Bag – Benny Gold

Now comes my Empire in the Air related goods! This roll-up bag holds several of my art materials– from various pen sizes to paint brushes. There are enough slots to fit up to 23 creative materials in an organized matter.

Planner – Passion Planner

For anyone that needs an extra push to make sure your plans become achievements, I highly recommend this planner. It comes with loads of space to not only jot down your agenda but also notes, ideas, and even drawings. There are also designated areas for mind maps!

Sketchbook – Pow! Wow! Hawaii!

Like my notebook, I carry this sketchbook everywhere to give sporadic ideas for designs a home. Keeping this sketchbook with me is pivotal for my design process because many of my inspiration comes from traveling.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

I love reading. I love art. And I love that comic books exist so that the two can come together. Because of graduate school, the literature I’ve been reading for the past year has been heavy. As I continue working on my thesis for the rest of this year… I still have an intense reading list…Hence! Comes a personal reading list. I wouldn’t say the premises of these books are exactly on the lighter side but reading fiction is refreshing. Plus. Pictures.

If you’re about to embark a super long plane ride (SFO to MNL is 12 hours), bring a form of literature too! Wi-fi ain’t free on planes so no Tumblr/Facebook searching plus there’s only so much fun you can get from staring at th back of someone’s seat.

Top Row: Ms. Marvel, Saga: Volume I, Bitch Planet: Volume I
Bottom Row: Avatar: The Last Air Bender — Smoke & Shadow: Volume I-III


Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetHeadphones
Listening to music helps tune you into a different world, especially with headphones on. You’ll need that sanctuary for a long flighty.

External Hard Drive
I photograph as much as possible when traveling. To avoid overloading my laptop while keeping all the moments captures, this is my best friend. Plus, thanks to Christopher, it is full with episodes of The Office, Parks and Rec, and, Avatar the Last Airbender so I won’t get too homesick during my downtime.


Like my creative roll bag, this roll up bag is to organize the goods. This one is particularly made for cords. As you may tell in this photo, I got loads of electronics needed to be charged and connected.

Portable Charger

You never know how long you’ll be out and about during your travels, which is what makes this a necessity. You can get portable chargers with USB ports for 1-5 electronics nowadays!

Cameras- GoPro & SonyAlpha6000

Both of my cameras are on the smaller side thus travel-friendly. My Sony Alpha is small enough to fit in my purses and small enough for me to bring my other lenses for it. If my Sony is compact enough, why do I need a GoPro still? Many of my trips consist of hikes and being near water (if not in water)– having a GoPro allows me to capture moments without worrying too much about the wear and tear because of its tough and waterproof casing as well as its various wearable straps that make it nearly unnoticeable whilst climbing.

Departure #OOTD

One’s outfit greatly determines one’s comfort level during a super long flight. The keys to a cozy flight outfit is loose, functional, and versatile for temperature. I’ve been on hot and stuffy planes but I’ve also ridden refrigerator-like planes. This outfit allows me to prepare for either.

Denim Jacket – Levi
You may see me in this jacket. A lot. It’s not only because I love denim but it’s also because it has huge inside pockets to keep my passport, wallet, and cell phone accessible.

Maxi Dress – Forever 21
It’s loose! This has been my main-squeeze piece for plane rides the past year because of how comfortable it is. Some people prefer wearing sweatpants or basketball shorts on the plane. However, considering I’ll be wearing a seatbelt for 12 hours, I’m anti-waistbands for the ride.

Socks and Slides
Again, you really never know the temperatures on the plane. Wearing sandals while having socks at hand keeps you prepared for the what-ifs. Who cares if its a fashion faux pas if you cozy AF?

I bring a sarong with me for the cold side of just-in-case on the plane. Sarongs can serve as light blankets plus, the fabric is thin enough o stuff in a bag.

Carry-On Luggage – Herschel Company & Backpack – Mission Workshop
Worst case scenarios while traveling is the misplacement of your check-in luggage, which is why I recommend keeping your valuable essentials with you at all times. I do not recommend packing any expensive valuables such as jewelry with you but for essentials, such as laptops and cameras, put it in your carry-on instead of a check-in. Yes, it’s a pain in the butt because you have to take out your laptop during security check-in but I swear you’ll have a better peace of mind knowing where it is.

That concludes my travel essentials & tips for now!

Now for the actual trip…



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