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A duffel forces travelers to make hard choices. Without check-in baggage, most travelers understand that there is no room for maximalism–for an extra extra outfit or for a pair of shoes that will be left unworn. But the checklist for a work assignment has an added science to it. The humble carry-on must fit both personal belongings and any work essentials. When needed, it must be light enough for backpacking or last long enough for a five-day trip.
“Being a photographer, packing for work can be a very complicated thing to do. For shooting video, that usually involves 3 or 4 different cases,” says GRID Magazine Executive Editor Paco Guerrero.
“But the one piece that I pack most carefully is my carry-on bag, that's where my little creature comforts are: my noise-canceling headphones, power bank, a little lip balm–and I can’t stress enough how important lip balm is. So while the equipment bags vary, that personal hand-carry bag is one I pay a lot of attention to.”
Vetted by seasoned travelers, here’s what’s inside our bags on GRID assignments:
- Photo editor Sonny Thakur advises on bringing an extra body for shoots. In case your main camera fails, you want to have another setup that can still take photos: A backup complete with a camera, lens, battery, and SD card.
- On slower assignments, Sonny packs his gear in a rolling kit, which has compartments that make it easier to stay organized. He opts for a backpack for more agile shoots. A pocketable parka with numerous pockets also works great to stash away any odds and ends while on the go.
- Keep a checklist of all the gear you’re bringing with all the corresponding chargers and cables. You wouldn’t want to leave a precious tether cord or charger behind.
- Writer Pat Villoria’s work essentials are a digital voice recorder (but a mobile app will also suffice) for interviews, a notebook to jot down any questions, names, and details to remember for the post-trip writing, and a powerbank to ensure your phone’s battery all day.
- For fieldwork that can last for hours on end, bringing a water jug and snacks can help keep you on your feet for longer.
- Bug spray and lightweight sunscreen are often overlooked, but can actually make or break your trip. All the essentials can be carried in the LifeWear tote bag for ease of access.
Part of traveling on assignment in the Philippines is preparing for all kinds of weather. For warm and tropical destinations, the AIRism mesh full-zip hoodie with UV protection is best. If it’s anywhere cold, an ultra-light down jacket or fleece long-sleeve full-zip jacket is the way to go.
Pack a mix of cotton and performance tees, like a U crew neck and DRY-EX T-shirt, as well as board shorts or AIRism leggings. It comes in handy for any fieldwork that requires cycling, hiking, wading–or anything that works up a sweat. Sonny also brings a quick-dry towel for his gear in case of bad weather or if he has to take a dip. Keep a waterproof or plastic bag in your luggage for these instances, which can also serve as a laundry bag
Pat brings at least one smart casual outfit for any formal interview or event coverage that requires a more dressed-up attire. The trick is picking clothes that can be easily mixed and matched, like a rayon blouse.
An easy identifier for Paco is that he never leaves home without his boots. He believes a good pair is the secret to comfy feet and, therefore, a happy traveler. Meanwhile, Sonny prefers running shoes and HEATTECH socks for fieldwork. Both think a pair of slippers is inarguably essential for the accommodation, or even sandals that can double for when you need to get your feet wet.
TIPS FOR PACKING:
- Assign a packing cube–compression ones are a worthwhile investment–for each type of clothing and fold vertically. This organizes your clothes to have everything in sight, and if you’re changing location every night, makes repacking a lot easier. If you dress monochrome like Paco, it helps keep things distinguishable.
- If necessary, wear your heavier or bulkier items while traveling. Otherwise, comfort is key during long car rides. Pat says that a podcast for entertainment, a good book, and a neck pillow make for great travel companions.
- Lastly, take something that reminds you of home with you. Paco’s is his straight razor, so he never goes without his morning ritual. Pat’s is a lucky charm she’s brought to trips since she was a kid. But it can be your favorite snack or instant coffee, something to anchor you while you’re somewhere unfamiliar.
This article is made possible by Uniqlo Philippines. Visit uniqlo.com to learn more.