What we can learn from this paranoid traveler’s packing tips — for when we can travel again 2
For the toiletry bag, supplement your basic grooming and hygiene essentials with disposable gloves, a face mask and vitamins. For details on the items, see bottom list. Photo by David Celdran

What we can learn from this paranoid traveler’s packing tips — for when we can travel again

Used to be we only worried about missed flights and extended layovers — but the post-pandemic scenario demands the traveler to arm himself almost with the worst in mind. By DAVID CELDRAN 
ANCX | Apr 21 2020

We asked David Celdran, whose work as Executive Class host brings him to different parts of the world more often than the usual bakasyonista, what his go-bag for travel looks like. It turns out it’s not only boredom-proof, it’s also — based on the requirements of our changing world — future-ready. 


With border closures and flight disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic leaving tens of thousands of travelers stranded at airports and destinations on lock down, this might be a good time to reassess the way we travel — and the way we pack.

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Call me a paranoid traveler, but the number of missed flights and extended layovers I’ve had to endure in the past has taught me some valuable lessons about packing smart. Since one can never predict when the next health scare, terror threat, airline strike or weather disturbance will happen, it certainly makes sense to plan for any eventuality and pack essential pieces that can help you get through the ordeal.


On the issue of spare clothing

You don’t need to be stranded by a cancelled flight or a city-wide lockdown to understand how crucial it is to pack a spare set of clothes in your carry-on bag when flying. Regardless of cabin class, I make it a point to change into something more comfortable when traveling on a long-haul flight. 

This is why sweat pants (or generously-cut cotton trousers) paired with a loose-fitting open-neck shirt and slip-ons are a mainstay in my carry-on luggage. This casual ensemble may come in handy if ever your check-in luggage is lost in transit or if you find yourself grounded at the airport or temporarily locked down at your destination due to weather, health or security emergencies.

For the same reason, I usually pack a blazer and a formal dress shirt in case circumstances force me to extend my stay and continue working on location. An unlined jacket made with high-twist wool and a shirt employing crease-resistant cotton are ideal for packing and for wearing repeatedly without the need for ironing.

A cap, scarf and sweater give me more options for braving the cold – whether its outdoors or inside the airport. I prefer pieces in dark colors as these can be worn over longer periods of time without looking messy.  

This spare wardrobe may seem like a lot to fit into a single cabin trolley, but a carry-on bag with expandable material such as leather usually does the trick for me — with room to spare for essential electronics and toiletry items.

What we can learn from this paranoid traveler’s packing tips — for when we can travel again 3
Essential items and spare clothes to pack in the event I find myself stranded at the airport or in transit. It’s wise to mix formal and comfortable pieces as you’ll never know who you might have to meet or where you might have to stay in case of emergency. And don’t forget to include a  camera and notebook for documenting the ordeal! For product details, see list below.


I used to pack books and magazines to keep me occupied during those long waits at the airport. These days a laptop computer or a smartphone does the same job with video on demand, streaming music and e-books on the go. I find earbuds annoying for serious listening beyond a couple of hours so I take a pair of oversized headphones instead. 

Smartphone cameras have come a long way in terms of quality, but I still prefer a proper camera for snapping memories. A semi-pro pocket-sized camera also allows me to record interesting stories and interviews without a cameraman around, although the old-school part of me still insists on a pen and journal for scribbling notes or sketching scenes around me.



Most airline cabin amenity kits are great for recycling as souvenirs or toiletry bags, but apart from the toothbrush kit, there’s hardly anything in them that can help you survive a protracted suspension of flights, let alone a lockdown away from your check-in luggage. To be sure, I always pack toiletries to last a week. And with viral infection very much a threat these days, it makes sense to add in a pair of gloves, a face mask and immunity-boosting vitamins into the mix.


On the photos: 

TOPMOST: Travel toiletry bag contents (clockwise from bag): (1) Toiletry bag, (2) Latex gloves, (3) Cologne, (4) Hair care products, (5) Sunscreen, (6) Antihistamine capsules, (7) Deodorant, (8) Comb, (9) Toothpaste and toothbrush, (10) Mouthwash, (11) Immunity booster vitamins, (12) Electric shaver, (13) Face mask.

BODY PHOTO: Cabin (Carry on) luggage contents: (Clockwise from luggage) (1) Cabin trolley by Piquadro, (2) Headphones by Grado Labs, (3) Pen case by Sonnenleder, (4) Notebook by Leuchtturm 1917; Fountain pen by Paltinum (5) Mobile phone by Apple, (6) Toiletry bag by Piquadro, (7) Pocket camera by SONY (8) Document holder by Piquadro, (9) Watch case by Chopard, (10) Handkerchief by E. Marinella, (11) Driving shoes by Paul & Shark, (12) Sweat pants by Lululemon, (13) Dress shirt by van Laack Meisterwerk, (14) Checked blazer by Isaiah Napoli, (15) Socks by Falke, (16) Underwear by Massimo Dutti, (17) Cap by Lock & Co. Hatters, (18) Breton shirt by Armorlux, (19) Scarf by van Laack, (20) Pullover by Paul & Shark.

Photos by David Celdran