JETSETTER GIFT LIST

Some of my travel favorites that I either own or are on my own wish list. If you're shopping for a world-traveler this season, check out my recommendations:

Wireless Headphones - I always have headphones with me, whether traveling on holiday or taking the metro to work. I especially like this wireless version for extra freedom when running and fewer tangled cables when traveling. 

Mahabi Slippers - A friend first introduced me to these when we were living in London. Her testimony convinced me to give them a go and I'm glad I did. They are super comfortable, slip on and off easily, and come with removable tread so they can go from indoor to outdoor. 

Travel Steamer - While I might not actually travel with one of these myself, I love the compact design. Living in a small central flat in a metropolitan area, space is a rare commodity. This steamer tucks away nicely and if I really had to, I could pack it for a trip. 

Travel Fragrance - This is actually something I don't technically buy. I have one full-size Jo Malone perfume for home use but the fragrance(s) I travel with are all samples. Every order on Sephora, I choose sample packs because they take up the least amount of space.

Herbivore Face Oil & Herbivore Face Mist - A recent resolution of mine has been to take better care of my skin/face, especially when on the road or in the air. I first tried Herbivore products as a free sample and fell in love. Now, most of their products are available in travel sizes too!

Eyemask - Anyone that has been on a long-haul flight knows that these are essential. I know that overhead reading lights are designed to only shine into one seating area but they never seem to work that way in reality - hence, eyemasks. 

Blanket Scarf - Doubles as a scarf and blanket. The perfect extra layer that you can pull out on cold flights or on arrival. 

Verso Travel Set - Part of my new skin regimen is consistency, that means travel sizes of the stuff I regularly use at home. 

Dry Shampoo - Tried and tested! I finally found a dry shampoo that works well with my in-between hair. Feels silky smooth and doesn't leave additional build-up. On longer flights, I feel like my hair gets oily more quickly than usual. One spritz of this and I'm good to go. 

Swiss Army Knife - This comes in super handy when traveling - just remember to keep it in checked luggage. I had one on my keyring once and nearly lost it at the security checkpoint. Luckily, China customs offers express shipping for confiscated items. 

Rimowa Cabin Luggage - I recently upgraded my cabin luggage this year with the rationalization of a new job with more solo travel. Since I would be lugging my suitcase around airports myself, spin wheels and light body were essential. 

 

FLASH GUIDE TO KYOTO

STAY

We stayed in the traditional Gion district in an Airbnb. The location was great, very close to public transport and temples. Our Airbnb was decorated in a minimalist Japanese style - I felt like I was in a Muji store and loved every minute of it. Earn a travel credit on your next Airbnb stay by using this link

PACK

Bring comfortable shoes for walking! We mostly wandered all over Kyoto and Nara, from one temple to the next. Wear comfortable shoes during the day, recover with a shiatsu massage in the evening! Also - if visiting in June (rainy season) like we did, a light rain jacket and packable umbrella will save you from sudden showers. 

DO

Nara - Surprisingly, I enjoyed our day trip to Nara much more than I anticipated. There are loads of temples here to explore, and it is slightly (though only just) less crowded than the temples in Kyoto. 

Wander Gion at Night - Many tourists hang around the streets of Gion to catch a glimpse of a Geisha or Maiko on her way to an appointment with a client. Though it seems horribly touristy, it is exciting to see the bright colors of a kimono flash in the traditional streets. 

TAIWAN 10 YEARS LATER

I can't believe a whole ten years have passed since my first trip to Taiwan. In the summer of 2007, I studied abroad at the National Taichung University where I met Tina, my language ambassador, and long-time friend. It was surprising how familiar Taipei felt and I'm already looking forward to making another trip. 

Taipei is a quick flight from Shanghai and the comparatively relaxed pace, abundance of good food, and surrounding nature makes it worth the trip. Food stalls and bubble tea are everywhere, its hard to have a bad meal in Taipei. Once you've had enough of the city, hot springs are just a metro/bus ride away in the lush green mountains surrounding the capitol.