Curated for the Club: Prolific Travels with Ch’lita Collins

Words by Ch'lita Collins
Portrait by Ellie Coker

Ch'lita Collins with her Milly Bag photographed by Ellie Coker in Paris

Travelling is an art and somewhat of a sport. I am a prolific traveller and fancy myself quite good at it. I never know where I’ll end up, or for how long, so there’s no way to properly ‘prepare’. I also do not believe in planning outfits (boring!), but this doesn’t mean there isn’t a method to my madness.

You need to imagine the person you’re going to be at your intended destination, and what trouble you could possibly get up to. I lay everything on the bed to edit; you can start to see who you might become. On my last trip to Paris, I looked like I was running away to the circus. Once you have chosen your clothes, you must use packing organisers. These organisers compress your clothes so they can satisfyingly slot into your suitcase like a game of Tetris. Use one organiser per category. For example, one for tops, one for dresses, one for pants etc. This is a very pleasing way to pack; you feel like an organised human being.

Use socks or shirts to stuff your shoes and bags so they keep their shape during transit. I take laundry bags from every nice hotel I stay at and repurpose them as dirty laundry bags or dust bags.

Utilise the offerings of modern technology and put an AirTag in your suitcase, God forbid your suitcase gets lost (which happened to me recently). This will make it so much easier to file a claim, track down your luggage, and get your belongings back. You may as well add travel insurance to your packing regime, but I like to live on the edge.

If you already have an insane suitcase colour or pattern, dismiss this: cover your suitcase with stickers or something to personalise it. I don’t care if you’re ‘chic’—have fun at baggage claim.

I don’t believe in wearing athleisure to travel or even taking those inflatable neck pillows, or really any signifier of comfort; that’s for Business Class!

Don’t let me yuck your yum, but this is what I think the ideal airport outfit is:

1. Fur or leather jacket (I like to look like I’m on tour)
2. Sweater (planes are cold!)
3. Jeans; pockets to put your phone, boarding pass, and passport in
4. Baseball cap (for when your hair inevitably gets greasy)
5. Sunglasses (I like to sleep on the plane while wearing them)
6. Compression socks (my feet swell up)
7. The heaviest shoes I intend to bring with me

These are possible scenarios to prepare for:

1. What if you were invited to a fancy dinner?
2. What if someone wanted to take you dancing?
3. What if you wanted to go for a swim?
4. What if you had to do an outdoorsy activity?
5. What if you had to dress to impress?

The Art of Packing with the Pouch, Emily Pouch, Envelope, Matt Glasses, Jessie Wallet and the Large Organiser.

Here’s an idea of what you could pack to prepare for the above scenarios:

1. Jeans that only fit before breakfast
2. Oversized jeans for when you feel bloated
3. Leather hot pants
4. A mini skirt
5. 30 denier tights
6. Miscellaneous band T-shirts
7. A party dress, perhaps of the sequin variety
8. Silk slips; (these take up no space and are versatile)
9. A bikini
10. A fabulous heeled shoe (to raise morale)
11. Shoes you can walk 20,000 steps in

Your carry-on has to contain everything you’ll need in case your luggage goes missing, or the things you might need whilst on the plane. This is what I lug around:

1. Passport, obviously (in fact, you should always carry this, you never know what might happen)
2. Loose cash in multiple denominations for bribes (you forgot your passport, you’re already halfway to the airport, and the driver hates you)
3. Noise-cancelling headphones
4. Spare underwear (of the fancy variety in case it falls out of your bag)
5. A spare outfit
6. A book you won’t read
7. Laptop (if you work for your money)
8. Sketchbook and diary (if you have a rich inner world)
9. Chargers (don’t forget the international plug converter; I have the same one I stole from Jessie Wong in 2019)
10. A sentimental soft toy that is all matted and deformed due to love and time
11. A portable luggage scale (I don’t want to be surprised with excess baggage fees... although is it ever a surprise?)
12. A cashmere blanket that has a lover’s name embroidered in the corner—planes and hotels are too cold. Drape it over your bag; so cute!
13. A medicine bag containing pharmaceuticals to cure any potential ailment that could occur (broad-spectrum antibiotics, aspirin, Mylanta, etc)
14. Skincare decanted into awful tiny travel-size containers
15. A boar bristle hairbrush

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