There are two types of travellers — those whose bags have just enough and those who pack extra, just in case. This is especially the case in the corporate world, where regular travelling is a staple. What you need on a trip is often dictated by what you find important. From music to sports, your hobbies and passions play a role in how you travel. We speak to two frequent flyers about their travel habits and ideal destinations.
BookDoc founder Datuk Chevy Beh’s most desirable travel destinations are New York and Hawaii. “New York has something for everyone — the diversity in terms of culture, sports, business, everything. Hawaii is just so relaxing. Everyone is fit because all day long, they play sports. And the weather is just so welcoming. I travel there because one of my best friends is based there and I also go there to play polo on the beach. It’s the whole package,” he explains.
Since Beh began his healthcare technology start-up, long trips have been more infrequent. “I travel more intensely and more often. It used to be twice a month but the trips were long, from three days to a week. Now, I do a lot of day trips … maximum, it is one or two days. I even go to the US for just three days,” he says.
Beh’s method of packing has evolved from always having to check in his luggage to packing only the essentials — thanks to one memorable trip. “I was travelling from New York to Aspen, as my business partner owned a nice home there. I checked in my stuff [at the airport] but they [my friends] had just brought a small backpack each. They could leave immediately while I had to wait for my bag. They said, ‘Sorry, we’re not waiting for you, you can come and collect it tomorrow morning’.”
Beh quickly found that there are many benefits of travelling light. “I always find that wherever you go, you’re bound to be able to buy things of the latest design or local cultural items,” he says.
For work trips, all he needs is a suit and a tie but as a sportsman, Beh never leaves home without his gym gear. “So, no matter how hectic it is, I try to work out every day for 10 to 15 minutes just to keep myself fit,” he says. It is no secret that Beh is an avid polo player but travelling with all the required hardware can be a cumbersome process. “For polo, it’s not just a pair of boots. It’s polo equipment, which is almost double the length of a golf set … you need to check it in at the special baggage area,” he adds.
Preferring a backpack for work and a sling bag for holidays, Beh has a few tech gadgets that he needs for all travels. “I have to have my Microsoft Surf, my iPad and a lot of power banks. I also carry my earphones everywhere because I talk a lot on my phone and it’s easier,” he says. He adds that when he is in a rush, all he needs is his credit card.
His luggage must have two key qualities. “Some bags look nice but even when a bag is empty, it weighs a lot. You have to make it very lightweight and it must be able to accommodate whatever you want to have in there. Sometimes, it looks very nice but it does not have a lot of space,” Beh explains. He also prefers a more rugged design that withstands wear and tear well.
Although his schedule is filled with short work trips, his favourite kind is one that mixes work and play. “I’m a person who likes to multitask, so my ideal trip would be to travel to a place where I can take a multipronged approach. Great friends and company, great food, historical sites and cultural stuff, and polo … four in one.”
Musician on the move
As co-founder and director of Filoxenia Hospitality Management and director of JW Live Productions Sdn Bhd, Leonard Theng has his hands full when he travels. Having lived in Dubai and China for many years, he is no stranger to making trips regularly and is a decidedly organised traveller. “I always make sure that I don’t pack [at the] last minute. I’m very clear on where I’m going and always look at what I need to bring for that city. I always double-check what I have packed the night before. When I pack, I map out in my mind what’s happening … on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday … and I’ll pack accordingly,” he says.
On those few rare occasions when he is in a rush, Theng ensures that his business attire is packed and resorts to shopping at local stores should he need a few extra things. “Don’t bother so much about things like toothbrush and toothpaste because those you can get in a convenience store. I would say make sure you have two sets of clothing — one for business and one for a casual day out,” he advises.
In terms of casual wear, Theng is a “jeans and t-shirt kind of person” but for work travel, there is one essential that he will not leave home without. “I’d need a jacket. I think fashion has evolved, so smart casual is acceptable today. As long as you have a pair of jeans and a nice shirt, all you need is a good jacket that complements them.”
Theng is an accomplished musician who has performed internationally and played next to big stars such as Beyond and Wu Bai at the IMC Live Rock On! music festival in Chengdu. It is no surprise that one of his main travel essentials is music. “Must-haves are my iPad and my Beats earphones by Dr. Dre. I can’t live without that on the plane. It used to be my iPod but now you get everything on your phone, so it’s these three key things. From my iPad, I get all my reading material and some movies. And I have music on Spotify downloaded on my phone.” Rock is his favoured genre, so his go-to artists are Slash and Guns N’ Roses.
Theng is a backpack person and says he never really got into “sling bag fashion”. In terms of bag design, his preference leans towards convenience. “I think what would be important for me, because I listen to music while I’m travelling, is for my bag to have an outlet through which I can have easy access to my earphones. And also, we’re so dependent on our tech stuff, so some form of connectivity where I can maybe hook up my power bank and charge my phone. So, instead of holding my power bank or having it in my pocket, I can put it in the bag and plug it in,” he says. In terms of aesthetic, Theng likes his bags to have something subtle that represents his taste in music.
His favourite travel destinations include Japan, Koh Samui and Bali. “They can be good for both leisure and work. Sometimes, we do a lot of brainstorming with clients. So, if you go to Koh Samui and take a private villa, you’re really out of your usual element as well as out of the office environment. You can be in shorts and t-shirt brainstorming on the beach. That’s really what I look for in terms of destinations,” he says.
His ideal holiday with his wife and children would be visiting theme parks in the US or Tokyo Disneyland. If he is on his own, it is no surprise that he would love to go back to the US for the Hollywood Walk of Fame and its famed House of Blues.
TUMI x Chris Pratt collection
Tumi creative director Victor Sanz on the new range
What was it like working with Chris Pratt on the Tumi x Chris Pratt collection?
It has been amazing working with Chris in developing this custom collection together. The idea for the product collaboration came about while Chris, a long-term TUMI user, was filming TUMI’s APAC & ME Regional Spring 2019 Campaign. On set, Chris and I started brainstorming about what a dream bag would look like and by the time the shoot wrapped, a collaboration was on the cards.
What were some of the main qualities you both wanted the collection to have?
We wanted to ensure that the collaboration was authentic to both Chris and TUMI, and that we created something that spoke to how Chris travels day to day. Since Chris is a longtime fan of the brand, we wanted to take the pieces he has grown attached to and add in some personal touches — such as recycled materials, integrated USB ports, waterproof lined pockets and striking orange accents — in addition to creating new pieces together, born out of our conversations about the many miles that we have travelled.
Can you tell me about the inspiration behind the aesthetics of the collection?
We wanted to design pieces that tapped into his lifestyle and also mirror the lifestyle and travel needs of TUMI customers. Chris is multifaceted — not just talented on screen, he’s a philanthropist, a dedicated father and husband and into fitness and business — and we wanted to capture all of these elements in the assortment.
What makes this collection unique or different?
Chris is a very unique individual with a busy lifestyle. This collection was designed to help maintain that lifestyle as it integrates his many travel needs into the features and design of the bags. Whether it be a bag that can convert from a business/travel backpack to a gym duffel and still look appropriate in both settings, or simple packing cubes in bright vibrant orange that can help you organise your trip. There is a part of Chris’ journey in each piece.
Which is your favourite piece and why?
For me, it has to be the Backpack/Duffel. It is a piece that is so versatile and I believe so many young people can appreciate the flexibility that one bag can offer. Our lives are busier than ever and as we try to fit more and more into each day, it is a relief when you can have one bag that can accommodate so many situations.
Why do you think Pratt is a great ambassador for Tumi?
To us at TUMI, Chris represents a new age of leading men in Hollywood – bold and genuine. Combined with his international appeal, Chris’ personality truly speaks to our growing millennial fanbase.
What is your go-to TUMI bag and why?
When travelling, I tend to use any prototype of a new collection that we’re planning to launch — that way, I can truly put these pieces to the test to ensure we’re developing the best product possible. If I’m not carrying a prototype, my go-to is my trusted 19 Degree Aluminum International Carry On. It never fails me.
Sign up and stand a chance to win a 2 in 1 backpack/duffel here.