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How to pack like a doctor

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Claire Fountain's packing tips
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Packing Guides

The Pack: Claire Fountain


The yoga pro on why everyone should splurge on an airport lounge pass.

by Claire Fountain | 03.25.2018

The Traveler: Claire Fountain, yoga instructor and founder of Trill Yoga
Base: New York, NY
Destination: Los Angeles, CA

I took a step back recently and thought, holy shit: I travel more than people even know. I’m not here half of every month! I was out of the country last month, and the month before, and the month before, all the way back to October, in and out of places. The year before last, I went to London six times. I was in Guam, Pittsburgh, Houston, Miami, LA a lot….

I’m kind of cage-y about it, which is the opposite of why most people travel. Unless there’s a need for me to broadcast [a trip], it definitely won’t happen—and it won’t happen in real time. It goes back to privacy and discretion; we don’t realize how unsafe it is, as women.

Claire Fountain's packing tips

Fountain is all about packing with separate bags.

Because I travel so much, I’ve gotten packing down to a science. Everything goes into separate bags, and I have things that I strictly use for travel—so I can pack really quickly and don’t find it complicated at all. “Grab your toothbrush”—no! You have a separate toothbrush. I have two of a lot of things. That is a life hack. And I have everything I know I need always ready to go: passports, visas, chargers, all the tech stuff I need like converters.

Depending on where I’m going, I need different bags packed. Maybe just a duffel if I’m going to, say, DC for two or three days. I prefer a carry-on hard case for flying. Tumi is most of my luggage—they make bespoke shit that all fits together. The other big, hard case I have is Atlantic. Those are my favorites.

I’m a realist when it comes to packing clothing. If you’re in a hotel you need something to throw on and wear to breakfast—so something that’s cozy but presentable enough to go out the room and grab food downstairs. If I’m going somewhere with a beach or pool, that’s really basic: swimwear, shorts, little cool things you can throw over your suit. I have this linen button-down top that I can throw over swimsuits, it has been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I always have a long-sleeve shirt because you never know how much sun you’re getting, or how cold it will get. I always have a hoodie—and bring it with me on the plane, because I can pull it over my head to block out the light to sleep. If I know I’m going out, I pack one dress.

I look up on Instagram the geo-tag of the hotel or city I’m staying in, so I can see what people in that place are actually wearing. I was going somewhere and wasn’t sure if it was hot or cold, so I looked it up and people were wearing shorts but had on hoodies and jackets—that’s a real-time assessment of what’s going on.

Unless you’re camping in the woods, you can always buy whatever you need or forget to pack. It gives you a sense of freedom.

I always take a pair of gym shorts and a sports bra—and I’d totally double up on wearing those. I have no shame saying that. I don’t do cycling or really sweaty boxing—my hardest workouts are ones I save for home—so my clothes don’t suffer quite the same wrath when I travel. And because I’m usually away for two or three weeks at a time, I just do laundry at hotels. I wear sneakers on the plane, because who wants to pack those?

Unless you’re camping in the woods, you can always buy whatever you need or forget to pack. I never pack shampoo, I never pack conditioner. It gives you a sense of freedom. What if you don’t have something? It’s okay! I don’t have anxiety and panic over these things.

Claire Fountain's packing tips

Always wear sneakers on your flight (instead of packing them).

I use a huge sack for my carry-on bag, with my laptop, toiletries, a notebook, a book, and a “wellness packet” with melatonin, migraine medicine, ibuprofen, allergy stuff, all my supplements…basically anything I might need, all zipped in one container. I have a facial mist, my lip balm, antibacterial wipes, and hand cream.

I don’t carry purses, because it’s just a bag to carry shit in; if I can’t fit it in my pocket, I probably don’t need it. But when I travel, I always bring two or three canvas bags, no matter where I go. I’ll use one of the canvas bags inside my carry-on bag for my sunglasses, my regular glasses, Airborne—which is a lifesaver when I’m traveling—a few tea bags, and my snacks. I always try to have some in my bag, because you never know how many hours you’ll go without food. Protein bars, protein powders, maybe nuts, gummy bears…anything.

[Airport lounges] sound really bougie. But if you do the numbers it’s like, I bought two bottles of water, lunch, snacks, and wifi—and I could have just bought a lounge pass and had peace of mind.

The older I get and the more I travel, the more I don’t like being rushed at the airport. So I get there early. I think airport lounges are amazing. I have 30 minutes to get some work done, utilize the wifi, have a tea…. It’s more peaceful-making. Access to lounges changes depending on where I’m going and who I’m flying with, but I’m not above just buying a pass to a lounge for the day. And in some you can actually take a shower. It sounds really bougie, but if you have a four-hour layover, you’ll spend $40 on bullshit and food in the airport, and you won’t have wifi and you won’t have a comfortable seat or a shower, and you’ll be curled up in a corner by an outlet where your charger keeps falling out. If you do the numbers it’s like, I bought two bottles of water, lunch, snacks, and wifi—and I could have just bought a lounge pass and had peace of mind.

Claire Fountain's packing tips

Pro tip: Head to the airport earlier than you think, so you’re not stressed.

When I was younger, I would try to make myself sleep on the flight. I’ve given up on all that—if I’m not sleepy, I’ll do work or watch a movie, because I will eventually get sleepy. I’m not forcing it. Jet lag has become a part of my life, so I work when I can, I sleep when I can, it will all even itself out. If I’m really struggling, melatonin will help. I have under-eye bags and if I’m tired, they come out with the force of everything. So I have done the goopy under-eye masks that stick on your face on the airplane—Patchology and Wander Beauty have them.

People make traveling really complicated—they carry a bunch of shit they don’t need, they’re wearing complicated clothes on the airplane, things aren’t streamlined. There’s no reason for that! My thing is control the things you can…and give yourself time at the airport.

—as told to The Glassy

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