Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. I’m looking for more participants, so e-mail me if you’d like to be featured.

An interview with packing tips from My Hot Pink Passport

Tell us a little about about who you are, what your blog is called, and where you’re traveling now. 

Hi there! I’m Karisa. I’m an American girl out to see the world! I have a huge case of wanderlust and hope to explore every corner of the world. So, far I’ve been to 30 countries in North America, Europe and Asia. After graduating from Temple university in 2012 with a history degree, I immediately moved to Thailand and began my career as an English teacher. I’m currently teaching and traveling in Taipei, Taiwan, traveling as often as I can. When I’m not teaching, I write for  My Hot Pink Passport, a Glampacking blog. MHPP is all about my favorite aspects of travel: style, culture and history. I also love promoting women’s travel and regularly feature inspirational women in my Fearless Female interview series.

packing tips from My Hot Pink PassportTainan, Taiwan

Do you use a backpack or rolley suitcase for long-term travel?

Oh, I’m definitely a rolley suitcase kind of girl! They’re just more glamorous and easy to manage. Girl’s gotta have some glamour in her life!

I tried the backpack thing while traveling in Southeast Asia last year. Even though I had a relatively cute purple backpack (purchased at Bangkok’s famed MBK mall, no less), it never felt like me. In fact, I felt like a giant, purple turtle lugging around my bloated backpack!

These days I travel with a giant pink Lucas suitcase(for extra long trips) and a purple, studded Diane Von Furstenberg carry-on for most trips. I DREAM about owning one of SUITSUIT’s Fabulous Fifty’s retro-inspired hard shell suitcases. Mom, if you’re reading this…my birthday’s coming up! ;)

packing tips from My Hot Pink PassportMe & my purple carry on

What shoes are your every day walking around, sightseeing shoes? And how many pairs of shoes do you pack for a long-term backpacking trip? 

For most trips, I pack 3 pairs of shoes max.

For city trips and light sightseeing, I wear my normal every day shoes. Right now I’m loving my orange and gold sandals from a Thai boutique called Dapper. They’re cute and comfortable-great for a light day on my feet.

For more nature-intensive trips I always rely on my Sketchers Go Walks. Sexy, cute and colorful they may not be but these shoes are COMFORTABLE! They give great support and walking in them feels a little bit like walking on clouds. Yummy!

Besides my lovely sandals and Go Walks, I like to pack one ‘going out’ shoe. Maybe my black Lauren Conrad platform heels or extra cute flats from Forever 21. Something fun to dress up for a night on the town!

When you’re pigging out trying new foods, other than typical walking & sightseeing in towns- what do you do to keep away the love-handles? 

I have an evil sweet tooth that has in the past forced me consume multiple servings of gelato daily in Europe and is currently driving a Taiwanese pineapple cake addiction.  It’s really sad and totally out of my control! ;) JK! I like to indulge a bit when traveling. It’s definitely fun to sample the local food and drinks but it all adds up pretty fast.

I don’t love the gym and I’m not one that forces work outs during my trips. But, I do like to start and end my days with yoga. Travel can be so hectic and stressful and yoga is a great way to center yourself and keep fit. I follow Yoga by Adriane on youtube and she has a great ‘yoga for stress relief’ video that is a MUST after long haul flights!!

packing tips from My Hot Pink PassportMingun, Myanmar

When you’re traveling, do you pick up beauty & shower products while you go or are there products you can’t live without- what are they?

I probably pack too many toiletries with me when I travel, but it’s important for me to maintain my beauty routines- I find it cathartic. For example, I always travel with a hair mask, my Alba Botanical facial moisturizer and lavender body lotion. At the end of a long day of travel, these little indulgences are a godsend. 

If someone said to you “I could never live out of a backpack for 3 months” what would be the first advice you would give them?

You’d be surprised at what you’re capable of doing! Mostly, don’t worry too much about it. It sounds super stressful to have to live with just the contents of one’s backpack or suitcase for a long time, but you can always have your clothes washed at your hotel or buy a small carry on bag if you need extra space.  It may be uncomfortable but the adventures you’re going to have are well worth it! 

What type of outfit do you take in case of a night out clubbing or going to a fancy bar/hotel? 

I have a pretty little black dress that is my go-to going out dress. I bought it at a Bangkok department store and it has served me well for almost two years. Trimmed in lace, it can be styled more conservatively or dressed up with heels and fun accessories for a club night. The stretchy jersey material packs really well too!

What is the one material thing you miss most from home while you’re roughin’ it abroad? 

My books!!! I have several antique bookshelves at home filled with books on every topic. I use my kindle when I travel , but I miss my book collection very much.

When you’ve been on sleeping on trains and buses for days, what products do you use to freshen up or do you just wait until you find a hotel? 

That is the worst feeling, isn’t it? Dragging yourself off a brutal overnight bus/train ride and feeling exhausted, grungy, and like you might actually kill for a shower. I always head straight to the bathroom and splash water on my face and wash my hands really well. I don’t really use any particular products before I find a hotel, but once I reach my hotel, a hot shower is a must, followed by a soothing face mask. Your skin will thank you!Sephora has a great line of individual face masks. The rose scented mask is my favorite.

The Hippie in Heels has to ask, would you ever pack heels on a backpacking trip? 

I’m just going to let the following picture answer that question!

packing tips from My Hot Pink Passport

Airport style: love looking LA paparazzi ready or could care less? Do you pack “plane” or “relaxing” clothes for a long-term backpacking trip or would it take up too much space? 

My airplane goal is to look good and feel comfortable. I’m not one who struts off a plane in 6 in heels, but I’d prefer not to look like I just rolled out of bed.My “flight clothes” are the same clothes I travel in. My go to flight outfit is black or navy leggings, a baggy knit top, comfortable flats, a light scarf and a feminine sweater.

Do you have a special skin care routine on the road to prevent breakouts from the stress, sweat, and humidity? 

This might be an extravagance, but my travel skin care routine is the same as my home routine. I make room in my bag for my Alba Botanical Cleanser, rose water toner, green tea sugar scrub, spot cream and moisturizer. Indulging in this routine at the end of a long travel day centers me and brings me peace, not to mention, keeps my skin looking and feeling great! For the daytime, blotting papers come in handy for super humid places like Southeast Asia. 

What does your most worn, daily outfit look like while you’re traveling?

Again, I go for comfort! Black or navy leggings, lace sleeveless top and a light, feminine sweater or pashmina. I also have a black maxi skirt that gets a lot of action! 

Tell us the ONE thing you pack for a long backpacking trip& would never leave behind.

I cannot live without books but I sadly can’t bring my entire library with me. So, I always pack my Kindle! It’s nice to know that I have the entire Harry Potter, or great travel memoirs series waiting for me. If I didn’t read on flights and buses, I’m not sure what I would do instead!

packing tips from My Hot Pink PassportWashington D.C.

What are your absolute favorite make up products you take with you on a trip? 

Lots of Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in champagne and mascara.

You can only pick one: iPod or Kindle? 

Again, I have to go with the Kindle! I read so much (at least one book a week), I can’t imagine an entire trip without reading.

Thank you for interviewing on Hippie in Heels, before you go can you tell readers that may be on the fence about taking a trip why YOU think they should go for it!

Travel is one of those things that looks huge and daunting and scary, but once you take those first steps, you will fall in love with the lifestyle. Travel will open up the world, connect you with people you may never have met, and enrich you!


packing tips from My Hot Pink PassportKarisa is an American girl with a passion for rose gardens, peppermint tea, Agatha Christie mysteries, and anything covered in lace. Her travels revolve around islands, historical sites, cities, palaces and any place with good wine! She currently resides in Taipei, Taiwan, where she teaches English and writes My Hot Pink Passport, a Glampacking blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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