It's that time of the year when travel is on a lot of our minds, and whether you're going somewhere for business or pleasure, The Armoury's Mark Cho has got some advice for helping you enjoy the experience.
Whilst most of us love the idea of travel, the actual time spent in transit or on long-haul flights is often something to be dreaded. But does it have to be that way? Mark Cho, founder of menswear mecca The Armoury, thinks otherwise and he would know; he logs an average of forty flight hours every single month. Between his three Armoury stores in New York and Hong Kong, the Drake’s headquarters in London and his suppliers and partners worldwide, that adds up to an intimidating 180,000 air miles annually, but life on the road is one that he’s come to embrace. We picked Mark’s brain on how to make the act of travelling easier, more efficient and more enjoyable.
How to pack:
I personally only travel with Rimowa suitcases, which are clamshell style with equal space on each side. I pack all my trousers first, alternating which side the waistband goes. I then place my folded jackets on top, alternating which side the collar goes. This leaves a little bit of a void in the corners, enough to tuck two pairs of shoes and some socks and underwear. I fill the other side with everything else.
I don’t like getting wrinkles in my ties. Ties should never be pressed but wrinkles do not always fall out easily using steam with them. To transport my ties, I use old Drake’s tie boxes for storage. They are rigid and prevent the ties from getting crushed.
If you are in a pinch and really need more space, tightly rolling clothing will be the most efficient to save space. I do this sometimes at the end of a trip if I've bought some things and need a bit more space to fit it all in. This applies only to non-tailored clothing!
What to wear when travelling:
Unless I'm going straight to a meeting after I arrive, I have a very set travel wardrobe comprising of:
- The Armoury's Army Chino, which is a very full legged trouser in a medium weight cotton. I almost never travel in denim or anything snug. The Armoury's chino is so much more comfortable to me and I really like the look.
- A Drake's shirt, preferably a tunic collar model. Drake's classic fit shirts are more generous in the body and go well with The Armoury's chinos.
- A Drake's cardigan or sweater. A bit of knitwear is always useful as an emergency pillow or for cold flights.
- White sneakers by Moonstar; a little-known Japanese sneaker for their domestic market. Essentially a very soft Converse. Sneakers have no metal parts in them unlike dress shoes (there's a metal shank under the arch as part of the shoe's interior structure that sets off security) so it's one less thing to worry about going through security.
What to take in your carry-on bag:
A travel pillow is a must, the bigger the better. Human heads are heavy and it’s hard work for the neck. We lie down at night for a reason, to take the strain off our neck. When you're on a plane, short of lie-down seats in business class, you don't get an opportunity to give your neck a rest but a neck pillow goes a long way to reduce the strain.
For longer flights, I almost always wear a disposable face mask. Dry sinuses are an additional discomfort that make sleeping on the plane and afterwards more difficult; wearing a mask traps a lot of moisture around the nose and mouth during the entire flight.
It's very important to stay hydrated throughout the flight. I try to buy the biggest bottle of water I can at the airport before I get on the plane and I refill it several times during the flight. I try to average around 2 liters of water for a 12 hour flight. It's a bother during the flight but it keeps me from feeling dehydrated after I arrive, making it easier to sleep later.
Bring a lot of reading material, some of which should be a bit boring and put you to sleep. Zip up pouches to keep various types of items together, such as one for just passports and SIM cards, one for just power adapters and cables, etc.
What to avoid:
No coffee or alcohol right before or during the flight.
What to look forward to about travel:
It feels good to have a change of scenery. Different parts of the world engage my mind in different ways and so I find thinking on the road quite helpful. I try and make sure I get some time to eat with friends while I'm on the road and let them drag me to new places. The airlines I fly usually don't have wifi so I get some peace and quiet as well. I rarely tire of the places I'm in, instead I usually wish I could hang around a little longer.