It’s no easy feat to fly across Asia every week, let alone rushing for meetings in different countries at a moment’s notice. But to Caecilia Chu, CEO and Co-founder of YouTrip, it’s almost second nature to her. She travels weekly throughout Asia to visit her offices in various markets, so she’s always ever-ready to hit the skies. After countless flights, her packing list remains identical for every trip, and she’s always prepared for a meeting upon landing. Her secret? A lean packing list for tiptop efficiency – nothing more, nothing less.
Clothing and accessories
1. Wrinkle-free jacket
It’s important to look presentable during meetings, and this wrinkle-free jacket gets the job done effortlessly. No matter how you crumple and toss the jacket around, there won’t be a single crease on the jacket. This is one perfect jacket to carry around without a single worry, especially during flights.
One bag to serve them all – wouldn’t it be nice to have one bag to fulfill every function? This is why Caecilia’s handbag is indispensable during her travels. Not only is her day-to-night handbag presentable during meetings, elegant for dinners and cocktails, the leather handbag is also a sleek fit for her MacBook that slips in without an inch to spare.
3. Aviator sunglasses
Caecilia values practicality, so like her versatile handbag, her classic aviators are made for any occasion and outfit – business, casual, or even tracksuits. Plus, it’s almost always bright and sunny in Southeast Asia, so her aviators shield her eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays when she’s on the road there.
4. Stud earrings
When prioritising practicality, style doesn’t have to be compromised. Caecilia’s statement stud earrings elevate her style no matter the occasion, and are sophisticated enough to complement her various looks. Fun fact: She prefers stud earrings because she feels that other jewellery accessories like necklaces, bracelets, and even dangling earrings could be restrictive and inconvenient while travelling. We agree!
5. YouTrip card
If Caecilia could only bring one item on her travels, it would be none other than her YouTrip card. The prepaid debit card can be used to make payments in over 150 currencies worldwide, and offers Wholesale Exchange Rates that are extremely competitive. Best part? There’s no fees involved when using the YouTrip card. Paying worldwide has never been simpler!
6. Passport holder
Caecilia uses the YouTrip passport holder not because purple is her favourite colour, but the passport holder’s functionality is also unmatched. While keeping her passport in place, the passport holder also stores her boarding passes, APAC travel card, among other documents that grant her a smooth journey through different immigration customs and checks.
7. Wireless earphones
Taking calls while on the go may be inconvenient at times, so Caecilia has her trusty wireless earphones to stay connected. Whether it’s en route to the airport or waiting in the airport lounge, her wireless earphones allow a hands-free conversation while she continues to work on her laptop. Even when she’s not working, her wireless earphones remain connected because Caecilia just can’t seem to make do without music. When working, she plugs into the latest pop chart-toppers for the energetic, upbeat tunes. When she’s not on calls and away from work, she switches to Mando and Cantopop to unwind. Her wireless earphones are always working overtime!
Most work laptops are clunky and a chore to carry overseas, hence Caecilia chooses a MacBook to work on. Her sleek gold MacBook slips in and out of her handbag with ease, and is light enough to carry around with her, even onboard the plane. Whether it’s work or lifestyle apps – Evernote, Slack, Spotify, Calendars – they’re all duly synced to her mobile phone, so that she’s ever connected.
9. HDMI adapter
Meetings and presentations are always prone to technical hiccups, and that could affect schedules for the rest of the day. Instead of leaving things to chance, Caecilia ensures that she’s well-prepared with a functional HDMI adapter for her MacBook.
10. Travel adapter
Having tech essentials by her side means that they would run out of battery at some point, so Caecilia is always ready to give them an electricity boost wherever she is. The travel adapter allows her to access any type of power sockets in the world, so flat batteries would never pose a problem.
A chat with CEO Caecilia Chu
Trip101: How often do you have to travel for work, and where do you travel to most frequently?
Caecilia: I travel weekly to our offices in countries across Asia, but the frequency could be even more depending on my schedule. Even though the flights are mostly under 6 hours, the frequency could be rather demanding!
Trip101: Which is your favorite travel destination and why?
Caecilia: My new favourite destination is Niseko, Japan because I’ve recently picked up skiing as a hobby. It’s certainly not easy to learn and I’m still struggling at the green bunny slopes! I hope to challenge myself and take on the increasingly difficult slopes (blue, red, and then black) with every visit.
Trip101: Name three destinations and/or activities on your travel bucket list.
Caecilia: I went on a volunteer trip in Cambodia and before I returned, I painted a mural in the orphanage as a parting gift, hoping that it could bring colours into the children’s lives. Since then, I’ve always wanted to make a trip back to help paint worn houses and orphanages – it’s the least I could do.
Another place I’d like to visit would be Colorado, USA and admire the majestic landscape of mountains, lakes, and canyons. Oh, and that’s because my secret career ambition was to become a National Geographic photographer haha!
If possible, I would like to make a trip to Egypt to see the Great Pyramids with my own eyes. The colossal architecture seems impossible to build without modern technology and tools, yet the ancient civilisation did it, and that’s mind boggling.
Trip101: What’s your ideal “off-day” like?
Caecilia: Many people like to chill out on their off-days, but I prefer to engage in high intensity activities. That’s why I picked up skiing recently, to keep myself engaged even during a holiday that I’m supposed to be relaxing. I just can’t seem to lie down or do nothing for an extended period of time. Give me a challenging sport to try out!
Trip101: Do you enjoy solo-travel?
Caecilia: Not really, because I am already solo travelling for work every week. If I am going on a leisure trip, I’d definitely bring my family or friends along to spend precious time with them. Even when I experience new things in a new country, I’d want to share these unforgettable moments with my loved ones.
Trip101: Sunrise or sunset?
Caecilia: Sunset, definitely. Sunsets are romantic, especially when they’re in vivid hues of orange, pink, and purple. Time seems to slow down when you’re witnessing a beautiful sunset, and the warm, calming effect is therapeutic.
Trip101: What are some of your pet peeves when travelling?
Caecilia: Not a pet peeve, but because I’m always travelling alone during my weekly work trips, it can be quite isolating at times. I cope with it by hunting some of the hidden gems in that city, like a speakeasy bar in Manila hidden behind an ordinary 7-eleven. After a long week of work, it’s fun to search for these unconventional spots, and the surprise factor is satisfying!
About CEO Caecilia Chu
Caecilia is the Co-founder and CEO of YouTrip, a regional financial technology company dedicated to creating a next-generation digital banking experience in Asia.
Prior to founding YouTrip, Caecilia worked at Citibank overseeing growth investments in the consumer and technology sectors in the Southeast Asian and China regions. Additionally, Caecilia worked at McKinsey advising financial institutions across Asia on market entry, customer segmentation, and retail product strategies. Caecilia’s FinTech experiences prior to YouTrip include positions at Lufax, China’s leading online wealth management platform, and QF Pay, a China based global mobile payments company backed by Sequoia China.
Caecilia has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a bachelor degree (summa cum laude) from The Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania.
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