I don't know about you, but I have a serious case of wanderlust. So when I walked into Jamie Wong's live/work loft, it took everything in my being to not beg her to pack me in her suitcase (which she was conveniently readying for a trip abroad the day after our shoot). Jamie is the founder and CEO of Vayable.com, a website that connects travelers to likeminded people in the cities they are visiting to help craft local experiences. In other words: If you are going to, say, Peru, they will find the Peruvian version of you, and that person will help plan your trip. Sold? I am!
Jamie, who worked at The Daily Show With Jon Stewart before starting Vayable, has been to over 35 countries and counts planning vacations for friends as a hobby. Miha and I caught her on the eve of her whirlwind three-week business trip—she was taking her team to Paris, Barcelona, Rome, London, and New York and setting up pop-up offices so they could spend time with influencers in their most popular destinations. We hung by her side while she packed for her excursion and dished on her best packing tips. Ever.
Jamie in a Vince Camuto top, Trouvé pants, Dolce Vita boots, and Tog & Porter jewelry
Her packing essentials: "A cocktail dress, jeans, kicks, and high heels. Dark jeans can be dressed up with heels or dressed down with a T-shirt for when you run out for coffee in the morning. I always pack a dress because you never know when you are going to have a wild-card moment. I was in London once and wound up getting invited to the House of Lords, so I was relieved to have my super-packable Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress with me!"
Jamie's super-edited closet
How many pairs of shoes to pack per trip: "I have a rule of three. It’s all you need, and then you leave room to purchase one more pair while you’re traveling! One pair of running shoes, a wedge or heel that’s your dressier shoe, and another comfortable wedge that’s good for walking. If it’s fall, instead of a wedge, it will be an ankle boot."
A map pinned with places she's traveled, given to her by her father
How to pack like a true globe-trotter: "The key is to pack just a carry-on. It forces you to choose pieces you can use for multiple different occasions, and you find you actually don’t need more than what fits in one. I use this Everlane Weekender bag, and whenever someone starts at Vayable, I give them one as their welcome gift."
The Everlane Weekender
On accessorizing: "Always bring a few key pieces. I have this J.Crew necklace, which is a great statement piece that can dress anything up. I also love my coral scarf, which is great for a splash of color. It’s perfect when it gets chilly, or I wear it out to dress up an outfit. For summer, it’s the only layer you need."
Jamie's J.Crew necklace, with other travel must-haves
Travel visualization techniques: "When I go shopping, I visualize how I want to look in my travel moments, and how I want to feel. Jumping on and off the plane, strolling around a city. The one thing regardless of the outfit is that it always has to make you feel confident and beautiful."
What to buy when traveling: "For me, travel is not about things, it’s about experiences. The clothes, the fashion, the perfume I pick up in Paris,—it’s about the experience it gives me, rather than just collecting things for my closet."
Assorted jewelry and photos
Best packing methods: "I have these little bags I got from Flight 001. I don’t roll anything; I lay it all out and fold it together into zipper pouches that act as compartments. Pants. Skirts. Tops. Underwear. I prefer the square to the round packs—angles are better for packing. It’s super easy, and then you never fumble looking for stuff on the plane."
Jamie packs for her trip to Paris (left); her favorite J.Crew statement necklace (right)
To ship or not to ship: "I always take what I buy. Shipping is expensive and complicated, and things can get lost. When I was 21 I bought three Moroccan lamps in a medina in Essaouira, Morocco, and lugged them on the bus for 12 hours, the train, then from Madrid on a plane all the way home. So after doing that, I feel like I can take anything home."
A well-traveled passport
The perfect notebook: "I was walking along the Marais in Paris, and I was feeling inspired. I wanted to physically put down my ideas, pen to paper, so I stopped in a stationery store, and this notebook caught my eye. It makes you think outside the box because the edges are cut off. So I bought it, sat in a cafe for two hours and planned my road map for the next few months right there."
Her perfectly imperfect ideas notebook, with her company sticker attached
To learn more about traveling with Vayable, or to see if you have what it takes to become one of their influencers and guides, check out their site. And those of you with a case of wanderlust (like me!), beware.