What She Wants

The Best Travel Secrets and Tips From The Spoiled Mummy Grace Baja

The lifestyle entrepreneur shares her tips on traveling with kids.

How exactly does a Spoiled Mummy travel? She brings her whole house with her. And more.

Our June digital cover girl, Grace Baja, shares her must-have items when she travels, her top secrets and tips, and her favorite hotels and destinations. A mother of three, Baja admits she brings everything from special occasion outfits to two bags of makeup right down to her own toiletries.

Here, she lists down her ultimate travel packing list.



“Being a mother, you always have to be the one prepared in case anything happens. I feel it’s my job and responsibility to make sure that all the medicines of each person are complete, are ready in case anything happens. Knock on wood hopefully nothing happens but it’s just good to be always prepared and ready for emergencies. Whether it is a simple cough, cold, headache migraine, or allergy attack—I always have the remedies ready with me. So that, I think, is my number one essential ever since I’ve had children.”



“It’s a given these days that we need our cellphones and laptops. I have three kids so the teenager has his own cellphone and his own laptop. The second one has his own iPad.”


Baja counts on three brands to keep her belongings safe: Rimowa, Samsonite, and Lipault, each with a specific purpose. “Rimowa, for durability. The hard case is already known worldwide to be one of the most durable in terms of wear and tear no matter what you do, and we’ve been traveling with Rimowa ever since.”

“I use Samsonite when it’s for a longer period of travel—meaning for more clothes—because it’s expandable and not a hard case like Rimowa. When it’s a soft case, I can stuff more things. This is usually used when the trip is from the U.S., when you bring a lot of stuff back home. I can make singit a lot of things when it’s a soft kind of luggage.”

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“I use Lipault for my hand carried items. I like it because it’s very light and it’s also expandable in a way. Lipault is under Samsonite—meaning in terms of durability—it’s also as good as Samsonite, except that it’s a French brand of Samsonite.”


“We love to take photos, so a camera is very essential.”


“We always make sure we know what the weather is like of the place that we are going to. If it’s winter, we obviously pack boots and jacket and scarves and bonnets and all that."

"If it’s summer or the beach, then obviously the swimsuits and slippers and all the summer essentials, like sunblock, and things like that.”


She continues, “If it’s a mostly relaxed and casual trip, I bring my skirts, my sandals, my flats. But I always pack for dinners because I always have dinners out with my husband, so I bring some dresses, just in case. And of course, heels.”



She never forgets to bring copies of her and her family's passports.

“I bring Xerox copies of our passports just in case, knock on wood, something happens. I keep Xerox copies of our passports in my hand carry.”

Even when she books the best hotels, Baja says she prefers to bring her own toiletries.

“I like using my own brands of shampoo, body soap, body lotion, and all that. I bring even my own cotton buds and cotton pads, my mouthwash—I bring everything. I don’t really rely on the hotel’s supplies. I bring my own because I am used to them already.” She continues, “Then, of course, my makeup and skin care bags—that’s another two bags altogether. Skin care, meaning facial wash, moisturizer, eye cream, lip balm, and all the serums that I put on my face. And then, makeup, that’s another bag again. Just the basics, the foundation, blush, eyeshadow, and mascara.”


The skincare products she brings depend on where she’s going. 

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“If I’m going to a cold climate, I bring a thicker moisturizer, like La Mer, which I don’t use when I’m here—so that’s quite unique. But I use other La Mer products, like La Mer eye balm, here and abroad, La Mer lip balm, here and abroad; but the moisturizer, I use only abroad. So that’s what stands out.”


1. Hong Kong: Four Seasons Hong Kong

“In Asia, Hong Kong would be my favorite city. I love the Four Seasons.”

2. New York: Warwick Hotel

“In New York, it's the Warwick Hotel for its location and newly-renovated suites.”

3. San Francisco: Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

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“For San Francisco, it’s the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay for the amazing view and the service.”

4. London: Corinthia Hotel

“The Corinthia Hotel in London makes me really feel like I’m in London, fabulous London!”

5. Spain: Hotel Alfonso XIII

“This is an iconic hotel: Hotel Alfonso the 13th. It’s been there since forever, but it’s still beautiful. It’s elegantly and beautifully-preserved, and you feel like you’re inside a museum. Everywhere you look, every nook and cranny, is charming. You suddenly appreciate the old world.”

6. Milan: Armani Hotel Milano

“I love the Armani Hotel in Milan. That’s an example of a very modern, boutique-type of hotel, made of steel and glass.”

7. Bangkok: Park Hyatt Bangkok

“Another good example of a modern hotel in an old city like Bangkok. Park Hyatt is just well-done.”


8. Istanbul: Shangri-La Bosphorus

“The view is the Bosphorus itself, so that’s definitely a big come-on.”

9. Cappadocia: Museum Hotel

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“It’s called the Museum Hotel—it’s actually a cave. It used to be a cave before, and they transformed it into a hotel. If you read through their website, you will see the transformation. In the olden times it was originally a number of caves and then a wealthy owner bought it and then transformed it into a hotel, so it’s actually a very beautiful hotel now.”

10. South Africa: Singita Lebombo Lodge

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“When you say Singita Lebombo, that’s the highest or the most luxurious hotel chain in South Africa. I stayed there a long time ago, in 2009, and until now I see it in photos. I think the word glamping was coined [from the hotel]. It’s like glamping to the nth level—like butler service, from the beginning till the end, from sunrise to sunset. You’re always fed with good food and South African wine, and you’re treated like royalty.”

11. Vietnam: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

“It's also beautiful, it’s also an icon. Again, done well, preserved well very black and white type of hotel.”

12. Macau: Morpheus Hotel


“Morpheus is just out of this world. I think it’s extravagant, it’s luxurious. Zaha Hadid designed it, obviously, and the room that they did was just out of this world, everything is done with the touch of a button. And the food inside is by Alain Ducasse and Pierre Hermé. I’m excited about how the world will receive it in the coming months and years because it stands out, in Macau especially. It’s the only one of its kind.”

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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