If you are spending the majority of your time on the road, you need to be very organised. You avoid disappointments and become more efficient. Of course, there should always be an element of surprise in some trips, but I leave those for holidays where once a year I try to visit a place I have not been to before.
My go to luggage is a carbon fibre set by Tumi. It is light and the wheels are great. The small suitcase expands which is perfect when you return from a trip where you went on a shopping spree. Most importantly however, since the series did not have a big production run, is that the pieces stand out so they are easy to spot on a conveyor belt, thus avoiding the risk of someone else picking up your luggage and going home with it — something that has happened to me more than once in the past.
Because I travel frequently, I want to be surrounded by clothes, accessories, and shoes that I like, so I do not travel light. I tend to have two pieces, one for clothing and a smaller luggage for shoes, accessories, toiletries and paperwork. This helps minimise the wrinkles on the clothes. Although it’s not much of a secret, make sure you put any liquids in sealed plastic bags to avoid any mess.
My ideal co-passenger would be someone who is not an Alpha personality and willing to go with the flow — it helps to avoid conflict and arguments.
Jet lag is one of the biggest challenges of long distance travel. They say not to drink on flights (something I enjoy doing especially if seated in the front of the cabin) and to go to the gym the day you land (a challenge to do under the best of circumstances). Instead, I have my GP prescribe me sleeping pills (Stilnox) for long distance travel, as they help me fall asleep when on a long haul flight and go back to my routine when I land. Only take it when in bed, read a bit, and you will wake up nice and relaxed the next morning. Much better than tossing and turning all night long and waking up totally exhausted.
It’s hard for me to say which destination is overrated or underrated, as they are all a matter of individual choice.
I am not very keen on visiting some towns in China such as Shenzhen and Dongguan, but it is all part of doing business and one cannot always visit beautiful locations.
Milan is, without a doubt, the best city in the world for shopping — the Quadrilatero is home to every major designer brand. I prefer to shop in mono-brand boutiques instead of department stores; you get to learn more about the piece you are buying and tend to receive better customer service. I will go in and out of every store in via Montenapoleone, Spiga, and Sant’Andrea, but the must boutiques for me are Ermenegildo Zegna, Neil Barrett, Etro, and Hogan.
My favourite place to visit in the world is Cape Town. Despite going there for over twenty-five years, each time I visit is as exciting as my first. It is a beautiful seaside town with gorgeous scenery, delicious food, and very nice people. The fact that the Rand is so weak makes it an incredibly affordable visit. While in Cape Town, I go to the beach, hike to Table Mountain, take beautiful drives along the coast to Cape of Good Hope or into the wine country around Hermanus, Setellenbosch or Franschoek. It is a great place for wine lovers and epicureans. It is also a very health conscious town with many amazing gyms and great health food stores and juice bars.
The most breath-taking scenery in the world is the view past Ellerman house in Bantry Bay in Cape Town — overlooking the 12 Apostles and the beaches,but I am biassed. One could also see Sugarloaf from the terrace of the Fasano at sunset in Rio.
I love the clean zen feeling of Upper House in Hong Kong and the spectacular views of the harbour. They have impeccable service and always make you feel at home.
Palace Hotel Tokyo is great. Ask for a grand deluxe room with balcony so you can have breakfast there, it offers a truly exceptional view, especially in autumn with the changing of the leaves. A morning jog around the imperial palace during cherry blossom season is also an unforgettable experience.
Since I spend nearly 60% of my life in hotels, I can be quite demanding, especially of hotels where I am a repeat guest. I do not like surprises, so I prefer to stay in the same hotel rooms whenever and wherever it is possible — so as to always have the feeling of home away from home. When I travel, I am mostly on business and do not really have patience for hotel staff that dilly dally- for example walking back in the hotel room at 3:00 pm and still not have it serviced, or during breakfast trying to get a waiters’ attention for coffee. I like to be efficient with my time.
Travelling is one of life’s greatest joys, but a bad experience in a hotel can taint your image of a city or a trip completely. Spend time before your trip researching where you are planning to stay and the restaurants you are going to visit — TripAdvisor is great for that. Don’t forget to research your travel options carefully on Kayak. Once you have booked your flights, check your seats on SeatGuru too. make sure you end up with the best seat on the aircraft for your category of ticket.