MY TOP TRAVEL TIPS
I live for travelling. At first, I sold mealies on our farm in Mpumalanga to bankroll my annual pilgrimages to the Cape. And when I later got the opportunity to do an internship for Elle Gastronomy in Paris, I jumped at the chance. After that, I worked on the yachts in Monaco, which was about the time I discovered that abandoned motorcycle repair shop that became JAN. The rest, as they say, is history. Or history in the making. But the one thing that has never changed is my love for discovering new people and places – a passion that I have found is greatly enhanced by the way you travel, whether navigating a pandemic or simply freewheeling through the vast Kalahari.
WHAT LUGGAGE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Perhaps it is because of the pandemic that my love of travel has only increased, almost like it’s awoken the (Covid-compliant) rebel in me, so you can be sure that I’m very particular about my choice of luggage. There was a time when I skimped on it, but I found myself having to buy a new suitcase for every second trip. Eventually, I invested in Samsonite, a great brand that was guaranteed to last. I’ve never looked back.
There are trips for which a tough backpack is called for, but to be honest, those days are behind me. I like a bit of luxury, so a durable suitcase with four, smooth-running wheels is the way I roll these days. It just makes the endless tiled stretches of airport corridors so much easier to traverse, and those inevitable transits feel like a breeze.
areWHAT DO YOU NEED TO TAKE?
Living between South Africa and France, I’m on a long-haul flight every other month (or whenever regulations allow these days), so I have long since abandoned the idea of lists. I don’t need them anymore; it’s become second nature. But if I had to list my essentials, I would say…
Travelling to South Africa:
- A lot of lightweight basics, like t-shirts (long and short-sleeved) for layering
- One or two pullovers
- A great pair of brogues (I usually wear sneakers in flight)
- Two pairs of jeans
- An extra belt
- Underwear (of course)
- A hat (for Tswalu)
- A great fragrance
- A strong and durable suitcase capable of withstanding hard knocks, but that also has a good locking mechanism to ensure peace of mind knowing that your stash of buchu and rooibos tea is safe.
Travelling to France:
- A pair of Vellies
- A selection of South African snacks
- Ingredients that are difficult to find in France, like buchu and rooibos (these usually get the customs officials’ backs up, as they look so suspicious)
- Biltong (in my hand luggage)
HAVE YOU GOT ALL YOUR TOILETRIES?
I like to decant. Shampoo bottles can be so bulky and heavy, which means you’ve got less allowance for those brocante pieces you bought in France to decorate your home or the extra bag of mosbolletjie rusks you want to take with you to have with your morning coffee. Putting the basics into smaller bottles also means you don’t need a big toiletry bag.
AND FOR CARRY-ON?
It always fascinates me to see what people take on the flight with them. I’ve seen everything from slippers, moisturising facial masks, 2-minute noodles and mint tea to the latest Dan Brown, a copy of 50 Shades in a discreet jacket and even a silken night gown. For me, I like to have some entertainment (often downloaded onto my phone), a good read, and something to keep me moisturised.
- Phone charger
- A power bank
- Hydrating mist
- Eight-hour cream
- A great book
- The latest copy of JAN the Journal (of course)
HAVE YOU GOT YOUR PAPERWORK?
It’s happened before that I’ve arrived at customs and didn’t have the necessary documents on me. Forgetting any of your official documentation is just not worth the stress and rigmarole. I always carry the following 3 items. Knowing that I always need three of these documents to prove my existence makes them easier to remember for some reason. They are:
- My passport
- My residence card
- My South African ID and Driver’s Licence