Tips from Judith G.

Tips to travel like Judith Gross, a member of SHe Travel Club and a relentless traveler scouting for sensory experiences in scent, art and fashion.

I’m a traveler. It kind of defines who I am, to the extent that my favorite airline company (of which I was made a “Platinum for Life customer” to thank me for my loyalty) tells me I’ve flown the equivalent of 27 times around the earth in the last 10 years (over 1 million kms). If that doesn’t make ma a particularly good friend of Greta Thurnberg, it’s become a very substantial, and I should say enjoyable, part of my life.

However, by the mighty force of a global pandemic, like the vast majority of my fellow humans, my universe suddenly shrunk back to my immediate neighborhood, my country if I was lucky, for the last two plus years. 

That’s why my trip to Las Vegas and New-York for the CES2022 last week was a huge excitement: I revel in traveling, it’s a part of my personal and professional routine which drives my inspiration and fuels my curiosity. 

The thing is, after 2 and ½ years of not having to pack for anything further than Grasse, South of France (well, ok, Tel Aviv was the furthest I went), I had almost forgotten my moves. Though it’s really like cycling : you never completely forget.

Now I abide by four pretty straightforward travelers’ commandments, which I try to never compromise on: 

  1. With a carry-on only you shall travel (never ever check luggage in)
  2. All your beauty care favorites you shall transfer into less than 100ml carry-on compatible items, in a Ziploc (see commandment #1)
  3. Your destination weather you shall check, pre-packing (and the season average rain and temperature)
  4. Your destination cultural events you shall pre-check (and book for)

In this particular instance, my trip was presenting a climate related challenge: I was going to spend 4 days in Las Vegas, and 4 in New York, crossing the States West to East and therefore encountering two very different temperatures and weathers. I had to avoid COVID (I certainly didn’t want to get stuck in a Las Vegas hotel room for 5 days of quarantine); airline delays (covid-related lack of staff and ice and snowstorms) and jet-lag (I had to be 100% awake and energized to be on my best behavior on arrival at CES). 

Here are a few useful tips, some of them probably already known to all of you fellow travelers: 

1st commandment of packing everything into 1 single carry-on compatible suitcase: if you ask why, it’s because it saves time (luggage check-in and waiting by the carousel) and eliminates the suspense of wondering whether your luggage is on its way to Mauritius while you’re waiting for it at JFK (don’t laugh, I’m talking real life experience here). The only way to pack carry-on is to plan for every single day: outfit, shoes, jewelry, and even stocking and underwear (some of these wired bras can really be bulky!). Only by doing that can you ensure you are not packing anything unnecessary, and therefore might even leave a little bit of room for some shopping. For women, it’s not as easy as men: the suit / white shirt thing doesn’t work, so we need a real strategy. 

2nd commandment, I cannot thank Muji enough for their smart, small, fillable, Ziploc compliant bottles and vials. My lotions, creams, oils, are all carefully transferred and labeled using a very handy Brother P-Touch. This may sound a bit over-the-top.  Believe me it’s not, especially when you’re tired and can’t fully distinguish between the opaque white Kerastase shampoo and the fairly translucid Genifique Lancôme lotion. 

3rd commandment: you may need a raincoat, a scarf, a warm hat, rainboots, snow gear… but will have no clue if you don’t check before-hand: forewarned is forearmed, especially if you’re travelling across climates, as I was last week. 

4th commandment: I’m a cultural freak. You can bribe me easy with an opera (I’ve once organized a layover in Berlin on my way from Paris to Tel Aviv to see a special version of the Enchanted Flute…). So instead of last minute, scrambling for tickets, I pre-check everything that’s available to see at my destination: ballet, opera, museums, and when compatible with my schedule (often it’s not), I book my tickets in advance, and into my calendar. That allowed me to sprint to the Met a few years ago to see the world acclaimed Camp Fashion, admire the Maurizio Cattelan retrospective at the Guggenheim, or get tickets at the Lincoln Center to see the J.R only once performed ballet. 

Some of you may already go by some of these commandments, some of them may forgo them completely… the most important thing, whatever you do, is to enjoy every minute of your trip: from the flight or train or car trip, to your meetings with unfamiliar or familiar faces, in new or known dwellings. I tell myself every day I’m lucky to be going around the world, and that also makes my traveling even better!