Six women who come from varied professional backgrounds but share a passion for travel give us expert tips on travel, ranging from packing to in-flight beauty routines. By Riaan Jacob George
1. Dinaz Madhukar
Executive Vice President, DLF Luxury Retail and Hospitality
Do Your Research
In a country where our leaders have an opinion on everything women can and cannot do, travelling solo, especially on leisure, may seem like a no-no. However, having done it for years now, I assure you that it is a highly fulfilling experience. Do your preparation well; research on your destination, the culture, and the places to visit. I dress to please myself, but I always carry a stole, which saves me in multiple situations. I have worn it as a sarong/skirt over my shorts to temples, created a bandana for shade, and even used it to dress up a simple outfit for a night out. Some other tips that I always keep in mind: pay a bit more but take an authorised vehicle; if someone is offering you a cheap drop, don’t be tempted; ditch the heels while travelling, leave them for an evening hangout; and finally, in hotels, don’t just double-lock the door but also latch it shut—all hotels have a master key.
2. Deepika Gehani
Senior Vice-President, Marketing and PR, Reliance Brands Ltd.
In-Flight Beauty Essentials
During flights, there are a few basics that many of us often forget. Firstly, stay hydrated! Whether I travel for business or leisure, I ensure that I drink a lot of water. Another tip would be to eat in the airport lounge or food court, as the in-flight food often has a lot of preservatives and can cause bloating. It is a good idea to munch on almonds and cashews on flights rather than on packaged food. Another tip that female business travellers can incorporate is to always travel without make-up, with a thick layer of a hydrating moisturiser. My own in-flight comfort kit includes a lip balm and a hand moisturiser, both extremely important for flights. I also keep a Kiko eye pencil, a Nars blush stick, and a MAC lipstick to look fresh on arrival. I normally apply my make-up just before landing. If you are wearing contact lenses, remember they tend to dry up on flights, so always carry re-wetting eye drops.
3. Juhi Godambe
Fashion Blogger and Entrepreneur
Be Prepared For Lost Luggage
I keep a carry-on bag with make-up, basic skincare, an evening bag, and a basic midi dress. In case the airline ever loses your luggage (true story) and you have somewhere important to be on arrival, you need to have backup till your luggage arrives. I have learned this the hard way, unfortunately. I carry a separate pouch each for make-up and skincare. These are only used for my travel, therefore I never have to repack them. I also ensure that I have miniature versions of most of the beauty products that I use. Long-haul flights give you a lot of free time, which you can use for a detailed skincare routine. I go all out by using a hydrating face mask, followed by a nourishing cream. This is particularly great during fashion weeks and in the wedding season when your skin tends to get dehydrated due to a hectic lifestyle. You can even incorporate a handcare routine, or a mini manicure, during a flight.
4. Namita Alexander
How Not To Overpack
As a woman who travels quite extensively for both work and leisure, there are some basic rules that I like to follow. Most women face the issue of overpacking. The solution is to carry wardrobe essentials, which can be used in multiple ways and on multiple occasions, depending on how you style them. For example, carry a stylish oversized denim jacket, a couple of basic coloured tees, some neutral pants, and a few fun accessories to mix and match, and dress up or down your look. I like to accessorise with sunglasses and layered necklaces. These days, business often merges with leisure, hence you need to think of clothes and accessories that can go effortlessly from the boardroom to the bar.
5. Payal Singhal
Care For Delicate Desi Clothes
Indian women often travel with expensive and delicate traditional clothes. It is important to fold and carry your garments appropriately. If you have the option of packing wrinkle-free fabrics, then opt for those. I always carry an ESTEAM personal handheld steamer. This comes in handy if you are at a hotel that does not have a steam iron. Embroidered garments must go into individual lightweight garment bags, which add a layer of protection. These bags can then be folded and put into large cloth pouches, to further protect your couture. Be sure to buy transparent garment bags so you can identify the outfits easily. If you are travelling with expensive clothes, you must also get a comprehensive travel insurance that covers them. Spritz a bit of wardrobe freshener or place freshener sachets into your bag so your clothes won’t smell musty. If you can, carry foldable racks, lightweight hangers, and packing organisers as well.
6. Chef Amninder Singh
Chef Partner, Food Matters India
Blend In With The Crowd
I travel across India, in order to research on the food that I cook. Before travelling to a destination, I always make sure I do thorough research on the place, book transport in advance, and check out safe locations to stay at. I try to wear what blends in with the locals. As a woman, it is not advisable to stand out in an unknown city. You have to be confident and aware at all times, and never look confused. I make the most of daylight to complete all the work as it is generally safer. If someone does strike up a conversation and things get a bit uncomfortable, I usually apologise and say I have to go meet someone else and walk to a safe place. It is important for female business travellers to watch shows like Banged Up Abroad or Scam City so that they are aware of the scams and tricks that locals could pull on them. That being said, find out where the locals are eating and shopping, so that you can make the most of your leisure time.