Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom are the pair at the helm of magazines Fantastic Man, Butt, The Happy Reader and The Gentlewoman. Here we ask the duo to disclose their definitive travel tips—from jetlag cures to combating hotel room mess.
What’s the one thing you love about travel?
Gert: The distraction.
Jopp: I love that when you leave, a lot of your worries and work stress get left behind. Travel, especially a long train journey or a long-haul flight, literally opens your perspective. Being offline on an aeroplane is a great thing. It allows you to really disconnect for the time being and arrive somewhere with a new start. I love conquering new places—trying to understand the culture and how people live. Even if it’s a city in Spain I’ve not been before, I always search for a connection—and good food.What is the one thing that cures your jet lag?
G: I try to get accustomed to the new day rhythm as soon as possible and enjoy as much bright daylight as I can. In the case of a jetlag-related headache, have a double espresso, or two.
J: Drinking lots of water and no alcohol during a long-haul flight does help, but it doesn’t cure it. I have to say, I do get terrible jet lag, and sometimes it just ruins my trip. Sleeping aids (Tylenol PM) help, especially for the first two nights, but in the end those supplements don’t fix the biological clock. I recently picked up meditation and apparently a twenty-minute meditation every two and a half hours during the flight cures jet lag completely—something to try soon!What’s the one book you always turn to in transit?
G: Personal History by Katherine Graham; the fascinating memoir of the ex-editor of the Washington Post. It’s the most unlikely page-turner about journalism, politics and power.What is the one product from Smythson that you wouldn’t travel without?
G: A wallet with a few bank cards in it. I love that feeling of showing up at a hotel with no luggage. Most hotels do complimentary toothbrushes.
J: The Panama Zip Currency Case, because it’s very practical and I love practical things—and it’s a very handsome object too. Oddly enough, I have given the Panama Zip Currency Case to friends as a present many times.What is the one item that you always steal (or want to steal) from a hotel?
G: The ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign as it can come in handy elsewhere, such as in the office.
J: I always use or take the bottles of water they provide in hotels—oops! But, that’s not really stealing. Water should be free.
What is the one thing that you always order from room service?
G: I order an electric kettle if there isn’t one in the room yet. Drinking lukewarm water is the most soothing and relaxing thing when you’re away from home.
J: A good breakfast, always with scrambled eggs. Hotel Americano in New York does a good one, including an amazing green juice called Green Machine.
What is the one item you won’t leave the country without?
G: My driver’s license. I came late to the game of driving – I got my license at the age of 42. If I’d known how much I’d love driving, I surely would have gotten it way earlier. I find driving abroad a fantastically exotic act, so I wouldn’t want to miss out on that just because I forgot to bring my license.
What is your one luxury travel item?
G: My ‘Privium’ card, which allows me to skip all lines at security and customs at Schiphol airport. All you do is use the iris-scan lane through customs, and it can save you an hour, easily! It’s literally the best gift to oneself, and I pray for the day that more airports start welcoming and pleasing ‘Privium’ members like me.
J: Cashmere socks in business class. It’s so comforting to take your shoes off just before a long flight and slip into ultra-soft foot huggers.
What is the one travel item you always depend on?
G: Decent toothpicks. Can anyone tell me why they’re impossible to find in many countries? I’ve not managed to find good toothpicks in the UK, in Spain, France…It’s really annoying and a mystery too.
What’s the one Smythson item you depend on in-flight?
G: Well, I love my Panama Zip Currency Case, but I definitely had more use for it in pre-Euro times, what with Guldens, Lires, Deutschmarks, Francs and Pounds. I would say I’m pretty orderly when it comes to packing, and all things go in their dedicated pocket, folder or case. If you saw my hotel room, you would think otherwise, as I manage to make a total mess out of every room in a matter of minutes. But, I (and only I) manage to find things just because I know where and how they packed them. That’s why I swear by all sorts document case folders for valuable papers, keys to various offices and apartments and a trinket holder to keep headphones, phone chargers and adapters neatly together.
J: A Smythson Panama diary. I have been using it for years and years now, with a short (failed) stint in between where I tried to get used to a digital diary. It’s just such a distinctive product with it’s blue crisp paper, handy pocket format and grained black leather. And, I love the fact that is just says the year on the cover, embossed in gold. So chic.
About This Series
The One: The definitive guide to the one thing that you must do in a city, take on your journey, or wear when you get there: from the best sashimi restaurant in Osaka, to the perfect travel-sized moisturiser; that one dress that never creases, to the place for late-night paella in Madrid. Take advice from the people who’ve seen it all, and never find yourself stuck queuing for a tourist trap again.