Sometimes, preparing yourself for a vacation or business trip feels like an art only the most seasoned of travellers have mastered. From not knowing what to pack to finding the best places to visit for the first time in a foreign city, the logistics of travel can get a little tricky.
To get us all geared up for our upcoming vacation this long weekend, we recently caught up with award-winning architect, academic, author, and Smart Cities 2.0 host Jason Pomeroy. Pomeroy travels frequently for work, filming or leisure — driven primarily by the design work his architecture studio, Pomeroy Studio, does. Here are his five must-have essentials whenever he packs for a trip, his smart travel tips to live by, and the best hidden gems in his favourite city in the world.
Lifestyle Asia (LSA): What are the five must-have items in your luggage?
Jason Pomeroy (JP): I always use my LV monogram carry-on, which is battered and bruised because it goes with me everywhere. Inside, I will always bring my Rayban Aviators, because you never know where you’re going to be. A silk scarf will always keep me cool or warm, depending on the circumstances. A copy of the Financial Times Weekend can sustain me for a week, as it can get boring sometimes when I’m on a long journey. I’ll definitely, without fail, take my Montblanc Augmented Pad, which I use for sketches and designing. Lastly, my smaller Moleskin sketchpad and Montblanc pencils and pens.
LSA: How long do you take to pack for a trip?
JP: Three minutes. Thanks to my must-have kit that I’ve mentioned, it has made packing a lot easier. I know exactly what I’m going to take each time.
LSA: What are three travel tips you live by?
JP: Firstly, pack light. I always try to fit everything into my carry-on. Secondly, try not to carry too much cash, as it can be a hazard. You have to keep your wits about you all the time, especially in the most unsavoury cities. I always take one debit card, one credit card, and cash that at any time will not exceed £50 (S$87). Lastly, dress appropriately to the climate.
LSA: Having travelled all around the world, which is your favourite city of all time?
JP: Venice is an urban museum of nostalgia that’s been caught in a time warp and is both architecturally and culturally rich. I somehow manage to get lost all the time, and the ability to find my way back to Piazza San Marco is always a delight. I will always chance upon new streets, alleyways and small bars that I can grab a drink at.
LSA: Tell us about your favourite underrated places in Venice.
JP: I generally stay with my friend at the Compagnia della Vela, which is a yacht club. It is the perfect place to have a drink and look out to the grand canal. Al Gazoni has the best Frittura Mista (fried fish), along with amazing Calzone (folded pizza).
LSA: How do you find such hidden gems in a big city?
JP: I usually just grab a map and try to define the historic quarter of the city, the financial district, and the cultural district. You will find that each of these areas has its own type of gems. I will spend at least one or two days in each of these zones and just wander about the streets. I’m not a big app fan, I’d much rather explore and just experience it for myself. Talking to locals also allows me to use my English, French, German and occasionally Italian. I find it interesting to be put into a scenario where you have to try to converse and engage, rather than be the tourist with a giant map and camera just announcing to everybody, “Does anybody here speak English?”
LSA: How do you always manage to find your way around?
JP: I always get lost, but find myself back on track eventually. Like they say, “The best way to discover a city is to get lost in it.”
Smart Cities 2.0 premieres every Saturday on Channel NewsAsia.