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Travelling north, south, west and east

02 October 2013

Falaknuma Palace

Women look for very specific things when they travel and they often have a load of extra anxieties around child care and family with which they also have to deal. Here we hunt out the tips and thoughts of frequent travellers, including author and foodie Donna Hay, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, and our own Director of Women’s Markets Larke Riemer.

Travelling to do business has its own set of pressures affecting women – not the least of which is organising what’s going to happen with the various family ‘care’ aspects most women also shoulder. If you have children, for example, what happens around school pickups and drop-offs, or if someone gets sick, or meals if you’re late back or later than you expected, and, what do you do if your children don’t want you to go?

Travel tips from women

According to the actress Gwyneth Paltrow on her Goop magazine site, it all comes down to “hydration, eating light, taking fruit for the plane trip and good music”.

Gwyneth also got our own celebrity cook Donna Hay to provide a few tips: “As an Australian, I am genetically designed to fly long distances… This may be too much information, but before I slip into the airline pyjamas, I coat myself in a really nourishing body lotion… I am a big believer in hydration. I drink lots of water when flying and, unless celebrating, avoid alcohol.”

Women’s Markets Director Larke Riemer travels for work nationally and internationally. She never drinks alcohol on flights, does drink lots of water and steers clear of eating on the flight.

“I’ve just come back from the Global Banking Alliance summit in Turkey so travelling is fresh in my mind. I like being at the airport early rather than late. It gives me the time to have a light meal and settle myself. If I’m travelling overseas it’s nearly always for business so I am usually in Business Class. The gender skew in Business Class is to men – middle aged men who’ve seen a lot of hotel and airline food. It makes the pyjama ritual quite confronting.

“I’m the first to admit I’m no Elle MacPherson. My tip is take the pjs to the bathroom, pull and stretch them out of shape, they’ll be slightly more forgiving when you put them on, then get back to your seat, pronto, and remember to make sure everything you need is out of the over-head lockers.”

At your destination

Larke’s smitten with lots of big soft pillows and comfortable beds. The hotel doesn’t have to be 5-star luxury but it’s important that it’s positioned near where business meetings are being held and in safe and populated parts of town.

“Go for an industry name that has a reputation for quality and safety when looking for a hotel in a place you don’t know. I like my bathroom to have the girly things such as bubble bath, good soap and, where possible, the ability to get a massage in-house.”

India is high on Australia’s trade and business agenda. In fact, Victoria has already led two Super Trade Missions to India in the past two years.

The second Mission involved members of the Women in Global Business program. WIGB is a joint program run by the Federal, State and Territory Governments to encourage more women to run their own business ventures.

WIGB aims to increase the participation of women in international trade and investment, delivering increased economic benefit and job creation through greater diversity.

The program began in October 2010 and has 2500 members Australia-wide – 26 per cent of those members are in Victoria. As part of the second Super Trade Mission to Delhi a WIGB event was held to provide networking opportunities for Indian and Victorian businesswomen to share experiences and develop more collaborative ventures.

Taj Hotels, which services the luxury end of the market and has 93 hotels in 55 locations across India, spoke to us about their luxury properties in the city of Hyderabad, which is fast becoming a business mecca, especially for IT.

Hyderabad was ranked by the World Bank Group in 2009 as the “second best Indian city for doing business”. It was once a centre for pearls, diamonds and pharmaceuticals, and is now the IT capital of India. Global conglomerates such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Yahoo!, Dell, Facebook, call Hyderabad home.

In 2010 Taj opened a property in Hyderabad called Falaknuma Palace (pictured above). The palace was built in 1884 and has been converted into a 60 room hotel overlooking the city.

Of the female guests who stay in the hotel, according to the hotel’s general manager, 95 per cent are there for work and five per cent for pleasure.

The most requested in-hotel services for female travellers? Iron and ironing board; cotton swabs; nail filler; loofah.

And the top four priorities for female travellers? Safety and security; cleanliness; room with view; peace and quiet.