Holidays can teach us many things - about a destination, about other people and about ourselves.

Travel is an experience to be relished, not rushed. Even when you are working, you need to steal moments to savour the local experience, even if it is only a quiet reflective moment sitting on a beach.

I always pack too much, no matter how hard I try not to. Must haves: I try to bring one pair of formal shoes, one pair of comfortable cross-trainers and some flipflops. A casual jacket that doubles up as something more swish, a couple of neutral-coloured shirts. A couple of round neck T-shirts will look smart with a jacket or casual with a hoodie/jumper. A pair of dress shorts and workout shorts. A pair of dress jeans and another pair of chinos. For added wintry warmth, I wear a puffer jacket plus scarf and beanie while layering underneath.

For the plane, bring your own noise-reducing earphones, your USB cable for your phone and power bank. Have your travel documents and a pen ready for filling in forms (and remember where you are staying).


I check in online and book an aisle seat where someone has booked the window seat. More often than not, the middle seat remains unallocated.

It's helpful to fill up your playlist so you don't keep scrolling for selections from the inflight entertainment. When I get to the departure lounge, I buy a bottle of water to have ready for rehydration.

It's essential to get Wi-Fi and I get a local sim card at the airport ASAP to keep connected. This is helpful to order an Uber at an airport. Whatsapp is awesome. I use the local ATM to get cash out and use debit cards preferably. When I arrive, I stay up for as long as I can to normalise my body clock.

Alex Lee is Director of the Doc Edge International Documentary Film Festival, the Chair of Film Auckland Inc. and an international speaker and screen futurist/strategist. Doc Edge International Film Festival is on in Auckland from May 30 to June 9, and in Wellington June 13 – 23.