Famous flyer: Trelise Cooper

Always packs too much ... Trelise Cooper.
Always packs too much ... Trelise Cooper. 

Which was your best holiday?

My trip to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. We stayed at the One&Only resort; it's situated right on the edge of the Baja Peninsula where all the whales go to have their babies. I'm not normally a whale-watching person but it was just amazing. Every time we looked out, there were whales. We hired a beautiful launch and had a day out with friends - you can go right up to these massive whales that have their babies with them. It's quite terrifying but really stunning.

Best hotel you've stayed in?

I stay at the Leela Palace in Delhi regularly. It's been open 18 months and is part of the Kempinski group of hotels, which is amazing. It cost hundreds of millions of dollars to construct and you can see why - it's a new hotel built to look like it's been there forever. It has the pool area on the roof, absolutely everything is beautifully detailed, and they do the most incredible floral displays.

What do you need for a perfect holiday?

Really comfortable furniture and good amenities in the room, so that I'm relaxed with a sense of luxury. I especially like it when there are deep sofas to sink into, and when there's an easy way to play my music. Luxury for me is switching off completely and having everything I need at my fingertips.

What do you always take with you on holidays?

My La Mer moisturiser, because I like a bit of sun on my skin when I'm on holiday and because there are so many dehydrating aspects of holidays - wine, sun and sea. I have my moisturiser on the plane with me, I have it beside my bed and I always carry two pots.

Best piece of travel advice?

I always travel with my clothes already on black plastic hangers so that when I come to unpack I can just hang them straight up, and by the time I've hung them overnight all the creases have come out. I find it easier than trying to get them onto hotel hangers and I actually think it takes up less space [in the suitcase] because it's just one fold and then you can pack things around it, like shoes in corners. I've put a lot of people onto it; it makes unpacking so easy.

Where do you want to go next?

I'd love to do New England in the autumn when the trees are all turned, but I like warm holidays so I haven't ever quite got there. I've read lots of books set in New England in the autumn and have always thought that sounds like quite a romantic thing to do.

Which was your worst holiday?

My son, who's now 24, was four when we went to the new Marina Mirage that had opened in Brisbane. We were so excited about it, but he was grizzly on the flight over and by the time we got there he had a raging temperature and came down with the mumps, so we had five days stuck inside our room with the drapes closed in this beautiful hotel. It was awful knowing that outside there were beautiful pools and a beach and sunshine. He was just so miserable and in the end, so were we, because we'd spent all this money getting there.

And your worst experience on holiday?

One time I was with two colleagues in Delhi on a work trip and we had a car accident. These guys on motorbikes came straight out in front of us and there was nothing our driver could do. A crowd quickly gathered and managed to get our window down and punch our driver in the face. Then they started throwing things at the car and rocking and banging it. I kept telling the driver, "Put your foot down and go, we're going to die here!" and he kept saying, "No, I'm just waiting for one good man to come along". It was terrifying. But one good man did eventually come along; he yelled at the crowd and told them all to go away and brought about peace.

Worst hotel you've stayed in?

A long time ago, when my husband and I did a London to Kathmandu holiday and were on about $2 a day, we stayed in a hotel in Egypt where the first six floors had been condemned. The seventh and eighth floors were the only two operating, so when you went down in the lift that had no doors on it you were going through rubble, and the eighth floor held the goats that provided our breakfast! The toilet had never been cleaned and was blocked with very foul-smelling things; I decided to try to clean it, but when I lifted the cloth up it was absolutely filthy.

The biggest packing mistake you've ever made?

I make it every time; I just take too much. Because I live in New Zealand and it's a long way from anywhere, I never generally go to just one place when I travel, so there are often two different climates. Then I always need 15 to 20 pairs of shoes, probably about 12 too many because I only wear the same three. You'd think with all the travel I do I'd have gotten my head around it! I think part of it is I always pack in a rush.

What do you avoid on holiday?

Doing too much. I know people who don't travel a lot and so do the big trip and pack in 15 countries in six days, trying to see everything. I think that's exhausting, and that you really need time to enjoy the place you're in. People underestimate how stressful travel is and how much time you can waste getting to and from train stations and airports.

What do you hate about holidays?

After three or four weeks of travelling, I get weary of waiting on slack service people, because everything is done at someone else's behest. I always know when it's time to go home because I start thinking, "Hurry up and bring my drink", or, "How long does it take to make a cup of coffee?" simply because I don't have the freedom to go and do it for myself.

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