Yasmin Fahr, Citizen Femme’s in-house hotel curator, has travelled the world for four years as a hotel and restaurant inspector for Forbes Travel Guide.
She struggled with finding trustworthy recommendations for where to eat and what to do in new cities because of the overwhelming amount of information out there. Who do you trust with the precious few meals you have?
She has worked as a former food editor, writer and a graduate of the NYU Food Studies Master’s program, so knowledge is everything, and most often, it’s the pool of travelled writers who would share their recommendations.
Yasmin has since created Lokapack, a membership club giving access to this incredible wealth of knowledge with personalised recommendations for each country, each provided by an expert in that country. Don’t leave dinner up to chance!
According to Yasmin, “Food is more than just a pretty picture or provides us with energy. It represents history, culture and is made up of a widespread network of people who support the industry in different ways. Similarly, travel is one of the best ways to learn about a different way of life and return home with a new perspective and some clarity about your own life.”
What is the first trip you remember taking?
My parents love to travel, so I was lucky in that we got to travel a lot as kids. While I’ve seen photos of me as a one year old in Amsterdam and Belgium, one of my favourite trips that I remember was going to the Kea Lani hotel in Maui. I think my sister and I spent the entire vacation going down the waterslide, drinking virgin daiquiris (we loved them!) and learning the hula.
If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – on a long-haul flight, who would it be?
Oh man, this is such a hard one! It would probably be someone whose brain I could pick about food or wine. Right now, I’m really into mezcal, so I’d want to sit next to someone who I could learn about the process from and how to properly taste them (not sure they’d want to sit next to me, haha). Or, anyone who loves food and travel, as those are topics that I love talking about.
How do you recover from jet lag?
The minute I get on the plane, I adjust my watch and sleep schedule to the destination that I’m going to, whether I’m traveling to Asia or returning home. Then, I try to be active when I get home, whether it’s going to yoga, for a run or even a long walk, and take a bath or warm shower to keep myself awake until I can get on a normal schedule. I basically try to avoid napping at all costs.
Your flight’s delayed an hour and your phone’s out of battery. How do you pass the time?
Either finally reading the collection of unread New Yorkers that I carry around with me or wandering into a bookstore to pick something up.
Biggest lesson from your travels?
Don’t go anywhere with expectations. Everytime I travel I’m reminded of how much we have to learn from other people, and it’s best to go with an open mind as you open yourself up to more adventures that way.
This also extends to how you think your trip is going to play out—the less rigid you are, the better, because most things don’t go how you planned them in your head when traveling, so it’s much more fun (and less stressful) to go with the flow and see what happens.
Do you travel for food, leisure, culture or something else?
All three! Those are probably my top three reasons for traveling. Food is one of the best ways to learn about a culture, its habits and way of life, so I think all three go hand in hand.
Favourite Hotel? Why?
Oh wow! One of my favourites is the Harmony Hotel in Costa Rica. I’ve been practicing yoga for over 12 years, so I love the Nosara Yoga institute that’s down the road from the hotel. It has an open-air studio that’s nestled in the jungle treetops and is so beautiful. Plus, I really like the hotel’s overall approach and vibe: the rooms have outdoor rain showers, all-natural products from Red Flower and there’s a gorgeous tree-covered path that leads to the beach. The hotel also has a great juice bar, delicious homemade passion fruit jam, and they grow a lot of their own produce on a farm and/or support local purveyors.
Delta, mostly because it’s the most convenient for me as I’m based in NYC, and I have status with them, but I can’t say that any American airline is that fantastic to be honest.
What’s on your travel playlist?
I have a ‘happy times’ playlist on my Spotify (so dorky, I know), which has a mix of upbeat and relaxing songs—things that make me happy—that I find help counter the chaos that often comes with travelling.
Dublin with my sister for a few days before our friend’s wedding in Kerry, then an annual family vacation in Maine.
What are your must-have travel picks?
Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses—I’m bad about using cases, and so I love that these fold up and are fairly durable (I don’t do so well with precious sunglasses).
Also, Tata Harper’s Moisturising Mask because planes are so drying on the skin.
First thing that comes to your mind?
Lavender essential oil, antibacterial gel and healthy snacks.
Packing: roll or fold?
Roll, always! Great question.
Time killer on a long-haul flight?
Napping and movies.
On-flight tipple of choice?
Gin and tonic (or wine).
Bucket list top destination?
Iguazu Falls, preferably staying at the Awasi Hotel.
Best shopping gem found abroad?
Marta Ray ballet flats. I found them when I was in Rome one summer and my feet were hurting—now I’m obsessed. They are so comfortable and well priced.
Beach or City?
Casa Sandra on Isla Holbox.