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Expert Travel Tips from the Founders of Yabu Pushelberg

Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu

Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu, founders of the design firm Yabu Pushelberg, share business travel tips, from their favorite carry-on bags to the lounge amenities they can't live without.

Q: How often do you travel?

GP: We're flying at least twice a week–sometimes more. At least once a month we're doing a five- or six-day international trek.

Q: What is your go-to travel app?

GY: Luxe City Guides app. It has cheeky and opinionated guides, featuring insider stuff in big cities from Beijing to Bangkok.

Q: What are your must-pack items?

GP: A sweater for the plane, comfortable sneakers, and my Mophie iPhone battery pack case.

Q: Best carry-on bag?

GP: A VisVim canvas tote for its versatility. It's stylish enough to bring to a client meeting, it fits everything you could possibly need, and if it's empty it can be folded up and tucked away.

GY: My Marni leather backpack is my go-to carry-on. Its butter-soft leather is super slouchy, so it sits perfectly on top of my roll-aboard and doesn't fall off. It has just enough pockets to keep me organized (because I'm an unorganized person), and when I'm wearing it, it makes me stand up straight, which my chiropractor says I should be doing.

Q: Any tips for packing for a business trip?

GP: We always keep two identical toiletry bags packed because so often we're coming off one trip and jumping into the next. We also keep two basic 'drop kits' ready with underwear, socks, and T-shirts.

GY: I always pack a full change of clothes in my carry-on in case of spills on the plane or lost luggage.

Q: What are your impressions, both good and bad, of airports you've recently traveled through?

GP: Distance and efficiency in an airport is key. A lot of walking between connections is a no-no for us. Hong Kong International Airport is really well designed, as is Heathrow's Terminal 5. Toronto and Beijing are easy to navigate, and Munich is super functional.

GY: JFK and Bangkok because of convenience of connections. And I'm really looking forward to Heathrow's new Terminal 2: The Queen's Terminal for Star Alliance airlines.

Q: What airport lounge amenity can you not live without?

GP: Showers. The first-class Lufthansa lounge in Frankfurt is the best in the world bar none, with individual 'rejuvenation' rooms, great food, dedicated customs clearance, and the choice of car to take you to your terminal.

Q: How do you stay healthy on the road?

GY: Don't eat too much.

GP: Staying healthy on the road is all about focusing on energy. If you have the opportunity to sleep, sleep. Eat small meals, and avoid the temptation to overindulge.

Q: Any tips for fighting jet lag?

GP: Don't try to fight it. Roll with it, have a nap, and sleep when you can. Exercise is also incredibly rejuvenating.

Q: What are your red-eye survival tactics?

GP We've learned to avoid the red-eye at all costs; we just don't do it anymore. It's impossible to get a good rest on or after a late-night flight to the West Coast. I much prefer a 15-hour flight to Asia than a five-hour flight to Los Angeles.

Q: Favorite airport?

GY: Munich. It's efficient, clean, easy to understand, thoughtfully designed, and handsome.

Q: Favorite airline cabin?

GP: The new Lufthansa first—class cabin has a proper bed next to your seat—so great!

GY: Cathay Pacific's extra-wide first-class cabin seats.

Q: What is one point of service that makes you feel noticed as a business traveler?

GP: When a hotel or airline employee makes a simple gesture or goes out of their way in the name of service or guest experience. For example, I was staying at a hotel recently and asked for the London Evening Standard and was told that they were sold out. Ten minutes later the bellhop knocked on my door with a copy. When I asked him where he got it, he said he went to a competing hotel across the street and bought one for me. It was a small, simple gesture that really spoke to the exceptional quality and understanding of service in that hotel.

Q: Who are you loyal to?

GY: We are at the top tier of Cathay Pacific, Air Canada, Air France, and British Airways.

Q: What's the most valuable perk that comes with your status?

GP: Getting on and off the plane fast. The Air Canada concierge service at LaGuardia is extraordinary; they look after us like rock stars.

GY: At many European airports you don't have to go through the system–you get whisked away in a private car.

Q: What are your travel pet peeves or grievances?

GP: Airport security, taking your shoes and belt on and off, etc.

GY: We're always losing things and forgetting things. We travel so far, so fast and so frequently that the possibility of leaving something behind grows, and trying to retrieve things can be challenging.

Q: Hotel breakfast standby?

GP: Protein in the morning like whole eggs for energy. Skip the buffet.

GY: Eating whatever the locals are eating, such as fish in Japan and dim sum in China.

Q: Favorite in-room dining indulgence?

GP: Cookies and warm milk late at night at the Upper House in Hong Kong.

GY: A bottle of wine and potato chips.

Q: Where are you going next?

GP: For work in the next three or four months we will go to Los Angeles, Napa, Rio, Mexico City, London, Paris, Kuwait, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

GY: At Christmastime, we're going to Sri Lanka with friends to relax.


As told to Brooke Porter Katz

Photo by Thomas Whiteside/Courtesy of Yabu Pushelberg

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