If there’s one thing we love about Teen Vogue’s Jessica Minkoff it’s her fun yet un-fussy approach to fashion (actually, there are many things we love about her but, hey, we had to narrow it down!). Her travel-habits, of course, are no exception—warm socks for the airplane, morning swims in the hotel pool, fresh berries from room service, and an aversion to the hotel mini-bar (“who knows how long that stuff has been in there!?”). Here, the fresh-faced blonde dishes to us about her classic jet-set style.
City you call home?
New York City! I have lived in New York my entire life except for two years when I lived in Miami Beach—I was training to be a professional ballet dancer at the Miami City Ballet school.
How often do you travel?
I would say I travel about 4 times a year—twice a year to London for London Fashion Week, once to Los Angeles to visit my fiancé’s family, and a personal trip to a far-away destination of choice!
Favorite destinations to travel to?
When traveling to Europe I really enjoy going to London and Paris. Both places have just enough of that city-living feeling that I equate with New York, but at the same time they are so beautiful. All the buildings are so artistic and interesting to look at so you get the best of both worlds.
Where is your “happy place” to visit?
Definitely Los Angeles. It’s always sunny, my skin and hair look great, and you can get away with wearing a leather jacket and jeans no matter what month it is!
What brand type of luggage do you use?
I always travel with a carry-on suitcase because I have a fear of my luggage getting lost when I check it. I use a Tumi Tegra-Lite Max International Expandable Carry-On. I actually got it as a gift from Tumi!
What brand of carry-on do you use?
I usually switch up my bag when traveling but lately I have been using a Marc by Marc Jacobs checkered tote that says “Don’t Panic!” It’s the perfect size for carrying all the items that I like to have with me on the plane from my iPad to water to gum to magazines, as well as my hairbrush and toothbrush, etc. Plus it fits nicely on my arm and never feels too heavy.
Do you bring a camera?
Yes, I bring the same camera that I use for taking market photos at work—a Canon Power Shot Elph 340 HS. Other times I just use my iPhone!
Virgin America! My fiancé used to live in LA and we did the long distance thing for three years, so I got used to flying Virgin America quite often. The atmosphere is nice and they also have great in-flight entertainment!
LAX—they have a Pinkberry! I also love the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris—it’s so luxurious.
What are your in-flight travel essentials?
I always have to travel with a very large water bottle. I usually buy the biggest one they have at the airport. Other than water I need gum or mints because my mouth gets really dry on the plane. I also always bring my travel pillow and comfortable socks because the planes are so cold.
Aisle or window?
Hands down an aisle seat! I drink a lot of water while traveling so I tend to get up frequently during the flight and nothing is worse than having to wake a sleeping seat-mate (or having to climb over them!) to get to the bathroom.
Preferred in-flight beverage?
Water, definitely. I end up drinking what seems like gallons of water!
What music is on your travel playlist?
I like to listen to a variety of things so anything from Billboard Top 100 (Taylor Swift! Ed Sheeran! Sam Smith!) to some of my favorite 90’s music like the Smashing Pumpkins, the Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty, Dave Matthews Band, etc.
Gadget you can’t leave home without?
iPhone. And my portable iPhone charger!
Do you use any travel apps?
Do you have any travel rituals or superstitions?
I always call my mom before I take off and again right when I land—she does the same thing when she travels.
How do you entertain yourself at 35,000 feet?
I can’t read on an airplane because I get too distracted by everything else going on around me. I usually watch movies or television shows because that is the fastest way to pass the time. On my flight to London this past February I watched Whiplash and I Origins. Both of them were really good. I really loved Brit Marling in I Origins. I had interviewed her not too long ago about her role in the movie and she has been one of my favorite actresses ever since.
What’s your go-to uniform for the plane?
Skinny jeans, slip on sneakers, and layers. I also always wear a scarf on the plane.
What’s the one item you never leave town without?
A leather jacket. While some girls may collect little black dresses, I collect leather jackets. This past fashion week I traveled with my Sacai leather-moto-tweed-jacket hybrid because I have been attached to it since I first got it back in September…but usually when I’m traveling you will find me in my all-over studded ALC jacket. I like to think that designer Andrea Lieberman had me in mind when she designed it.
How do you deal with jet lag?
I’m still trying to figure that out! I usually don’t feel jet lag when I get to Europe, it’s only when I return to New York. I think trying as best you can to get back into your scheduled routine and exercising is the only way to cure it. But that is not to say I don’t find myself needing a serious nap around 4pm for a full week after I return from Europe.
What’s your exercise routine when you’re on the road?
I try to walk a lot when I am traveling. When I go to LA I swim in a pool every morning. Otherwise I do an ab-workout that my fiancé and I do all the time so I have all the moves memorized!
How do you manage your health/eating routine when you’re away from home?
I try to eat the same way that I do at home. I am a very picky eater so sometimes it is difficult for me to find food that I like especially when I am in Europe. When I go to California it’s easy because there are so many Whole Foods!
What’s the first thing you do when you get into your hotel room?
Shower and take the comforter off the bed.
Are you an over-packer or under-packer?
I pack just the right amount of clothes. I try to plan outfits in advance and then I pack extra pieces that can be incorporated into those looks.
Do you have a packing strategy?
I go through the days in my head and think of the pieces that I need, that way I don’t forget anything. Then, the night before I leave, I make a list of last minute items that I will have to remember to pack and I cross things off the list one at a time after I put them in my bags.
One surprising thing you always pack?
A bathing suit! I love to swim so if I ever find that my hotel has a pool (indoor or out) I know that I will be prepared! I usually pack a one-piece and a bikini. I like to swim laps in my Cynthia Rowley black & white, paisley-print one-piece, and if I’m sunbathing I stick to a Lisa Marie Fernandez scalloped bikini.
What are your favorite items to travel with?
Definitely jeans and a leather jacket. I could probably wear some iteration of skinny jeans with a Proenza Schouler printed long sleeve shirt and a leather jacket every day and be happy. I always bring one pair of slip-on sneakers when I travel because they look chic and go with everything in my wardrobe—I love my leopard pair from Saint Laurent. My worst fear would be having to choose just ONE brand of jeans—when traveling I usually bring at least 3 pairs. I love RtA (distressed skinny jeans), JBrand (leathers), and Citizens of Humanity (grey, skinny, Racer jean). I like to dress comfortably when I am away and I always layer so that I am prepared for any sort of weather situations.
What beauty-essentials do you travel with?
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am the worst when it comes to beauty essentials. I don’t wear makeup at all (although I probably should start), but I tend to pack whatever mascara I’m currently using so that if I feel the need to ‘spruce myself up’ I know I have something (lately I’m loving Chanel!). Otherwise I MUST travel with Aquaphor because my lips get so dry. It’s the only chapstick that doesn’t irritate my lips. I always travel with Vitamin C and Emergen-C (the orange flavor) because I hate being sick when I am away from home, so anything that I can do to keep my immune system in tip-top shape is essential. I don’t usually travel with perfume, but when I’m home in New York I am partial to BLK DNM’s signature scent—it smells fantastic. Of course I bring the basics like a toothbrush and toothpaste—my toothpaste is Colgate Whitening. I don’t travel with a hairdryer. When I’m in California I let it air dry—there’s just something about the California air that does a head of hair good. And if I’m being honest I usually just use the shampoo and conditioner that’s in the hotel room…see, I told you I was the worst when it comes to beauty products!
Favorite item to order from room service?
Fresh berries! They always seem to taste better in a hotel.
Favorite item from the hotel mini-bar?
None! Who knows how long that stuff has been there?
Have you ever had a travel disaster or mishap?
Yes! Two seasons ago when I was traveling to London for London Fashion Week our plane got re-routed to Newcastle. We were supposed to land in London at 8pm that evening but ended up having to drive for 8 hours from Newcastle to London in the middle of the night because the planes were not able to land at Heathrow. Not only was I exhausted and freezing, but it was also my birthday! Needless to say it was not the best way to celebrate.
If your luggage was lost, what are the 5 items you’d buy at the drugstore?
A toothbrush, toothpaste, Aquaphor, a hair brush, and deodorant.
Favorite find/souvenir from your travels?
My wedding dress! Last May I went to Paris with my mom and I had just gotten engaged. My mom knew that I wanted to get a dress off-the-rack so she suggested we look while we were in Paris. I walked the Rue Saint-Honoré all day and went into every single store without finding ANYTHING that I liked. The last place we went was Lanvin and I tried on one dress which ended up being ‘the one.’ My mom and I had to convince my dad over the phone that it was worth the money to get the dress in Paris—it took a bottle of wine and my mom sweet-talking her way to the cash register. I will always remember that experience!
Favorite childhood memory of traveling?
When I was 13 my grandmother took me, my mom, and my cousin to Paris. It was my first time going to Europe and we stayed at the InterContinental. It was so beautiful! We had lunch at the Eiffel Tower, went shopping at Longchamp (we all bought bags!), and saw the Paris Opera Ballet. It was unforgettable!
Travel destinations still on your bucket-list?
Morocco, Spain, and Greece!
Jessica Minkoff photographed at the JFK airport