When you work for one of the most well-known luggage companies in the world (ummm, do we even have to say it? It’s Tumi!), you’re bound to know a thing or two about travel. So we caught up with one of our favorite globetrotters to ask her about her uniform for the plane, how she deals with jet-lag, and her best travel advice: “don’t pack what you can’t carry!” (smart girl!).
How often do you travel?
Pretty often…one of the many perks of the job!
Number of countries visited?
14. I tend to visit Europe the most, with work—especially France and England. For vacations I like to go anywhere warm and sunny like Mexico and Antigua.
Greece, hands down! In a complete fantasy I’d move with my friends and entire family, and we’d all live happily ever after!
Last place you visited and the place you’re going to next?
The last two places that I visited back-to-back were Paris, France and Memphis, Tennessee. Next up, I’m heading somewhere magnificent for my honeymoon!
Aisle or Window?
Either! But for longer flights I like the aisle…so I can easily get up and stretch my legs.
Delta—their Rewards Program is excellent!
London’s Heathrow Airport. I stock up on all the British chocolate before coming home.
What brand of luggage do you use?
I travel with Tumi. Before I joined the Tumi team, I really wanted a set of functional, sophisticated, travel pieces, so when I first started traveling these were my first big investments into the company. Best money ever spent! The pieces are a real game changer when you want to travel with ease and know your belongings are safe.
What type of carry-on do you use?
If I’m traveling for a short trip (2-7 days) I’ll travel with a hard-sided carry-on. Lately I’ve been using our newest and lightest travel case, the Vapor Lite in black…and I’m obsessed with it.
If I’m traveling for longer, I’ll check my bag, which will usually be the matching companion to the carry-on (Tumi Vapor Lite Short-Trip Packing Case) and I’ll use my carry-on to hold my must-have essentials. I like to use either a great duffel or a backpack, which is my current travel favorite because it’s easier for me to move from point-A-to-B with. The whole point of a carry-on is to travel with ease, and who wouldn’t want to do that?
What are your travel essentials?
I keep all my travel essentials and electronic accessories in different sized Tumi pouches so I can differentiate between them in my carry-on (it makes things so easy!). In the pouches I have everything from my TUMI power adaptor, iPhone & laptop chargers and cords, and my power pack for my iPhone (everyone will want to be your best friend if you have this while traveling!). I also use the pouches to hold things like my Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses.
For my in-flight must haves, I recently discovered that Cetaphil has cleansing cloths! So I pack a ton of them to keep my face hydrated and fresh, as well as my daily vitamins.
One surprising thing you always pack?
Are you an overpacker or underpacker?
Can I be an ‘in-between’ packer? I like to think I pack just enough for the expected and unexpected.
What’s your travel uniform?
My Papou, the handsome Greek man that he was, used to travel dressed to the nines! He’d be in a three-piece-suit and would shine his shoes the night before he went to the airport. He told me to travel wearing something that I’d want to meet someone for the first time in. I’ve found a happy medium by traveling in layers no matter where I’m headed. I like to be in comfortable jeans and either a grey or black t-shirt from J.Crew. I’ll have either my Vince pullover sweater or soft blazer with me that I could easily tie around my waist, and comfortable shoes like Superga sneakers.
What beauty essentials do you never leave home without?
For makeup, I like to pack light but I always pack my favorite go-to products that work for any type of travel location; Stila Stay All Day bronzer in medium, YSL mascara in burgundy, Hidden Corrective Concealer by Hourlgass, a Shiseido eyelash curler, a bronze chubby stick that works for dual-purposes such as eyeliner and eye shadow (out of all the one’s I’ve tried Rimmel makes the best!). I don’t normally use the hotel products so I always pack a travel-sized bar of Dove soap and Kerastase shampoo & conditioner (in travel sized bottles). I’ve been wearing Kiehl’s Musk Oil since college. Instead of packing a huge bottle (that’s not TSA approved) I’ll pack the rollerball oil.
Airplane food or bring your own?
I’m a picky eater and tend to get ‘hangry’ pretty quickly so I always have snacks in my bag. For the flight I’ll buy Kind bars, almonds, and a banana or apple, which will usually carry me over until I land.
I drink a TON of water! I’ll usually buy one or two of the biggest bottles I can find at the airport before I board my flight.
In-flight music on your iPhone?
My iPhone has everything from Led Zeppelin to Stevie Wonder…I just let it play on shuffle.
Preferred in-flight entertainment?
I like to keep plugged into my music throughout the flight, especially while I read. Lately I’ve been picking up bridal magazines at the airport to better prepare for my upcoming nuptials.
Gadget you can’t leave home without?
Do you use any travel apps?
I’ll use the app of the airline I’m traveling with, just to check its on-time status, as well as to check-in before the flight.
How do you deal with jetlag?
By drinking a lot of water and sticking to the same early morning workout routine I have at home.
What’s your exercise routine when you’re traveling?
I’ve been really into Equinox’s Training Camp (ETC). So while I’m away I keep up with the program by circuit-training in the hotel gym. Sometimes I’ll call the hotel in advance to see if they have a gym, and if not I’ll bring a jump rope and resistance bands to work out in the room.
Best travel advice?
Don’t pack what you can’t carry!
Worst travel experience?
My experiences haven’t been that horrible yet… knock on wood.
Do you have any travel rituals/superstitions?
My family and I have this thing when we’re traveling together, or apart, where we’ll always tell each other “right foot first!” when boarding the plane…I actually don’t even know how that started.
Where are your favorite places to travel to?
I love traveling anywhere that I can lounge on a beach and really involve myself in the culture, including their public transportation. Greece has been my favorite place to travel to.
What destinations are still on your bucket-list?
There are SO many places!!! Italy, Spain, Iceland, Bali… the list goes on and on! But as super cliché-Americana as this may sound I’d love to go on a cross-country road trip through the USA. It’s weird that I actually want to be in a car for that long, but I think it would be amazing between the music playlists and all the places you’d wind up!
Favorite purchase/souvenir from your travels?
When my best friend and I were in Greece, we stumbled across this random street market and each of us bought a ton of these extra-large, oversized scarves. Actually, I think we bought every one they had! To this day I still travel with them and think of how much fun we had.
Favorite childhood memory of traveling?
When I was younger my whole family would pack up our cars and head to the Jersey shore for a week or two. My sister, cousin and I would be in the back seat squished togehter and singing at the tops of our lungs (most likely driving everyone crazy). It’s actually something we are all looking forward to doing again when we have families of our own (singing included)!
Meredith Viollis photographed in Antigua