When you’re Lea Michele, travel isn’t just another job perk: It’s a way of life. Although the Bronx-born songstress and former broadway star has long embraced a bicoastal lifestyle (Michele is no stranger to the LAX-JFK trek), her bucket list knows no bounds. Having only recently checked Maui and Mexico City off her list, the actress-turned-author is currently lining up this summer’s adventures. That is, with a little help.
In an effort to make the most of her up-and-coming trips (Michele is currently making her way across the country alongside fellow “Glee” alum and friend, Darren Criss, on their “LM/DC Tour”) the A-lister recently joined forces with Marriott Moments, a new online platform that helps to connect travellers with more than 100,000 experiences across 1,000 destinations around the world.
We recently caught up with the former “Glee” star to get the full low-down on her travel plans, plus the packing tips and in-flight tricks she swears by when she’s up in the sky.
What cities, places, or destinations are inspiring you right now?
I’m on tour primarily in the Midwest, and this time around I’m going to places I’ve already been before. For example, on Monday, we’re headed to Chicago. I’ve been to Chicago so many times before, but what’s so great about using a site like Marriott Moments is that it can really help you step outside of the box and go to places you haven't been before. I’m excited to see it with fresh eyes.
Any wild adventures or experiences (Swimming with sharks? Skydiving?) that you’re looking forward to trying?
There's a helicopter tour over the LA beaches which I find terrifying and so cool at the exact same time, so that is something that I would really love to try. Every year for Christmas, instead of giving gifts, my family and I create a different experience. We don’t tell the other person what that is. It becomes a little bit of a competition—like who created the best experience. Doing something like that helicopter tour would be so cool and it would definitely make me win. I really feel like sharing experiences, traveling and exploring new places, and seeing new things with your family—those are memories you never forget.
How have your travels influenced your personal style and home design?
I really love nature, and I really love being outdoors. One of my favorite places to travel to is Big Sur. Staying in a treehouse there, hiking, and doing yoga, for me, is the most incredible, healing, and rejuvenating experience. I find that in my design for my house, there are a lot of those natural, organic tones that I think really mirror that kind of travel experience. Everything is very organic. I have a lot of brown and neutral tones and really big green plants in my house.
On top of traveling around the globe, I know you spend a lot of time going back and forth between LA and NYC. Do you have any packing tips or any advice for navigating the airport with ease?
I make a list of everything that I need when I’m traveling, and I make sure I have the duplicates of those in those travel bags. It takes a little bit of an effort to do multiples of the things you have at home but it is so worth it. In my suitcase, I have a hairbrush, a small bag of socks, and underwear, a beauty bag that’s a duplicate of everything I keep at home, and a pair of slippers. I [also] have a smaller bag—like a purse—that has in it a second set of headphones, a charger, face masks that I use on the plane, hand wipes, and little tea bags. That way, when I leave, I can just throw my clothes in and hit the road.
How do you make sure you don’t get sick or suffer from jet lag while on the go?
It really starts with getting on the plane. I try to bring my own food if I can and pack some avocado toast, ezekiel bread, carrots, almonds, and blueberries. Or, maybe I’ll grab a Kind bar or a macro bar and bring my favorite tea brand on the plane with me.
I also keep some great essential oils in my travel bag. Thieves oil is a great thing to have on the plane because it works on germs naturally. I also have an air purifier I wear around my neck—and I am not ashamed! When I land, if I can, I’ll go for a long walk or get in an infrared sauna. That’s the best advice I’ve ever been given. It really just helps to flush your system of the negative toxins from the plane.
You’re originally from the Bronx, so I feel like we have to talk about New York. When you come back home, what’s your favorite touristy—and non-touristy—thing to do or see in the city?
I’ll definitely go and see a Broadway show. To be in the theatre—it’s what really makes me feel so inspired. I also love walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and going to Dumbo. That area has just grown so much.
I really try to find restaurants that people haven't heard of or find cool new places in the city. There’s this great spot in Brooklyn right now called Royal Palms. It’s a shuffleboard place with food trucks outside and a great bar. I was actually just watching “Younger” yesterday—this TV show that I love—and they went there on the show, and I was like, "Oh no! Everyone’s going to know about it!"
What destinations are on your bucket list for 2018?
I love going to Hawaii. It’s so amazing. I’m [also] really trying to get back to Italy again—just getting back to Europe is so exciting for me and going to Italy where my family is from. I love that so much.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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