The Bravo star talks packing, summer trips, and which co-stars are her favorite to vacation with.
When Bravo’s Real Housewives of [insert major franchise here] travel, you know they’re doing it with (expensive) taste. But, what viewers don’t see—among many other things—is what transpires off-camera, including snack selection (or lack thereof), activity planning (or not…), and who exactly is in charge here (or, at least kind of leading the pack?).
As if there isn’t enough entertainment, fashion, and excitement when the ladies of Salt Lake City stay home, when we caught up with Lisa Barlow, the mom of two and serial entrepreneur told us everything that goes down when she takes flight—with and without her co-stars.
Read on for our exclusive interview with the creator of Vida Tequila, Fresh Wolf products, and cocktail-inspired Blue Jay Seltzer (coming soon).
FODOR’S: When you travel for the show and go on trips, how do you choose the destination?
LISA BARLOW: Someone from the cast owns the trip. This season we will go to Arizona and San Diego. We were limited to the United States because one of my cast members was limited to the United States.
Recommended Fodor’s Video
Whitney [Rose, of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City] has family in Arizona, so it kind of made sense. Part of her personal story has to do with her family. It’s kind of planned but organic in the same sense.
How do Real Housewives choose travel accommodations?
It just depends. From what I’ve been told, some of the girls [on other Housewives franchises] pay for it and go on their own. If you have a second home or another property, we can use that. John and I are working on buying a home in New York!
Who is your favorite cast member to travel with?
Oh my gosh, this is such a loaded question. Well, I can tell you this season: none of them. Just kidding! Actually, we had two really hard trips.
But, really, Whitney and newbie Angie Kastanevas—we have very similar styles in our homes. We both like really modern. She got us a fabulous place in San Diego.
One thing I’ve learned is that I travel very differently than all of my cast members but I’m a super malleable traveler when I’m a guest of others.
What do trips that you plan look like?
For me, I have a different standard when staying at a property or hotel. If you’re going to rent a house, I would prefer to have onsite staff with chefs and turn down services.
What is a trip that you consider not your style?
One of our trips this season was a free-for-all. There’s no food in the fridge! I was literally having Doordash brought in—sending the PAs [production assistants] to 7-Eleven, like, “Can you get me a burrito?” I don’t want to knock that trip—it was a different standard.
In Zion last year, there was spoiled milk in the fridge. I thought I was gonna die. And no real great food the whole trip.
What kind of activities did you do in San Diego?
It was my first time ever going to San Diego. We took this little tour of downtown San Diego in these really cute little carts, like go-kart-type things, and that was really fun. It was a little scary sometimes but it was really cute.
Any secrets you can spill about activities?
You don’t know your itinerary until you get there. So, you’re basically blind packing. You can’t really plan your outfits. You can have a general idea of like: if I were going on a trip, this is what I’d want to wear. You plan for lunch and breakfast. You know, pajamas, but you don’t really know your itinerary on these cast trips until you’re actually on the trip.
“I had nine bags—just under a bag per day…”
So, there’s some activities where I’m like, I don’t have anything to wear for that. I have to improvise. Last year when we went horseback riding, when we were in Zion, I didn’t have anything appropriate. I had sneakers, some leggings, and a t-shirt for doing a quick workout.
I had to throw a basic Lululemon shirt on with jeans and these sneakers. It was so random. I would have never worn that on a horseback ride. You have to say, what if I’m doing something that’s active? And what if I’m doing a beach day? And you know, just kind of think through like what the possibilities can be and pack blindly.
When do you pack for these trips on TV?
I pack the day before. For me, I’m so mood based with the way I dress. It’s 100% my mood. Packing for trips like this is really challenging for me because I don’t know what I’m going to feel like wearing.
So, you overpack?
A few years ago, [my husband] John and I went on a yacht trip. It was 2017. I had nine bags—just under a bag per day—and still bought so much stuff that we had to buy an additional two bags to get my stuff home. But, after this last trip to San Diego, I really thought differently about the way I pack.
Where did you travel off-camera this summer?
We took the kids to Europe this summer. We were in Saint Tropez, Cannes, Monaco, Paris, and Portofino. We were gone for just under two weeks.
Where’s your next international trip?
John and I are obsessed right now with two different places. We are trying to find—even this fall—a trip to Portugal, where we do Lisbon to Braga. We found the most amazing house five minutes outside of downtown Braga.
We’re definitely going to Sicily in the early parts of summer and Puglia. It almost looks like you’re in Santorini. It’s so chic.
Any destinations you can’t wait to go to?
“I don’t know if I want to be there right now, but I’m obsessed with Eastern Europe.”
I don’t know if I want to be there right now, but I’m obsessed with Eastern Europe. I wish I could spend more time there. It’s, you know, definitely a moderate temperature for those that don’t like things super hot in the summer. One of my favorite trips I ever took was to Saint Petersburg, Latvia…and Romania. I just think there’s something so fabulous about being in Riga. My brother lived in Spain, and so Spain’s always a good idea too.
The pandemic was rough. We never want to miss another summer without going to Europe.
Do you have any interesting travel rituals?
When I walk to get on the plane, definitely always right foot first. I didn’t really ever think about it! And I count my steps in.
“I die if I don’t have an aisle seat. That’s a huge deal for me.”
I die if I don’t have an aisle seat. That’s a huge deal for me. I used to love the window seat and then I was like, no, I’m never getting trapped! This woman wanted to sit until the plane was empty, and there was no getting by her, so now I request aisles.
Immediately before we take off I close my eyes and say the prayer and then I feel better when we take off. It’s like the same exact prayer. I’m like, “God, please bless us that we will get to our destination safely, my kids will be safe, my husband will be safe.”
What are your must-have carry-on items?
I always make sure I have a great bag and a great outfit in case my luggage is lost. The biggest thing for me is always making sure I have clothes that could carry me over for 24 hours in my carry-on.