Because we want to travel like the rich and famous.
If you feel like traveling is a major hassle these days, you already have something in common with the A-list. “It’s not bearable,” quips Jim Carrey, who traveled from Hawaii to L.A. just to promote his series, Kidding. “You go ‘I’m exhausted out of my mind, but there’s a lot of people counting on this.’”
To make travel less of a chore, we asked some well-known faces to share their tips and, as expected, it ranged from the practical (Al Roker relies on his trusty noise-canceling headphones) to the aspirational (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson doesn’t mind splurging on a private plane).
More often than not, vacationing stars are just like us–they love the lap of luxury but find it hard to justify financially. “I would rather have multiple plane tickets than champagne in first class,” says Flashdance star Jennifer Beals, who this fall is rebooting The L Word. “It’s just getting there.”
To find out how the other half gets there–and where they go–we asked, and they answered.
The critically lauded Netflix series When They See Us didn’t just garner actress Niecy Nash an Emmy nomination for her performance, it gained her access to series’ producer Oprah Winfrey’s private digs. “The vacation that I just went on was at the Oprah Winfrey Ranch in Maui,” spills Nash. “Baby, they got everything. I got loved on by Oprah. I felt like my whole vacation was a super soul Sunday just for me, Ava DuVernay, and David Oyelowo.” Did she take in the sights while there? Hell, no! “Why would you do anything else when you could sit down and talk to Oprah all day?” Good point.
If you’re unable to vacay with Oprah, rest assured you can still travel like an A-lister. Oscar-winner Regina King gave us the scoop on her post-awards season rest and relaxation in the West Indies. “I just went to Turks and Caicos,” she says. “We stayed at Sailrock Resort in South Caicos, which was beautiful and a great lazy place to go if you just want to relax, cook or order room service, and not have anybody else around but donkeys. It’s the best place to totally unplug. Also, in Providenciales, we stayed at The Shore Club. Sunset out one window, ocean view on one end, beautiful garden view on the other end. That hotel was oh-my-god amazing.”
In order to get to paradise, you first have to fly. How do celebs minimize airport anxiety? “A greeter is great,” says British model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne, who also doesn’t mind a cool airport lounge while waiting for her flight to take off. “I think we all know what flying is like, it gets stressful.” For those who have yet to enjoy the perks of a personal greeter at the airport, the service consists of an escort who–boarding passes already in hand as you arrive–will fast-track you through security and immigration, tell you when it is time to board, and in some cases, offer a limousine ride from gate to plane. Using this service, the only reason to get to the airport two hours before departure is for the Tax-Free shopping.
Can’t afford a greeter? Sometimes it’s the small upgrades that make all the difference. “I buy the Even More Space seat on Jet Blue and that makes it very bearable,” says Kyle McLachlan, the actor best known as black coffee and pie-loving FBI agent Dale Cooper on Twin Peaks. “Sometimes I’ll splurge for Mint (Jet Blue’s business class), but often, if it’s just me, I’ll just get the Even More Space seat. I’m Mosaic (the highest level of TrueBlue membership), so I get my drinks for free.”
With two kids under the age of five, writer/director/actor Lake Bell knows firsthand the realities of family travel. “I would like to travel first class, if I can,” says Bell. “But when I travel with the kids, I’m back to coach again, because there’s too many of us. Four first-class tickets…that’s indulgent.” When traveling with kids, Bell advises taking up a whole section to best deal with side-eye from her fellow passengers. “I’m actually coming up on traveling with another family and we’re four and four. So I’m like, ‘All right, well, if we can just create a little country over here,’ and everyone can be mad at our country.”
If the long lists of recommended skin products you need to save your face from flying fatigue feel like they will set you back as much as the plane ticket itself, take a page from Mindy Kaling’s far more affordable book on how to keep your skin supple in that dry cabin air. “I learned this trick of putting Aquaphor all over my face in a thick layer because it keeps my skin moisturized when I’m going on these long dehydrating flights,” says Kaling. “It looks horrible, though. Everyone thinks I have a disease, but it’s great.”
Once he has reached his destination, Wu-Tang Clan founding member The RZA relies on his smartphone to get his bearings. “The power of the phone…to hit a button and be able to know where everything is at nowadays, can you beat that?” he raves. The RZA uses restaurant apps, like Happy Cow or Vegan Maps, to locate restaurants wherever he is, but he also carries with him another secret weapon. “I have a vegan app, but I also have a wife, so she’s the button pusher.”
Lin Manuel Miranda
With limited time on his hands, Lin Manuel Miranda admits he usually visits family in Puerto Rico, or from where his wife Vanessa Nadal’s side hails in the Dominican Republic . But after a killer-run of his Broadway juggernaut, what the father of two really needed was an adults-only vacation. “When we finished the Hamilton run in January, my wife and I left the kids with my parents and we effed off to an island that none of us had family on for five days,” he says. “We stayed at a hotel with a beach and lots of fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. That was really important. Literally, the first morning, we talked for five hours. It was like, ‘Oh, wow, hi! My wife, where have you been? It’s so great to see you!’”