The best hacks for surviving travel from a travel journalist

Someone who knows that need to feed her curiosity through traveling is Ashlan Cousteau, a travel and entertainment journalist for E!, Discovery Channel, and the Travel Channel.

So many people have to travel regularly for work that it seems like more of a chore than an experience. In 2016 U.S. travelers took 458.9 million domestic business trips and this is expected to reach 478.2 million by 2020. However, for most, traveling not only satiates their need of wanderlust, but it helps them feel more creative. You may not feel you have that actual wanderlust gene (the strong desire to travel) that so many people have, but according to a survey commissioned by Curio Collection, 91% of the population considers themselves to be curious and 73% of people say that traveling is their go-to outlet to express their curiosity.

The survey also found that more than 90% of people take trips to learn something new, 79% consider learning something new while on vacation a priority and 55% of travelers say that vacations are primarily a way to explore, not to relax. Over 60% describe the perfect travel companion as someone who is curious.  As for which group of people tends to be the most curious about travels, Millennial women come in first. They are twice as likely as general travelers to be Culturalists – travelers who enjoy fine arts also.

Someone who knows that need to feed her curiosity through traveling is Ashlan Cousteau, a travel and entertainment journalist for E!, Discovery Channel, and the Travel Channel (and she is the grand-daughter-in-law of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and daughter-in-law of Phillipe Cousteau) who partnered with the Curio Collection by Hilton on this survey and campaign.

Ladders spoke with her about making a career out of travel and also surviving it with some of her best hacks for staying healthy, happy and curious.

On being curious, but not having wanderlust

It’s always been my lifelong goal to be and stay curious, so that’s why I was a bit surprised when I found out I don’t have the DRD4-7R gene, better known as the “wanderlust gene.” This gene is believed to be associated with people who have a propensity for travel and discovery, and only 20% of the human population has it.

On keeping sane while traveling 24/7

Traveling can take a lot out of you, so I try and bring small comforts with me while I travel. For example, a favorite cashmere sweater, warm socks and even a small blanket that I always put over my hotel pillow to make it feel familiar to me. When I do get to sleep in my own bed, I try and give myself a full day to recover and do laundry, and just be in my space. Plus, when Philippe and I are able to travel together, it never feels like we are really away from home because we have each other.

On knowing travel was her career

My parents instilled a love of travel in my sister and I at a very young age. We were so lucky to grow up knowing that there was a giant world out there to explore with
different cultures, different languages and incredible beauty.

There was a show on E! called Wild On, where the host traveled to picturesque locations, had amazing experiences and found great food and nightlife. Once I saw that show I knew I wanted to be a host and travel the world. I graduated from the School of Journalism at he University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and while I studied hard news, I knew I needed to make my way to travel and entertainment.

On how people approach travel in the year 2018 compared to the olden days

The first difference is that flying was so different back in the day. I remember my family putting on fancy clothes to fly- dresses and blazer were a must. No yoga
pants back then, though the latter is so much more comfortable to fly in. A big way social media has changed traveling immensely is that now independent hotels like those that make up Curio Collection by Hilton can connect directly and instantly with their customers. Unique, one-of-a-kind experiences are growing even more important to travelers and thanks to the Internet someone can totally curate their entire trip before even reaching their destination.

However, one big piece of advice I have for those traveling is while you are on vacation having a fabulous experience PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN!!!! Yes, take a photo or two, but then turn off your WiFi, be present in the
moment, and truly absorb your surroundings. That’s why you went on vacation in the first place! Don’t waste your vacation time scrolling through Instagram. It will all be there when you get back home.

On working and traveling with her husband Philippe Cousteau Jr.

Traveling and working alongside my husband is truly a blessing. Philippe is my best friend, a wonderful work partner and the absolute best travel buddy. Every day we spend together is the best day. We respect each other and complement one another so well. I’m the luckiest girl. When he is having an off day, I pick up the slack and vice versa. Sometimes I’m the gas and he is the brake, and some days it’s the other way around. We just work.

On staying healthy while traveling constantly

I never eat airplane food because the salt alone will swell you up like a balloon. Food is really important when we travel, and we try to eat a lot of fresh veggies and fruits and stay away from meat on the road. My little secret weapon is apple cider vinegar. I always carry a 3oz bottle of it and when I feel like I’m getting a sore throat I gargle with it a few times and it usually knocks out whatever it is.

On your best hacks for working when traveling?
My first piece of advice is to try and get on your destination’s time zone as soon as you sit down on your flight. Jetlag is real, but it can be managed. The earlier you start to adjust, the better. If you are on a vacation but know you need to do work, set aside a specific hour or two every day to go through emails, then put the computer and your phone away. Most importantly, give yourself a little slack when traveling. Your co-workers will understand if you take a little longer to get back to them if you are halfway across the world. When you let yourself be distracted by that “important email” you have to send that very moment, that’s when briefcases get left in cabs, wallets get left at restaurants, or computers stay in seatback pockets when you deplane.

Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.