When the travel friendly, female run brand, Aella asked me to share my tips for bicoastal living, I was more than happy to oblige! Check out the interview below, and live on AELLA.COM now.
Tell Us About Yourself
Natalie Decleve, Los Angeles / New York, Journalist and Personal Stylist
Tell us about your most recent trip. Anything crazy happen?
I just spent the holidays in Belgium and London with my family... Europe has to be the most magical place to be during Christmas.
Where do you want to go next?
Oaxaca and Mexico City are high on my list, also Joshua Tree and Ojai - basically I want to take advantage of west coast destinations now that I’m so nearby!
How do you organize your life back home to allow you to travel so frequently?
It's not easy... I make sure to contact my friends and colleagues before I travel to NYC or LA so everyone knows I’ll be in town. I try to get any pressing work done before I leave so that I'm not stressed while on the road and I always leave my house spotless to ease the transition back home.
What are your travel non-negotiables?
I avoid checking bags unless absolutely necessary. I hate waiting for them and I'm always scared they'll get lost! I try to pack specific outfits (nothing extra) so that getting dressed is easy. When it comes to hotels, character trumps luxury in my book-so unique lodging is always important to me.
How do you come about planning for travel?
My biggest expense is travel and I value experience and adventure above all else. Good planning can save a ton of money by avoiding surprises, finding discounts and avoid wasting money on things that could have been prevented. A friend told me once "it's always time or money, money or time." So I spend the time to do my research in advance, leaving more money for the fun parts!
What is the one (or two) thing(s) you pack, no matter where you go?
I always have travel sizes of ALL of my beauty necessities packed and ready to go on the fly. Traveling is so much more enjoyable when you're not annoyed that you're missing something, so having a pouch already stocked is a lifesaver. Then I have another pre-packed pouch full of airplane essentials: Earthen Warrior eye mask, earbuds, sleeping pills, Caudalie Beauty Elixer, Yuni Shower Sheets, Colgate Wisps, Tide-to-Go pen, a contact lense case, hand cream, lip balm... So I'm basically ready for anything.
What are your airplane rituals? How do you pass the time on the plane?
BEFORE I board I go to Duty Free and spray Hermes' Un Jardin Sur les Toits. I've been doing it so long that the fragrance is an instant mood booster and makes me think of fun adventures. Sometimes I'll dab on some La Mer cream too. I always bring my own food (usually a giant salad) and avoid airplane meals at all costs. I also have a travel journal and make a point to log highlights from my trip while I'm on the plane.
Airports suck. Do you have a favorite one?
Mombai! It's architecturally gorgeous and the whole thing is low-lit and announcement-free, so it's unbelievably calming. It seriously feels like a giant spa, plus the shops and restaurants are open 24 hours because flight times to/from India are so crazy.
What’s your ideal airport uniform?
In the winter I'll do an oversized sweater, cashmere leggings and whatever heavy booties I don’t want to pack. For summer it's boyfriend jeans, slip-on sandals and an oversized, super soft T or if I’m going somewhere tropical, there’s often a linen harem pant involved. I always have a scarf, cardigan or jacket handy regardless of the season and bring cozy socks for the plane. I wear a lot of hats too, so usually I need to wear those on the plane to keep them from getting crushed. And a watch! I hate when my phone is off and I don't know the time on a flight.
Traveling for work: How do you stay energized?
I try to get my circadian rhythm synced up right away by drinking tons of water, not napping and going to bed on time. Melatonin spray helps me sleep if I'm restless, and Doterra Peppermint beadlets are great for a quick energy boost during the day.
Where do you call home? Whether you live there or not – which place (near or far) gives you peace?
That's become an interesting question as of late...After almost two decades on the east coast, and 11 in New York, I recently got an apartment in LA. Now I am bicoastal between LA and New York and the back and forth gives me a great balance. But peace? Peace I find in Tuscany and Provence, my two favorite places on Earth.
Most people flourish on routine – do you keep a routine when you travel?
Other than always eating breakfast, not really. I welcome a change of pace and enjoy feeling out of my element. But if I'm in one place for a while, I create rituals to keep me grounded. I love going for a run in the morning, it's a huge energy booster and also lets me explore!
Have you ever traveled solo? If so, any tips
All the time! Be open to meeting people along the way and say yes to spontaneous invitations (as long as they feel safe, trust your instinct!) Don't think that because you're on vacation, everyone is. Respect the fact that wherever you are has a local culture that may not be 100% welcoming. If it's a work trip, find time for at least one cultural activity that interests you, and do your restaurant research to get a taste of the best local flavor!
1. Favorite place you’ve ever traveled? Well that’s impossible to answer with just one location, but I had an indescribably exotic experience last year in Jaipur, India: Mind. Blown.
2. Mission-critical apps? Wanna-Go! It logs all of the best places to eat, drink, visit, shop etc into customized lists. Browse other tastemakers for great local suggestions. TheSkimm so I can always get my news.
3. What do you do for stress relief? Chinese massages! Kundalini yoga and daily meditation. I use the Insight Timer app to help me get grounded.
4. Best new restaurant discovery? Lifehouse Tonics & Elixers in Hollywood is doing amazing things with adaptogen smoothies and juices that taste and look like candy.
5. Go-to libation? I'm a sucker for red wine, preferably a Brunello di Montelcino or great Pinot. If it's a cocktail moment, I love anything ginger spiced and with fresh juices only of course!