Welcome to our series, the T+L Carry-On, where we take a look inside the luggage of those who find themselves frequently traveling around the world—and gain a few expert tips along the way.
This week, we sat down at Conrad New York with Australian model, Sports Illusrated bombshell, and co-founder of her eponymous swimwear line, Robyn Lawley—who finds herself on a plane at least once a week. Read on to find out how she travels with a one year old daughter, what her ultimate bucket-list destination is (hint: Baggins, anyone?) and of course, to get a glimpse into her travel essentials. Plus, don't forget to check out last week's column with golfer Jamie Lovemark.
On her relationship with travel:
"I’ve done a lot of traveling by myself, because I used to backpack a lot around Europe—even before I was a model. I was really into traveling. Looking back now, I’m like, it takes balls to travel all by yourself at 17. But I enjoyed it, and I think the best way to be when traveling is to be a ‘yes’ person. Be open to new ideas, open to going out—put yourself out there! I’ve literally walked into bars and clubs all by myself, sat down, struck up a conversation with someone and made amazing friends for life. Coming from Australia, we’re so isolated, and now I have friends from all around the world. I feel quite like a vagabond deep down inside.
All models are constantly on planes—basically, my other address is ‘airport.’ So you become quite good at traveling and want everything to be really easy and quick—you want to be able to throw everything in your suitcase and have it down. So I only take essentials. I’m very into the "less is more" situation. You don’t want to have too much stuff when you’re traveling. I’m a 1K status member of United, and I travel so much that I think I hit 1K by March—that was only three months [into the year]. I go to Australia a lot, I go to New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Europe—all for modeling. Occasionally I’ll do it for family—with my daughter—but it’s mostly all for modeling. I’m just constantly in a plane, constantly at airports, constantly traveling—at least once a week."
On her tips for mothers traveling with young children:
"I know you’ll want to take everything including the kitchen sink, but don’t. My partner and I came to New York this week with our daughter, and we didn’t bring our stroller—we wanted to so badly, but things like strollers add heavy wait times at the gate, and not to mention, you have to bring all the stuff and carry it around a city—so you want to aim light. Your daughter or son doesn’t need that many outfits, that many diapers—you’ve just got to keep it to a bare minimum. Even toys—I used to bring plush toys for her, and then I was like “what am I doing? What’s the point? She’ll find a pillow fun at this age.” So you’ve just got to think about that."
On the least glamorous part of modeling:
"It’s the traveling! It’s immigration, it’s customs, and lines—lots of lines. It’s getting easier now. Modern times are changing things with kiosks at airports. But I remember I used to wait hours and hours in immigration lines, and that’s the most unattractive part about modeling—because who wants to wait hours in lines?"
On her travel style:
"My go-to travel outfit is [something] comfortable. I often travel with skinny leg jeans that are quite stretchy, or exercise pants. Then, I want layers in a plane—I wear this vintage jacket (pictured) a lot, and it’s reversible, which is awesome, so you get, like, a two-for-one. I always take my beanie, because it’s super comfy, and it also doubles as a neck warmer—and an eye mask, because I often forget my eye masks. And yeah, you want layers—because I get freezing cold on a plane, so I have to bring my beanie. If I don’t bring my beanie, I will die on that plane."
On her travel beauty routine:
"My beauty routine is the same as at home as it is when I’m traveling. It's super easy—coconut oil to take my makeup off. I can get it anywhere, which is a good thing because I often forget it. So I can just go to Whole Foods and pick up some coconut oil, or even sachets of it. Always take your makeup off. It's hard—sometimes I struggle when I’m really tired after work. I use coconut oil with a hot towel and just kind of put it on, steam my face, and that seems to keep my skin pretty clear.
Then, for planes, because it’s so drying, you want something really rich on your face to keep the moisture in. I use Dr. Hauschka Rose Cream, and it’s organic, too, if you like that kind of stuff. Also, I use SK-II for a treatment or a mask on the plane because sometimes my skin is super dry. And then of course, I always wear sunscreen—I’ve got Nurse Jamie’s here. As a model, I’m always working, so I usually bring my body products for tanning, because I’m a swimwear model and we always have to be tan all year ‘round, which is virtually impossible, so I often bring fake tanners. I love J Bronze—it’s like a shimmer, but a tanner as well—it’s a little bit of a color. I also take a lot of eye drops on planes, because my eyes are just like, argh.”
On how she stays fit on-the-go:
"Working out on the go is the hardest thing, so I’ve gotten into jump rope lately. I box in LA, so I’ve been challenging myself in my room to get better and do more tricks, things like that. It’s super fun, super easy, you can workout on the go, and you don’t feel so guilty when you skip the gym a lot. And, you can stretch before or afterwards—so that’s a good one."
On shooting this year's annual Sports Illustrated Swim issue:
"Mine was shot in Malta, and it was beautiful. The people were lovely, and it was very old. It had lots of old culture and lots of different types of languages. It’s like this new language of Russian and Italian all mixed together, so it’s quite a unique country."
On her namesake swimwear line:
"I always take my swimsuits wherever I go, because you never know if there’s going to be a pool or anything. Sometimes I'll even see a model that I like and I can put her in one and shoot her. That’s why I always bring my camera, as well—I bring my full-on camera most places. For my swimwear line, I wanted trendy, cool, fashion forward stuff that I couldn’t find in my size—surprisingly, there was nothing available. And my size is like, the most average size—U.S. 12. So it was crazy that I couldn’t get a U.S. size 12 swimsuit that was cool looking—like, come on.
I decided to design my own! And I make them cool and funky and sexy—all the things I couldn’t find. Because I’m really into fashion, too; I don’t want to look not good on the beach. I feel good in these suits." (Ed's note: you can now find Robyn's swimwear line at Nordstrom and Nordstrom.com.)
On her advice for first-time visitors to Australia:
"Jervis Bay is a must-see, because it’s the whitest sand in the world and it feels like flour—it squeeks when you walk on it. It’s about three and a half hours down from Sydney—it’s beautiful. And [eat some] meat pie."
On her advice to solo travelers:
"There are actually a lot travelers by themselves—especially younger backpackers that want to meet people, and even older. I’m sure the internet makes it so much easier these days. I've previously used Hostelworld.com for advice and stuff when I was backpacking around hostels. So just find like-minded people, do events, go to museums—they do a lot of events for backpackers. They actually organize pub-crawls and that kind of stuff, but they’re a lot of fun. Have fun, and get out there!"
On her ultimate bucket list destination:
"I’ve been to New Zealand, but I’ve only been for modeling in Auckland. I really want to do the Lord of the Rings tour. Like, I really want to go to Hobbiton."
Special thanks to The Conrad Hotel in New York City.