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.
Victor Sanz wants to ensure every part of your travel experience is beautiful, and that includes your luggage. As the creative director of Tumi, Sanz is responsible for designing some of the most stunning and functional travel accessories on Earth.
We called Sanz to get his take on carry-on essentials, travel rituals, and all the places you should be visiting in 2018. And you can trust him as a travel pro, because he’s already on his second passport this year after collecting too many stamps in the first.
What is your relationship to travel?
When I was a kid I’d spend the summers in Spain because my family's all from there. So I think I just kind of got used to travel at a very young age. We'd just pack up everything we had and be living in Madrid for a month and then we’d go to Segovia for another month and then we’d be in Barcelona for a couple of weeks and that's how the summers pretty much went.
When the time came to go to university, I went off to New York and I never looked back and it's just been kind of this adventure ever since then. And luckily enough for me, I ended up scoring a job at Tumi. And being able to work for a travel company is awesome because that was part of the job. You know it's like traveling to Asia or traveling to Europe, traveling all over the place to talk to people about design and building products and it’s just this kind of epic journey that I've been on.
What do you always have in your carry-on?
If I were to lose my luggage this is the thing that I would just dread the most to lose, but I always have my music with me on my iPhone. And that's also my camera. It's all inclusive in there. But really, my music, my sketchbook, that's kind of where all my thoughts are and notes and all of that. And my sunglasses, those are the things that I just never, never leave on any trip without — my music, my sketchbook, and my shades. I can pick up clothes along the way. I can kind of replace everything else, but those are my essentials.
Any good in-flight secrets?
Just think about what time you’ll be landing and then plan your sleep schedule around that. But also to get up and walk around. Spend time walking up and down the aisles; try not to be sitting for eight hours straight. That's pretty rough on your body. And just make yourself comfortable as soon as you sit down. You know, just kind of set yourself up mentally for the journey.
Where is your dream destination?
I used to really want to go to Antarctica. That was one kind of epic journey and I still want to do that, but I want to just do that a little bit later in life.
But right now I really want to go visit the Serengeti. I've never been to Africa, I’ve never been in that kind of an environment. I just want to go experience the culture there, the colors you know kind of connecting with this natural environment that is out of the norm for me. I’ve been to the rainforest and I've been to these great national parks, but I’ve never been there.
Is there one place you could travel back to again and again?
There’s one place I always have a fantastic time. It’s Tokyo.
I have this great group of friends that are there and every time I go I always kind of feel refreshed and inspired. I have a lot of great memories, a lot of great times going out for dinner and just experiencing things, going to different art galleries and just really kind of reinvigorating that creative energy that comes from that city. The other place for relaxing is the Amalfi Coast. No one has to twist my arm to go back there.
Best perk of being a frequent traveler?
I think the coolest part is that things don't get boring. Sometimes you live in a city or you live in a town and all of a sudden things get a little bit stale. But when you're traveling a lot, you get to experience all these new things and you get to meet new people. You get to go on microadventures. And then when you get back you can take those experiences and try to mimic them to try and find those types of things in the area around your own town. And that's been one of the most intriguing things for me is just bringing that culture back home.
Any travel rituals?
The funny thing is I always buy a new pair of shoes before a trip. I just started doing it because I just wanted something new and fresh and I would just go out and buy a pair that I liked and then after a while it's like, hey, trip's coming up and it’s a great reason to go out and get another pair of shoes. So it's become a bit of a problem since I'm traveling a lot.
Which bag is your carry-on essential?
Right now it's the 19 Degree Aluminum carry-on.
I've always wanted to be an artist, a fine artist. I wanted to be a sculptor and a painter and then I found industrial design and I was like, ”man this is awesome.’’ It was really this one moment where I was like, ”how can we create art that is just as functional.’’ And I think, for me, every time I see that piece it just reminds me that there is beauty in something that's truly kind of a functional element and we should celebrate that and take that moment to kind of enjoy it. There's something beautiful here and not just a piece of luggage or travel gear.
What would your life be like without travel?
A life without travel for me, I don’t think it would be complete, to be honest. I think inherently it's just something that I love to do. Whether it's just traveling locally or long distances, I think I would feel like something was missing.
*Interview condensed for length and clarity.