The model and entrepreneur shares her travel habits, favorite destinations, and the inspiration for her Away x Kode With Klossy collection.
Karlie Kloss is the definition of a frequent flier these days: she feels like she spends more time with her suitcase than her loved ones. If you follow her on Instagram, you've probably seen her signature airport pose, lounging precariously atop baggage carts loaded with her Away luggage — and soon it'll be luggage of her own making.
Kloss is the latest in a creative line-up of collaborators for Away, which has recently worked with the likes of actress and producer Rashida Jones and travel photographer Gray Malin. Today, the limited-edition Away x Kode With Klossy collection drops with two new colors and designs. A portion of proceeds will support her nonprofit, Kode With Klossy, which she started four years ago to help teenage girls learn to code and inspire them to pursue careers in science and technology.
This year, the organization will bring two-week, tuition-free summer coding camps to 1,000 girls across the country. And I saw the effects of these camps firsthand: one of the KWK scholars I met at Wednesday night's launch event developed a gaming app that's in the App Store, and another is running the robotics team at her high school as a sophomore. Meanwhile, Away co-founder and CEO Steph Korey and I were low-key struggling to keep up with the (very basic) programming challenge we were working on.
For the collection, Kloss colored Away’s suitcase line, from the Kids' Carry-on to the Large checked bag, in “gigabyte green” and “pixel purple,” and designed a tech-friendly backpack and cube — in both nylon and vegan leather — from the ground up.
“I love having a backpack and this is the first time Away has introduced a backpack with a collection and we wanted it to really serve the needs of the Kode With Klossy girls,” Kloss said. “There’s a sleeve for a laptop, and we’ve got the cubes to keep your chargers organized inside. It slides perfectly onto your suitcase handle so you can run through the airport — because I’m always late, so I’m always running through the airport.”
That said, we've got more über-relatable travel talk from Kloss — who was mere hours off a flight from London when we spoke at the event — and some not-so-relatable, i.e. the sheer comedy of changing in an airplane bathroom when you're over six feet tall.
Travel + Leisure: Aside from your Away suitcase, of course, what are your travel essentials?
Karlie Kloss: "Looking at my bag, I feel like I am just a road warrior. I am prepared for battle every time I go to the airport. If it’s an overnight flight, I’ve got my compression tights, my toothbrush, my face wipes, face cream. I’m basically Mary Poppins, with everything I could need at the ready in a little bag in my [carry-on] bag. I always have snacks. I’m a serious snack kind of girl. I never want to be on the road or backstage at a fashion show or stuck somewhere hungry. I’m always the friend you want to be traveling with because I have the snacks."
What sort of snacks?
"I always bring really good dark chocolate for that little pick-me-up when you need a sugar kick. I love bringing a good vegan protein bar or, if I can, I’ll bring a proper meal on a plane. I’m not a big fan of airplane food."
And what about your travel routines, what does an overnight flight look like for you?
"When I get on a flight the first thing I do is put on compression tights. With the amount of traveling that I do, if there’s any way to help with circulation, I'll do anything to stay as healthy as possible. So I put them on, which is always hysterical because the bathrooms are [so small], so like me putting on compression tights — I’m 6’ 2” — is a sight to be seen. But then I put on pajamas. I take off any makeup, put on my creams, brush my teeth, put my mouthguard in, and try to fall asleep as quickly as I can."
What's a trip you'd love to take?
"I’m dying to go to India. I just had dinner with my friend Jourdan Dunn and we’ve been talking about this trip that we’re going to take for years, and we just need to commit and book the tickets and make it happen. But just really a mind-body-spirit rejuvenating retreat and I’ve heard about a few different amazing places in India."
How about a place you could visit over and over again?
"I’ve been to Turks and Caicos many times, which is just like a wonderful, short flight down to the Caribbean. Or Iceland is also a less-than-five-hour flight from New York, and it’s like another planet. So that’s one of my favorite destinations. If you’re an outdoors kind of person there are so many things to do. I climbed a glacier and went in a natural geyser hot spring. There are these big lava fields just covered in moss and there’s this extreme nature. Just tour around the countryside and see everything there is to see. And skyr! Try skyr."
You’ve been a big supporter of Away for a while now, what made you want to work with the brand?
"Away is an incredible company and I’m so inspired by the founders and what they’re building. They’re really thinking about how to best serve modern travelers. And I’m somebody who travels with my suitcase every single day. I feel like I see my suitcase more often than I see my loved ones. It’s my travel companion. And I love being able to support the Kode With Klossy girls with this collaboration. Really, it was designed for them."
Away x Kode With Klossy Suitcase
To buy: awaytravel.com, from $225
Away x Kode With Klossy Backpack
To buy: awaytravel.com, from $165
Away x Kode With Klossy Cube Case
To buy: awaytravel.com, from $55
Note: The above interview has been edited for clarity.