This was Paige Spiranac's first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shoot, but when it comes to travel, she's no rookie.
“I’ve been a fan for such a long time and I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would get the opportunity to be a part of the SI Swimsuit family,” she told Sports Illustrated. “I get chills every time I think about it.”
And while the stunning athlete's time shooting for the magazine in Aruba wasn't exactly the relaxing beach vacation many visitors to the island experience — some of her dramatic shoot on the island's rough and rocky east coast involved a dirt bike and a whole lot of dust — Spiranac is no stranger to international adventure. Her job has brought her to Dubai, South Korea, and to countless golf destinations across the United States, from her home state of Arizona to Colorado, California, Nevada, and beyond.
We sat down at Tierra del Sol, a golf resort in Noord, to talk packing hacks; travel tips (especially for anyone whose idea of the perfect vacation includes time on a golf course); and fitness, beauty, and style on the go.
T+L: What's the best packing tip you've learned while traveling for work?
P.S.: Don't do what I do. I always wait until the last second because I don't really like to pack. Check the weather, pack a couple days before so if you forget anything you can add it in, and make sure you have the things you wouldn't be able to buy wherever you're going. Pack the essentials and you can buy stuff later if you need to.
T+L: What's the one thing you always bring with you, no matter where you're going?
P.S.: Definitely always golf clubs, but otherwise just the basics... I'll always bring workout outfits, shorts or jeans depending on the weather, a t-shirt, a sweater or jacket, tennis shoes that I can wear for working out or going out... and I always try to save room for my hair and makeup stuff.
T+L: What's your go-to day-to-night sneaker?
P.S.: My clothing sponsor, Descente, makes really cool shoes — they look good enough that you can wear them out — they come in really cool funky colors too, so if I'm wearing just a basic outfit I can add a pair of orange shoes to make it fun.
T+L: How would you describe your travel uniform?
P.S.: I always get really cold on the plane and I like to be comfortable so I'll always wear super soft sweats and usually a couple layers: I'll wear an undershirt, a t-shirt, then I'll put a sweater on and I'll bring a jacket as well, which is good too because you can stay warm and also save space in your suitcase.
T+L: Do you have an in-flight routine?
P.S.: I always make sure I triple-check everything... my backpack is always [filled with] the same stuff every time. For a long flight I'll bring a blanket, then I'll have my wallet, I'll always go get a big bottle of water, and usually face wipes.
Aisle or window seat?
P.S.: Window. Always window.
What do you eat on the plane?
P.S.: I usually try to buy a snack before and eat it in on the plane but if it's a really, really long flight I'll eat the [plane] food. If I'm watching what I'm eating I'll get Quest bars or beef jerky or mixed nuts; if I'm not watching I get gummy bears or chips.
T+L: What are the beauty products you can't travel without?
P.S.: On my travel day, I never wear any makeup, it makes me feel better when I land... but face wipes are always really good to have, or a hydrating spray just so I always feel hydrated.
T+L: What is the best trip you've ever taken?
P.S.: This is probably one of them because I'm excited to be doing what I'm doing and to be in Aruba for the first time. I was also lucky enough to go to Korea... I didn't really know what it was going to be like, it was a completely new experience which was really cool and the food was really great, and it was so clean, and everyone was dressed so well... they had English everywhere so you felt really comfortable, and they were really welcoming.
T+L: What are you liking most about Aruba so far?
P.S.: So far the beaches are really nice and it seems like there are so many really cool things to do here. It's cool because it kind of reminds me of home... I live in Arizona and there's cacti everywhere, and sand, it's desert; it looks like home yet it's so different and beautiful.
T+L: What's the first place you bring someone when they visit you in Arizona?
P.S.: We have so many amazing golf courses so if it's a friend who likes to play golf I'll take them to all the golf courses; Camelback Mountain is a really fun hike. We live by Kierland, which is this little shopping center: they have lights strung everywhere, there's a restaurant we always go to there. And if they come in the winter it's perfect weather so you can still be outside and there's holiday decorations up and it's really fun.
T+L: What's the one place you haven't been that you would love to visit?
P.S.: There's a lot of places that I want to go to... I travel around the United States but I haven't really been out of the country that much, so I'd really love to go to Australia and New Zealand. Those are my top two right now.
T+L: What's the most beautiful golf course you've ever been to?
P.S.: There are so many different golf courses with different styles... Cherry Hills which is in Colorado is so beautiful yet very different from a course I played in Utah that had lava rock... if you go to Pebble Beach you have the beach, the trees, a little bit of everything... but if I had to choose I'd probably say Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. It's absolutely gorgeous and it's cool because it's so green and it just feels like this oasis... you don't even feel like you're in Vegas anymore.
T+L: How do you work out while on vacation?
P.S.: I'll always bring two sizes of bands with me so I can work out in the hotel or use them anywhere. I'll put the smaller band around my legs and then I can do jumping jacks and squats and push-ups, and with the bigger band I can do curls and squats with an arm press... I have a set routine that I do and it's a good full-body workout that you don't need a lot of space for.
T+L: You're here in Aruba with your sister, Lexie. Who's the one person you love to travel with most?
P.S.: It's fun to travel with my sister; she usually comes to the more fun events and we always have a really good time. But my fiancé is also always the go-to travel buddy, he's the best person to travel with and he always takes the middle seat so I can lay my head on the window or on him... I like to be really early and he's really laid back, so we balance each other out really well.
T+L: Where do you and your fiancé like to travel together?
P.S.: We haven't really gone on a fun vacation just the two of us — everywhere we go usually one of us is working — but we took a trip to Dubai for work and we stayed a couple extra days and he proposed to me there, so that was by far the best trip.