By Christine Burroni
November 27, 2019
Credit: Brian Ach/Getty Images

Karlie Kloss may have told Travel + Leisure she “basically lives out of a suitcase,” but that doesn’t mean she’s not taking the time to appreciate the gems she comes across in her travels.

“When I am traveling, I’m making sure that I am exploring and finding those little hole in the wall restaurants or places,” she said. “I love discovering treasures [like] those special, bespoke items that I collect along the way, so that’s something that I’m always on the lookout for.”

The model and entrepreneur, who was a special guest at American Express’ celebration of 10 years of Small Business Saturday — which takes place on Nov. 30 this year — told T+L that scouting out a place for unique or under-the-radar eats is a top priority.

“I’m a bit of a foodie so I’m always on the lookout for hole in the wall restaurants that are really one of a kind," she said, pointing to one of her New York City favorites, budget-friendly Thai restaurant Lovely Day.

Credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images

When traveling across the pond, 27-year-old Kloss also mentioned that one of her favorite foodie spots is Stoney Clove Bakery in Paris.

"I think people really are craving and looking for experiences [like that] and I think that's what so special about these small businesses is that they're one of a kind," she added, mentioning that she also keeps her eyes peeled for vintage jewelry and gravitates to fashion boutiques that are owned by the designer.

And the Project Runway host knows a thing or two about self-care on an airplane, so she always arrives ready to explore.

"I really care about making sure I'm taking care of my skin, so a good cleanser and a good moisturizer and hand sanitizer are in my bag at all times," she said. "I love Estée Lauder skincare, there's an ANR syrup that I use for everything."

And lucky for us, Kloss regularly shares her on-the-go beauty routines and tips on social media.

She credits her authenticity and love for small businesses to her homegrown roots in St. Louis, Mo. — the city she's celebrating Thanksgiving in this year — where her grandparents owned a furniture restoration shop.

"I understand the impact that supporting small businesses has on families and communities so I try to keep that in mind when I am traveling," she said at American Express' Small Business Saturday initiative, which was celebrated with a party of pop-up shops where guests dined on bites from Mimi Cheng's Dumplings and sipped on mocktails by Natasha David of Nitecap.

"I come from such a wonderful small town," she added. And although she'll be closing out 2019 in a town much farther away in New Zealand for New Year's, she added, "I really love the charm and character and spirit and going home."