By Christine Burroni
November 14, 2019
Craig Barritt/Getty Images

When it comes to strategic planning for a match, tennis icon Venus Williams knows the ins and outs of getting court-ready, but when she has to take a long flight there’s one common rule she breaks.

“People say hydrate on the plane but I do the opposite because I hate going to airplane bathrooms, they drive me insane,” Williams told Travel + Leisure in a recent interview. “You don’t want to be in there 5,6,7,8 times, so I do the exact opposite, I do not hydrate that much on a flight.”

Even though she opts out of drinking water, she told T+L that she makes sure her skin is getting the hydration it needs.

“I love rosewater and I love rose oil," she said, adding that her go-to is by Asutra. “I use that for anything and everything. I use it at night if I want to hydrate or I use it during the day if I want to look glowy.”

The tennis star, who was chatting at American Express Travel's recent event for the unveiling of their 2020 Trending Destinations, said she has her flight routine locked down, including for when it comes time to eat and sleep.

"I bring my own food or make sure I eat beforehand because airplane food may not have the best nutrients," she said. "So I always make sure that I have my own healthy snacks and my own meal or I’ve eaten a nice meal beforehand."

Right now, her go-to snacks are kale chips and coconut yogurt, "but I’m probably going to burn out on that soon," she admitted. 

And when it comes to getting some shut-eye, especially when she's enroute to play a major tournament — like the China Open in Beijing where she recently played — Williams plans out her sleeping schedule depending on the timing of her flight and when she's landing. That may mean she's not sleeping much the night before she flies, or sleeping half the time shes in the air. 

"You gotta have a strategy going into it," she said.

But when she is awake, Williams uses her time wisely, getting in as many movies as possible — in the form of previews for a film and then "I pick the worst one [to watch], it's like clockwork," she joked.

She also mentioned that she keeps it comfy on a long flight, wearing loungewear from her athleisure line, EleVen by Venus Williams, specifically the cuddle pant that she said, "feels like butter." 

Guests at the event were treated to an immersive experience at New York City's Greenwich Hotel where each room of a suite was decorated accordingly to represent a 2020 destination for Amex Travel including Buenos Aires, Shanghai, and Kauai. The company also announced the expansion of their Fine Hotels & Resorts list — which includes The Greenwich Hotel — where travelers booking with their American Express cards can have access to unique perks. 

Williams spoke to the crowd about her partnership with the brand as well as how traveling is a constant factor in her life as an athlete and businesswoman.

"I'm never home for more than a few days at a time, so being somewhere where you're happy is very important to me," she said, mentioning that bringing along her dog, Harold, on her trips always makes it easier to be on the go. 

"That makes me always feel at home wherever I take him," she said.  

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