Why Samantha Brown Always Packs a Tea Cup in Her Carry-on
There are travel experts, and then there is Samantha Brown. As a veteran travel host, she’s been offering her quirky takes on places around the world — and dispensing her invaluable travel wisdom — for almost 20 years.
Brown has amassed an arsenal of travel tips and tricks since getting her start on the Travel Channel, so it’s no surprise she’s perfected the art of packing a carry-on. Now the host of “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love” on PBS, Brown can be found jetting off to places as far away as Seoul, South Korea and as close to home as Charleston, South Carolina.
Ahead, she shares a few must-have products that are always in her carry-on.
Samantha Brown Hardside Spinner
“It's taken me a while to really like hard cases, and now that I have my own luggage brand I get to design luggage to be very specific to what I love about carry-ons. One thing that really made me switch totally over to hard case was the fact that you can't over-pack it. That's one thing people don't realize when they have soft-sided luggage is that you can overstuff it past its dimensions. Then the airline attendant calls you over to that dreaded cage, and it doesn't fit in the luggage cage. And now your bag isn't getting on. So I think it's just sort of like Spanx for luggage. You know, it fits everything in. And because I have my own line, I have a bunch of colors. I usually travel with a red bag, like an elegant burgundy. But now I've gone light pink for spring purposes.”
To buy: hsn.com, $140
“I always have a great pair of dark jeans, a light pair of jeans, and a pair of black slacks. I think the key with those, no matter what jeans I'm wearing, I always look for some type of Lycra or spandex built into the cotton because there's nothing worse than jeans that kind of lose their shape. I think what makes travel clothing travel clothing is your ability to wear them more than once. They maintain their shape, and so you can wear them a few times. We all know no one wants to wear slouchy jeans.”
To buy: citizensofhumanity.com, $218
Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream
“It’s a product that's been around forever. It's so good. It shapes your eyebrows. It moisturizes your cuticles. If you have a paper cut because your skin is so dry, it helps that. It's just amazing.”
To buy: elizabetharden.com, $24
Moglea Bullet Journal
“I always travel with a bullet journal. I definitely found with our reliance on screens that I just need to turn to doing things manually, and that's how I really start to remember them. So, I love a bullet journal with my Sharpie felt pens. With Moglea journals, I like that they have the bullets page on one side and then a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday graph on the other. I don’t have time for building it from scratch, which is what a lot of people do, so it’s quicker.”
To buy: moglea.com, $26
Jif To-go Packs
“Peanut butter does count against the amount of liquid you can take on board. So, if I'm just traveling with a carry-on, I get little Jif packs. I tried all those highfalutin peanut butter brands, like Justin's and the organic peanut butters, and they come in these squeeze packs. They’re tough to get open on an airplane. And then once you do, all the oil flows out all over you. The stores, I don't know why they think those packs are good, but I'm gonna go with my processed Jif peanut butter. ‘Cause you just pull off the top and scoop things in it. So it’s tried and true and travel tested.”
To buy: amazon.com, $13
A Tea Cup
“On the two-week stints when I'm shooting my show, I travel with my porcelain tea cup. I like a cup of tea in the morning. I get so tired of unwrapping plastic and putting stuff in paper, just because everything is so disposable now. I want that little bit of realness that makes me feel like I'm home. So having tea in my tea cup everyday, it's been wonderful. I wrap it up in a really clean sock, like a really thick athletic sock that's only used for my tea cup, and it's never broken. I always pack it in the middle of clothes. It’s just so nice — and it saves on all the plastic and the paper that we use when we travel.”
To buy: muji.com, $14
“I've always had Pinky Balls in my luggage. You get them at any toy store, and they're a solid, hard, rubber, pink ball, hence Pinky. For me, they work out the kinks of my muscles after a really long red-eye flight or maybe being on my feet all day. You put them on the ground, around the floor of your hotel, and you lay your back on them, right in the middle of your back, between the shoulder blades. And then you push up with your knees, and then you roll. It works out every little muscle. You can get into your nooks and crannies, and then you can roll them from your legs, front and back, and you can stand on them to work your arches. It just brings me back from absolute exhaustion.”
To buy: amazon.com, $6