Cosmopolitan’s Editor-in-Chief, Michele Promaulayko, just returned from island hopping through Greece and shares her list and tricks for leaving work behind, living like a local and looking refreshed, even after long flights.
Q: Going on vacation is something we all look forward to but it’s not always easy to shift from working like crazy to the ahh relaxation mode. Any tips or tricks on how you make the blissful transition? This is a big challenge for me! If I’m flying somewhere, I force myself to log off and watch a movie, which takes me out of the work mindset. I also always have a book with me when I travel. When I get to my destination, I like to spend as much time outdoors as possible. I walk everywhere I can. (My fitbit is always buzzing to alert me that I’ve reached a new record-high number of steps—very satisfying!). Also, day drinking, something I tend to do a fair amount of on vacation, brings on the bliss and makes it almost impossible to think about work.Michele likes to kick off her vacations with a Paloma (a margarita’s cooler sister) that’s a combination of lime, grapefruit juice, mescal, poured over ice and topped off with club soda.
Q: What’s your chicest secret travel must-have? The thing you never leave home without… A few chic, functional items I never leave home without are: A beautiful lightweight scarf that can also be used as a pareo in a beach location. It can keep you warm on the plane or at an outdoor café—and looks stylish with jeans and a tee or dresses. The key is not being too precise about how you wrap it (French designer, Catherine Malandrino told me that.) Also, I bring my leather-clad Hermès travel perfume holder filled with Jour d’Hermès. It’s a beautiful, fresh scent that makes your smell amazing, even after a long-haul flight. Last, you can’t go wrong with a big pair of Chanel Sunglasses (black or tortoise) —great for the city or the beach.
Totem Home beach blanket, $250; Hermès travel perfume holder, $255; Jour d’Hermès, $160
Q: What’s the thing you splurge on when you travel? My accommodations. I have spoiled myself by staying in nice places—and it’s so hard to go back! It doesn’t have to be the Four Seasons. In fact, I often prefer smaller boutique hotels (like Ocean View Club on Harbor Island, Coqui Coqui in Merida, Mexico, or a beautiful intimate riad in Morocco.) But a good bed and good coffee in the morning are critical.
Q: What’s your favorite cheap and cheerful travel trick? Make friends with a local and have a real conversation about their life and home. Generally, people are proud of where they live and more than happy to share. You get the best insider tips this way, but just as important, you get a sense of place and gain perspective, which is the whole point of traveling anyway.
Q: How do you pass the time when you’re stuck in transit? This is the worst part of travel, right? But it comes with the territory and I try —with varying degrees of success— to just surrender to what’s happening and not act like a high-strung New Yorker. It’s an ideal time to clear out old emails and photos from my phone. I can never seem to find the time otherwise, and my Gmail inbox is reaching the 30K unopened mark!
Q: Your go-to method for making a meh travel moment marvelous? I change my circumstances, if possible. I’m a big believer in proactivity, even on vacation. If I’m not into the hotel, the restaurant or even the destination, I’ll pivot. Life’s too short to have a bad vacation.
Q: Are you an over-packer or under-packer? An over-packer for sure. If it fits, I bring it. And then I also pack a collapsible Longchamp bag (it folds up to the size of an envelope) and attach a bag tag to it so that I can feel free to shop while away, knowing I can just check the second bag. Also, Muji clothing bags and containers that help you organize your luggage are a lifesaver!
Q: Any travel mishaps that you learned from? Adapters are key. It’s taken me years to figure out the whole Europe to U.S. voltage thing, and I’ve fried many curling irons and hair-dryers in the process. At this point, it may have been less expensive to just buy hair tools upon arrival.
Q: Are you a big researcher or are you more spontaneous and a ‘let’s figure it out on the way’ type? Definitely a researcher, although I leave plenty of room for serendipity. Mostly, I want to make sure I have at least a few great dinner reservations ahead of me.
How do you keep your vacation bliss when you come home? A bunch of ways.
- By looking at photos, which these days tends to be reviewing my Instagram feed. Lately, I’ve also been saving each 24 hrs of Insta-stories into videos, which are an even better documentation of the trip and fun to watch when you get home.
- Local music, either by Shazam-ing music in restaurants or buying a cd on the side of the road, if you still have a way to play one.
- Since scent and memory are so closely linked, I buy something—incense from Mexico or body oil from Bali, to bring me back to that place every time I smell it.Michele burns incense from Astier De Villatte, $45, to take her back in an instant.