Away Luggage Co-Founder Jen Rubio Shares Her Travel Essentials

Jen Rubio

No one knows travel quite like Jen Rubio. As the co-founder and Chief Brand Officer of luggage company Away, Rubio is a next level frequent flyer. Here she tells us her travel essentials and how she manages to stay healthy while away.

As the co-founder of a luggage company, you obviously know your way around an airport. How often do you travel?

I fly over 150 flights per year. Travel, for me, is not just what I do, but how I'm able to do all of the things I do: travel allows me to accelerate the growth and awareness of our business, to meet and recruit team members, attend conferences, events, photo shoots, immerse myself in a market before we launch in it, to see my friends and family, and to get inspired!

Do you prefer to stick with a carry-on or are you a checked bag person? What's your favourite Away item (luggage or accessory)?

Because my travel plans change so often and so quickly, and because I tend to show up to the airport on the later side, I avoid checking a bag at all costs, even when I'm traveling to multiple destinations or climates.

I can always pack everything I need in just The Bigger Carry-On, and can easily fit close to two weeks worth of clothing. Since I only bring one suitcase, organization is key: packing cubes are a lifesaver for me—we created a line of our own at Away. They'll save you so much room and keep your clothes neatly organized for different days and occasions.

What five travel essentials are always in your carry-on?

  1.  Airplane air is so dry, so I slather on Laneige's Lip Sleeping Mask before takeoff. Sometimes, I'll even dab a bit on my cuticles, elbows, or anywhere else that feels dry.
  2. T2 Matcha Flask has become my new favourite travel companion. I love that I can be almost anywhere in the world and still have my morning matcha. There's a tiny, stainless steel whisk on the inside, so I just ask for hot water, pour in a CAP Beauty Matcha Stick, and shake.
  3. Smythson travel jewelry tray is a must for keeping my valuables safe and organized. No more leaving rings by the hotel sink or necklaces on the nightstand!
  4. A simple, black silk slip dress because it goes with anything. In the winter, I'll dress it up with boots and a chunky sweater. In the summer, all I need is sandals and some fun jewelry.
  5. Bose noise canceling headphones—a must for the airplane.

What's your in-flight routine? 

Since I travel so much, I've really mastered my in-flight beauty routine. I always remove any make-up before a flight, and I'll usually do a face mask from Dr. Jart on the plane, followed by a hydrating face mist (my favourite is Tata Harper's Hydrating Floral Essence), which I'll also occasionally spritz throughout the journey. Hydration is key, so I'm also reapplying lip balm and drinking a lot of water for the duration of the flight. I finish with a jade roller along my face, which helps reduce any puffiness.

How do you manage to stay healthy with all the travel you do? What do you do to stay active?

I've also learned to rely on a few tricks for staying well, no matter where I am in the world. Wellness supplements, like elderberry, help keep my immune system in check during especially busy travel weeks. I also make sure to squeeze in a few hours of uninterrupted sleep whenever I can with the help of noise-cancelling headphones, and I use Vitruvi Balance roll-on essential oil blend with calming lavender and chamomile to help destress.

I don't enjoy working out on my own that much—I love the energy and the direction of having a trainer or being in a class, but that's tough with my schedule and my constant travel. When I'm on the road, I do ModelFit streaming, which is videos of my favourite workout class in New York, or use the Glo app for mobile yoga and pilates classes. (For a quick and effective workout on-the-go, try this 10-minute resistance band workout.)

Do you have a favourite pre- or post-flight stretch?

As soon as I'm off the plane, I drop my bags at the hotel or Airbnb I'm staying at and go for a walk. I love to head right out to stretch my legs after a long flight, and bonus points for using the walk to explore the neighbourhood and find a few great spots for drinks or dinner. I'll usually ask the hotel concierge for their personal recommendations on my way out to get a sense of what the local favourites are and what direction I should be heading.

Window seat or aisle?

Always aisle! I love being able to get up and stretch my legs if I need to, especially during a long flight.

Anything you can share about what's next for Away?

We've always said that luggage was only the beginning for Away and that our broader vision has been to transform the entire travel experience. We recently announced that we closed a $100 million Series D funding round, so we continue to remain focused on our long-term goals of creating a new kind of travel brand that hasn't existed before Away, which is exciting!

We're beginning to take the first steps towards realizing that vision by expanding into three new product categories—Apparel, Lifestyle Accessories, and Wellness. Like all things at Away, we're using feedback from our community to inform what we'll offer within each of these categories, and we're in the early stages of developing what that might look like.

We're excited to figure out how else we can play a role in travellers' journeys, not just focusing on what you use to pack, but also what you might need to bring with you—this might includes things like skincare and supplements, or thoughtful apparel for more comfortable travel.

We're also focused on growing our physical retail footprint with 50 additional stores in the next three years, while further establishing the brand worldwide.

Next, read up on the the best places for travel every month of the year.

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