Nicole Byer Talks Airport Fashion, In-Flight Movies, and Finding a Good Travel Buddy

The comedian, actor, and writer reveals her secrets for seamless travel experiences.

nicole byer travel tips
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Have you ever wondered how celebrities pack for vacation? What go-to snacks are tucked away in famous people’s carry-ons? Or what beauty products they swear by to combat jet-lagged skin? Wander Musts takes up residence behind the security X-ray machine to give you an inside look at celebrities’ travel tips, tricks, and can’t-live-without essentials.

In this installment, prolific comedian, actor, writer, and television host of Nailed It! acclaim Nicole Byer tells Joe Erbentraut about her latest project—a new virtual course for Destination Canadaand shares what she always packs when she’s traveling.

I love traveling. I truly love seeing the world. Every time I come back to LA or New York, I'm like, oh, we're not living right. It is better overseas, but I love it here. I don't want people to be like, she hates America. America's great.

My first trip that I remember was driving to Chicago from New Jersey and it just took so long. I was in a minivan with my parents and my sister like, “How can we leave? How can we get out of this? Why didn't we do something else?” It was too long to be in a car. I will do a road trip now. I just did a road trip from Chicago to Milwaukee. That was fun. I think I could do two or three hours max. Anything else is like, let's get on a plane. Are we living in the Oregon Trail era? No.

As an adult, I truly think about budget and how much I want to spend on a flight and a hotel. I'm not just going to any old place with any old person. I’ve got to know if we work together well. I travel a lot with my best friend Sasheer because we travel really well together. She knows I wake up late. I know she wakes up early. I know she needs her breakfast in the morning. So it's like, you go get your breakfast, I will sleep in. We will reconnect at noon and decide what we're doing. Either we have plans or we're flying by the seat of our pants.

I did videos called the Canadian Crash Course for Destination Canada. We're trying to get Americans and non-Canadians to Canada during the winter because you can do fun things like skiing or staying inside and drinking hot cocoa. And there's also a chance to enter to win a roundtrip flight to Canada. I like Canada. I like Vancouver. I like Edmonton. It's a really beautiful country. And then if you go to Quebec, they speak French at you!

click to play video

Rapid fire

Window, middle, or aisle seat?

Window. Whoever says middle is a psychopath, like a true, blue sick person.

Pack light or overpack?

I pack light and I also overpack. One time we did three days in Vegas, but I packed exactly three outfits, not thinking about how hot it was because it was the dead of summer, or how you want to look nice for dinner and then during the day you just wear shorts or whatever.

When I went to Greece, I under- and overpacked. I packed too many fancy skirts and dresses for dinners and we didn't go to that many fancy dinners. It was more beach stuff. And then when I went to Amsterdam, I didn't have enough jeans. And Amsterdam doesn't have no fat people, so there was no jeans to be bought. So cut to me Febreezing my pants being like, oh, I hope nobody says Nicole's funky.

Also, if I'm gone for seven days, I will pack 14 pairs of underwear. I truly pack like I'm going to shit myself every day. It's never happened. I never wear all of them, but I'm always like, I don't know, something might happen.

Favorite way to pass time on a plane

Lately it's just been action movies. I just watched the newest Lara Croft movie that nobody talked about and I was like, well, this is pretty good. I don't know why we're not talking about this. This girl was great. I just rewatched the original The Fast and the Furious. It's a perfect, perfect movie. I think all of them are really fun. And I just rewatched Fast X on a plane, which is the latest in the Fast saga.

Biggest travel fear

I don't know if I have a big travel fear because if I get kidnapped, what a fun story. If the plane crashes, I know I'll survive. If a flight gets canceled, there's another flight. I dunno. I guess I’m afraid that whoever I'm with is going to be a sourpuss and it's going to suck?

I don't understand people who are afraid of planes, because so many planes fly every day. Sure, a plane once disappeared from the sky, but how often does that happen? And if you disappear, guess what? You're in the tenth dimension. You get to start a new life.

Best tip for fighting jet lag

My best tip for fighting jet lag is to stay awake. If you land at six or something, or three, don't take a nap; stay awake for as long as you can, until you normally go to bed. And then, hopefully, in the eight or 10 hours you sleep, your body will refigure stuff out.

Favorite travel snack

Biscoff cookies. I’m a Delta Diamond girl.

Go-to drink order on a plane

Vodka soda, put my hoodie over my head, and go to sleep.

Must-have travel items

Krave Beauty Oat So Simple Water Cream

My number one is moisturizer because being in the sky really dries you out. My friend told me, “Put moisturizer on and then an hour later put more moisturizer on.” My go-to is called Krave Beauty. They have a great toner, but I really like their moisturizer. It’s very light.

Patchology flashpatch rejuvenating eye gels

Sometimes on the flight I'll put on the little under-eye patches like a real diva. You feel very opulent and elegant. You're like, I have to look good for someone. And then people wonder who you have to look good for and it's like: myself. 

Neutrogena makeup remover wipes

When you do standup, you get to do a rider where you're like, “I want six bowls of red Skittles,” or whatever. My rider's truly just a bottle of vodka and makeup wipes and tampons, because I consistently forget those things. So when I travel not for work, I'm like, do I have my face wipes? Do I have the things I need? Because sleeping in makeup is the worst. I did it for all of my twenties and somehow my skin was like, I forgive you. And now that I'm over 20, I'm really trying to maintain. 

Huda Beauty Lana #10 fake eyelashes

I like to travel with fake eyelashes because if you don't have all of your makeup, you just put on a lash and a brow and you're good to go. Huda Beauty or Morphe are my two go-tos.

Lucy and Yak sweatsuit
Lucy and Yak

I like to travel in a matching sweatsuit. Some people get dressed up to get on a plane. I'd rather be comfortable, but I do want to look like I put thought into it. Lucy and Yak is a brand that has some cute matching sweatsuits, and I wear a lot of Nike. 

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Joe Erbentraut is the Editorial Director of News at Thrillist. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin's School of Journalism and his writing and editing has also been featured in Fodor’s, the Village Voice, HuffPost, and Chicagoist. Joe is obsessed with soup, specifically when it involves lentils. Follow Joe on Twitter.