She studied biology at Vassar, but these days, Lisa Kudrow feels more like an amateur historian. As the brains behind the genealogy TV series “Who Do You Think You Are?,” Kudrow helps celebs like Allison Janney, Billy Porter and Brooke Shields figure out their family backstories. Kudrow’s friend Courteney Cox, for example, traced her ancestry back to a distant relative, William the Conqueror.
“This always was a passion project,” Kudrow says of the show. “This has always been really important to me and I did it on an impulse, really.”
The show, now in its eleventh season, has featured everyone from Jason Sudeikis to Mandy Moore, Spike Lee and Sarah Jessica Parker. And, if the stars align, that list could also include one of Kudrow’s closest friends and former “Friends” co-star, Jennifer Anniston. “She’s signed up and still really wants to do it,” Kudrow says.
Now that her world has opened up, Kudrow is traveling again. Between promoting her series and exploring the world, like many of us, she’s making up for lost time. Here’s what Kudrow brings on the road with her to travel more comfortably.
$149 $99 at Amazon
The comfort of having something to watch is high on Kudrow’s list. “If I’m going for a long time, I bring my Apple TV box,” she says. “It’s so easy — it’s not big. And then you need just one cable just in case.”
The fifth-generation Apple TV is a solid investment at less than $100 when it’s on sale like it is now. With it, you can take your favorite streaming services on the road with you in 1080p HD video. Weighing less than 2 pounds, it’s perfect for slipping in your carry-on bag and setting up when you get to your vacation rental home or hotel.
$229.99 $141.99 at Amazon
Given the recent uptick in lost luggage, Kudrow is doubling down on how she packs and what she brings with her. “I like a four-wheel suitcase with a hard cover,” she says. “No canvas things that could get punctured.” The Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable is our best budget checked suitcase and features super-smooth rolling capabilities, expandable zippers and a lightweight design.
Though she’s a fan of hard-shell roller bags, she’s also thinking about her next piece of luggage — and it’s all about bringing an old trend back to the spotlight. “I’m thinking maybe steamer trunks are the way to go?” she says. “You just ship it ahead or put it on a boat and then it’ll get there. And then you open it up and you have your closet. I think we might have to start going back to that.”
$48 at Amazon
Kudrow is all about the concept that less is more, which is why she’s a longtime fan of By Terry’s understated plumping gloss. “I like the By Terry lip gloss,” she says. “It’s really good because it doesn’t dry your lips out afterward.” The cult-favorite lip balm has dubbed itself “the Rolls-Royce of lip balms.” Not only does it smooth and repair dry lips — a great solution for the dry air on airplanes — but it also has a lovely rose scent.
$13.39 at Amazon
Wherever she goes, Kudrow has to have her favorite snack on hand. “I don’t do a lot of short trips, but I [do] take my Mcvitie’s Digestives biscuit,” she says. “That’s my favorite breakfast. I got made fun of once — I was at a craft service table and I said, ‘Oh, they’ve got tea. Oh, I should bring my digestive biscuits.’”
This set of three McVitie’s packages is perfect for keeping a set of biscuits at home and taking another set — or two — with you on the road. Tasty but not too sweet, McVitie’s digestive biscuits are perfect for eating on their own as a dry snack or when dipped in tea — they melt in your mouth.
$26 at Lolavie
Kudrow’s friend Jennifer Aniston recently launched a curated line of hairstyling products, called LolaVie — and Kudrow says that all of the products are standouts. “When I’m doing my hair curly, and I don’t remember to comb it out, this one is fantastic,” she says of the detangler. “And then if you blow dry your hair, I use the leave-in moisturizer.”
$29 $17.68 at Amazon
When it comes to listening to music or taking calls, Kudrow keeps things simple. “I don’t want anything wireless inside my head,” she says. “I don’t like noise-canceling headphones — I want to still hear what’s going on.”
The original Apple EarPods are a solid corded option for the casual music listener. Don’t expect the noise-canceling capabilities of their AirPods Pro cousin, but you can expect a budget-friendly headphone for all your travels.
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