By: Kelly Soderlund, Hipmunk Staff
While it’s true that Alexis Cozombolidis might be best known to the public at large as San Francisco Giants Hunter Pence’s girlfriend, the whip-smart and talented host of Twitch TV’s LetsGetLexi has been a gamer darling with a huge following (her “Piñas”) for years now. The former IGN video game journalist (she also hosts “Covering Your Bases with LetsGetLexi” for CSN Bay Area) is a huge travel enthusiast with a major case of wanderlust; following college she backpacked throughout Europe for a month, and has lived in both Spain and Australia. We sat down with Cozombolidis and asked her to share her travel habits, tips, favorite cities to visit, and the items she can’t travel without.
Hipmunk: So, tell us. What’s in your carry-on?
Alexis Cozombolidis: I’m an over-packer. Nothing that I do is light. So I carry practically my whole living room in my bag. My carry-on includes my laptop- Internet on a flight is such a luxury and then having your computer there: game changer! If there’s no Internet or if I’m traveling with Hunter, I’ll whip out my Nintendo 3DS and play Smash Bros. It’s a real time consumer. I also like to bring my iPad mini fully loaded with movies, games, and books, depending on what I’m feeling that day. I grind my teeth at night so I like to hand carry my retainer in fear it might get lost with my luggage. I’m a grump without it. I’ll put my chargers and a battery brick in my bag because no one wants to arrive to their destination without a charge. I also travel with PS4 travel kit so I can stream on the road, my Canon 70D for pics and travel videos, and of course my Monster 24k Rose Gold headphones. They just make the girl carrying her retainer seem so much cooler.
H: Carry-on bag of choice?
AC: I love being hands free, especially at the airport because you’re always taking things out, so I mainly use backpacks. Did I mention I was an over-packer? So I can carry way more on my back than I can on my shoulder. Right now, I’m using a backpack by Elizabeth and James. I can literally fit everything in it. It was a Christmas present from Hunter, so it’s sentimental, useful, and cute. I just love it.
H: How often do you travel?
AC: At the very least, once a month. For work, we are always going somewhere. And if I travel with Hunter, we’re here one week and gone the next. So I travel a lot.
H: So you must have the travel process down to a science?
AC: Not really! For me, clothes are always the hardest. One day I think I want to wear something, and then I get there and I’m like, ‘ugh, I do not want to wear this’. But the tech part, and toiletries and makeup, I have down.
H: First, business class or coach?
AC: I think this is such a funny question! I’m pretty sure if anyone has the free choice to pick between first, business, or coach, they’d pick first. Sometimes I get to fly first depending on the location. The really long flights are taking a toll on me because I’m traveling so often now, but if it’s to L.A. I’ll just take whatever’s cheapest or whatever’s available. Now that I’m older, I try get an exit row seat to get a little more room. In my college days I would just squeeze myself into anything and be like, let’s go! I’m more picky about the time I arrive or the time that I leave. I know when I leave SFO I should leave early afternoon because the fog is gone and so there’s no delay. If I have to wait a place for hours, that’s time I could be using that time to stream or edit a video.
H: Ok, now that we’re warmed up, let’s play a game of favorites. Favorite city to visit for work? Why?
AC: New York City. You can so easily get lost there and not know what to do. New York is one of those places where if you don’t have a plan, you can get overwhelmed and just end up eating at diner everyday. I used to intern at 30 Rock there at NBC, and being able to wake up with an agenda and meet people who knew what was happening, where the bars were, and knew the culture and the social activities for young folks was a lot of fun. It was nothing like Sex and the City, but it was still fun because I really got to fall in love with NYC and feel like I knew what New Yorkers are all about.
H: Favorite city for play? Why? Dream destinations?
AC: This is such a hard question because I’ll literally go anywhere. I love Florence, Italy, Santorini, and the Canary Islands. I’d love to go to Bali, Bora Bora, the Maldives. And I’d love to go to Argentina one day. South America. Really anywhere. And I’m excited for when Hunter gets to do it because it’s going to be an amazing experience for him. It’s really exciting to see someone’s first time experiencing international travel. Exploring is just exciting.
H: Favorite hotels?
AC: I like Kimpton hotels. They’re just so neat. I love boutique hotels; they make it about the city that they’re located in. And it’s just so fun to travel with Hunter because we get to stay in the most amazing hotels that him and I would probably never spend the money on. So getting to stay at the Four Seasons is amazing, but I also get that that’s not a norm for me.
H: Favorite airline? Airport? Airport Terminal?
AC: Airline-wise, I’d have to say Virgin America. They are hands-down, by far the best airlines out there right now. They just get it, you know? Airlines have taken a turn for the worse. I really miss the days when people used to get dressed up to go on flights. There is something really glamorous about flying. And it is really expensive to fly, regardless of where you’re going, you need to have the means to go. So I feel like it should be a little bit of a luxury to fly—and now it just feels like a cattle call. But Virgin just gets it; they know how to appeal to a young audience, they make it fun. I could probably sing along with their safety video.
H: Any travel tips before you take off?
AC: Download an itinerary, a travel app, or ask you friends for advice when you go to a new city. No one wants to spend time while traveling trying to figure out what to do. I’m a really big fan of Stray Boots.
Whenever I meet young people, I always tell them that if they can, to go abroad. You know, it’s one thing to go to Europe for two weeks, but the minute you spend a month or longer in any country other than the U.S., that’s when you really start to learn the values, and you start to learn the people and the culture and how differently the rest of the world lives. And I think that’s the most enriching part about travel. I have a huge passion for travel. I’ll go anywhere; exploring the world is a true gift.