Travel talk with Jess Wilson hits home undeniably. The quintessential cosmopolitan ‘It’ Girl lights up when her globetrotting experiences come to discussion. In fact, she admits, with a big smile on her face, that if she gets a call right at that moment while chatting over mozzarella bites and soft serve ice cream at Bucky’s Poblacion, to fly somewhere under reasonable flight schedule and expense, she would jump at the chance without even thinking.
Always ready to take a trip from Manila to another city, Jess has lost count of all the places she has explored. Though her travelogues will not provide the exact count, she can very well tell the tales of local food she has tried, the people she met, and the beauty hauls she carried back home.
Read our exciting chat about travel with the Jess Wilson, and learn how to jet-set in style from this gorgeous-on-the-go.
How young were you when you started traveling?
Well, I grew up in England and moved here when I was six, but that doesn’t count. What was our first trip? I think I was 13 or 14 years old, and our families went to Bangkok.
What do you remember from that first trip?
It was so much fun – I loved it. My parents were very encouraging. They allowed me to be independent, and they never instilled in me the fear of
traveling in a foreign city. I remember them telling me, “Here’s USD10, do what you want, but be back in the hotel by 7pm.”
So, your parents influenced your love for travel?
My parents are huge on travel but we never traveled as the Wilson family. The trips I took with my family were always with my cousins and their moms. I’d always get the advice from my mom to “fly, do your own thing.” So I’ve grown to be an easy, spontaneous, and smart traveler. There were times when I’d book a flight but not a hotel. Then, when I’d get to the city, I’d be like “Oh, this hotel is cute, let’s book this one!”
Among all the trips you took since you were 13, what were the most beautiful places on your list?
I loved Tuscany! We were there for my sister’s (Georgina Wilson) wedding last year, and I fell in love with it. I thought it was so breathtaking and surreal. You only see it in photos and you only see it in movies but when you’re actually there in rolling hills and you’re just driving through the town then stop at a small vendor to buy some fresh oranges – you’d realize that that was real.
I also love traveling in Asia. I love Asian food, and I love Asian culture. Where particularly in Asia? Vietnam! I don’t know why but there’s something about Vietnam that made me fall for it. Maybe it’s the coffee – it suits my taste! And I also love Bangkok! I love exploring other Asian countries as well – I’m so excited about my trip to Beijing and Siem Reap next month. And I can’t wait to travel to Cambodia. I’ve never been there, but I can’t wait to go!
What was the most exciting trip in your book?
Europe to me is always super exciting. About five years ago, [my cousin] Ava [Diaz] and I did a backpacking trip around Europe. For one whole month, we traveled around the continent without a solid plan. When we reached Munich, we were asking each other how many days should we book our room. We’d decided right there what to do, where to go, and where to travel next. We were young and we were on a budget, so we’d be scared but we’d still check out the rooms in hostels. We would roam around the cities during the day, and go out for fun nights!
As you mentioned about budget travel, what would be your smart tips to avoid splurging during your trips?
I’m a big advocate that travel doesn’t have to be expensive. First of all,
travel with a friend because that way you’d be able to split the costs.
Also, personally, I don’t go for expensive seats. That’s why I’m always on
Skyscanner as I’m always looking for good deals. And I prefer not to go to the same city twice if there’s no reason to. I like travelling to new cities, see something different, so I don’t need to keep going back to one city. So each year, I have a specific city in mind that I’d want to visit. Now that I live in the Philippines, I want to see more of Asia. I don’t necessarily need to visit Europe because it’s far – I’d travel around it if and when I move back to there. For South America or Africa, it’s far as well so it’s going to be expensive so I’d go there when I’m a bit older or when there’s a really special occasion. At the moment, I’d say do pocket travels that are more exciting than one big but expensive trip.
I also compare the rates of hotels and Airbnb rooms. I travel through public transport, eat local food, and I don’t splurge on shopping. I know most people buy designer bags and shoes when they travel, but I’m more after the experiences than those collections. But I do save some of my travel budget to one special local dining experience.
We know that you’re not the sentimental type, but do you keep at least small mementos from all of your trips?
I used to keep boarding passes but then it got really thick. I thought – what was I going to do with those passes? But yes, I collect small things like makeup. I hoard makeup when I travel.
Where did you get your best beauty haul?
I love the Selfridges in London. It has a dedicated floor for its beauty department, and it’s just divine! I also love my beauty buys from South Korea. I couldn’t get enough of the shopping experience there – they have never-ending solutions for every beauty concern. It’s overwhelming but I’m so into K-Beauty trends now. I love their freshness and glowing skin. When I was there, everyone looked flawless. I’d stare at the girl, who worked behind the coffee counter, and I couldn’t help but notice how glowing her skin was. Then I thought to myself if she put on her makeup just to serve coffee then I really needed to step up (laughs)!
Do you wear makeup when you travel?
Yeah! I actually I put on a lot more makeup when I travel (especially with my cousins) than when I’m here in Manila. We really like to dress up, and take lots of photos. So I usually do a full on makeup in the morning since I know we wouldn’t come back to the hotel until 9pm or 10pm. Since I’m not into foundation, I like tinted sunscreens. Then, I’ll do my makeup with mascara, eyebrow gel, eyeshadow, sunscreen, then put tint like a blush and a light lipstick – something that can stand the heat wherever we are; something that’s easy and low maintenance. Right now I’m really into Glossier’s Cloud Paint so I just put a bit of it in my eyes, cheeks and lips, and that’s good for me.
Last question – how do you take care of your skin when you travel?
For my skin care, I always have a good makeup remover. I love the wipes from Innisfree. They’re the olive oil wipes, and they’re like the best thing for makeup removal. When I’m on the plane, I wipe my face with it then my skin comes out moisturized and refreshed. I also like using water-based sunscreen that protects my skin, and makes it glowing at the same time.