Though Jessica Biel is best known for her film and television work, in the last few years she has really branched out as an entrepreneur. In addition to producing her new USA series The Sinner, which she also stars in, she opened the super chic but also kid-friendly restaurant Au Fudge in Los Angeles in 2016.
It also turns out she is a bit of a travel junkie. Though she can’t just throw on a backpack and go like she did in her 20s, Biel and husband Justin Timberlake have managed to take quite a few spectacular trips. While she admits having a young son—Silas Randall was born in 2015—has slowed down their traveling, Biel says she and Timberlake are ready to get back at it.
Travel + Leisure chatted with Biel while she was hosting a preview of The American Express Experience, a new “Live Life” global brand campaign event. She shared her favorite hotels, her super helpful packing philosophy (you’re going to adopt it immediately), and the one place she is “dying” to go back to.
Travel + Leisure: What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
Jessica Biel: "Iceland. I had such an amazing time mostly just because of the adventurous quality of it."
Do you prefer more adventurous trips?
"I like both kinds of travel. I want to have a relaxing trip but I also want backpacks on, wellies on, rain gear, etc., I want that kind of a thing and that’s what Iceland was, mixed with some very comfortable lodging."
Are your trips very methodically planned out or do you like to get there and just be spontaneous?
"For this [Iceland] I worked with someone because I didn’t know anything about it. So some planning, but I also like to just wing it. I definitely plan where I’m going to stay, I don’t want that up in the air. I’m a little older now. I’m not 20 anymore! At 20 I could throw on my backpack and just show up."
What’s the best hotel you’ve ever stayed at?
Also The Amangiri in Utah. We went there for an anniversary once. It may be one of the most incredible spas I’ve ever seen in my life."
Have you gone back since you were married there?
"No. I’m dying to go back."
Are you all about spas?
"I love spas. I’m not only spa all day long, but I love that luxurious experience at the end of a good long day."
What’s the one place you’ve never been to, but you’ve always wanted to visit?
"Definitely Egypt. Obviously there is a lot of conflict in the last few years, but I’m dying to go. Argentina, Chile. I mean I love to travel. I’ve never been to India."
Are you still traveling all the time even with your and Justin’s busy schedules and a young child at home?
"It’s slowed down because of the kid, but I think we’re getting back to that. I’m traveling a lot this year because of my husband’s job."
What’s the one thing you cannot travel without?
"Besides things for like my skincare [regimen] I’m not one of those people who needs to always bring something like to feel more secure. I like to keep it simple and travel light if I can."
You’re in amazing shape. Are you strict with yourself when it comes to working out on trips or do you just hope it happens?
"I’m not trying to force a workout on a trip. I don’t want to go on vacation and bring a billion workout outfits. I want to go swim or run by the ocean and somehow make it more natural. For me it just makes me feel good. I need to move my body."
Is that your packing philosophy then? Less is more?
"Yes, and interchangeable pieces. Oh and one of the best pieces of advice I got for packing is pick a color scheme and stick with it. Like black, white, and blue and that’s it. Then you can wear everything with everything."
Do you have a great suitcase you always use for these big trips?
"We have these big thermal suitcases for snowboarding and we love them. They have two separate sides. They open from the outside when you need to get in, they’re durable and they’re not too expensive."
Is there a certain pair of shoes you always pack?
"My Stan Smith white sneakers have to go everywhere except like Iceland, though, actually I think I did bring them!"