Don’t get Lisa Ling wrong: She clearly loves being at home with her husband and two kids.just because at home also For a long time she felt… well, “fidgety” was the word she used. “I still really love to travel,” she said. “There is so much to see and experience in this world. I want to expose my kids to as many of these as possible.”
Since 2014, the Emmy Award-winning journalist has documented these adventures in her CNN documentary series, introducing viewers to unusual local communities and places along the way, That’s Life with Lisa Ling. “Our show allows viewers to better understand their fellow Americans,” she explained. The concept has become especially important in recent years, she added. “We’re isolated in our bubbles, cut off from other people.”
In the ninth and final season (airing this Sunday at 9 and 10 p.m. ET), the host and executive producer travel from backcountry Arkansas to explore the fate of breeding and captive tigers, to Denver to explore the city’s astonishing drinking rates. She specifically mentions her visit to a city outside Chicago, where she learned about the Baha’i faith and saw “one of the most magnificent buildings ever built in America.”
As you can guess, getting from point A to point B isn’t easy. Ling said she bought a luxury Sprinter van during the pandemic so she and her crew could travel safely. Of course, there are flight delays and rental car confusion. But she can proudly say that the team covered 49 states during the production. (Surprising exception: Hawaii.)
“I like being in an environment that I’m not familiar with,” Ling said. “I feel like a sponge and like to soak up as much as I can. When you’re out and about, you never repeat because there’s something new every day and every hour. I really crave those moments. If you’re stuck At home, you can’t do anything.”
No wonder Ling is a mobile product expert. She jumped on the phone (from her home in Los Angeles) to share her expertise on CNN Underscored.
Ling follows the golden rule of travel: no checked bags. “Luckily, I’m small, so I don’t lug around these giant shoes,” she says. Ling loves the durable duffle bag because it’s made from moldable and “soft” recycled material. As a longtime Patagonia user, she also appreciates the brand’s lifetime warranty. “They’ve repaired a lot of bags for me over the decades and I just pay for the shipping,” she said. “I highly recommend that any avid traveler seek out this type of company.” (Eagle Creek and The North Face offer the same policy.)
“Anyway, it’s an absolute staple for me,” raves Ling. While the workout device is compact enough to fit in her travel bag, it keeps her abs, legs, and arms tight for a quick workout in a hotel room. In fact, Ling jokes that she’s lugged her beloved rollers around for so long that the original tags have worn off. But she does remember buying it at the Big 5 Sporting Goods store.
When it comes to decluttering the contents of her makeup bag, Ling lists this oil-free, lightweight sunscreen as her go-to. 1. “Being in these warm climates and on so many planes really dehydrates me,” she says. “If I don’t use it, my skin really suffers.” Her facial also includes a hydrating hyaluronic acid serum from Korean-American company Hanbi.
Ling adds an individually-packaged supplement (along with some stevia sweetener) to her coffee every morning. Collagen helps provide the body with the amino acids it needs for tissue renewal and healthy hair, skin, nails and joints, she explains. “My skin and joints changed,” she said.
Ling prides herself on being an avid reader. if in, books“I tag them like crazy and highlight them,” she says. During the production, she collected The Cure, Aftershock: A Memoir, This Is What You Think About Plants, and Fiona and Jane. “I really want to read about every aspect of healing because our world needs it right now,” she said. She’s especially vocal about this new nonfiction memoir, in which a traveling emergency doctor uses his travels to remote areas to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mind you, this isn’t your grandfather’s beef jerky. Ling’s choice, grass-fed beef that’s free of hormones and nitrates, packs 9 grams of protein in each smoky flavor bar. “It was the first snack I took out of my backpack,” she said. During the 2022 HSBC Sriracha shortage, Ling kept an extra bottle on hand. “I don’t usually do that,” she said, “but I need hot sauce on everything!”
“I’m always cold!” Ling said. solution? A well-insulated down jacket that is rolled into a ball and fits easily in a carry-on bag. (FYI, Ling’s own Patagonia ultralight down jacket is currently out of stock.) “It’s important to have something you can wear when the weather turns nice,” she says.
Yes, yes, yes, Ling wears sturdy black Doc Martens and Charles and David boots while working in the field. Now let’s talk about important hotel room footwear. “I always carry a pair of flip-flops and keep them next to the bed because I don’t like my feet touching the ground,” she said. Socks are a no-no: “I can’t sleep in socks I wear all day, they’re a pain to wear when you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night!”
Even before the pandemic, Ling (who admits to being “germ-obsessive”) was diligent about cleaning her airplane seats, rental cars and hotel rooms with wipes. (For remotes, that’s double.) “After COVID, my habits haven’t changed much,” she says. “My eccentricity makes sense!”
More from the essentials list:
• Michael Strahan on what he brought on the road
• Phil Keoghan shares his top road products