Serena Williams’ athletic accomplishments speak for themselves: 23 major single titles to her name, for starters. But if there’s something Williams is an expert in other than tennis, it’s travel. Williams is constantly on the go – in fact, at the time this article was published, she was in Melbourne for the Australian Open. It’s fitting then that the world-renowned athlete is launching a travel collection with American travel company Away.
The Away x Serena collection, available today, features hard-shell and soft-shell luggage in four different sizes with rouge exteriors and multicoloured camo print interiors, as well as packing cubes and shoe cubes. It’s the first drop of many, says Williams.
“This partnership with Away is exciting because we’re not just collaborating on a single product line,” Williams told us via email. “While I can’t share too much, any new products and experiences coming up will share the same bold spirit and style that we debuted with this collection.” Expect to see more from the Away x Serena collection later this year.
Below, Williams shares her packing tips and travel essentials.
What drew you to working with Away?
Travel is obviously a huge part of my life, and so is finding ways to make it a better experience, which is how I first discovered Away. I was instantly drawn to their ability to fix some of travel’s most common problems and the way they inspire people to do and see more of our world.
I’m also passionate about design and have always wanted to create my own travel collection. Away immediately stood out as the perfect partner to bring this dream of mine to life. During our partnership, I’ve added my personal touches to the design, while also being provided with Away’s expertise throughout the process.
How has creating your own fashion line informed designing luggage and bags for this collection?
Launching my fashion line was an incredible experience for me, and it’s something that continues to allow me to tap into my creative side. The eye I’ve developed from designing my collections definitely influenced the way I approached this collaboration. I knew which aspects of myself and how I travel that I wanted to see in each element of the product and design. I love the final look and feel that we landed on. It is truly a reflection of what I envisioned from the start.
What was your inspiration for the design of the collection?
Our goal was to create a collection that really felt like me, with bold pieces that stand out from what you always see on the road. I didn’t want to change anything that makes Away’s luggage so thoughtful, so we kept a lot of the technical features that people already know and love. But it was important to me to see my personality and style reflected in the design, which is why I chose bright red and multicolour camo. The colours and the camo print found on the interior lining and luggage tag are all custom to this collaboration, so anyone who travels with a bag from this line will know that they have something truly unique.
What are some of your travel essentials?
I aim for comfort above all else when I’m traveling. For me, that usually means I am wearing black leggings, a sweat jacket, and comfortable shoes or sneakers. In my backpack I always carry two laptops, two iPads, multiple chargers and a pair of big headphones. And I never travel without my stuffed monkey Max and my Moana blanket!
How do you prep when travelling for business vs. pleasure?
Because I spend so much time traveling and most trips serve more than one purpose, I have my routine down and it stays pretty consistent. Though I try my best to travel light, it’s not always possible. Typically, I can get away with packing slightly less for vacations, so that might mean one less checked suitcase than when I’m traveling for work.
My airport habits look the same when I’m traveling for work or for fun. I try not to spend too much time at the airport before boarding, so I time my arrival perfectly to arrive at the gate just as the doors open! I might make time to grab snacks, but that’s it.
What is your in-flight routine? Do you try to sleep? Watch movies? Catch up on work? Any products you swear by to make flights more enjoyable?
On the plane, I like to spend time catching up with my team and reviewing my upcoming schedule, or squeezing in a quick nap whenever I can. I’m lucky because I can fall asleep quickly. Flying tends to dry out my skin, so when I’m not asleep on long flights, you can find me doing a hydrating face mask or gel mask for my under eyes.
What’s your packing routine like?
For me, the most important part of packing is staying organized and maximizing space, which is also probably the biggest challenge for many travellers (including myself!). A good tip before you even start to pack is to make lists in your iPhone Notes app, so you stay on track by packing exactly what you’ll need.
I also swear by Packing Cubes and Shoe Cubes as a way to pack smarter and stay organized, which is why I knew I wanted to include them in this collaboration. The Packing Cubes are a game changer because you can group your clothes by type, day or destination, so that you don’t need to dig through your suitcase looking for that one item. Shoe Cubes are also great for organization, keeping pairs together and separating them from your other belongings.
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