Grace Bonney: An Interview With a Successful Design-Blog Entrepreneur and Traveler

GraceBonneyIf you are familiar with the world of design, it’s likely you already know exactly who Grace Bonney is. She started her own site, Design*Sponge, in 2004, and for the past 3 years it’s been her full-time job. She’s now one of the most talked about names in the space, with a list of mentions too long to count. She’s also an avid traveler so we asked her some questions about where she likes to go and how she pulls it off.

Who: Grace Bonney, Brooklyn-based writer

Blog: Design*Sponge, a daily website dedicated to home and product design.

What is your favorite packing trick?

Dark jeans. They can be dressed up or down and really cut down on bulk. I usually bring a light jacket that I can dress down in the day with a t-shirt and dress up at night with nicer shoes and a silk shirt. That way I have more room in my suitcase for design goodies to bring home 😉

Do you have a luxury item that you don’t leave home without?

Sonia Dakar face products. I’m a nut about skincare so I always travel with her face soaps, lotions and masks. They’re perfect for feeling refreshed after a long flight or train ride (hotel soaps always make me feel dried out). Plus, the smell reminds me of home and makes me instantly feel more comfortable wherever I am.

Do you have a repeat-offender destination?

Right now I’m really loving Los Angeles. I think it gets a bad rap in my little corner of the world so I’ve learned to embrace — and love — all of its highs and lows.

What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve eaten while on the road?

Hmmm… I’m actually way more adventurous when I’m at home. I had a bad food experience studying abroad in college and it’s kept me away from some truly crazy things in recent years. I’m a lot riskier when I’m near my own apartment and doctor 😉

Backpack or wheelie?

Backpack, all the way.

What is your favorite travel destination that might surprise people?

I love Miami. It’s so “not me” but everyone needs to wear short clothing and high heels sometimes…

Where would you go if you were given a one-week 5-star vacation anywhere in the world?

New Zealand. I’ve been dying to go there for years.

Do you have a favorite travel tip that isn’t on the usual lists?

I’m a big fan of “buy local.” It’s fun to support local shops – and to pack light. So I normally under pack for travel and buy a few new pieces of clothing, small or large, in the town I’m visiting.

What is your favorite airline and why?

Alitalia, hands down. Best flight I ever took: New York City to Rome. Amazing food, and great service.

What is the cheapest hotel or hostel room you’ve ever stayed in?

Oh lord. It was in Amsterdam in the Red Light District. The word “Durty” was in the title. Enough said. I’m pretty sure people were doing some serious drugs in the bunk below me.
(editor’s note: That would be Durty Nelly’s on Warmoesstraat)

What’s the nicest hotel you’ve ever stayed in?

We haven’t stayed in a super fancy hotel in a while, but I’m always a fan of the Viceroy in Santa Monica.

Aside from this one, what is your favorite travel-oriented website? I love Anne’s “Passport” series.

What destination deserves to be more popular than it is?

Savannah, Georgia. I’m trying to get people to go there on a daily basis. It’s my favorite city in the world – once you go it’s impossible to forget.

Have you ever visited a well-known attraction and regretted it later?

I’ll have to say, i was a bit disappointed in the Eiffel Tower. That sounds horrible, but it was a big maze of lines and tourists, and the view was always blocked by people with cameras and tour group signs. I wish I’d stayed on the ground and looked from there.

What is your favorite museum in the world and why?

That’s easy- the Natural History Museum in New York City. I love the vintage signage and displays – they’re like walking back in time.