There are celebrities who have turned oversharing into a dubious but rewarding art form. And then there’s Rachel Bilson, best known for her roles on “The OC” and “Hart of Dixie.” She’s outgoing, charming, and extremely honest, but if you didn’t know better, you’d assume Bilson was the opposite of voluble.
Here’s the thing: All you have to do is listen to her new Broad Ideas podcast, co-hosted with her best friend Olivia Allen, to quickly learn that with Bilson, nothing is off limits. Her guests, including Kristen Bell, Mandy Moore and Aubrey Plaza, talk about devastating breakups, difficult pregnancies and even more devastating style choices.
“It just felt like the timing was perfect in terms of wanting to create a space, primarily for women, to be open, transparent, from my home,” says Bilson. “Everything fell into place and it just felt right.
“I’ve learned that it’s okay to talk about tampon threads. Or the birth experience that was horrible. And we’re pretty detailed in some of our themed episodes. They are pretty raw, but I feel it too, why not? Why can’t we talk about this?”
Now that she’s slowly emerging from the Covid-related lockdowns, Bilson is also resuming her travel routine. But what are the comfort items she always carries with her? Here’s what’s always in your handbag when you travel.
$129 at Patagonia
When she travels, Bilson needs a bag that can deliver—and that bag is called the Black Hole. It has two removable shoulder pads for use as a backpack and a capacity of 40 liters. “I’m a backpack hoarder — I have a lot of backpacks,” she says. “I keep buying backpacks, but the one that never fails is the Patagonia Black Hole. I’m telling you, this is the best delivery I’ve ever experienced in all my long years.”
The Patagonia Black Hole is available in four sizes – 40 litres, 55 litres, 70 liters and 100 liters – and comes in a variety of colors to suit any style. It’s made from an incredibly durable fabric that will stand up to all your travel adventures, and the padded, removable shoulder straps are great for easy carrying.
$30.10 $20.96 at Amazon
Bilson leaves nothing to chance when dealing with germs. “I’m a crazy over-planner,” she says. “So even before the pandemic, I was the person who had my Clorox wipes, Purell wipes, everything, to wipe down the whole area.”
This value pack is perfect, as it comes with both tissue boxes and packs – the latter is great for travel. Put one of the resealable packets in your carry-on bag and you’ll have enough sanitizing power for your flight and when you arrive at your hotel.
$719.99 at Amazon
While she brings an Apple iPad for her daughter, she doesn’t fool herself either. “I would always upload stuff to my iPad and binge shows because it’s the only time you have uninterrupted time to binge — and it’s great,” says Bilson. “I do a little reality check when I’m on a plane, ‘Bachelor In Paradise is up there [as] one of my favorites”.
The fifth-generation Apple iPad Air is a great option for air travel, as it has all-day battery life and a clear 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display. Customize your iPad Air with the color of your choice: Blue, Purple, Pink, Starlight or Space Grey. Check out our full Apple iPad Air review here.
$129.95 From $79.95 on Amazon
Bilson likes “a wire” when she brings her headphones on board. “I’m not going to do Bluetooth — I’m anti-Bluetooth,” she says, opting for a lightweight over-ear model with a built-in microphone. Plus, they’re battery-free, so there’s no need to recharge them on the go. And when it comes to playing in-flight entertainment, with wired headphones, there’s no need for a Bluetooth adapter to get sound straight to your headphones. You can just connect and listen.
$275 at Jenni Kayne
For Bilson, comfort comes before anything else. And while others may dance in heels, Bilson is quite happy with her soft shoes. “I’m very old-fashioned. I like a real book – if I’m going to read a book. I’m secretly 80 years old inside,” Bilson says. “I’ve got my cozy socks and my slippers on. I love the Jenni Kayne slippers if you are going higher. They are very comfortable.”
Bilson’s favorite Jenni Kayne Moroccan Slippers are a cutting-edge shoe with an incredibly comfortable suede exterior. Reviewers say they’re so soft and comfortable you won’t want to take them off.
$7 at Target
Along with her slippers, Bilson is a big fan of keeping her feet on the comfortable side with a pair of cozy socks. “My cozy socks are from Target—I like to mix and match,” she says. “But I’m a big advocate for comfortable feet.” This pack of cozy socks comes complete with two pairs. They are low cut so will fit in most shoes and are lightweight to avoid overheating your feet.
$175 at Nordstrom
Bilson is a big believer in the healing powers of the elastic waist and the forgiveness of the elastic fabric. “Butots are my uniform. Aviator Nation are the softest, the coziest, the dreamiest,” she says. “You have to be comfortable. Also, never fly with jumpers because you can’t pee, and like I said, I’m 80 years old, so I pee about 10 times in one flight. I’m the person who always gets up to use the bathroom.”
This sweatshirt from Aviator Nation is a great option for commuters. It has a vintage feel, having gone through an intensive decay process. Reviewers rave about the design and feel of this sweatshirt. You’re sure to get compliments while walking through the airport.
$215 at Nordstrom
While Bilson is a fan of Aviator Nation products because of how they feel, her heart is with The Great when it comes to style. “The big ones are the cutest,” she says. This floral print cotton sweatshirt has a relaxed fit with a fun and delicate hand-embossed floral motif.
$72 on Amazon
Like the professional traveler that she is, Bilson makes sure her noggin has a place to rest. “I actually bring a real pillow, but I put two pillowcases on top of it because once I get to the country, I have to take off the dirty case that was on the plane,” she says. This pillow from Coop Home Goods is customizable to your needs, so you get the right support for a good night’s sleep on every flight.
11 dollars $8.66 on Amazon
Bilson is super-retro when it comes to her on-air beauty. The Lip Smacker lover loves a special taste that is actually hard to find. “What I always carry with me … is Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker,” she says. “Because it’s hydrating, but it’s also a little bit of color. So if you think you need a little something, this is always in my bag,” she says.
As we mentioned, the taste of Dr. Pepper is hard to find – and you’ll have to pay upwards of $30 for a stick if you can find it. Alternatively, try other soda-themed Lip Smackers to find your favorite.
$112 at Kaze Origins
Mask mandates may come and go, but Bilson is a permanent convert. “I will never fly without a mask for the rest of my life,” she says. “I like really heavy masks, but I also like Kaze – they make comfortable KN95 masks. Kaze fits me best and it fits my daughter,” she says.
Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as ours the best travel credit cards of 2022.