At Bloomberg Pursuits, we love to travel. And we always want to make sure we’re doing it right. So we’re talking to globe-trotters in all of our luxury fields—food, wine, fashion, cars, real estate—to learn about their high-end hacks, tips, and off-the-wall experiences. These are the Distinguished Travel Hackers.
Schele Williams started her career as a dancer, actor, and singer on Broadway. She was part of the original cast of Aida and performed in 42nd Street and Rent, in which she was the glass-shattering soloist for the song Seasons of Love. Williams then segued to directing, with credits such as the national tour of Motown: The Musical and multiple benefits and events, including the marriage-equality-promoting Defying Inequality starring Liza Minnelli. Her next project is directing a top-secret musical production with Disney, set to bow in 2020.
The daughter of the drummer in Ohio Players, she traveled constantly as a child. “It’s always been in my blood, and my dad is 68 and still on tour,” says Williams, who now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.
Williams logs about 80,000 miles in the air each year. Her favorite airline is JetBlue for domestic trips, while Marc Newson’s business-class seats on Qantas are her choice internationally.
Think like a construction worker to always have great coffee when traveling.
Coffee is not only essential, it is a religious experience for me. I’ve taken a lot of red-eyes, and I used to wake up before arrival with this nagging dread of the impending crappy brown water in a cup the size of a thimble. This is a solvable problem, and now I never take a trip without my Stanley French press travel thermos. It’s what fancy construction workers carry with them—it’s so well-made, it’s steel. I prep the press with good coffee from home, like La Colombe, along with a Tupperware of extra ground coffee that travels in my suitcase. Whenever I need a coffee on the plane, I simply go to the flight attendants’ station and ask them to fill my thermos with hot water.
I often don’t pack gym shoes because they take up so much space in your luggage. Instead, I’m a big proponent of exercise bands. These tiny little bands are the size of socks and fold up to absolutely nothing. And they give you that resistance. So you can do your arms and legs in your room.
Embrace the bus—and take a booze cruise—in new cities.
I tell everyone: “Take the bus!” I love taking local transportation, and I do prefer it be above ground. Buses and trams allow you to travel slowly, and I can see where I’m going. I can clock how they pronounce the name of things, too. In Berlin, if you take Bus 100, you’re going through Winged Victory, you’re going through the Brandenburger Tor. You’re literally seeing all the sites on East and West on this one bus. If I’m in a “water city”—Budapest, Vienna, Amsterdam—I like to take a booze cruise the night that I arrive. It’s going to sound totally touristy and gross, but I love it. You get on that booze cruise, and you get oriented in the city. Because what it’s going to show you is the water view of all of these sites. And you’re going to get a little primer about them. And then you decide what you actually want to see. Plus, it really helps you stay awake if you’ve just arrived in Europe from America.