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July/August 2005 | Tripping with Amy Sedaris

July/August 2005 | Tripping with Amy Sedaris

Amy Sedaris gabs about the color of her travel bags, why she starts stockpiling hotel mini shampoo bottles around the month of October, and why you'll never catch her in a fluffy white hotel bathrobe

Amy Sedaris is all over the map: This summer she channels the nosy Mrs. Kravitz in Bewitched (shot in Los Angeles), and in September she reprises her role as the omnisexual 47-year-old high school freshman Jerri Blank in the movie version of Comedy Central’s cult classic Strangers With Candy (shot in New Jersey). And though her star continues to brighten, to shamelessly paraphrase the latter show’s opening credit sequence, her travel hassles are just the same.

Have you traveled recently?
I’m not a very good traveler. I’m a homebody and I don’t like to pack or go out to the airport in any way. The only thing I like about an airplane is that I get to read for that long. I’m just not really good at knowing what to pack. I bring too much. I don’t like living out of a suitcase. I do like vacations if they involve work. First thing I do is, I’ll go the YMCA and find some lame Pilates class or something. I’ve been to visit David [Amy’s famous gay brother] in France and London and Normandy.

Would you ever live outside of the country?
I fantasize about living in Spain. I’ve never been, but I really want to go. But I’ve been to Italy, Greece, France, and England. That’s not much, huh?

Has [your Strangers With Candy alter ego] Jerri Blank traveled much?
Yeah, she’s been to Thailand, she’s been everywhere! But she’s from Florida. I went to Miami a couple years ago and I stopped in Fort Lauderdale to rent a car. It was so pathetic to me and sad that I thought, Yeah, Jerri Blank is from here.

Was it worth the hassle flying from your apartment in New York to Hollywood to film Bewitched?
It was the biggest picture I’ve ever done! It was exciting! I liked how big the crew was. Just a lot more people than you need. The wardrobe department made my dress by hand, and hair and makeup created the look, so that was exciting for me.

How do you make a hotel room more like home?
I usually don’t, because my home is my home and I don’t like to fool myself when I travel. I love hotel rooms, and I get so excited when I get to see my room. I put everything in the drawers and put out all my makeup and emollients. I usually have a candle and travel with a couple of pictures, and then I’ll stack my books that I’m reading. You know, I’ll set up! And I always ask for something with a kitchenette in case I want to make something.

Do you steal the mini shampoo bottles from hotels?
I used to. Because I used to give them out for Halloween when I lived in Chicago. I traveled with Second City [comedy troupe], so I went everywhere. I collected them all and thought, That’ll be a great present for Halloween.

Do you dress up in hotel robes?
No, they’re always so big and thirsty! And they’re hard to do anything in.

What kind of travel bags do you have?
I actually use an old GAP one. It’s canary yellow with flowers on it so I can’t miss it. Not the kind that pull behind you because I don’t like to get behind those people, especially on the street.

Any travel advice?
I like how businessmen travel. For example, my brother David travels so much when he does readings that he’s really good at being like a businessperson--knowing how to get on and off the plane the quickest, what you have to grab, how much you can carry. [Also], you really have to keep your skin going--it can dry out really bad on an airplane! And if you see someone reading next to you don’t start chit-chatting. Usually when someone starts chit-chatting I put my finger where the word is and then I’ll look at them--cause that’s telling them, ‘Look, I’m going back to this! You know what I mean? We’re not buddies here!’

Do you like to watch movies on the plane?
No, because then it tells me how much time I’ve been on the plane. If I watch something, that’s only two hours. I’d rather be reading and have no clue what time it is.

In another interview you said your mom’s advice was, “Don’t bother other people and always have change on the airplane for drinks.” Are you an in-flight drinker?
I’m not a big drinker, but I always make sure I have Xanax on me. I used to sleep all the way to L.A. I would just knock myself out and wake up…with blood on my ass. [Laughs] No, now I just read. I don’t sleep anymore. Sometimes I get to fly first class, which is nice, but I don’t like the attention. Sometimes you sit next to someone who has always traveled first class and they’re really annoying--you always think they’re going to knock over their glass of wine because they’re digging through their bag and their elbows are flying and they’re oblivious to anyone around them--and that’s just hard!

You traveled for the first time on a private jet to the Sundance Film Festival this year.
Yeah, if you’re used to traveling like that, you just get further and further away from people. You miss out on making fun of people. I just love watching people travel: the luggage, the makeup at 7 o’ clock in the morning, the families when they get off the plane and see each other--I love that moment. One time my friend Paul went to North Carolina with me for the first time and he was making fun of us being hillbillies, and I was like, Paul, it’s not like that, and the minute we got off the plane there was a guy who popped a cigarette in his mouth with his foot and lit it…the state fair was in town. Isn’t that hilarious--he didn’t have any arms. So they miss out on all those things that make travel so interesting.

Are you a member of the mile high club?
I don’t pay attention. I’m not that obsessive. I’ve never used the miles plus.

No, no, no, I mean the mile high club?
Oh, you mean the admirals club? I fucking love the admirals club!

No, I mean the mile high club, which means you’ve had sex on a plane!
Oh, my God, here I’m bragging about the business lunch I get. No, never, are you kidding?

I heard that you make and sell cheese balls out of your Manhattan apartment. Is that true?
Absolutely. I delivered 22 cupcakes today and now I sell my cheese balls at the Gourmet Garage here in New York City. They’re good to travel with for under two hours ’cause they need to be room temp--so you can put ’em in your travel bag.

No problems getting ’em past security?
No, it’s food!

Well, who knows, you may have a box cutter hidden in it.
Box cutter--yeah, that’s me. Sorry, that’s my box cutter! No, I don’t try to get away with anything. If I’m traveling with pot, that’s the only thing that’s tricky.

Name one thing you always travel with…besides pot.
A friend gave me one of those oversize magnifying glasses. I travel with that. It’s heavy. And it’s really big. I like having a big magnifying glass when I can’t read really small print.

Another expert packing tip from Amy Sedaris!
[Laughs] Oh, yeah, people aren’t going to listen to me! And pack all the knobs on your oven! They’re going to be like, she’s out of her mind!

The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. We suggest that you confirm all details directly with the establishments mentioned before making travel plans. Please feel free to e-mail us at if you have any new information.
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