With a two-decade career on television and more than 2 million Instagram followers, actress Busy Philipps knows how to keep our attention.
Known for her roles on the network dramas Dawson’s Creek and Freaks and Geeks, Philipps has parlayed her active social media presence into her own late-night talk show, Busy Tonight, which shot over 105 episodes for E! before ending its run this May.
Now that she has a little more flexibility in her schedule for travel, Philipps has partnered with HotelTonight, an app that encourages users to travel spontaneously by linking them with unsold hotel rooms. On a recent trip to New York, Philipps talked to Adweek about how people can benefit from traveling on a whim—even families with kids in tow.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
What brings you to New York?
Philipps: They reached out to me, HotelTonight. Like all the brands I work with, this is truly an authentic connection, since it’s an app I’ve used many times over the last several years.
They’re doing a really cool thing, trying to encourage people to be a little bit more spontaneous with their travel, which is hard for people to get their heads around sometimes. Some people plan their vacations six months in advance; they have a whole itinerary printed out.
Are you a vacation planner?
My husband [screenwriter Marc Silverstein] and I, our work schedules are always in flux, and the girls [Birdie and Cricket] are in school, but it’s happened in the last several years [that] Marc will say, ‘Did you know the girls don’t have school Friday? I didn’t know that.’
All of a sudden when you have children, there are all these days off. So, let’s drive to Palm Springs, let’s stay for the weekend. Let’s go to Santa Barbra. We haven’t been to San Diego in five years. Let’s go there. We started taking these very spontaneous, drivable trips. It’s fun.
Is it difficult to travel spontaneously with two children?
It’s fun doing it with the kids. It’s more participatory. There are a lot of different choices to make; it’s like a choose your own adventure. ‘Guys, I read about a museum over here, or do we want to go to see a giant statue of Marilyn Monroe?’ And then the kids are like, ‘Who’s Marylin Monroe? I want to see the giant statue!’
They become a part of the experience; it’s a little bit more memorable. Also, your expectations are lowered on a spontaneous trip, so everything is a pleasant surprise.
What do you bring with you?
I always have a canvas grocery bag with me. You pick up so much stuff in a different city. In Los Angeles, plastic bags are very much frowned upon. I always have a cute canvas bag, whether I need to throw sunscreen in there or a sweater, or if I’m out shopping.
Have you ever used a travel agent?
When I was pregnant with Cricket, we were trying to travel with a friend of ours who was really adamant that we use his travel agent, so we did. But mostly we like to do it ourselves, just because we’re really particular and we like to be flexible.
On one of your Instagram Stories, I saw you meditated on the plane ride to New York. Is that something you frequently do when you travel?
That was cool, I just started five days ago. It was my first time. I’ll probably do it again; it was a very chill way to pass the time. It’s been suggested to me for years because I have anxiety and a lot of stress. I did a course with a teacher, and this is Day 6. They want you to do it twice a day, 20 minutes each time.