Modern Family Star Jesse Tyler Ferguson Shares His Top Travel Planning Tips

Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson is no Rick Steves or Samantha Brown, but he knows a thing or two about travel. You may know him because of "Modern Family" and his string of Broadway shows; but unbeknownst to most people, he's also a big foodie, with a cooking blog, a food-focused podcast, and a cookbook to boot. In fact, it's his love affair with food that took him places, from eating at the famous restaurant Pujol in Mexico to exploring spices in Istanbul to gobbling copious amounts of croissants in Paris. He's been all over the world, making him a pretty reliable authority on trip planning.

His number one tip? Don't overdo it, unless you're traveling with kids who need to be constantly stimulated with activities. He emphasizes the importance of living in the moment and planning some downtime, something most travelers neglect to do when they go on trips. "I'm a big proponent of not overplanning," he told Reader's Digest. "I think it's important to overplan with kids, to have things set up, visit attractions and have things to do. When it's just adults, it's like, having time to just read a book for an hour or two — isn't that great?!"

Know your non-negotiables when packing

When packing for a trip, whether it's a nearby destination or a lengthy sojourn on the opposite side of the globe, you can make the process faster and easier if you already have an idea of your non-negotiables. These are things that you can't function without and therefore need to go into your luggage first. When you have these packed and ready to go, everything else becomes secondary. You won't feel frustrated mid-trip upon realizing that you left behind, say, your travel adapter.

In Jesse Tyler Ferguson's case, his non-negotiable is a hand steamer to keep his clothes wrinkle-free, along with packing cubes, a book, and a sturdy roller suitcase. He also makes it a point to assemble a small bag packed with necessities. "I have a really good Adopt kit with the essentials," he shared with The Manual. "I always have that packed and ready to go so I can easily toss it into my suitcase and not have to worry about emptying it out and putting the essentials back in."

If you can hack it, Ferguson also suggests skipping check-in luggage altogether and sticking with your carry-on. "Try and carry on as much as possible," he told Haute Living. "Now, there's no excuse for winter jackets or heavy clothing, so if you can carry on, it makes getting from your airport to the hotel so much easier."

Don't sweat the small stuff

While it's important to be meticulous with trip planning, especially when you have crucial considerations like budget and comfort, you may want to opt for the simpler methods once in a while to take the stress out of the process. Jesse Tyler Ferguson extolls the use of all-in-one booking tools for trip planning, so you can sit down, do everything in one fell swoop, and call it a day. "I used to be better at multitasking and going to four different websites to figure out what's best, but now as a father, I want to make this as simple as possible," he told E! News, noting that he has partnered with a great site for consolidating flights, accommodations, and activities. "Citi Travel made it incredibly easy to do it. It's perfect for me."

Most importantly, Ferguson wants you to focus and be present. You don't need to be rushing and on the verge of ripping your hair out all the time. Yes, thorough planning is important, but it shouldn't compromise your peace and enjoyment. "I want to spend my time packing, getting things ready, and actually enjoying vacation, and spend less of that time stressing out about what to do and how to do it," Ferguson shared with EatingWell. "[Citi Travel with] basically takes that part of it off of the table for me and makes it super easy."