My Travel Tales: Shay Mitchell

The adventurous actress from Pretty Little Liars, which begins airing its final episodes April 18, recalls her fondest travel memories

My Travel Tales: Shay Mitchell

Hanging with Rwandan Gorillas

I did a hike in Rwanda to see the silverback gorillas. I loved it so much that I went back again. It’s a completely natural experience. They’re not tagged or watched all the time. The gorillas live the same way as they normally would, except we can visit them. It’s up close—but not too close. I got lucky and saw the same family I’d seen the year before. The little baby was a bit bigger. It was an amazing experience to see in person, not just on National Geographic Channel.

Morocco Makeover
I loved walking around the Moroccan souks looking at all the shoes, garments, everything. I was constantly ooh-ing and aah-ing over the décor. I wanted to decorate my entire house with everything I could find. I ended up buying this buffet table for my dining room. little container to ship stuff bought three rugs for but it wasn’t enough. The were more expensive than getting them in Morocco.

Freefalling in Dubai
I missed a connecting flight and ended up having to stay in Dubai for a night. My luggage was still on the plane, so what do you do when you’re in Dubai for 24 hours without any clothes? You go skydiving! I’ve learned that you need to roll with the punches sometimes. Who knows when I would be back again? I’ve skydived before all over the world, but doing it in Dubai was amazing because from the plane, you can see the Palm, which is this series of man-made islands—stunning.

Tulum Taco Hunt
I had a fun adventure in Tulum one New Year’s, trying to find a taco place at three in the morning. When I’m hungry, I’m hungry. Tulum is small. It’s not like Cancun. Not many vendors are open at that time, but I will find food—even if there’s only one person cooking. My lack of Spanish didn’t help. I had to use hand signals to find those tacos. I’ve learned that from traveling. When you can’t speak the language, hand signals work wonders.

Shay's Must-Pack List

I’m the snack lady. I was once caught in a blizzard and stayed in a hotel that didn’t have any room service. I was so hungry. I had this one pack of almonds to last me through the night. After that, I always have nuts and protein bars with me. You never know when you’re going to need them.

Face Masks
I usually have face masks in my bag because when you’re traveling on planes, you get really dehydrated. I’ve had my fair share of scaring the person sitting next to me on the plane. I remember one guy fell asleep, and when he woke up, I looked like Jason from Friday the 13th.

It’s surprising how handy socks are when traveling. When I go through the airport, I put them on when I have to take off my shoes. I bring fuzzy, comfy socks. It’s not a fashion show. They can be any kind of print. I tend to throw the hilarious looking ones in my bag.