Five Miles Up ... with Coté de Pablo

Bekah Wright

On the long-running CBS crime procedural NCIS, Coté de Pablo’s character, Ziva David, is sexy but lethal, with a keen set of spidey senses. In real life, the native Chilean loves the challenge of traveling on the edge: Her favorite journeys are undertaken map-free.

What’s something you never fail to pack in your suitcase for a trip?
Two things: moisturizer and sandals that work whether I’m going to museums or nice restaurants.

Carry-on or check-in?
Depends on the trip. If I’m going for a week at the beach, it’s a carry-on because there’s nothing to pack. If I’m going to Italy for a month, I have to check-in.

Window or aisle?
Window.

What’s your idea of the perfect vacation?
I think vacations serve different purposes. There are the kinds where you stay by a beach, have a couple of margaritas and be with someone you love. Those are usually quick ones. Longer vacations are usually in cities like Paris, Rome or New York. They involve a stay at a comfortable hotel that doesn’t need to be luxurious, as well as dinners, lunches, museums, wandering around and getting lost and not using a map, trying to melt into the culture. That’s my favorite thing.

Any great “lost” moments?
Two years ago, we drove through Italy and had no reservations whatsoever. One afternoon, we got lost in this town where everything was closed for siesta. We were starving, so knocked on a restaurant door and got kicked out. Then, this tiny, shriveled up, lovely Italian lady popped out from a back door and said, “Would you like some pasta?” She fed us wine and pasta; everything made in her own kitchen. By not having everything planned to a T, there was spontaneity and magic.

Favorite hotel, resort or yurt you've ever stayed in?
In Porto Ercole in Tuscany -- Il Pellicano, The Pelican.

Biggest regret you've ever had while on vacation.
I feel like I’m not really exploring if I’m not moving at all times, so I need to remind myself to just take it easy -- that part of vacation is just relaxing, lounging around and not doing too much.

The one thing you're willing to splurge on above all else
Food.