Gail Simmons Of Top Chef's Travel Essentials

The Top Chef judge tells us her tips for delicious travel

Gail Simmons, of Top Chef and Food & Wine fame, has made an art out of eating on the road.

She has reason: Between her filming schedule, book tours, food festivals and wanderlust, Simmons estimates that she travels about four months of the year.

Her key to keeping her wits? Preparation. "I make Excel charts of what I need to pack for every trip," she admits. "My husband laughed at me at first, but it keeps me sane and so now he appreciates it–I'm nicer to travel with because I don't forget anything I need."

She always makes sure to have snacks on hand for the frequent unanticipated delays. "I'm also known to head out of the airport for a good meal during a layover; if I have more than an hour, I'll risk it and go hunt down a good meal," she says.

Next week, Simmons is heading out to sea on the first-ever Top Chef cruise; she'll be joined by Tom Colicchio and several cast members from past seasons on a four-day trip through the Caribbean.

We asked Simmons for a peek inside her bag (a gorgeous Phillip Lim satchel). See the slide show of her travel essentials here