New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty has had a busy off-season. Not only has the five-year defensive captain been one of the team’s top ambassadors for community engagement, he and his twin brother, Jason, who plays for the Tennessee Titans, have been busy with their foundation (www.tacklesicklecell.org) to help raise money for and awareness of sickle cell anemia. On top of that, McCourty, 28, and his fiance, Michelle Powell, just bought a home in New Jersey and are planning their wedding for later this month. We caught up with the Nyack, N.Y., native (who lives in Alpine, N.J., during the off-season and in Foxborough in-season) to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation spot? I would have to say Aruba, because it’s really easygoing and is a lively, happy place. Whether we were at the beach doing water activities or we were at a nice restaurant, there were a lot of people out there having a great time — and my fiance and I had a great time, too.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing? Best food I’ve had on vacation was in Anguilla, where I had something called spiny lobster. It was the best. The texture and the flavor of it were different than how we cook lobster up here.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? Europe. My fiance and I want to go away for like two weeks and hit a bunch of different countries. My brother went to Greece and he told me how much fun that was.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? I have to have my headphones. Sometimes even if I’m not listening to music, I have them on so I don’t have to listen to all of the noise on the plane. And a hat or hoodie to help me go to sleep.
Aisle or window? Window. I lay my head on the window and I usually fall asleep.
Favorite childhood travel memory? My grandparents on my father’s side and my aunt moved to Orlando when we were 9, and I’ll never forget going to visit them. It was our first time flying and we were nervous. Our ears popped and everything. But we got to go to Universal Studios, and I still remember rides like Back to the Future and Jaws. We had a great time and I’ll never forget it.
Guilty pleasure when traveling? I bring a ton of candy with me in my book bag to eat on the plane or in the airport, and if I don’t, I’ll usually go in one of the airport stores and get one or two bags of the overpriced candy. My favorites are usually peanut M&Ms, Smarties, or purple Skittles.
Best travel tip? I would say choose your travel time wisely. I hate having to go to or from the airport during rush hour.