New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is everywhere. Cover of the June 2016 GQ magazine? Check. Cover of the upcoming Madden NFL 2017? Check. Host of a television show (debuting in July) called "Crashletes" on Nickelodeon? Check. Oh, and he's also one of the best — and most popular — players in the National Football League. The upstate New York native, 27, who lives in Foxborough, said he loves to travel anywhere it's warm and there's a beach, and said he had a hoot on Gronk's Party Ship, a three-day cruise he hosted in February. We caught up with the 6-foot-6-inch All-Pro to talk all things travel.
Favorite vacation spot?
I like anywhere with a beach. A beach and warm weather is all I really need. I like going to Florida — to Miami and to visit my mom in Fort Meyers. I also like going out to California and to the beaches there. As long as I have beaches, some good friends around me, it's 75 degrees and sunny, I'm good.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing?
Since it's a vacation, I take a break from eating my real healthy meals, so I bend a little bit. I go with the chicken fingers: chicken fingers with barbecue sauce, then dipped in ranch or blue cheese [dressing], whichever one is available.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?
One of the places I'd like to travel to is Ibiza, off the coast of Spain. I keep hearing great things about it, like how beautiful it is, how cool of an atmosphere it is, but I just never really had the chance in the offseason yet. Hopefully one day I can get there.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?
Headphones. When traveling, you've got to put on the headphones and listen to music while you're walking by everyone so you don't keep getting bothered, you know what I mean? That's my technique. Also, listening to music gives you a sense of peacefulness when traveling.
Aisle or window?
I prefer the window with either no one next to me or a friend next to me and falling asleep. With a friend next to you, you feel comfortable no matter what position you're in. You know it's your boy; you can be leaning on him, he can be leaning on you.
Favorite childhood travel memory?
Going to Myrtle Beach [in South Carolina] every year as a family. We drove from Buffalo in a conversion van, and just being with my family. . . . Those were just the best times. With my four brothers we definitely had fights. Being in a car was just like being anywhere else. It was the best.
Guilty pleasure when traveling?
The eating. That's when I take off. I work hard to get the body right and then I kind of just go off the map when on vacation. I love eating and just going all out with whatever's in front of me. All good stuff, and I like doing ice cream on vacations. Favorite flavor? Cookies and cream.
Best travel tip?
Find a way to sleep on the plane. It will save you so much time and help keep you from being jetlagged. So if say you've got to stay up the night before and only get two hours of sleep, but then can sleep the whole plane ride, do that. Find whatever it takes to sleep on the plane. If I'm flying Boston to LA, I'll pull an all-nighter so I sleep the whole flight — six hours, that's a whole night of sleep. Then you're not jetlagged or anything. You're super tired, so you sleep and it's like you never traveled. That's my technique.