‘The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals’ host and DIY designer Megan Batoon spoke with HL EXCLUSIVELY about filming before and during a pandemic, the next place on her travel list, and more.
Host and DIY designer Megan Batoon had a once-in-a-lifetime experience co-hosting The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals, which is now available on Netflix. With Jo Franco and Luis D. Ortiz, Megan traveled all over the world from the Bahamas to Finland to Bali. Together, they proved that you can vacation around the world on any budget.
HollywoodLife chatted EXCLUSIVELY with Megan about filming such an expansive show just before the COVID-19 pandemic and during the pandemic. She also revealed one change she’d like to make if there is a season 2, who she told about her secret adventures, and more. Read our full Q&A below:
Other than masks and protocol, did you feel a noticeable difference in your experiences in traveling pre-COVID and during COVID?
Megan Batoon: Aside from the masks, there really wasn’t much of a difference while traveling. You still get to try new foods, see new places, get lost in the streets. It’s good to know that a worldwide pandemic doesn’t impact the essence of travel, or at least how I personally like to explore new places.
All of the places you visited were so beautiful in their own way, but is there one place you know you’re going back to?
Megan Batoon: Probably the Bahamas. I’ve been previously throughout my life because it was close enough to my home state Florida. But I saw it in such a different way on the show, I mean, a luxury private island is about as different of an experience than I ever had growing up. There was a secret sandbar that we rode jet skis to that absolutely took my breath away and I would love to go back and spend hours just laying on the sand as waves surround me in what feels like the middle of nowhere.
Is there one place you’d like to visit again because you felt like you could do more in a post-pandemic visit?
Megan Batoon: Surprisingly, I don’t think the destinations we went to were limited by the pandemic the way we timed it out. Plus, I’m such an introverted traveler that I wouldn’t want to be around huge crowds of people. I’d love to revisit Caangu in Bali because it had such a lively heartbeat. Maybe I’ll visit again, maybe I’ll move there — we’ll see!
Is there a new place you’re itching to visit now?
Megan Batoon: In the show, we visited Niseko, Japan, which is a ski town that had outrageously good food. We went to the same restaurant that Anthony Bourdain visited and ate across from a Soba Master as he prepared our meals. It was such an incredible introduction to Japan, but I’d love to make a few other spots to see the variety of what Japan has to offer, namely Izu Peninsula for the white sand beaches and Kobe for the beef as I mainly travel for food.
What’s something that you learned about yourself as a person as you traveled to all these different places?
Megan Batoon: I felt like with every new place we traveled to, my mind was opened to another level. Before this project, I’d only traveled for work and I never got to experience the cultures or excursions since I was either on stage, on set, or in a hotel. I was exposed to so many different ways of living, dishes, uses of design materials. It was a year long experiential field trip. I am so grateful to have boarded my first flight one person and to land back in LA as an elevated and more worldly version of who I was at the start.
Is there anything design-wise that you loved so much that you’ve incorporated into your home?
Megan Batoon: More so than a specific design element, I’ve taken notes for my future rental property projects of what makes a stay feel special. After seeing properties all over the world for three different budgets, I’ve developed a keen sense of what really makes someone feel like they’re in a home while on the road. I’m super excited to design destinations that transport you while delivering all of the creature comforts one would look for while vacationing.
How tough was it to keep this show a secret for over a year — is there anyone you told?
Megan Batoon: I told my parents (so they wouldn’t worry) and best friends (to watch my cats) but told them they weren’t allowed to tell anyone. It was the longest kept secret I’ve had to keep under wraps — well, second-longest. *wink*
If the show were to get a season 2, would you make any changes to the series?
Megan Batoon: I’d love if we were able to get a time extension to be around 40 minutes to show the colossal amount of fun we had while staying in the properties. There was so much hilarious footage that will live on in our memories forever, but it would make for an incredible special edition or spinoff show. (This is where I would @ Netflix if we were on Twitter.)
Do you still hang out with Jo and Luis? Have you planned your next adventure together?
Megan Batoon: Luis and I text often and Jo visits LA frequently, so we get to reconnect every few months and it feels like home. We don’t have any plans to get back together as of now but hopefully if there is a season 2 we’ll pick back up right where we left off!
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