Idris Elba Reveals His Post-COVID Vacation Dreams — and the One Item He Can't Travel Without

The partner and former PEOPLE 's Sexiest Man Alive chats about the future of travel and how it has shaped who he is

As an award-winning actor, musician and producer, Idris Elba has done his fair share of jet setting, and he's not stopping anytime soon.

The Suicide Squad star, 49, chatted with PEOPLE about his future travel plans and why seeing the world is so important to him ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl, when his hilarious new commercial for (above) will air.

"Traveling has been a big part of my growth, who I've become as an adult, as a human," the father of two says, explaining why he decided to team up with the vacation planning platform. "Being able to travel, it's like an artery for me."

He explains that he first left his hometown of London when he was 19 years old, when he took a trip to New York City, and felt like his life was forever changed.

"I grew up in East London, and quite easily and quite typically I could have stayed in East London and just lived a happy, content life, just seeing the area that I was born in," he says. "But it opened up my chakras. It opened up my perspective on life. That's what's important, is that people learn, they're educated from travel, they broaden their perspective."

idris elba commercial

In the years since, Elba has traveled quite a bit for both business and pleasure. His favorite place he's ever vacationed, he says, is Jakes Treasure Beach, which he describes as a "tiny boutique hotel" in Jamaica, while his favorite place to film is anywhere in Africa.

"Certain places in Africa where the amenities are not the same, it's just a different experience, and the way you make the film is slightly different," he explains of why he's always excited to shoot on the continent, including the fact that the locals always seem to be proud that their hometown was chosen as a location. "When you don't have the fancy hotels and you don't have fancy restaurants, you're eating the local food… You just submerge into the culture a lot more."

The next place on his travel wish list would give him another taste of African culture, but on a different continent: South America.

idris elba commercial

"On my bucket list, I've always wanted to go to Bahia in Brazil," says the actor, explaining that the Brazilian state is "one of the places where a lot of African slaves ended up."

"There's a West African feeling in Bahia that I've been told about," he explains. "So I'm down to go check that out." He adds that he's heard from those who have visited that "you really feel customs and cultures, food histories and religion that literally link directly from West Africa, typically Nigeria."

Though it's not clear when travel will become fully accessible again amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Elba says he's excited to be a part of it — both personally, and as part of his partnership.

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"I'm really one for encouraging people to get out there and see the world," he says. "We are very adaptable, the human race, and this COVID thing grounded us, and we adapted, right? We went to our screens. But actually, some aspects of the world are a better place when we travel. I think it's important that we are allowed to see other parts of the world."

And if there's one thing he does know about his future as a traveler, it's what he'll be packing on every single trip he goes on.

"I need my beard trimming clippers," the PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive alum says with a laugh of his must-have travel item. "I'm one of these guys that go to bed clean shaven, and wake up with a beard. You know what I mean? I'm not bragging, but I need to shave."

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