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We chat to Justin Russo, host of ‘Check Your Luggage’!

Today, Parrlime Productions launches its new travel show Check Your Luggage

Check Your Luggage is a new 6 episode LGBTQ+ travel show shot in and around New York City. Justin T Russo (Logo TV’s Fire Island) is the host of the series and is joined by special guests who offer insight into queer travel or the culture being celebrated. 

Check Your Luggage is a love letter from New York City to the world. After focussing on a unique location in NYC which references the episode’s featured destination, such as a British fish and chip shop or a Japanese supermarket, we then leap off to look more at the LGBTQ+ culture and tourism of the destination. 

We had a quick chat with the host, Justin Russo, to gain more insight on this unique and exciting LGBTQ+ travel show! 

Head over to to watch the show!

Kyle Jackson: Can you give a short run down of what Check Your Luggage is about and what to expect?

Justin Russo: Check Your Luggage, is a show dedicated to LGBTQ+ travel and history. The series is the first of its kind and goes in depth about locations, activities, and advice for travelers encompassing all enclaves of our community. 

This launch season we stayed in NYC and looked at cultures from overseas that are represented here, like fish & chips from Britain at A Salt and Battery on Greenwich Ave, to French Bread at giving us a taste of France. We end up showcasing Italy, Holland, Japan, and Palm Springs across the other episodes, all while staying in NYC.

KJ: Can you tell us what was the most fun part about filming Check Your Luggage? What did you enjoy most?

JR: Quite simply I enjoyed re-exploring my own city. My family has been in New York City for roughly 130 years and it is easy to get swept up in our daily routines and local haunts. I am also very much an extrovert and I loved being able to meet our experts and learn about their passions for travel.

KJ: What were some of the most interesting things you learned while filming Check Your Luggage, especially as a New Yorker? 

JR: I found that learning more about New York’s history and its connections to each location we explore on the series is most fascinating. New York’s past is so vibrant and multicultural — each ethnic, racial, and cultural group has its own unique relationship to the City. Those stories struck a chord with me.

KJ: What makes Check Your Luggage different from other travel shows?

JR: This series truly takes on the viewpoints of a vast array of the LGBTQ+ populace and mixes it with our community’s rich history and travel tips — all with a touch of whimsy.

KJ: What are some of your favorite places that you have traveled to?

JR: Personally, I relate destinations to the experience associated with a particular trip — the people I am with are paramount. With that said, Provincetown will forever be a home. London and Rome tie for my second favorite cities (outside of NYC) and Iceland, which holds its own source of magic.

KJ: If you could pick any destination in the world to travel to next, where would it be?

JR: I am a huge fan of Greta Garbo and my dream trip is to visit Sweden (and her home in Stockholm), then travel through Scandinavia. I’ve been fortunate to explore Oslo, but it would be a dream to hit each Northern European country through the Baltics.

Growing up Italian (and living in Italy during college), I have such a connection and understanding with the Mediterranean lifestyle. I find the Nordic cultures to be the polar (no pun intended) opposite. 

I also am raring to travel to Japan. Aside from history classes and my own readings on the country, my ardor for classic Japanese cinema has piqued my curiosity.

KJ: What are your tips for a great vacation or travel experience?

JR: I am someone who doesn’t like to experience an experience alone — there is something powerful in sharing a moment with other individuals. With that, my biggest tip is selecting a great travel companion(s) who will enhance your fun but perhaps offer different perspectives.

Watch the first episode of Check Your Luggage by heading to Vacationer Magazine where Justin’s new show is hosted

Justin T Russo with Sean Cavanagh Dowcett & Nikki Prerry From Episode 1 – By Catalin Stelian


Justin Russo is a multi-talented visual artist trained and skilled in many media. His real genius lies in his use of line and negative space, of simplicity and restraint. Justin’s pencil and ink drawings are his passion — he says, “obsession” — and form the centerpiece of his vast and impressive body of work. Justin has also been creating murals, most recently as 1/50 artists to have his own mural for World Pride in 2019 (which since has been made into a limited edition print). The New York Times also featured Russo for the project. Several articles have also been written on Justin’s satirical works that blend politics, pinups, and now the COVID outbreak.

In essence, as an artist, Justin’s work re-examines history through a queer lens and act as preservations for the past. Russo’s subjects speak of his passion for classic cinema and the era of the silver screen. Justin’s aim is to ensure the legacy of the queerness and ideals of Pre-War and WWII salons.

Justin has also found success in broadcast entertainment — as a cast member of Logo’s series, Fire Island. The show helped propel Justin’s love for television and activism, including LGBTQ+ rights and suicide prevention outreach (mostly mentoring youths who have lost a love one). Overall, Justin’s work has a strong sense of empathy. He is an astute observer of the world, and his world is anything but provincial.

For more information on Justin and his work, visit his website at, and follow him on Instagram: @JustinTRusso

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Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.