News Flash

Alaska Airlines Adds MORE Aloha {BLI to KOA}

alaska airlines + hawaii island

[trip style = sun + beach]

Earlier this year I was asked if I would be interested in covering the inaugural {and nonstop!} Alaska Airlines flight from Bellingham, Washington to Kona, Hawaii. Obviously... Hawaii is ALWAYS a good idea, and I *really* love the island's ultra-tropical cocktail blending sand-sational coastal life with otherworldly landscapes in the upcountry. I'm also a superfan of Alaska Airlinesin my opinion they have THE best customer service AND mileage program in North Americaso the answer was an immediate, YES. {As always, I'm not being paid to say this; Alaska is my go-to airline for US travel.}

Instead of going solo on a quick reporting trip, I decided to bring all the Stylers using my Alaska Airlines Mastercard companion pass for Mr. Trip Styler and Blue Styler {Pink Styler flies for free because she is under 2}. 

I'm writing about this Vancouver-vicinity to Hawaii flight because it's a big deal. Currently, WestJet is the only carrier to do a direct from Vancouver to Kona {Air Canada starts seasonal service mid-December}, and it's not my favorite as the WJ flight times run in red-eye territory making it tough to adjust between time zones. Enter the new Alaska flight, which leaves in the morn from Bellingham and comes back to the mainland at 1pm, and the Bellingham Airport is just 20-minute jaunt from the border {or one hour from downtown Vancouver}. 

The Details
Alaska Airlines nonstop service from Bellingham to Kona just started on November 12th, 2016 and runs until April 1, 2017. The fuel-efficient next-gen Boeing 737 aircraft offers a three-and-three seating configuration and departs once weekly every Saturday. As for entertainment, you can connect to Alaska's inflight entertainment through your own device, or on a pre-loaded tablet they rent at the beginning of the journey.  

Not that you need any convincing to hightail it to the Island of Hawaii, buuuuuuuuuut:

 Walking on the beach at  Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows , a gorgeous stay edging the sunny Kohala Coast

Walking on the beach at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, a gorgeous stay edging the sunny Kohala Coast

 Turtles in Anaeho'omalu Bay, otherwise known as "A Bay"

Turtles in Anaeho'omalu Bay, otherwise known as "A Bay"

  Pololu Valley Lookout , a must-do viewpoint and hike overlooking the island's northeastern coastline

Pololu Valley Lookout, a must-do viewpoint and hike overlooking the island's northeastern coastline

 Upcountry yee-haw: Horseback riding on an 11,000-acre working ranch stretching from the rainforest to the sea with  Paniolo Adventures .

Upcountry yee-haw: Horseback riding on an 11,000-acre working ranch stretching from the rainforest to the sea with Paniolo Adventures.

 Savoring the sunset and farm- and fish-to-fork cuisine at  The CanoeHouse , a Hawaii must-eat since 1989.

Savoring the sunset and farm- and fish-to-fork cuisine at The CanoeHouse, a Hawaii must-eat since 1989.

 Sunset views c/o the Island of Hawaii

Sunset views c/o the Island of Hawaii

[Photos taken by @tripstyler, except the lead snap, courtesy of Alaska Airlines]

Oscar Swag Bags Soar to New Heights

terravelo tours oscars 2015

[trip style = luxury]

While the Oscars are, like, so 10 days ago, the six-figure swag bag is NOT. Because who needs a gold statue when you can go glamping, travel on a luxury train through the Canadian Rockies or stay at a 10-room villa in Tuscany?

The glitzy gift bag, which only went to nominees like Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Bradley Cooper, Steve Carell and Benedict Cumberbatch in the acting and directing categories, takes Oscar contenders from red carpet to runway with these jet-set escapes worth more than US$38,000.

Trip Style = Glamping
TerraVelo Tours’ opulent-meets-outdoorsy glamping trip takes Oscar contenders from Hollywood to Heaven-on-earth in the most awe-inspiring alcoves of Wyoming, California and Utah. Here, guests are wooed with A-list amenities from plush memory-foam beds with Frette linens to "transportable luxury bathrooms” stocked with C.O. Bigelow toiletries and Turkish towels. Couple these frills with the option to go surfing, cycling, hot air ballooning, or do sunrise yoga, and we’d like to put our name forward to be Bradley Cooper’s +1. 

Trip Style = Train
For those red carpet regulars who just can't give up the red carpet treatment, the Rocky Mountaineer has them covered. The luxury train company unfolds a red carpet every time guests step on and off the train. I experienced this journey first-hand a few years ago, and here's an except of the ride, touted as one of the "top five trains in the world" by Conde Nast Traveller.

"Meandering past frothing rivers, glassy lakes and snow-coned peaks in my glass-domed car, I was briskly reminded that I live in a place sought out by both seasoned and trip-of-a-lifetime travelers for its wild open spaces. On the Rocky Mountaineer, you co-exist with nature while dining on exec chef-prepared meals and drinking Canadian chardonnay. At one point, I remember rushing to my coach's outside viewing area to snap the scenery, camera in one hand, wine in another. At that moment, a smile came to my face. I was relaxed, well fed and wonderstruck in my own backyard."

rocky mountaineer oscar 2015

Trip Style = Luxury
Fancy a nine-night lesson in la dolce vita? First stop: Tuscany, where nominees can unwind in Villa Armena, a grand late-Renaissance-era villa only 20 minutes from Siena. From there, they can stop for an espresso with George and Amal in Lake Como at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, an Art Nouveau palace with a floating pool on the lake and a spa with panoramic views of the ritzy region. Finally, the stars will jet-set to Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, a 180-year-old property perched on the Amalfi Coast, surrounded by a five-acre Mediterranean garden. 

 Villa Armena

Villa Armena

[photos via travel providers]

Introducing: The Trip Styler Store

Trip Styler Store

[trip style = any]

Over the past couple years I've been working on a secret project that has finally come to fruition today: the Trip Styler Store, a collection of global finds I procure with the help of local guides as I wander.

Enamoured and inspired by the artisans I spot while traveling, I started collecting their wares in small batches with the idea that I'd be able to share a trip styled slice of the worldbeyond writing and photographywith you.  

The Trip Styler Store focuses on small-batch, trip-styled goods I can transport home in my suitcase from the places my travels take me; think: textiles and beach bags from Mexico, camel leather poufs and beach throws from Morocco, kimono-blazers from Japan, beaded necklaces from Bali and hill tribe purses and skirts from Thailand. Coming soon: Cashmere scarves from Dubai and lamb's wool toques from Morocco. Here's a tiny taste of what's "in store":

Trip Styler Store Goods

Finds are directly tied to TS trips and updated regularly, so check in frequently—especially when you need a fill of the far flung. And remember, we only source on the spot in small quantities, so if you see something you like, snatch it while you can!

Trip Styler Store hints: Search all inventory via Finds, or view specific products by country or by category {accessories, clothing, home goods}. 

[photos via @tripstyler]

View-Finding

expedia viewfinder blog[trip style = any]

Remember View-Master toys? {Those little, plastic, click-through portals featuring a cardboard disk with built-in photo negatives.} Fast forward to 2013; there's a new breed of viewfinder in a colorful portal of international proportions. Specifically, Expedia has just launched a blog called the Expedia Viewfinder, and I'm BEYOND excited to be one of 10 regular writers!

All of the bloggers type travel tales and tips from a different point of view, highlighting popular travel destinations---think LA, Bangkok, Toronto, Vegas, Barcelona, etc. Some of the perspectives shared are those of dads, moms, solo wanderers, LGBT, adventurers, philosophers, couples, road trippers and moi! Our MO is simple: research, travel, test and tell.

I'm pumped to continue trip styling on TS along with my trusty flight crew {Heather, Lauren, Nicole, Leah and Keryn}. You can also find my stories through my viewfinder author page.

trip styler + expedia viewfinder

Why Expedia I get pitches to work with companies semi-regularly, but I only work with the brands I trust. I started partnering with Expedia last year, co-moderating their regular Twitter Travel Chats, and working on a few curated projects. The one I was most impacted by is a video which they shot of me in Mexico returning to the place that changed the course of my life. They didn't alter my story for their purposes, nor glorify it to look better. The blog is in the same vein.

[photos via expedia viewfinder blog]

Grand Hotel - An Affair To Remember

grand hotel exhibition vancouver art gallery[trip style = staycation]

Pop Quiz: where in the world can you travel, and stay in multiple iconic hotels at the same time? Answer: The Vancouver Art Gallery, at its just-launched Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life, April 13 - September 15, 2013.

Do yourself a favor; run, fly, sail, drive---or use any transport at your disposal, moped maybe?---to reach Vancouver, Canada this spring-slash-summer.

As the Vancouver Art Gallery's newest exhibition still had a figurative Do Not Disturb sign on the door, I peeked in last Thursday at the show's pre-open. To say I liked the exhibition is an epic understatement, in fact, it left me in a hotel high---higher than Dubai's Burj Khalifa {pop quiz #2...which contains the Armani Hotel}!

travel

Nearly seven years in the making, the exhibit charts the evolution of the hotel from its origins as a utilitarian structure to a cultural phenomenon, tracking hotel trends through four lenses: travel, social, design and culture.

grand hotel exhibition

Chronicling game-changers from the 1887-built Raffles hotel to the 2010-built Marina Bay Sands {where people book a room for the sole purpose of perching in the surfboard-shaped SkyPark’s 150-meter infinity pool}, the multimedia show acts as a lab into hotel life.

vintage pan am poster grand hotel vancouver art gallery

Anyone obsessed with vintage or modern travel memorabilia will be like a kid in a candy store. {Dare we say it’s better than Pinterest travel porn?} Artifacts are everywhere, think: vintage travel trunks, an original Pan Am Airways poster {above}, or Richard Hutten’s Tokyo popup hotel room {below}, to name a few.

richard hutten tokyo popup hotel grand hotel vancouver art gallery

Speaking of artifacts, one of Trip Styler's FAVE hotel groups, Ace Hotels, is not only showcased in every major area of the expo, but they also have an Ace-exclusive popup shop featuring some in-room faves like the grey jersey Wings + Horns boxing-style bathrobe, or the near-iconic Pearl+ soap bars, plus some Vancouver-only products. Here's a six-second video I shot at the popup: {Can't view this video?}

Visiting Grand Hotel is a travel taster of international proportions. Warning: every step will extend your bucket list.

The Details
  • The exhibition runs from April 13 - September 15, 2013
  • An adult ticket is $21, but admission is by donation every Tuesday after 5pm
  • If it’s sunny, take a break from hotel-spotting and sit on the Gallery’s cafe patio, a gorgeous urban space complete with marble tables and euro flair
  • Find insider tips via the exhibition's blog, active since 2011

holidayinn grand hotel

[photos by @tripstyler]